Nintendo Software Planning & Development
Nintendo Software Planning & Development, often shortened to Nintendo SPD, was a division of Nintendo that focused on research, planning, and development. Shinya Takahashi was the deputy general manager of Nintendo SPD. The division itself was divided into four groups, labeled Group No.1, Group No.2, Group No.3, and Group No.4. Nintendo SPD was created shortly after Nintendo dissolved two of its other teams, Nintendo R&D1 and Nintendo R&D2. Several former staff members from R&D1, R&D2, and Nintendo EAD made up a large amount of the division's members, though there were many newcomers to the group. Nintendo SPD performed many tasks; it either worked independently on small, oftentimes unique, games, helped the development of a game alongside another team, or managed the production of first-party franchises. The division was primarily created to focus on co-productions and thus allow EAD's management to focus on internal projects.
On September 14, 2015, Nintendo announced plans to merge the game development arm of SPD and Nintendo EAD into a new division known as Nintendo Entertainment Planning and Development, effective September 16, 2015.
Mario games made by Nintendo SPD
Led by Yoshio Sakamoto and Katsuya Yamano, Group No.1 was responsible for developing most of the titles for the WarioWare series and all of the titles for the Rhythm Heaven series. Members of the team also created the Mii editor for the Wii.
Managed by Kensuke Tanabe, Group No.3 has developed quite a few of the Mario spinoff series, including the Mario Strikers, the Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and the Paper Mario series. Its main purpose is to assist the development of coproductions with western developers.
Led by Hiroshi Sato, Group No.4 worked on some of the later games in certain Mario franchises, including Mario Party, DK, Mario & Luigi, and most Mario sports-themed games. The group has another development team, led by Toshiharu Izuno.