PHOTO: Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and basically everything that kept us indoors throughout the 1980s, pictured here at Universal Orlando Resort.
In 2015 Universal shocked everyone with the huge announcement that they were working with Nintendo for a massive new land at their theme parks. Then, they went away and didn't say another word. For more than a year, there has been no new information or details about what a partnership with Universal and Nintendo could mean. Today, however, Universal broke the silence and has given us their vision on what the new lands would entail, and where we will see them.
Mark Woodbury, head of Universal creative and Shigeru Miyamoto, head of Nintendo, sat down to talk about the overall vision of the new themed lands. The biggest news is that they will be coming to three Universal Resorts-Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. The new areas will be highly themed, and completely immersive.
Families will be able to walk in the worlds of Mario and many other Nintendo characters. The lands will bring the consoles to life in amazing ways. The new lands will also feature highly themed rides, shops and restaurants. What does a fire flower taste like? Maybe we’ll get to find out, as Universal promises to bring unique culinary innovations to life for Nintendo, just as it did for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Each Nintendo Land will also feature new attractions based on the worlds of the video games they represent. There have been no details on what games or rides will be used, but speculation has been running wild, with hopes of a Mario Kart based attraction or even a Donkey Country ride. The lands will feature something that is family friendly, and that the entire family can enjoy together.
While there are no official details yet, it sounds like each Universal park will have a unique Nintendo area. Could we see different lands and areas in Japan than what we will see in Orlando and Hollywood? The likely answer is yes. Japan’s audience loves amazing photo ops and characters, so Universal Japan could feature more character-based attractions. Meanwhile Universal Orlando is looking to expand their theme park count. The resort purchased a huge section of land in Orlando that it plans to use to add a new theme park on, as well as hotels and restaurants. Nintendo could possibly anchor that new theme park with a huge game-based land.
Universal announced that the first plans will be announced soon. Universal has also filing new patents and copyrights for new technology to use in their upcoming rides. These new plans include interactive elements that change with every ride, which make the perfect fit for interactive gaming elements. Imagine having being able to control the outcome of the ride, or even changing the ride as you ride. With the new patents, that could very well be the plans that Universal has for Nintendo.
So when can we expect to see the new lands? There has not been a time frame released yet, but each one will open independently, which will mean separate launch dates. The first will most likely open in Japan. While nothing has been officially announced, Japan is expected to launch first around 2019 or 2020. The 2020 Olympic Summer Games will be held in Tokyo, which will make for the perfect opportunity to premiere a first of its kind themed land. More announcements will happen very soon, and hopefully will shed light on what is likely to be the highest anticipated theme park expansion to date.