OPINION: Nintendo needs some new franchises

It's time to think original again, argues Nintendo Gamer's Mark Green...

This column is supposed to be dedicated to The Little Things that annoy us about gaming. But this month I'm powering up like an anime robot.

That's right: I'm levitating into deepest, darkest space, armour lock-smashing onto my outstretched arms and legs, so we can chat about a meatier subject. (Although, if I could dedicate this entire page to Reggie's impressive ability to make reading from an autocue look like he's clumsily making stuff up on the spot, I really would.)

So here's my big post-E3 beef then: we need some new Nintendo franchises. Of course the 3DS bit of Nintendo's main E3 conference was Mario-saturated, and of course Wii U's Nintendo Land is stuffed with familiar names. It's understandable. The Big N's roster of insta-bankable, bigger-than-Jesus characters is the envy of everyone.


Nintendo would be crazy not to lead a show with its top names, even in 2199 when E3 will be held around a campfire in the middle of a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland.

But when Nintendo turns away from its rich NES legacy and creates something new, real magic happens. Nintendogs and Dr Kawashima's nightmarish floating head sealed the monster success of the DS. Animal Crossing has become such a massive money-spinner since 2001 the developers are wearing hats made out of banknotes and walking straight past the three-for-two offers at Sainsbury's.

And look at Pikmin. I sat amid some very worried faces at E3 '11 years ago when the original GameCube title was unveiled. A new, untested franchise starring squeaking leaf-creatures? Had Shigsy gone mad? Now, in 2012, the series is strong enough to open the show, and grown men weep and applaud at what amounts to a bunch of ants carrying an apple about.

I'm not complaining about sequelitis, honest. I'm giddy at what Nintendo showed of its big-hitters - including Pikmin - in LA. New Super Mario Bros 2's golden coins - swathes and floods and fountains of them - are glorious. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon will shine welcome light on a series that's been undeservedly stuck in the shadows. And Mario Wii U has bubble-blowing baby Yoshis? Just show me where to empty my wallet into.


But it's telling that fresh Wii U gems like Project P-100 - 'new IP', as the suits call it - were the talk of the show. Even outside the Nintendo realm, brand new franchises like Ubisoft's Watch Dogs (and here's hoping we get that on Wii U eventually) generated a buzz that sequels and iterations didn't.

Originality is crucial with any console - particularly a console as revolutionary as Wii U. Prodding at a touchscreen menu of what's in Batman's batsack is nice 'n all, but it's better to gobsmack us all with something entirely new. As robo-Reggie affirmed at E3, it was Wii Sports that sold Wii to the masses. Fellow launch title Zelda wasn't enough.

So more new ideas at the next big show pretty please, Nintendo. But, pretty please god, not anything that even remotely resembles Threediots.