Developing HD games is very labor intensive. This is something most of the industry learned around 2007 while developing for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. Nintendo was probably too busy swimming in its Wii Sports money to realize what was going on.

Now, Nintendo has an HD console of its own, and it is unsurprisingly discovering that Wii U games need a lot more people working on them than the Wii did.

“When it comes to the scale of software development, Wii U with HD graphics requires about twice the human resources than before,” Nintendo creative director Shigeru Miyamoto said during a meeting with investors. “Please allow me to explain that we may have underestimated the scale of this change and, as a result, the overall software development took more time than originally anticipated just as we tried to polish the software at the completion phase of development.”


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Miyamoto is currently overseeing development of the simple real-time-strategy game Pikmin 3. The title was originally due out for the Wii U near its release, but it suffered a significant delay due to this polishing. Pikmin 3 is now not due out until Aug. 4.

These are growing pains that most other developers overcame years ago during the initial transition from SD to HD games. It’s interesting that a company with as many resources as Nintendo couldn’t look back to see this coming.

But Nintendo is nearly through this transition, and Miyamoto doesn’t expect these issues to continue causing problems in the future.

“We are almost out of this phase, and we are also trying to create something unique utilizing an easier development approach called ‘Nintendo Web Framework.’”

Nintendo Web Framework enables developers to begin using HTML5 and JavaScript to program for the Wii U. Previously, all studios had to use C or C++. It is Nintendo’s latest attempt to attract more developers to the Wii U.