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e3 2015

Nintendo Talks The World Championships 2015, The Wizard, And Reveals The Trophy

by Kyle Hilliard on Jun 13, 2015 at 06:45 AM

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For the first time in 25 years, Nintendo is bringing back its Nintendo World Championships at this year's E3. After inviting competitors and holding a series of qualifying rounds across the United States, the tournament begins tomorrow. Ahead of the Champioships, we spoke with Nintendo Treehouse's Erik Peterson, who is producing the event, about the game selection process, how the film The Wizard influences the upcoming tournament, and what the winner will actually get – which you can see for the first time below.

Is this something Nintendo envisions doing every year, or is this a special occasion?

The last time we held a Nintendo World Championships event was in 1990, so this is obviously a huge moment for all of us and our fans. At E3 last year, we held the Super Smash Bros. Invitational, and we couldn’t have been happier with the response. So this year, we wanted to take things to the next level for our fans – and we thought, what better way celebrate our past and present than bringing back the Nintendo World Championships.

On a personal level, the Nintendo World Championships has always meant a lot to me. The last time it happened, I was like 11 years old. I was one of those kids reading about it in Nintendo Power and obsessing over every detail. I had no way to get there and be a part of it, so for me as an adult, the next best thing was to be a part of bringing it back.

Why NES Remix? Why not break out the original consoles and cartridges?

Ultimate NES Remix on Nintendo 3DS was only used for our qualifying rounds at select Best Buy stores around the country. It was a fun nod to the original 1990 tournament, since we were using the game’s World Championship mode which included some of the games used in the original competition.

On June 14, The Nintendo World Championships will use eight different games, including Splatoon and The Legend of Zelda. Although we’ve already revealed these two games, we see the element of surprise as being important – we want to truly test the competitors’ skills by forcing them to adapt to the challenges we throw at them.

What does the winner receive? Will there be a crown similar to the robe that was awarded to the recent 3DS Super Smash Bros. champion?

We’ve been keeping this a secret until now, but maybe this is a good time to reveal it. The winner will receive a trophy featuring a large gold-plated sculpture of Mario. A one of a kind event like the Nintendo World Championships deserves a one of a kind award, and we’re really pleased with how this turned out.

How many people competed at the regional events?

We saw a great turnout from fans at our eight locations. Some actually competed in the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, and others were participating in their first ever video game competition. Ultimately, from those qualifiers we found eight skilled winners that we think will make the competition on June 14 really exciting.

How did Nintendo choose its invited competitors?

Very carefully. We spent a lot of time searching for some of the best and most prominent Nintendo gamers out there. We’re always watching videos and livestreams and looking for great Nintendo players and fans. We were really excited about what we found, and in all honesty, it wasn’t an easy selection process. But in the end, it feels really great to be able to extend the special invitation to our invited eight players and get them to LA to compete. It’s going to be quite a show.

eSports are becoming increasingly popular and profitable for its participants. In many ways, Nintendo helped to kickstart this movement with the original Nintendo World Championships. Is it frustrating that Nintendo typically does not receive credit for this trend?

For us it’s not really about credit we’re just looking to have as much fun as possible with our fans. We’re always looking for new ways to connect with our fans, like the Digital Event on Tuesday morning and the Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3 livestream that runs Tuesday through Thursday from the show floor.

Is Nintendo planning for the final event to be a game reveal, as it was in The Wizard?

We’re deliberately keeping some of the games secret to provide an additional challenge to our competitors and to make the show as fun as possible. That’s probably not the answer you were hoping for, but you’ll just have to watch to find out.

Regarding The Wizard, it was the first thing many thought of when the tournament was announced. Two stars of the film, Fred Savage and Jenny Lewis, reacted to the news on twitter making it apparent they want to be involved. Did the legacy of the film help foster the decision to bring the tournament back? Did you reach out to those actors or anyone else involved in the film?

The reaction to the event has been massive. It’s gotten us really excited to see how hyped everyone is about the tournament—a lot of which comes from both the history and legacy of the Nintendo World Championships and the love of The Wizard. As far as who might be there –you know I can’t answer that! But I will say we have some fun treats in store. And for everyone in the LA area, I just want you to know you can attend the event in person at LA Live – tickets are free and you don’t need an E3 pass. Everyone else can tune in to our Twitch or YouTube channels to watch live. We’re starting with a pre-tournament Treehouse: Live at 2:35 p.m. PT, and the main event starts at 3 p.m. PT.

Did Nintendo re-watch The Wizard in preparation for the tournament?

Nobody needs an excuse to re-watch The Wizard.

For more on Nintendo's E3 2015 presence, head here to read our predictions for the show, and here for how we think they can improve from last year.