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Nintendo's president says it's important to respect fan memories when creating more content for Nintendo's characters

Characters and memories to last a lifetime

Nintendo has a lot of characters under their umbrella, but sometimes it can be a long wait to get the next mainline installment for each franchise. You might get a Mario sports or party title here and there, but when it comes to Mario's next big adventure, you usually have to wait years.

Some think Nintendo should work quicker to get these games out, and use their IP more overall. In an interview with Nikkei, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa says that it's not just a matter of cranking more games out. Nintendo works hard to make sure they not only respect the brands, but also the memories fans have of those characters. You can see the translation of Furukawa's statements below, courtesy of NintendoEverything.

We must keep in mind that the origins of the characters are in the games. These are characters that fans have grown attached to through countless hours of playtime. We must develop those characters in a way that won’t destroy fans’ memories of the characters in their worlds. We always proceed with caution as to not damage the value of the brand.

If we want to increase sales in the short term, there are other ways to do so. It’s more a question of what we can do to keep Nintendo a beloved brand in the long run. That’s the debate we often have internally, and something I think carefully about as I make decisions. There’s always a risk of destroying the Nintendo brand, which we spent over 30 years building.

Categories: Top Stories, Interviews

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Top Rated Comment
tlk777
Sun Feb 28 21 02:18am
Rating: 12

And yet they have no problem destroying paper mario

Ah the Star Wars dilemma. How to proceed forward but retain the feeling of the romanticized past.

I suppose this mentality is why Daisy, Wario or Waluigi don't appear on the mainline Mario games.

Star Wars was the exact thing I was thinking of while reading this story.

Star Wars was what I was thinking as well... with Disney having thoroughly bastardized the franchise, the pre-Disney past is the only part I can enjoy... and the future? It all ends with Lies of Skywalker... how can I enjoy anything knowing every path leads to that?

My feelings exactly. Even if some of these upcoming Star Wars shows and movies seem good, I'd have a hard time caring because of where it all ends up.

"There’s always a risk of destroying the Nintendo brand, which we spent over 30 years building."

That last bit must surely be a typo or mistranslation, because even if Furukawa was talking about the gaming side, they've been in that industry for 40+ years. Nintendo are over 130 years old.

Maybe it's how long he's been with the company. Or it's how long Nintendo has been primarily a video game company when they released the NES.

Nintendo has been doing videogames for over 40 years. If we include their arcade titles, then it goes back nearly 50 years.

tlk777
Sun Feb 28 21 02:18am
Rating: 12

And yet they have no problem destroying paper mario

The latest entry in the series being the best selling shows how wrong you are.

It's a better game than the few before it but not the first two. Sticker star gives me nightmares to this day.

By that logic, gatcha games are the pinnacle of quality.

Sun Feb 28 21 11:43am
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

No, because anyone with logic would know the difference between a best-selling video game and the revenue generated from a free-to-play gotcha game.

I have some apples you can compare to oranges when you have a free moment.

Awfully stand-offish for someone claiming Origami King wasn't viewed by fans as a mistreatment to the Paper Mario franchise by using sales as his argument. I've had similar discussions with others over the Ratchet and Clank reboot or the Nu-Star Wars films and the sales argument is never a good one.

tlk777
Sun Feb 28 21 03:53pm
Rating: 1

Ever heard of the switch effect? The switch has already sold nearly 4 times the amount of consoles the gamecube ever sold. Origami king has sold more copies, yes, but that does not make it a better game. Every game on switch with a few exceptions is the best seller of the franchise. That doesn't make them the best games

Yeah you’re right. Breath of Wild, Mario Kart 8, Animal Crossing New Horizons, Smash Bros. Ultimate only sold well because the Switch install base is large. Pesky Switch and its large list of multi million selling bad games.

/s

tlk777
Sun Feb 28 21 04:15pm
Rating: 1

1.37 / 32.93 = 0.04 N64
1.91 / 21.74 = 0.09 GCN
4.23 / 101.63 = 0.04 Wii
2.47 / 75.94 = 0.03 3DS
0.87 /13.56 = 0.06 Wii U
3.05 / 79.87 = 0.04 Switch

On left, game sales. On right, console sales. As you can see, TTYD has the best attach rate of the series. Of course "best" is subjective, but clearly TTYD is the most popular of the series, doubling most of the other entries

YAH we’re both right and using the same data to support our argument!

tlk777
Sun Feb 28 21 04:49pm
Rating: 2

I think we can both agree that if the Gamecube had sold 80 million units instead of 22 that TTYD would have outsold origami king. In fact, I bet a TTYD remake for 60 dollars on the switch would outsell it too, even without any new content

To use attach rate across generations as some kind of indication of anything, much less the completely subjective idea of a given game's quality, you'd have to assume the makeup of the install base is more or less exactly the same each generation, which is highly unlikely.

Well there is respecting franchises and then just plain ignoring then for years and years while fans want them! F-Zero, Star Fox and Kid Icarus I'm looking at you!

F-Zero is because Miyamoto can't figure out what to make when Mario Kart 8 has specifically taken F-Zero's role with the anti-gravity and 200cc additions to 8. F-Zero needs a reboot/gimmick to separate from Mario Kart 8.

Star Fox has been long tarred by the derailing of the franchise from Star Fox Adventures onward. Nintendo has tried remaking Star Fox 64 and rebooting Star Fox 64 only to fail to revive the series (the latter only failed because Wii U and hardcore gamers refuse to leave comfort zones). Ubisoft's use of Star Fox couldn't even do anything. Star Fox is pretty much dead. Maybe in 30 years Nintendo can try again to reboot the series (Nintendo will just re-release Star Fox 1, 2, and 64 over-and-over in the meanwhile).

Kid Icarus is mainly because nobody is available and if anyone was available, nobody made a successful pitch for a new Kid Icarus game. Sakurai did temporarily revive the KI franchise, but he doesn't want to return to this franchise. Uprising did have good sales, but it had heavy criticism about the controls and Nintendo might feel re-releasing Uprising on a newer platform with better controls and better multiplayer balance won't be the answer to revive interest in Kid Icarus.

All other minor IPs are IPs that only met expectations, or fell short. Some of Nintendo's new IPs from the 3DS era are missing-in-action for Switch. Mallo and Pushmo haven't been seen since Wii U/3DS. Sakura Samurai hasn't had a new game since 3DS. There are numerous other examples.

If nobody buys these minor titles, then Nintendo has no choice but to make Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda, and Smash Bros. games (with receiving the occasional Pokemon game from The Pokemon Company). Yes that means buying games you don't want like Paper Mario: Origami King and Star Fox Zero (Wii U).

By not buying minor games and games that change the formula or have non-traditional controls, you see Nintendo in a 3rd party production role they're doing now (after all, people always wished Nintendo go 3rd party and now we're seeing them in a 3rd party production frenzy with few games outside Nintendo's primary AAA ones).

I love Star Fox Zero. Sad It was neglected by many people who did not even give It a chance. But Nintendo should rework the controls and add a few more levels to see how It would sell on Switch.

As for F-Zero, Nintendo seems to be happy with sticking to their biggest selling racing game: Mario Kart. That leaves F-Zero, Wave Race, ExciteBike/Trucks and 1080 out. Again, very Sad because those are Very Fun and different from Mario Kart.

I hope Samus Returns sold well enough, despite releasing Very late in the 3DS lifesapan when the Switch was already out. I honestly prefer the mainline Metroid games, so here's hoping to see more of them. And I am looking forward to Metroid Prime 4.

(the latter only failed because Wii U and hardcore gamers refuse to leave comfort zones)

People not even trying it and calling the controls crap just shows how bratty some fans are. Entitled even! I mean, they praise Nintendo for innovation but when Nintendo innovates and tests new waters that's bad because they didn't innovate as the fans wanted to Smile

I think SF0's control were great. Truly shows the game was built around it. Which means a Switch port would be too much work, so I'd rather they make a new game for it built from scratch. Make it have HD rumble and use good too. GAmes like these are perfect for it.

And what of Metroid, Mr. Furukawa?

enthropy
Sun Feb 28 21 07:30am
Rating: 1

Last I heard Metroid Prime is in the works...

ngamer01
Sun Feb 28 21 08:56am
(Updated 1 time)

Nintendo got the memo after the failures of Other M and Federation Force. Samus Returns reset 2D Metroid back to what it was and now we're waiting to see how Prime 4 will do for 3D Metroid whenever it releases.

I believe Samus Returns doubled down on Other M and not many people seemed to notice.

Let me put it like this: Samus Returns is what Other M should have been in the first place.

Samus Returns pretty much fixes most of the issues from Other M. Granted there was already a base present by using Return of Samus as the template, so the developers didn't have to do everything from scratch, but still be free to add extra content.

For example:

Spoiler

The Gravity Suit in Other M was done the way it was because 'it didn't look serious enough for the cutscenes.' I'm paraphrasing mind you, but it was baffling then as it is today. Now my counter-point would be 'you aren't taking the series seriously if you aren't being faithful to it' among others. So what you're saying isn't really a fix. I think that the way Sakamoto is lining things up story-wise is what doubles down on Other M. But additionally, it doesn't fix issues with level design, music, storytelling and really sort of re-translates what he wanted to do combat-wise in Other M to Samus Returns, which is still overpowered and boring (kinda like how Hyper Mode was in Prime 3). Making everything hit you like a truck doesn't make the game more interesting.

I think MP4 is in good hands. If Ninty wouldn't care for the game, or the IP, they would just have let the other development team go on with and let it be whatever. They saw hoe development didn't fit their standards and gave it to Retro. But for some people it's gonna be a shit game anyway it seems.

The damage was already done.

To what? The Metroid IP in general because of OM and FF, or to MP4 because of they changing dev teams?

In any case you can be negative about it as much as you want. That's up to you =) That way you might get a great surprise when MP4 comes along... If you are willing to play it at all. I'll be keeping an eye on it for sure.

Never played FF and never really cared for it, but I did play Other M and, even if it had some odd decisions in design, I really liked the game. A bit of an odd control scheme to start with, but as an old school gamer I got used to it fast. But the game had a great setting and atmosphere. But that's me =)

Yeah, to the IP. All goodwill was burnt to the ground with the series with Other M. Federation Force was merely the salting of the earth. Retro Studios earned the goodwill for itself and the series, Sakamoto took the series goodwill that he didn't earn and essentially eliminated it. It will never be at the place it was after Prime 3 because of him, regardless of why he did it. Where Metroid is today is solely because of him and his "dream game" (his words, not mine), and without it, it would still be viewed highly as a series by many instead of a destroyed fanbase clinging onto hope for one more quality title.

As far as Prime 4 goes, Retro hasn't put out a new game since 2014. While their latest game was in 2018, it was still a port of the 2014 game. It doesn't speak well to their management to be silent for so long. Maybe NLG being brought on as a first party will light a fire under their butt, but it's not a certainty. I'm also wary of people saying whatever Retro does with Metroid is fine by them, which is not good if CD Projekt Red has made gamers learn anything.

So you are 100% sure the next game is going to suck ass. OK. I'll do the "wait and see" approach instead.

I'lk agree on the Retro part of your agument. We haven't seen much from them lately. And those rumours that there were several projects in the works is also a bit annoying. But they (Nintendo) must have seen some real trobled deelopment from the other team and ther i still talent at Retro, so there is hope at least. We'll see, of course. Or i will, unsure about you Smile

I'm leaning towards the pessimistic side of things in regards to Prime 4, and not simply due to Retro failing to put out a game for so long. Constantly moving from studio to studio shows there's internal drive from Nintendo to make Metroid, meaning the approach is scattershot and leads to inconsistency. For a series that needs to be rock solid right now, especially after how poorly Nintendo has managed it, does not inspire confidence. Even if Retro Studios makes Prime 4 amazing, I question how its' sales will be, and I also question how much turnover will take place, leading again to the problem of inconsistency.

OK, now I am starting to really get your argument here. And I do see the point, and that point is valid. Or some of it at least. They are not "constantly" moving from studio to studio, but they did once when Nintendo saw that things weren't going well. Squeenix did the same with FF7Reimagening and put a lot of effort into that (I might not be the bigest fan of the Reimagining, but it turned out to be a good game. Curious to what the version would have ended up like). It's obvious the game needed a better team, and here they have one (hopefully).

Sales for a 3D Metroid game will never be huge. So they can and should make the best game they can, advertise it good (for a change) and perhaps have it as a release title for the oh so rumoured "Pro" Switch.

Of course, we'll have to wait and see. That's my game at least =)

I don't agree on the sales point. It takes time, effort and consistency. For Prime 1-3, Retro Studios brought that to the series. It was immediately squandered with Other M. In the the meantime, other titles in the genre have started to flourish and make headway into the overall gamer mindshare (Ori and the Blind Forest as well as Hollow Knight). From my perspective, Nintendo starting from square one again, if not below square after Other M and Federation Force is really going to make it difficult for the series going forward, especially if they're going to release games in the franchise on older hardware after their next piece of hardware comes out (which they did with Samus Returns and I suspect might happen with Prime 4 at the rate things are going) and the bar for what they're willing to make becomes higher. Fire Emblem was in that danger zone before, but didn't have the baggage of mismanagement that Metroid does now, but also had the benefit of having a dedicated development studio and lower budgets/barriers for continuation.

It seems to me you are taking this a bit too personally. No harm intended here, King! The thing is that we just do not know how MP4 is doing in it's development. And that's why I think we have to give it the "wait and see" approach. I get it that many didn't like Other M, but that does not mean the end of the world. Some companies learn from the past. And Retro didn't make Other M. Cut them some slack at least. Point is that there is a reason Nintendo "forced" development to another team where they saw better quality.

Yeah, the Metroid series will never outsell the Mario series, but things change. And Nintendo can actually use MP4 as an example of the "Pro's" power and tht might even be a good thing.

Join me in this waiting game, OK? You might be positively surprised when the time comes.

What about us DK fans? We barely get games anymore and the last few we got didnt really respect Rare's world/characters we grew to love. No K.Rool or Kremlings, no animal buddies besides Rambi, and a lot of Kongs missing (though TF did fix this one).

When Jungle Beat came out Koizumi said none of Rare's characters were "fresh enough" to return and Tanabe literally laughed at the idea of the Kremlings coming back for Returns and said "no crocodiles!" Hopefully the smash ballot opened Nintendo's eyes to K.Rool's popularity.

Seems like Nintendo picks and chooses what IPs to respect/remain in tact. I.e. if you ain't mainline Mario or Zelda.

psi wind
Sun Feb 28 21 07:33am
Rating: 1

Those 2 games are also two of the best 2D platformers of all time

Updating franchises status:

-Mario and Zelda being at top of being gaming staples. After Odyssey and BotW.
-Luigi's Mansion, likely continuing in the direction they've settled.
- Fire Emblem might be close to Pokemon in terms of recognition both by Smash and the several popular entries it has gotten.
- Pokemon is in a phase they're throwing everything though sparsely. Classic look, a new direction, multiple spinoffs of different calibers.
- Splatoon has proved it's a very successful new series.
-DK missing in action. Perhaps a new team will make the third DKC game. Like how it happened with the Rare trilogy.
-Star Fox botched 3 attempts of revival with Zero (mainline), Guard (spinoff), Starlink (tie-in).
- Kirby IMO is the most intriguing if it truly is moving into a new phase (as said by its developers).
- Metroid feels like it's struggling, Covid, next gen consoles and a critical core audience, likely is delaying any showcase until it's ready to be released. The lack of any rereleases seems odd.
- Since it has been trend, Nintendo likely has another odd game planned for this year. Something like 1,2 Switch, Ring Fit, Labo or Mario Kart VR. Each year they've released something that fits that category.

Most of the arguments here are hard to read. How about we just enjoy what we have?

We don’t talk about Other M.

They explicitly approach this from a fan loyalty perspective and a sales perspective, as the two are intertwined. They're not really talking about the quality of the games per se, but rather how the characters and portrayed and treated. Say what you will about the latest game in a given franchise or whether or not a less popular franchise has gotten enough love; Nintendo has been very careful and very wise with their consistent treatment of their characters. One need only look at any number of game companies and how they've felt the need to refresh a property to see that Nintendo knows what they're doing and it's paying off. Mario and Link are more popular than ever, and I feel sorry for all that Sonic fans have gone through.

Wed Mar 03 21 06:09pm
(Updated 1 time)

Golly,

"We must develop those characters in a way that won’t destroy fans’ memories of the characters in their worlds. We always proceed with caution as to not damage the value of the brand."

Huh almost seems like something I've been saying since that first BOTW trailer back in 2014.

Yet people still treat me like a monster for wanting to protect the way I see my favorite Nintendo character.

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