Club Nintendo

So has the long arm of the Nintendo constabulary shrunk in recent years? Or are the rumors true that with the rise of the Wii, the Mii and the lucrative genre of so-called "non-games" - things such as Brain Training - Nintendo's valued characters just aren't so valuable anymore? The big bang that is Super Mario Galaxy would suggest otherwise, and if you ask Kuju, the latest of Nintendo's western collaborators, they might too. Now on to the second game in their Advance Wars spin-off series Battalion Wars, Kuju's London studio scored big when they adopted Intelligent Design's turn-based classic seemingly out of the blue. And in interviews they've described a relationship with Nintendo that covers familiar ground, with long-distance conference calls and week-long quarterly visits from producers and executives, but also with a surprisingly relaxed element to it.

Perhaps Nintendo has finally decided to let the chips fall as they may and put greater trust in the talent. Or perhaps they just make heavier tables these days.