Nintendo Is Buying An Animation Studio

·2-min read
Mario and his chums, looking rather excited on a grassy background.
Mario and his chums, looking rather excited on a grassy background.

Might Nintendo intend to create some sort of animated Nintendoverse? The Japanese gaming behemoth just announced it’s buying CG animation and motion capture studio Dynamo Pictures, now to be known as Nintendo Pictures.

Dynamo Pictures, based in Tokyo, has been around for 30 years, providing CG work and motion capture for games and anime. It recently worked on motion capture for Persona 5, Nier Replicant, and Death Stranding, while creating computer graphics for the likes of Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045, Studio Ghibli’s Earwig and the Witch, and Nintendo’s own Pikmin Short Movies.

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Nintendo, of course, is currently making its first big-screen adaptation in decades, the animated Super Mario Bros. movie, recently delayed into 2023. While there are no public details suggesting Dynamo has been involved with Illumination Entertainment’s production, the timing of the purchase is certainly interesting.

The deal is a complete buy-out, intended to complete by October 3, Nintendo says it’s purchasing “100 percent of the outstanding shares” so Dynamo becomes “a wholly owned subsidiary to strengthen the planning and production of visual content in the Nintendo group.” The company also, rather coldly adds, “The Acquisition will have only a minor effect on Nintendo’s results for this fiscal year.” Poor Dynamo, I’m sure it’s a big deal for its fiscal year.

A screenshot from Mario Maker, with a human hand holding a stylus over the platforming screen.
A screenshot from Mario Maker, with a human hand holding a stylus over the platforming screen.

It’s worth noting that Nintendo told Fast Company last year that it was considering further animated content following the still-untitled Mario movie, then a month later added Illumination’s Chris Meledandri to its board of directors.

Now, of course, this could purely be a way to bring the production and motion capture of Nintendo games’ introduction animations, cutscenes, and promotional material, in-house. (We have reached out to Nintendo to ask.) But it’s tempting to hope it could be part of greater ambition for cinematic releases, maybe even some TV shows based on the company’s extraordinary range of characters.

Because, and I’ve checked, there’s never been a Metroid anime. Which is crazy-go-bonkers, right? (Adi Shankar certainly thinks so. And Dynamo did some post-production work on Other M.) Nor is there an animated series based on the misadventures of Superstar Saga’s Fawful, which is the universe’s greatest oversight.

Perhaps now this can be put right. Right, Nintendo?

Update: 7/14/22, 1:54 p.m. ET: Nintendo tells Kotaku that “Dynamo Pictures will be producing CG video content based on Nintendo IP, but we have nothing to announce at this point on what exactly they will be involved in.”


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