18 months ago Nintendo and Universal announced that they were working on theme park attractions based on Nintendo games. Today they released a video basically just to remind us, I guess? The short clip below doesn’t really contain any new news, despite quick interview blurts with Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto and Mark Woodbury of Universal Creative, and doesn’t even hint at any specific attractions or a target opening window. They emphasize that the two companies are working together to “create an entire Nintendo world,” as Woodbury says, which should placate any Nintendo fan worried that this was going to be a quick and cheap overlay on existing attractions. (If Universal is eyeing something as impressive as their Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which they should be, Nintendo fans—and lovers of theme parks in general—could be in for something amazing.)
Woodbury also indicates that Nintendo will wind up in at least three of Universal’s four resorts, specifically mentioning Orlando, Hollywood and Osaka. Beyond that, this video mostly just serves to, again, remind us that this is happening, and also to reiterate that Nintendo is collaborating on Universal with whatever is being cooked up. It does give us a glimpse at some nice-looking physical props from the world of Super Mario; whether these Mushroom Kingdom recreations are mock-ups for a themed environment, potential props for a Mario ride, or just stuff Nintendo has laying around from decades of trade show booths is unclear. It does reinforce the obvious, that Mario will be a heavy presence in whatever the two create; news reports out of Japan earlier this year indicated that the Nintendo area in Universal Studios Japan would be entirely based on Mario, with no Zelda, Metroid or Pokémon, which would be surprising, but at least ensure thematic unity throughout the area. Those same Japanese news reports said that the Osaka expansion would open in 2020, which, if that holds out, would basically guarantee that Nintendo’s first theme park experience will open in Japan before America—which is as it should be. As any videogame fan knows, localization takes time.