Xbox head Phil Spencer claims that he'd love to see games like Super Mario arrive on a Microsoft console, admitting that 'Nintendo has the strongest first-party of anybody.'
Given the prominence of Nintendo and its wide array of beloved properties, it should come as no surprise that any outside hardware manufacturer would kill to have the firm's iconic IP arrive on its platform. While that seemed like a farfetched dream at one point, Nintendo's properties have begun leaving their own consoles in favor of tapping into a larger audience on mobile devices. Evidently, this recent initiative by the Big N was the catalyst for a question during an interview with Xbox head Phil Spencer – namely, whether or not Microsoft saw Nintendo creating games for its hardware as a legitimate possibility in the future.
AusGamer was the site responsible for the question, and apparently Spencer was more than happy to clarify, rather unsurprisingly, that "I’d love to see Mario on Xbox." Citing a recent partnership between Microsoft and Nintendo which has seen Minecraft arrive on Wii U, Spencer reiterated his personal fondness for the company and indicated a strong desire to work together again in the future.
"As someone who’s been in this industry and played games forever, I’ll still say it: Nintendo has the strongest first-party of anybody. They’re just fantastic and the memories that they have instilled in so many of us, who’ve played their games and had those delightful experiences, having those on Xbox would be great. Obviously we have Minecraft on Nintendo and when that opportunity came up to work with them on Minecraft, you know, some people might look at it and say ‘why would you even do that?’, but with Nintendo, it’s been a great partnership on Minecraft."
"In fact they put Mario in Minecraft on Wii U with the mash-up skin pack. And continuing to work with them on that and building a stronger relationship... I mean if that paid dividends down the road that lead to something else, that would be fantastic. I know I get questions all the time on would I ever like to see Banjo in Super Smash Bros. and I’m, like, “yes, I would do that in a second”. And certain people think I’m saying that as some sort of PR answer and I’m, like, why wouldn’t you?"
Spencer's willingness to grant Nintendo access to Banjo for use in Super Smash Bros. has been a prominent topic of discussion for the Xbox head (and Smash fans) in the past. As one of the more requested characters for the fighting franchise, especially given his roots to the Japanese publisher, this desire will likely remain steadfast for as long as the series exists. Still, with Mario content featured prominently in Minecraft for Wii U, it's nice to see that Nintendo is keen to partner with Microsoft if and when it makes sense to.
In closing, Spencer clarified his desire to grow Microsoft's relationship with the house of Mario in the years to come.
"Anyway, I’m a big Nintendo fan and I think they’ve been incredibly important for the games industry, they do a great job with younger audiences, and if we ever had a chance to work with them in the future, I would absolutely do it."
It'll be interesting to see if anything more than a Minecraft crossover restricted to Nintendo hardware comes from this partnership in time. With Nintendo preparing to launch its Switch console this March, however, it's unlikely that Mario and friends will be making their way to a Microsoft console at any point in the immediate future. With that said, perhaps smaller, joint initiatives here and there could benefit both brands – namely, introducing Steve to Super Smash Bros. or adding Battletoads to a hypothetical NES Classic Edition 2.