While the Game Boy brand has been with Nintendo since 1989, it has been mostly dormant since the release of the DS in 2004. However, it seems that wasn’t always the plan. In an interview with Retro Gamer, Satoru Okada talked about his 41 years working for the Nintendo and his involvement with the Game Boy line. According to the former manager, they were originally working on a direct successor to the Game Boy Advance back in 2003. Dubbed IRIS, the console would have been the fifth generation of the Game Boy. However, it seems plans shifted when Yamauchi came to them with the idea for a two screen handheld. While initially disliked by both Okada and his colleague Satoru Iwata, this concept would go on to replace the Game Boy line altogether. Check out a few segments from the interview here.
“Actually, after the SP, we were working on the newest model in this range. The code name for this new Game Boy was IRIS, like the flower. The explanation for this name is simple: since it was for us the fifth generation of Game Boy, we chose the symbol of May (the fifth month of the year). In the Hanafuda playing cards, the month of May is symbolized by the iris. The project was moving forward at a good pace but during the development, something at unexpected happened. President Iwata then came to see me. He was obviously bothered and he said: ‘l talked to Yamauchi-san over the phone and he thinks your console should have two screens… A bit like the multi-screen Game & Watch, you see?’ Everybody is aware of this, but what people do not know is that at the time, everybody hated this idea, even Iwata himself. We thought it did not make any sense.”