We usually think of Nintendo as a fan-friendly company, but now we know what it’s willing to do to keep employees from stirring the Japanese gaming giant’s seemingly calm waters.
Dan Adelman, the leader of Nintendo’s indie program, left Nintendo last week after nine years there. In an interview with Kotaku, he revealed how Nintendo went about banning him from Twitter after he made a comment about region-locking, a policy that keeps systems from playing games from foreign markets.
“I had been strongly encouraged to stay off of Twitter — or at least say only things that were clearly safe — so after the region-locking comment, they just said I needed to stop completely,” Adelman said. “When people started complaining that I wasn’t active on Twitter anymore, it was suggested that a PR person could just post in my name. I thought that was about the worst idea I’d ever heard, so I left it as is and let the silence speak for itself.”
The region-locking comment, which you can read here, was seemingly innocent. Adelman just sympathized with a fan who lamented that he couldn’t play Japanese Nintendo games on North American devices.
Adelman previously criticized his former employer for rejecting a port of The Binding of Isaac, an indie title with religious themes, in an interview with IGN last year.
“Maybe we should revisit the entire concept guideline on religious themes,” Adelman said in the interview. “Maybe we should just get rid of that altogether. But given that, that’s right now one of our stances.”
Indie games are an important part of the industry. While series like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed take hundreds of people and millions upon millions of dollars to make, smaller teams and smaller budgets create indie games. Still, they’re a potential source of revenue, so it’s important for a console maker to have a good relationship with them. However, Nintendo’s strict policies sometimes become a problem with more adult indie titles.
“We’re definitely open to revisiting [policies] from time to time,” Adelman continued. “What we need to do is be a bit more flexible sometimes as far as interpreting those guidelines and making exceptions where they do make sense.”
Adelman told Kotaku that Nintendo didn’t like his comments. Coupled with the region-locking Tweets, Nintendo banned him from using Twitter.
Still, Adelman says that he left Nintendo on good terms. “Nintendo has been really supportive of this move,” he told Kotaku. “I think everyone there has known for a while that my passion has always really been about helping the indie community develop and thrive, so even though everyone was really surprised when I gave my two-week notice, they all understood and wished me the best. I couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff.”
Adelman will now work directly with indie developers and help them with marketing, business development, and strategy. As for Nintendo’s indie program, Adelman says that it is in “good hands.”