Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé has revealed that Kanye West once approached the video game company, with plans to collaborate on a game. Speaking on a charity podcast, Talking Games with Reggie & Harold, Fils-Aimé says that the rapper and Yeezy designer approached him at the gaming convention E3, via the Mario designer Shigeru Miyamoto.
“Part of it was talking about what he was up to. He was experimenting with a piece of video game content. He wanted reactions to it. He comes out and says: ‘I want to work with Nintendo.’”
A Nintendo collaboration wouldn’t have been Kanye West’s first foray into the world of video games, either. In 2016, he released a trailer for Only One, a video game in which the player guides his mother, Donda West, through the afterlife. Unfortunately, the project appeared to peter out, with developers Encyclopedia Pictura claiming that they’d parted ways with West.
The encounter at E3 apparently led to a formal meeting between West and Nintendo. However, the company ended up declining the offer to collaborate, claiming it had too many other commitments.
Fils-Aimé explains that it fell to him to break the news to Kanye and Kim Kardashian, who was also present. “We had so many different projects at Nintendo going on, the possibility of doing something with Kanye just wasn’t there,” he says. “And so I had to find a way to politely decline this opportunity to work with him.”
“I told him, ‘Kanye, you don’t want to work with us because we’re tough, we’re hard. All we do is push for the very best content. We would not be the type of partner you would want to work with’,” Fils-Aimé continues. “And he looks at me and says, ‘Reggie, you’re exactly the type of partner I want because of that reason!’ It’s like, ‘Oh my gosh’.”
Of course, Kanye West has stayed busy since being turned down by Nintendo, albeit choosing a slightly different route (religious operas, Jesus Is King, and an ill-fated presidential campaign). For Christmas, his Sunday Service choir also dropped a new, surprise EP, titled Emmanuel. Listen below.