Things are changing at Nintendo. Although the company has essentially given up on 2016, outside of Pokemon, behind-the-scenes moves suggest the House of Mario is preparing for a big comeback in 2017.Here’s another clue that’s especially interesting for people who create games, not just people who play them. Nintendo is making its development program much friendlier for independent developers.Nintendo has merged its development programs into one global system. The new streamlined portal makes it much simpler for anyone anywhere in the world to get a Nintendo Developer ID and start making and publishing games “regardless of your level of experience in game development.” The story mentions the new portal also allows Japanese indie devs to to join the service, which makes sense considering Nintendo is a Japanese company.Nintendo has always had a tense relationship with developers that aren’t Nintendo. After a glut of garbage games, climaxing with E.T. Nintendo wanted to make sure only the best games appeared on the NES. However, the Nintendo Seal of Quality placed harsh restrictions on the kinds of games third parties could make and how many games they could release. Companies such as Konami had to resort to creating shell companies like Ultra Games to publish more NES games. Meanwhile, Tengen Tetris didn’t even bother seeking Nintendo’s approval and launched anyway in an unofficial black cartridge.Since the NES was so dominant, third parties had no choice but to put up with Nintendo’s draconian quirks. However, the friction remained across later hardware generations, and now third parties have friendlier companies like Sony and Microsoft to flock to. Nintendo’s first-party games are excellent enough to make the consoles worth buying all by themselves, but it sure would be nice to play Doom or Overwatch on my Wii U in-between Splatoon and Super Smash Bros.Hopefully this accessible new development portal is just one part of Nintendo’s larger plan to get back on top. After all, courting indie devs is essential for success as games like No Man’s Sky and We Happy Few become some of the most anticipated games of the year.Other recent Nintendo changes hint that an even bigger shift is happening. Nintendo is making mobile apps along with unified user accounts. The company merged its handheld and console divisions. And, of course, there’s a new Nintendo console releasing next March along with a promising and radical new Legend of Zelda.I love Nintendo, and I hope that its commitment to crafting creative, innovative, and immensely enjoyable games never changes. But the company is far from perfect, so here’s hoping the NX kicks off an all-new, all-different, even better Nintendo.