These three articles – 3DS and Vita: Past, Present and Future, How does Wii U fit in my wallet? and Nintendo series reborn – were originally written as entries for the Blog of the Week competition at IGN. The first two won the prize and I think the third is pretty good, too. I hope you enjoy!
This article was originally posted on IGN on April 3, 2012.
Nintendo has a vast repertoire of franchises just waiting to reappear. In particular, we spent a whole generation without any F-Zero or EarthBound title. Other series, despite not having the powerful presence Mario and Zelda had, did show their faces. Let’s talk about each of them:
Star Fox had Star Fox Command on the Nintendo DS, which didn’t exactly revolutionize the series and was soon forgotten. More recently, the fan-favorite Star Fox 64 was remade in 3D. With a fresh multiplayer mode, it was a success within the series’ fanbase, but didn’t offer enough new content to be worth much attention. Along with the critical success of Retro’s Metroid Prime trilogy, the Metroid series tried – with mixed results – to return to its roots in Metroid: Other M. It also ventured into the shooter and pinball genres, and while Metroid Prime Hunters and Metroid Prime Pinball were decent games, they were not what the average Metroid fan was after. The New Play Control! series offered Pikmin and Pikmin 2 (in Europe and Japan, at least) once again with pointer controls. The games were fun to revisit, but just that. Nothing new. Retro impressed us again with Donkey Kong Country Returns, which was a fresh take on the classic SNES trilogy and could easily be considered one of the best sidescrollers of this generation. Kirby was always around with his fair dose of games, both traditional and experimental.
Out of those, I think that Donkey Kong and Kirby definitely don’t need a revive. With six games on DS or Wii, Kirby is healthy, providing a great balance between classic (Squeak Squad, Super Star Ultra, Return to Dreamland) and “different” games (Canvas Curse, Mass Attack, Epic Yarn), and there doesn’t seem to be any reason why that wouldn’t continue on to 3DS and Wii U. And Donkey Kong had a game really close to masterpiece status. Even if Retro is now working on a different series, I’m certain another Nintendo studio could build upon that success.
Metroid is a special case: As a franchise that branched into so many sub-series, it faces three possible routes to take: A new installment to the Prime games on Wii U, a third-person adventure which would hopefully learn from Other M‘s mistakes or a sidescroller for the 3DS following the traditional games, like Super Metroid or Zero Mission. As a long-time Metroid fan, I’d love to see the latter. But I also see why people would prefer the former, and the option in the middle may be Sakamoto’s chance to redeem himself with the fans.
If it’s true that Retro Studios is developing the next Star Fox game for Wii U, we can all sleepy peacefully tonight. Judging by the team’s track record, I’d say a game made by them can’t possibly be bad. They’ll give us what we want, even if we don’t know we want it. If the rumors are false, though, I believe the Star Fox 64 remake is an indication of some sort to a new game. It’s not uncommon for Nintendo to remake or re-release past titles of a series in order to build hype for a new game.
Pikmin 3 is confirmed! … Kinda. It has actually been confirmed since 2007, but, so far, we have seen absolutely nothing from it. Miyamoto says its development shifted from Wii to Wii U, so there’s a chance we’ll still see it this year. The possibilities of a new game for this series makes me really excited for it, whenever it does show up.
F-Zero… The good news for insane-speed-sci-fi-racing games is that F-Zero: Maximum Velocity is an Ambassador title on the 3DS. That certainly shows that someone at Nintendo other than Sakurai remembers our loved Captain Falcon’s existence. And it may also be a tease, giving us a taste of a series not that many Nintendo fans have experienced. The time is perfect for a game like F-Zero GX to show up on Wii U, blow our minds away and show Wipeout HD who’s boss.
Finally, there’s the tricky situation of EarthBound (a.k.a. Mother). A series with three games in Japan of which only the second one was localized for western audiences. As great of a game EarthBound was, another entry in the series coming to western shores seems less and less likely. Shoving Mother 4/EarthBound 2 to an audience mostly unfamiliar with the name doesn’t seem like a good strategy. Perhaps the three games should be released on Virtual Console (or on EarthBound 3D/HD Collection), but there are a series of reasons why that isn’t simple, either. Sad, but true.
I really can’t choose one of those series for a new game. I’d love to have all (or at least most) of them on my Wii U or 3DS and – with the unfortunate exception of EarthBound – that doesn’t seem very unlikely.