Kid Icarus: Uprising was among the very first games used to show off the Nintendo 3DS, and the first time we saw it at E3 2010, it was already pretty far along in development. This obviously means that it had to have been in development for a fair while.
Designer, Masahiro Sakurai, confirms this in an Iwata Asks interview, revealing that development of the game began before his company, Project Sora, even had a Nintendo 3DS development kit. “At first we didn’t have the Nintendo 3DS development kit, so we started making it on a PC,” Sakurai shares. “Oh, and for a while we were using a Wii to make it!”
Sakurai wrote the proposal and the script for the game himself, and prototyping began before Project Sora was even up and running. You can view videos of the air and land battle prototypes below.
The prototypes were created as an example to show to new members of the development team, to help bring everyone on the same page. Nintendo president, Iwata, says that eventually making the switch to getting the game performing well on an actual 3DS was part of the reason that development took longer than expected.