After the success of the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo released the DS, a system that went on to become one of the company's greatest success stories. However, Nintendo almost went a different route, with a handheld that went by the codename "Iris." In a new batch of leaked materials, never before disclosed details about the hardware have been revealed. Twitter user @WaluigiBSOD has gone over the leaked material, sharing some of the more interesting elements. From the looks of the leaked documents, the handheld would have had abilities similar to the Nintendo DS, but without the system's unique, dual screen mechanic.
In today's #NintendoLeak there is also stuff for IRIS, a cancelled Game Boy Advance SP successor.
There is also a manual in Japanese for it (irisSDK\man\ja_JP\) and it looks like an enhanced Game Boy Advance (primordial Nintendo DS).
Some excerpts from the internal documents: pic.twitter.com/8P8RnMB96O— WaluigiBSOD (@WaluigiBSOD) September 30, 2020
The leaked materials say a lot about why Nintendo decided to go in a different direction. Not only would Iris have not featured a second screen, it also appears that it wouldn't have included anything else that truly made the DS hardware so unique. Of course, it's entirely possible that the Iris could have been planned alongside the DS. When the DS was first announced, Nintendo talked about it as a "third pillar," alongside the Game Boy Advance and GameCube. It was not initially pitched as a replacement handheld, despite the fact that it could play GBA games. Nintendo DS was released in 2004, and the material posted by @WaluigiBSOD has a copyright year of 2003/2004. As such, this could have actually represented a back-up plan on Nintendo's part, had the DS failed.
A lot of Nintendo's hesitation to bill the system as a replacement for the Game Boy line likely boiled down to its unique concept. While gamers and developers learned to embrace the DS' abilities, it was easily the boldest system that Nintendo had ever released. Nintendo's concept paid off, and the DS went on to become the second best-selling video game system of all-time. If the system had failed, however, Nintendo might have needed a back-up plan.
What do you think of the latest Nintendo leak? Were you a fan of the Nintendo DS? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!