Honestly, you and I are of the same mind on this. My immediate reaction from the news was a simple, stunned “Why the hell would they do that?”
Pikmin 3 was a sales disaster. A big, highly-promoted game that sold fewer than a million copies, whose sales were so poor that retailers refused to restock after the initial run. People point to the climbing prices of the game as some indicator of “quality”, more than the fact that it’s a title that was soundly rejected by the market.
This was a title that had a six-year development cycle (which certainly wasn’t cheap), and still managed to sell below Metroid: Other M – a title that seems to have *killed Metroid* entirely, relegating it to “circus sideshow” status in games like Metroid Prime: Federation Force. It’s a product that would, and should, be killed at any rational company.
To hear that Pikmin 4 was announced tells me that this was either a passion project by “The almighty Miyamoto”, or something that was snuck through approvals while the company hoped that the WiiU was still salvageable to some degree.
I’m only hoping that whoever takes the reins next at Nintendo has the balls to say “no” to crap like this These “quirky” experiences have proven time and time again to be cash sinks, unable to build a market for NIntendo and (more important) alienating audiences from the hardware entirely. Games like Pikmin, and Yarn Yoshi aren’t “under-appreciated classics.” They’re just worthless garbage, and it’s high time that Nintendo started taking out the trash.
I like your term ‘passion project’. We do know that Miyamoto will keep remaking the same game over and over because he believes it should sell. Look at 3d Mario. He just wouldn’t stop with it. Even today he keeps talking about ‘3d’. It’s like Miyamoto broke during the N64 Era and now he seems stuck in time of the late 1990s. “Virtual Boy could have worked…” “We need MORE 3D!!!!”
Pikmin 3 was announced out of the blue in an interview at E3 2008. I said then that I bet Pikmin 3 was not in development at all. Miyamoto just said it was to force Nintendo to start developing on it. The fact that the game took so long to come out points this to be true. The fact that Pikmin 3 is strangely missing from the Iwata Asks segments raises a huge red flag.
There is no demand for more Pikmin. I do wonder if this is going to be for the 3DS so Miyamoto can say, “See! See! Pikmin does sell! It just needed to be on a platform that wasn’t the Gamecube or Wii U.” But it is software that drives the hardware, not the other way around.