Nintendo Committed To Developing New Ideas, Not Focused On Old Successes
When you think about Nintendo, chances are that a raft of familiar gaming faces come to mind. Mario, Peach, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Link, Captain Falcon, Fox McCloud, Samus, and so on. The company's had phenomenal success with IP established in the 1970s, '80s and '90s.
On the other hand, its more recent IP - games and series like Splatoon and ARMS - has certainly won many fans, but failed to reach the commercial peaks of Nintendo's established franchises. They're fantastic releases, but just haven't captured imaginations en masse.
Nevertheless, Shigeru Miyamoto - creator of the Mario, Star Fox and Zelda series, among many other Nintendo greats (and pictured above) - is insistent that the company isn't resting on its laurels, and relying on its tried-and-tested characters and experiences.
Rather, it's still very much focused on producing games that innovate, and explore "unfamiliar territory" - as company president Shuntaro Furukawa also told TIME in October.
Furukawa told the American magazine: "Giving our teams the freedom to experiment with new ideas is something I strongly agree with. Expansion can't happen without the freedom to try something new, and the courage to step into unfamiliar territory."
Following that up, while speaking at an awards ceremony in Japan (via Nintendo Life), Miyamoto said: "I intend to keep trying to create something new, that brings smiles to people around the world, without focusing too much on what we have already created."
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In terms of upcoming Nintendo titles we know about, we've got Bayonetta 3, Metroid Prime 4, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and a Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel coming up - all of which are based on and around existing IP.
In terms of Nintendo's biggest games of 2018, many of them trade on long-established characters and series, too, such as Luigi's Mansion 3, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and the remake of Zelda: Link's Awakening.
That said, there have been a few striking Switch exclusives from partnered developers, too: the likes of Astral Chain (made by PlatinumGames), Cadence of Hyrule (Brace Yourself Games), and The Stretchers (Tarsier Studios).
So while it's easy to look at Nintendo's hits and misses of recent years, and conclude that it's only the famous faces that really shift units, it's not like the company hasn't been trying to shake things up. And that extends to hardware and peripherals, too, as we've seen with the brilliantly inventive cardboard modelling of the Labo range, and this year's health-orientated Ring Fit Adventure.
Heck, even the Switch itself represents something else, something new, compared to its generational console peers. And it's worked out pretty amazingly for Nintendo, with over 40 million units sold and the system sure to be a popular gift this Christmas.
Personally, I love that Nintendo can balance its 'bankers' - a new Mario or Zelda game, typically - with more out-there projects like ARMS, a game that deserved to make more of an impact. I'm excited to see what the company brings to Switch in 2020 and beyond, especially if it's something more than a novel new mechanic in a veteran series.
Featured Image Credit: Nintendo