Nintendo President Talks ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Deal, Lack Of ‘GTA’ Wii

How did Nintendo get a “Grand Theft Auto” slated for the DS? What’s the game going to be like? And what can Wii owners expect of “GTA” now that DS owners are getting one later this year?

That’s what I asked Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime in the following portion of the interview I conducted with him at E3…

Multiplayer: “Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.” How’d that come about? When did that conversation begin?

Reggie Fils-Aime, President, Nintendo of America: You know, we have had a long-term relationship with [“GTA” publisher] Take Two. We’ve had many conversations with the folks at Rockstar. This is a project they wanted to make. We’re thrilled to have it on the platform.

Multiplayer: 2D? 3D? What’s it going to be like?

Fils-Aime: You know the folks at Rockstar. And so we think it’s best for them to tell the story of what that software’s going to be. They can certainly do a better job of bringing it to life and do a much better job explaining the backstory than I can.

Multiplayer: Given that just before you guys announced “Grand Theft Auto” for the DS — you guys were talking about how the gender ratio was balancing out and more and more women are playing DS. Women are not typically “GTA” players. Given that, do you expect “Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars” to sell as well as the PSP “GTA”s? Does the demographic of the DS give this game the potential to be the best-selling of the “GTA” portables?

Fils-Aime: Look at it this way, Stephen. Right now 20 million installed base in the U.S. for the DS. Fifty-two percent are male. That’s over a 10 million installed base to sell a “GTA” title into. We expect that title to sell phenomenally well on our platform. And that’s why we’re thrilled to have it come.

Multiplayer: Is it going to outsell the other two? Do you want to make a pledge?

Fils-Aime: I can’t make a pledge until I see the game. Certainly what I would say is, if the game is strong — and we fully expect it to be — that the potential given our installed base is phenomenal for this title.

Multiplayer: So there’s no lingering issues with — several E3’s ago — “GTA” being talked about as a game that it seemed like [Nintendo president Satoru] Iwata wasn’t interested in having on Nintendo platforms? And there was the old “Mario doesn’t shoot hookers” line. That’s all over? You guys didn’t have to make any amends with Rockstar in order to get this game?

Fils-Aime: I’ve been asked about this. And it happened before my time. All I can tell you is that since the day I walked in the door, I’ve had a very good relationship with the folks at Take Two, continue to have a good relationship. And so in our view we want just the best content coming on our platforms. Period. End of story.

Multiplayer: Can Nintendo system owners take this sign of a DS “GTA” coming out as a sign that there is an increased chance or any plans for there to be a “GTA” on the Wii?

Fils-Aime: You know, a “GTA” on the Wii is all based on what Rockstsar and Take Two want to do. And again, from our standpoint, if they build a bottoms-up game that takes advantage of what we do well, I’d love to see it on the platform.

Multiplayer: But have you had any conversations with them about that?

Fils-Aime: I have not had any of those conversations.


Multiplayer will have much more from our E3 interviews with the top gaming people at Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo as the week goes on.