Nintendo and Universal Studios Japan (USJ) recently signed a basic business agreement that could pave the way for future USJ attractions featuring Nintendo characters and game worlds.
A few years back, when the late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata (may he rest his soul in the Great Mushroom Kingdom in the Sky) announced the company’s plans to explore ventures outside of gaming, a lot of people speculated that meant the company would be branching out into real-life attractions and possibly even had plans to build a theme park.
It turns out that Iwata was specifically referring to – yaaaaaawn – health monitoring devices, but many held out hope for a world where Nintendo sleep monitors and real-life Mario platforming and Zelda dungeon crawling existed together. And, lo and behold, those hopes appeared to have been answered when it came to light in May of 2015 that Nintendo had signed a deal with Universal Studios, the American film giant, to explore Nintendo-themed attractions at the company’s Universal Studios theme parks.
Announcements about that particular agreement, however, didn’t include a when and where for the attractions, and also didn’t lay out specifics about the type of presence Nintendo would have at one or more Universal Studios parks.
Taking that announcement and this current Nintendo-USJ agreement together, it seems safe to speculate that USJ will get some kind of Nintendo-related stuff in their parks in the next couple of years. If that is indeed the case, it’s a logical choice for both companies, as USJ is no stranger to attractions inspired by video game worlds. The park has operated Resident Evil and Monster Hunter attractions in the past, with the Resident Evil attractions in particular being fully fleshed-out “living game” experiences with high production values.
An ad for USJ’s 2015 Resident Evil: The Escape
For now, Nintendo fans should keep their expectations in check, though. A “basic business agreement” (or kihon gouisho) is Japanese corporate speak for, “Maybe we’ll do business together… someday… possibly. Or maybe we’ll just have an inter-company softball tournament sometime. Who knows?”
So, taking the two announcements together, it’s almost a certainty that some Nintendo peanut butter will be getting into USJ’s chocolate, as it were, but whether this means real-life Mushroom Kingdom platforming or just some Mario plushies in the gift shop is still up in the air.