Steel Diver was a Nintendo 3DS launch title in the U.S., Japan will see the game this week, following a delay caused by the earthquakes in March. Steel Diver was co-developed by Nintendo’s EAD department, and another company in Kyoto, Japan, called Vitei Inc.
Vitei Inc. is headed up by Giles Goddard, who’s an ex-EAD member himself. In the days of the Super Famicom, Goddard helped develop games like Star Fox and Stunt Race FX. Later, he would also work on 1080° Snowboarding for the Nintendo 64. On Star Fox, specifically, Goddard was involved with the game’s camera. He also taught Miyamoto how to juggle (no, seriously).
In 2002, he established Vitei Inc., who have since worked on other games for Nintendo as well, including Rock N’ Roll Climber for WiiWare. Vitei were chosen to work on Steel Diver because Miyamoto was familiar with Goddard’s strengths as a designer and because both Nintendo and Vitei are located in Kyoto, making it easy to co-develop.
This information comes by way of a recent Iwata Asks interview, where the EAD staff working on Steel Diver reveal that the game was initially going to be a DSiWare title. Nintendo actually showed Steel Diver off at E3 2004, after which Nintendo of America requested that the game be developed for DSiWare.
Nintendo’s Japanese staff, however, wanted to turn the game into a more ambitious packaged DS title, and so, they set about adding more modes to the game and tweaking the controls to be simulation-like, in order to help the game stand out from other sidescrollers. Ultimately, development was moved to the 3DS.