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Is Nintendo hitting the Mario/Zelda/Metroid sauce a bit too hard these days? [roundtable]
(Also, isn't it strange that Metroid is getting almost as much play as the other two, since it has never sold on the same level as those franchises (or many less notable franchises (that, admittedly, might not lend themselves to sequels))?)

I'm definitely not one of those people who thinks that Nintendo keeps remaking the same game over and over again, just because they use the Mario character in so many games, and he has to save the princess, or whatever, but Nintendo has been focusing a HELL of a lot on mainline-ish entries in their "Big 3" series. At first, we thought they were just getting it out of the way, so they could focus on new (and second-tier) IPs, but now it seems that those franchises are being developed to the exclusion of certain other 'traditional' titles.

Maybe that's a smart move, since 'gamers' still repeat the where's-the-next-Mario/Zelda/Metroid mantra. And don't get me wrong. They've been cranking out some phenomenal stuff in these serieseses. But I feel like Nintendo used to be a bit more courageous in bucking the expectations of fans and doing what they wanted to do. It seems like they've been playing it a bit safe, fiscally and developmentally speaking. Sticking with what works. There didn't even seem to be much thought to the art style of the new Zelda, which is kind of a shame. The old Nintendo only rarely reused assets from sequel to sequel. Iwata seems to have taken Nintendo in a more streamlined, efficient direction, but was there something lost in the transition? Are the crazy days of Super Paper Mario and Pac-Man Vs. and Roll-o-Rama behind them? Or is that just perception? I mean, the Zelda team always works on Zelda games, right? (Has that team been significantly expanded to handle the DS output?) Other M is being handled externally, and Retro has finally shifted onto something else (presumably). EAD Tokyo could certainly handle other properties, but does anyone really consider Galaxy 2 a waste of time? Still, it does seem that a large percentage of resources are being funneled into the Big 3.

I have more to say, but what do you guys think? Has Nintendo fragmented into an innovative, risky, expanded branch and a safe, reliable Mario/Zelda/Metroid factory, or is that too reductionist? Would you want them to branch out more?

Would you be willing to sacrifice Galaxy 2 for that exploration?

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Posted: 05/26/10, 19:25:17  - Edited by 
 on: 05/26/10, 20:00:01
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Let me preface my response by saying, without hesitation, NO. I am loving the strong Wii support and more solid entries in my favourite franchises makes me nothing but happy to be playing.
Zelda is absolutely not being overused at all, speaking for the Wii of course. It is arguable whether or not Zelda has seen too much action on the DS. But we are due for another console game and the first ground-up Wii effort in the series.
Mario is seeing a resurgence in popularity unlike anything seen since the NES days, and I love it. It's my favourite series and I am stoked to play Galaxy 2 and NSMB in tandem, never has gaming been this good for me.
Metroid has seen Corruption, Trilogy and now Other M. I suppose it is getting a lot more attention than it used to, but it doesn't bother me one bit. I'm just getting into the series and I find it completely awesome, and who am I to complain about getting more good games?

The fact is, they aren't just giving us Mario/Metroid/Zelda. They're giving us Punch-Out!!, Fire Emblem, Endless Ocean (two of 'em!), Sin and Punishment, etc...Nintendo is really stepping up to make the Wii one of my favourite consoles ever.
Posted: 05/26/10, 19:41:35
They're certainly hitting the "MZM Sauce" harder than the previous two gens, that's for sure. But I don't think it's at the expense of their other franchises. We've already had two Advance Wars games, multiple Pokémon entries, (although that could be considered top-tiered?) two Fire Emblem games, two (or three, really) "Excite" games, plus Starfox, Animal Crossing, and Custom Robo.

In addition, we've also seen revivals of older franchises like the aforementioned Excitebike, as well as Punch-Out! and Tetris Attack (Planet Puzzle League). Add in the new stuff we've gotten Sin & Punishment, Elite Beat Agents, Endless Ocean, ART STYLE, Glory of Heracles, Electroplankton and all those Wii {whatever} games.... 1st party support has been phenomenal across the board. Especially considering games from the Mario/Zelda/Metroid series are turning out so stellar. I mean, is anyone really complaining about Super Mario Galaxy 2? Or about Metroid Prime 3 (or the Trilogy?) Or the two fantastic Zelda games on DS? Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story? If you are.... c'mon. There's gotta be something else more important to complain about. Nintendo is even "bringing back" Golden Sun for crying out loud! What else do you want from them?

Oh, F-Zero? And Pikmin? And maybe even the revival of Kid Icarus? Alright, alright. Fine. So there is a small handful of games that we're still "waiting on" from Nintendo. Considering everything else they've put out over the years, I don't think there is much room to whine.

Now shut up and get back to playing Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Posted: 05/26/10, 21:20:20
Nope. Not enough, I want another Mario Party, Mario Tennis, Golf, Bowling and I want Four Swords Adventures 2.
Posted: 05/26/10, 21:24:44

The thing about Mario Golf is that I never really liked the previous installments, but with the Wiimote, I would eat it up. I love golf in Wii Sports and Tiger Woods Wii, imagine what Camelot could do on the Wii. It boggles my mind that this and Mario Tennis hasn't happened yet. I would have bet my life on it when the Wiimote was revealed.
Posted: 05/26/10, 21:34:59
Camelot already did We Love Golf for Capcom on the Wii. And Mario Tennis has that bastardized New Play Control version...

I would love a really whacked-out golf game, though. I wish We Love Golf was actually set in Capcom universes. Capcom is one of the only companies who could pull off a credible Super Smash type mix-up.

It's possible that Nintendo has released just as much traditional non-MZM (as Grant calls it) software as before. But they have definitely been cranking out more MZM. Those resources have to come from somewhere, right? (Caveat: the Metroid games have been mostly external for quite a while (if you count Retro as external).) Maybe Nintendo has been outsourcing more to keep up the flow of varied titles. Art Style from Skip, Captain Rainbow, Excite from Monster, Reginleiv, Disaster, Punch-Out!, Strikers, Baseball, Sin & Punishment, Span Smasher, Line Attack Heroes, Endless Ocean, etc...

The quality of their outsourced stuff has been pretty consistent, though. Arguably much more consistent than last gen (excepting the apparent case of Bongo Blast, a Gamecube holdover).
Posted: 05/26/10, 22:56:06
Answering the OP, I think it only becomes a problem when the quality begins to diminish. So far, each iteration has maintained standard Nintendo polish while being able to add new styles or features. As long as this continues, I all for it.
Posted: 05/26/10, 23:12:13

I haven't played We Love Golf, how is it? Still, without that Mario touch it would lack something perhaps.

NPC doesn't count.

Camelot is making Golden Sun 3 right? So they've still got a relationship with Nintendo I assume.
Posted: 05/26/10, 23:15:11
Simbabbad said:
So I don't care. And honestly, I don't get some gamers. A few months ago people were whining they wanted to see Mario, Zelda and Metroid, there are funny gifs about it still around, a few of them in the pre E3 thread, and now we hear there is too much. Christ.
Honestly, I think general 'gamers' would be more than happy to get only Mario, Zelda, and Metroid ad infinitum. (Then they could play them AND bitch about repetition!) It's the longtime Nintendo fans like us that might prefer a quirkier, smaller-profile traditional title from Nintendo internal to, say, Galaxy 2. (That said, I'm not sure that anyone here actually would.)
Posted: 05/26/10, 23:22:09  - Edited by 
 on: 05/26/10, 23:47:22
FINlos said:
Answering the OP, I think it only becomes a problem when the quality begins to diminish. So far, each iteration has maintained standard Nintendo polish while being able to add new styles or features. As long as this continues, I all for it.

This basically sums up my same thoughts. A lot of Nintendo franchises not only sustain quality, but originality. So many of their sequels feel like fresh & exciting new adventures rather than rehashes. Good game design as it's best you can say.

After Zelda Wii and Metroid Other M wrap up, I do want to see some less popular series get their chance to shine. Star Fox, Kirby, Kid Icarus, Pikmin, and whatever else you can think of.
Posted: 05/26/10, 23:37:53
anandxxx said:
It's the longtime Nintendo fans like us that might prefer a quirkier, smaller-profile traditional title from Nintendo internal to, say, Galaxy 2. (That said, I'm not sure that anyone here actually would.)
Well the great thing is that we don't have to choose, no? I'm enjoying Galaxy 2 right now, and I'll get Fling Smash and S&P2 when those come out. Lack of time to fully play all these games hasn't proven to be a problem in the past.
Posted: 05/26/10, 23:48:07  - Edited by 
 on: 05/26/10, 23:48:47
You guys have made a convincing case that Nintendo is still bringin' the quirk, but are they still bringing it internally (outside of their 'expanded' teams)? Would Kirby Air Ride get greenlit (and then moved to the next system) at today's Nintendo? Perhaps, given the perennially-in-development Kirby Gamecube/Wii. But how about Super Paper Mario? How about Roll-o-Rama (I'm going to keep bringing it up until you guys sign my petition.) I mean, Miyamoto worked on Pac-Man Vs. It was even their goddamn flagship E3 game.

Yeah, I don't think many would argue that Nintendo's flagship triumvirate has been anything less than stellar this generation (anyone informed, anyway (about Mario, anyway)). I think their internal quality level has been higher than the Gamecube era. It's just that an extra EAD Tokyo Galaxy could have been an EAD Tokyo Starfox. (And Team Ninja Metroid could have been Team Ninja Pikmin (or Wave Race) if Itagaki was still at the company.)

This gen is already kind of long in the tooth. After Galaxy 2 and Zelda Wii and Other M, those franchises are probably going to have to undergo a costly HD facelift so they still look pretty a couple of years down the road.

Haven't played it. I was tempted (by the inclusion of Arthur), but reviews were lukewarm, and Tiger Woods uses MotionPlus. NPC Mario Tennis is pretty poor, though.

I'm not sure about Camelot and motion control. But they are still friendly with Nintendo. They took some time off to do an online (free-to-play?) PC game to rival Pangya, but I guess it didn't go anywhere. And We Love Golf was supposed to be the beginning of something (that wasn't just restricted to the Wii OR golf), but I guess that didn't perform very well, either.

I kind of get the impression that Camelot wasn't around for a while because Nintendo temporarily lost their number. I like those guys, though. They seem cool.
Posted: 05/26/10, 23:51:13  - Edited by 
 on: 05/26/10, 23:54:59
Simba and Gamedad summed up my thoughts.


I'm a sucker for these games and I want them as consistently as they have been putting them out. I wouldn't want another Galaxy game next year necessarily but I'd take another New Super Mario Bros. Wii or a new Mario game in the style.

They've done a good job of keeping other franchises alive too so I don't feel like it's ALL I've been buying. I'm pleased.
Posted: 05/26/10, 23:56:06
Tough question.

My gut answer is "yes" because I want some killer new IPs from Nintendo and until they give the Mario/Zelda/Metroid/whatever teams a break, we will probably never see killer new IPs.

But if you were to ask me "ok Zero, which Mario/Zelda/Metroid game would you give up for a new IP?" I'd be kind of stuck.

(I'm counting the mainline games, BTW. I'd definitely give up a new Mario Tennis or something like that for a new IP, but I don't think it works like that. You have to give up the biggies to get a biggie.)

Anyway, I'm crossing my fingers that whatever the heck Retro Studios has been working on is both new and amazing.
Posted: 05/27/10, 00:25:56  - Edited by 
 on: 05/27/10, 00:26:29
i was going to type something long...

I just played Galaxy 2 for 10 hours...

the answer: HELL NO
Posted: 05/27/10, 01:36:20

I agree, at my basest, greediest levels with you. I want both sides of this coin. I want Nintendo to keep pushing the quality of their staples AND not neglect their second tier games AND try a new IP or idea every now and then.
Posted: 05/27/10, 01:41:38
I think that Nintendo fans are too eager for these titles.

When some Wii owners say they own two games, like Twilight Princess and Galaxy, its no wonder stupid outsider jerks assume the worst. There are PLENTY of great games out there. I'd love to see an endless stream of Fire Emblem titles. That'd be niiice.
Posted: 05/27/10, 02:21:31
A new Fire Emblem remake was just announced for DS.

Oh, wait...

Dude, just get an XL. It's as big as a small TV, anyway. Mount it on your wall and play.
Posted: 05/27/10, 02:33:45
Can't get enough of those games so I won't complain, but I'm DYING for a new Star Fox. Dying.
Posted: 05/27/10, 04:00:53
Zero said:
Anyway, I'm crossing my fingers that whatever the heck Retro Studios has been working on is both new and amazing.

Yeah, same... I mean, I can't exactly see them handing off any of Nintendo's other franchises to them at this point. They are either all taken care of or inappropriate for the developer.

I love my Mario, Metroid, and Zelda and don't ever want to see them stop making the franchises entirely, but I am okay with one-per-generation so that the super talented teams behind them can do other things.

Also, I'd really like to see at least one more new traditional game IP out of Miyamoto before he... err... well, retires or dies.
Posted: 05/27/10, 05:29:50  - Edited by 
 on: 05/27/10, 05:31:18
Hinph said:
Also, I'd really like to see at least one more new traditional game IP out of Miyamoto before he... err... well, retires or dies.

I second that one.

Also i think they have made a good work this gen. I mean the only franchises i really die to see are pikmin (probably at this E3) starfox, kirby and probably f-zero
Posted: 05/27/10, 09:01:02
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