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Friday, July 15, 2022

Dynamo Pictures Acquired; to be Nintendo Pictures

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - What is (or was) Dynamo Pictures?

Announced via their investor relations section (and... I totally missed a shareholder meeting, so I need to do a write-up on that soon), Nintendo will fully acquire Dynamo Pictures, Inc, a Japanese visual content company of about 100 people specialising in computer-generated animation. They'll be renamed to Nintendo Pictures and instead of making content for a wide range of companies, they'll obviously be making content just for Nintendo stuff.

What have they done? Well, let's look at their website before it might disappear. Among the works includes a 20-year anniversary Ace Attorney case released last year in... VIRTUAL REALITY (逆転裁判 VR20号事件, or Ace Attorney VR20 Case?). And it's a multiplayer (1 to 2 players) game. That's not their only CAPCOM project; they did a Mega Man Virtual Reality game too a year before that where you enter the virtual world and shoot things to stop Dr. Wily, along with a Resident Evil “Valiant Raid” game at CAPCOM Plaza.

Gyakuten Saiban VR Gaspen Payne 検事  宇武砂 典界 ウブスナ テソカイ
Is this... Gaspen Payne? What's up with his hair now?
How come the Japanese text here (検事 宇武砂 典界 ウブスナ テソカイ) doesn't correspond to Gaspen's Japanese name (亜内文武)?

Besides a long list of work (mostly CG) unrecognisable anime-looking stuff, Dynamo Pictures also did motion capture work for Death Stranding, Monster Hunter World, the first Monster Hunter Stories. As for their previous work specifically with Nintendo, they worked with Shigeru Miyamoto doing full CG animation for those Pikmin short movies. And back in 2016 it was reported that Nintendo would look into filmmaking as a standalone business. That didn't actually happen. Maybe it will now. Or maybe Nintendo will just not be outsourcing as much work for making detailed game cutscenes or cinematic trailers and they'll be taking that visual content more in-house.

Pikmin Short Movies A Great Day Bulborb eating Red Blue
Nintendo certainly isn't gobbling up companies like some of their competitors.
Though the imagery is funny.

It's a bit out-of-character for Nintendo to acquire companies they don't already have an established track record with, and those Pikmin movies were released all the way back in 2014. According to Dynamo's website, they haven't done any other projects directly with Nintendo since. So... why this particular company out of the many companies that can perform similar services that Nintendo has contracted with over the years?

Pikmin Short Movies credits animation Dynamo Pictures
Yeah, that's them in the credits. But this was, like, eight years ago.

I wish I had an answer. It's out-of-character on Nintendo's part (unless Dynamo Pictures has been doing recent things that are so behind the scenes that they can't disclose it to the public). Or maybe someone high up in Nintendo has a close friend or relative who works there and it's some kind of nepotism acquisition.

My dreams that this will keep Miyamoto's eye off interfering with game design may or may not be still a thing, though I do know he's quite busy with theme parks and getting a movie (in cooperation with another company and not produced in-house) out next year. Perhaps... what if this is what Miyamoto had in mind when he gave that senile response about video content?

Ludwig apologises that this article posed more questions than answers. Maybe you can help him (and everyone else lurking on KoopaTV) by offering your best clarification or theory in the comments section?

Ludwig wrote about the 82nd annual shareholder meeting question and answer session here (which took place before the Dynamo Pictures announcement).


  1. I really liked those Pikmin shorts and would love it if they made a pikmin movie. There wouldn't even have top be any words or anything, the Pikmin are so damn cute they'd hold the attention of all ages. My theory as to why Nintendo decided to acquire this company would be that they are trying to get into more animation as stated above and know this as a company that worked before. TO the best of my knowledge the Pikmin shorts seemed to be highly profitable enough. "Who cares if we haven't used this company in nearly a decade, the last time they made something for us it worked, so lets buy them". Really though, I suppose the cards were in Nintendo's favor, I can't see them buying an animation company if the price is super high. Although it wouldn't be completely crazy to me, should the Mario movie do well, to see Nintendo end up buying Illumination. Everything works well as it is now, but should illumination get into any financial trouble...putting aside Alpha Dream... well Nintendo just better not make any more Minion games.

    1. A silent film with no voice-acting would be out of character, since the Captains always have a LOT to say.

      I don't think Nintendo can afford Illumination... Well, they can, but they'd be unwilling. They might want a Japanese company specifically.
      I don't believe we've had any data on how much the Pikmin Short Movies grossed from the Nintendo 3DS eShop.
      Nintendo has contracted out with many other firms for animating things (there were a whole handful of companies that worked on Super Smash Bros. trailers), and more recently than Dynamo.


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