On the third floor of Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters, next to the conference rooms named after Mario and Donkey Kong, there’s a door that you can’t open. There’s no boss key or warp pipe here—unless you’re one of the handful of people with a high-security keycard, you’re not getting in.
[This article was originally published on September 3, 2013.]
If you were to somehow break the seal, you might uncover a treasure trove of Nintendo secrets—scripts and code belonging to unannounced games from the most iconic video game franchises in the world. Maybe you’d stumble upon the Wii U version of Zelda, unfinished and unpolished. Maybe you’d find some hardware revision that hasn’t been unveiled yet. You'd probably run into one of the talented writers responsible for many of Nintendo’s most memorable moments.
This is the Treehouse—the division of Nintendo responsible for shepherding the company’s games from Japan to North American shores. Composed of some 80 people across several different branches, the Treehouse team translates text from Japanese to English, compiles videos, puts together marketing plans, and works to ensure that the company’s games are as polished as fans expect them to be.