In a GDC interview with GameDaily this afternoon, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat discussed Wii development and revealed some of the surprising praise Ubisoft received from Nintendo for its Nov. 2007 Wii release, My Word Coach.
“We were working in secret on a game called My Word Coach…and we had the chance to show the game to (Nintendo of America President) Reggie Fils-Aime, and he saw the game and said, ‘You got it. You guys got exactly the type of game we want for this machine,'” said Mallat.
While a forceful pat on the back from the Regginator may have been sufficient commendation, the high praise kept coming when Ubisoft showed the game to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.
“He told us, ‘Alright, we are going to treat you as if you were an internal Nintendo team.’ And obviously it was an honor. I guess that (Nintendo) decided to do that because they felt that maybe we captured the spirit of what a ‘casual’ game could be or should be in a way,” said Mallat.
Mallat also outlined what he called “rules, dos and don’ts” and “philosophies” for development on Nintendo platforms.
“There is a simple rule, especially with those games,” said Mallat. “They have to have a consumer benefit. Strong, obvious and accessible. Because they are designed for people who were not used to playing games, they have to be accessible. They have to have a consumer benefit because those guys, if they don’t play games, they usually do something that matters in a way. They’re used to making the most of their time. Even when they are doing crosswords, they are doing something valuable for them. So those are two of the main rules that a casual game should fulfill.”
Ubisoft released My Word Coach in North America on Nov. 6, 2007, for the Wii and DS. Ubisoft plans to extend the My Coach brand this summer with My Weight Loss Coach for the DS, developed by Ubisoft Montreal under the guidance of a fitness coach and a nutritionist.