After this week’s Nintendo E3 Digital Event, we pretty much know what Nintendo releases to expect in the coming months. We also know what’s not going to be released any time soon, and this has got me thinking about the different Nintendo game franchises that have yet to appear on both the 3DS and the Wii U. I’d like to talk about five of Nintendo‘s intellectual properties (IPs) that I think deserve to be revisited in this generation. Note that the Nintendo 3DS my primary and only game console, so I mainly have the 3DS in mind when I thought about possible game releases for these franchises but I’ll try to provide some Wii U applications as well.
Before I get into the IPs though, let me say this – the Digital Event for this year’s E3 was poorly received. Based on the comments that I’ve read, people were mainly disappointed because there weren’t any interesting new games announced. What we saw were upcoming games that we already already knew about (because they were already announced in the past or were leaked to the publish) or games for franchises that I think are getting a little over-exposed (not a lot were excited about The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, for example). I think the Nintendo fans are getting a little tired of Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon games and just need to see new games from other Nintendo brands. So let’s get started…
Last US Title released: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn on the Nintendo DS
Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age were two of the best RPGs to come out on the Game Boy Advance, utilizing Psynergy effects in both battles and in the outside environment. The last time we saw a Golden Sun game was with the release of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn on the Nintendo DS which wasn’t as well received as the first two games in the series.
A relaunch of the franchise on the Nintendo 3DS would add to the console’s excellent library of RPGs, and I’m curious to see how Nintendo would incorporate the 3D effects with the franchise’s signature Psynergy powers in the same way that 3D is used in Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Super Mario 3D Land. Add the touchscreen functionality of the device to the mix and you can come up with a lot of new gameplay mechanics for using those Psynergy powers. A Golden Sun game designed for the Wii U is also not out of the question; the Gamepad can definitely offer interesting control mechanics for utilizing Psynergy powers.
Last US Title released: F-Zero: GP Legend on the Game Boy Advance
There are two Nintendo franchises to go to for if you have the “need for speed” – Mario Kart for a fun, chaotic experience, and F-Zero for a more serious take on racing. Unlike Mario Kart, where the game isn’t just about being fast but also involves strategic use of items and power ups, F-Zero is strictly a racing game.
The last F-Zero game released in North America is F-Zero: GP Legend, which was released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance. Believe it or not it’s been more than a decade since we’ve seen an F-Zero game, which is surprising because Captain Falcon (F-Zero‘s main character) seems popular enough to deserve inclusion in the last four Super Smash Bros. editions.
F-Zero on the Nintendo 3DS would give owners another racing game to go to that can also incorporate aspects not seen in Mario Kart such as the ability to create and share custom tracks. I’d like to see an F-Zero title on the Nintendo 3DS just to see how far the hardware can go, but a Wii U version is also interesting especially when you consider how positively Mario Kart 8 was received.
Advance Wars/Nintendo Wars
Last US Title released: Advance Wars: Dual Strike on the Nintendo DS
There were several games of the Nintendo Wars franchise released in Japan since 1988, appearing on the original Gameboy, the Famicom, and the Super Famicom, but the rest of the world didn’t know about the series until 2001 when Advance Wars was released on the Game Boy Advance. The success of Advance Wars paved the way for five more Wars games released internationally, with the handheld games retaining the Advance Wars brand despite two of them being released on the Nintendo DS.
The success of Fire Emblem Awakening makes me think that there is a viable market for turn-based strategy games, and the Advance/Nintendo Wars franchise is similar enough to please the Fire Emblem crowd but different enough to warrant having both games in one’s collection. One of the shortcomings of Fire Emblem Awakening is the lack of online and local competitive multiplayer modes which should easily be implemented in an Advance Wars title, especially since Advance Wars games utilize generic units rather than named characters.
I think a Nintendo Wars game would be perfect for the Wii U. Competitive modes in turn-based strategy games don’t play out well on consoles because the competing players can see the opponent’s moves and army status but if a Wars game is developed for the Wii U, Nintendo can make use of the GamePad. Imagine playing against another person with the battleground shown on the TV covered in fog of war. Each GamePad screen would show only that player’s units/army, and the touchscreen would allow both players to make moves via a point-and-click control scheme. Sounds like a viable idea, right?
Last NA Title released: Punch-Out!! on the Nintendo Wii
The original Punch-Out!! on the Nintendo Entertainment System was one of the most-beloved games of my generation. Since the release of the Super NES edition of this game (Super Punch-Out!!), the IP didn’t see another game until the Nintendo Wii‘s motion controlled version of Punch-Out!! was released.
Little Mac‘s inclusion in the latest edition of Super Smash Bros. has been well-received, and that reception makes me think that there are enough people out there who would want to see Nintendo‘s resident boxer star in another game. What I’m really excited about though is how a Punch-Out!! game could maximize the capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS.
Imagine Punch-Out!! implemented using both traditional controls and the touch screen and gyroscope functions as well. You can use touch screen for punching – the way you swipe on the touch screen would determine the kind of punch thrown. Tilting your Nintendo 3DS unit to the left or right would result in your character dodging to the side. A Nintendo 3DS release can also have a two player competitive mode where players can box against each other – something that wasn’t available until the Nintendo Wii version. This mode would work on the Wii U as well – the TV screen would show a wide view of the boxing match, while each GamePad would show the game from that player’s boxer’s perspective.
Last NA Title released: Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem on the Nintendo Gamecube
Once upon a time, Nintendo published an M rated survival horror game called Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. That’s right – an M rated Nintendo game. Definitely one of the best games ever released on the Nintendo Gamecube, Eternal Darkness featured a world in which evil entities called Ancients conspired against each other in a plot to take over the world – a plot that spanned centuries to complete.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem featured a lot of cool mechanics, but the Sanity effects were the most notable to me. In the game, you have a sanity meter that depletes whenever your character experiences something frightening. As the sanity meter gets low creepy events start to happen, some of which even break the fourth wall.
Right now, the public perception of Nintendo is that they make kid’s games. Publishing an M rated survival horror game can help break that opinion and maybe win back some of the hardcore gaming crowd. Why create a new IP when there’s a successful one already available? As far as I know, Nintendo still holds the rights for the Eternal Darkness name so they can still develop/publish games for this IP.
Last US Title released: Metroid: Other M on the Nintendo Wii
Okay, I said I was going to talk about five IPs, but I had to put Metroid on this list even though they announced Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Why? Because Metroid Prime: Federation Force isn’t a full-fledged Metroid game. It’s just a spin-off game with the Metroid brand, much like Link’s Crossbow Training isn’t a true The Lgend of Zelda game.
Metroid is the most popular Nintendo franchise that has yet to appear on either the Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS, and I was actually expecting a Metroid title in the works simply because it’s already been more than four years since we last saw a Metroid title. And again, and I’m not alone in this – Metroid Prime: Federation Force can’t really be considered as a full-fledged Metroid game.
I’m actually very shocked that Metroid has yet to make an appearance in this generation of video game consoles because Nintendo has a lot of viable options for developing a Metroid game. We’ve seen a Metroid game succeed as an action platformer game in the past (e.g. Metroid, Super Metroid) and we’ve also seen a Metroid game succeed as first person shooters (e.g. the Metroid Prime games). Nintendo can easily release a Metroid game in either form and I’m sure people will flock to it as they have when it comes to Mario and Zelda games.
And it’s not like there isn’t a void for a Metroid game. The Nintendo 3DS has already seen excellent action platformer games, but has yet to see an excellent “Metroidvania” game (no Metroid and Castlevania is no longer what it was). We’ve already seen a handheld first person shooter work with Metroid Prime Hunters, and the release of the New Nintendo 3DS provides even more gameplay options.
Samus is the only top tier Nintendo character who doesn’t have her own game in this generation, so she’s due for an appearance soon – in a full-fledged Metroid game. Personally, I think it’s a shame – Samus is one of the few female video game protagonists available. There’s a need for a Metroid game, Nintendo – heck, an announcement for a remastered edition of Super Metroid for the Nintendo 3DS would surely make some people out there lose their minds.
And there you have it folks – my personal list of IPs that I want to see again. What do you think? Did I miss out on your favorite franchise? Do you disagree with anything that I said? Let me know – feel free to drop me a line!