When beginning development of Wii Party for Nintendo, developer Nd Cube were told in no uncertain terms that, were the game to not live up to the expectations of a game in the “Wii” series — Wii Sports, Wii Fit and so on — they would not be allowed to use the “Wii” name.
Wii Party is the first in the “Wii” line-up that hasn’t been produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo’s Entertainment Analysis & Development division. Instead, it was helmed by ex-members of Hudson’s Mario Party team who are now employed by Nintendo at Nd Cube, in collaboration with Software Planning & Development Group 4. The SPD group is well-known for working with external developers.
In the event that Wii Party failed to impress, Nd Cube would likely have settled on the name “Mii Party.” Unfortunately for them, development got off to a shaky start.
Before the development team knew it, the Summer of 2009 — the intended release window for Wii Party — was upon them, and they were still in the planning stages of development, trying to figure out the answer to the question, “What is a party?”
What ultimately sparked the brainstorming session that would shape the rest of the game’s development was a suggestion by one of Nd Cube’s staff: “What if we hid the Wii Remote?” This idea was realized in the form of Hide ‘n’ Hunt, a hide-and-seek game using the Wii Remote. Since the remote has a speaker built into it, Nd Cube were able to use it to give players clues as to where the remote could be hidden.
Similarly, the accelerometer in the remote led to the creation of a game dubbed “Time Bomb,” where players pass the Wii Remote around. In this game, too many vibrations — indicated by a graph (pictured above) on the TV screen — would cause the “bomb” to “explode” and result in failure.
The concept behind Wii Party was to create a game that used the entire room players were in as a play space. Eventually, while Nintendo supervisors had rather severe feedback to give on the project, they were also pleased with the direction the game was taking and allowed Nd Cube to use the “Wii Party” name.
Wii Party has sold close to a million units in Japan to date, and is scheduled for an October launch in North America and Europe.