The news that Intellivision was making a console sounded shrouded in industry mystery at the end of May, but president Tommy Tallarico is more than willing to shed light on what's up his company's sleeve. Today, Tallarico revealed a multitude of details about the upcoming Intellivision console, including ballparks for pricing and the kinds of games it will play.
Speaking to n3rdabl3 via podcast, Tallarico said that Intellivision's upcoming console (which does not have an officially announced name yet) will feature all new games, all of which will be exclusives
"We are paying people, very talented people," Tallarico said. "We have big publishers, huge publishers, mid-size publishers, we've got big developers, we've got small developers, medium developers, and if there's a concept that they bring to us, then we're going to take all of the risk away from them, financial risk as well, and we'll front-load all of the royalties."
Tallarico's goal is for a console with a smaller amount of games total, but a higher level of quality. "We would rather have 20 epic games as opposed to 50 mediocre games," he said. Referencing review scores, Tallarico continued that a game on the Intellivision console "has to be at least a 7/10."
Along with high quality games, Tallarico says the team behind the new Intellivision console wants the machine to be accessible to those who don't normally play video games, both in cost and in usability. It will not be crowdfunded, and will be far cheaper than the big three consoles; that is, "way under $200." He later indicated it would be a bit more specifically that it would be less than $179.
The console will come with two wireless, bluetooth controllers, an SD card slot, HDMI output, and a USB slot for "add-ins," and will be able to connect to WiFi for the online store as well as online leaderboards for games.
Those games, too, will be cheap; between $3 and $7. Though Tallarico didn't say outright what kinds of exclusives the console would have, he gave a bit of a hint later that at least some would be enhanced versions of Atari classics. As he put it, "Imagine being able to play Pitfall 40 years later with completely amazing photorealistic graphics, incredible movie sounds. We're not going to mess with the thing that made the game super popular."
Pitfall-style games would make sense based on Tallarico's continued emphasis on the console's simplicity and family friendliness. The console will have no 3D games, he said, because Intellivision wasn't "trying to build the next Breath of the Wild." Referencing games like Wii Sports and Tetris, Tallarico emphasized a desire to appeal to non-gamers, or those who stopped gaming years ago and are now vexed by what their children are playing. In particular, he focused on a simple controller design, saying that "non-gamers are turned off because now the controller has too many buttons" in reference to analog sticks and shoulder buttons.
In response, Tallarico says Intellivision is bringing back the control disc, which was the directional pad on the original Intellivision controllers that sat below a 12-button numeric keypad. He says that Intellivision is working out the problems with the original disc controller for a more accessible experience:
"The controller itself, we're bringing back the disc," Tallarico said. "The Intellivision disc was really cool in that it's very easy, it's flat and it's simple. Where the old Intellivision disc sucked is that, it wasn't the disc itself, but it was actually the ridge, the hard raised ridge around it. So when you played Intellivision games for a long time, it was your thumb and your nail that went into that hard ridge and so after you've played after a while, it started to hurt.
"So we're going to get rid of that ridge, right? So we're bringing across the disc which is very simple. So you can hand your mom or grandparent a control with a disc on it, and it's like a mouse, when you move it around you see something on screen move around. Same thing with the disc, you give somebody a flat, round disc and they can push down and the thing goes down, you push up and it goes up, you can't get more simple than that."
More details about the Intellivision console are still to come on October 1, 2018, but Tallarico urged not to expect a release date. Though he says that the company has one in mind, that release date is "not this Christmas and not next Christmas."