If Nintendo is serious, we are going to get a serious launch line-up. Let us look at the launch line-ups of the past.
Ubisoft games (Zombie U was exclusive)
EA games (mostly ports of older ones)
Activision (Skylanders, Call of Duty, etc.)
When we talk about launch games, we really are talking about Nintendo games. It is First Party games that are responsible for launching the console. If the console company cannot make quality first party games that makes us want to ‘buy the box that Mario is on’, then they should go home or make PC Lite Boxes.
NSMB U is because Nintendo doesn’t understand 2d Mario’s appeal and still do not understand why NSMB DS and NSMB Wii sold tens of millions. Miyamoto is so off on 2d Mario that NSMB U was originally going to be Mario Mii.
What Nintendo doesn’t know is that while there is strong market support for NSMB DS and Wii, there is also great disappointment. 2d Mario games are adventure games. You go underground, underwater, in castles, in the sky, etc. In later versions, you have a map. Super Mario Brothers 2 is accepted as a classic and legit Mario game despite radically different gameplay because it nails the adventure part down. NSMB DS and Wii were not adventure-some. They were grown in a petri dish inside Nintendo labs where they picked and prodded trying to make ‘level design’. Level design is important. But level design is the HOW, not the WHY. The WHY is the adventure. There was no adventure. As a massive fan of 2d Mario, I never bothered to pick up NSMB U. It is also 3d Mario World didn’t perform as well either.
As a grown man, I’d feel embarrassed buying this. All the women around me would think I was impotent. This is how far off Nintendo was.
Some various Ubisoft and other third party games. Mostly ports.
What did DS launch with? It had Mario 64 port and a demo for Metroid Prime Hunters. DS actually had a weak launch line up, but it performed well in the sales but dropped off until Nintendogs, Mario Kart DS, and Animal crossing DS came out. Then DS became unstoppable.
Super Monkey Ball (Sega)
Rogue Squadron Star Wars
And some other crap.
Monkey Ball is, indeed, awesome, but this is a very weak launch line up. Good thing Smash Brothers Brawl would come out fairly soon after the launch. Gamecube also had a terrible Zelda game (Wind Waker) and a terrible Mario game (Mario Sunshine). Metroid Prime 1 and 2 did help enshrine the Gamecube to experienced gamers’ hands. More on this later.
Zelda: Twilight Princess
Excite Truck (remember this one?)
Some Ubisoft and other third party crap (red steel was bad)
Wii Sports was the best game ever made. Seriously. Wii Sports had so much tremendous value packed into it.
God, that music! That ambience! Wii Sports has the best ambiance of any video game ever made… including the Metroids.
And here is Twilight Princess:
Wii Sports + Zelda TP was AWESOME.
I was there.
I remember review editions of the Wii going out to some reviewers, those who were done playing video games or reporting on them, and they went NUTS. They would update their blogs and be all gibberish because of how excited they were! They LOVED having a zelda to play, loved Wii Sports, and were excited enough to explore the rest of the library at the time (which wasn’t much unfortunately).
Iwata believed several awesome games at once creates such a frenzy of excited that the customers will go out and buy tons of shit. He’s right.
If Nintendo is going to do anything in Generation 9, it is to avoid the launch fates of the 3DS and Wii U. Nintendo is determined to nail the launches. For that, they need the right launch line up.
Nintendo has been studying the launch line up of their consoles. Most especially, they are looking at the Wii. This is why Zelda BoW is coming on the NX. Moving TP to Wii was such a great idea that did so well, Nintendo is going to do it again.
Nintendo’s greatest consoles, or any great consoles, fulfill Malstrom’s Stool the best. Malstrom’s Stool has three legs for the software.
First leg is for BRAND NEW IP GAMES.
Second leg is for SEQUELS TO CURRENT GAMES WE LOVE.
Third leg is RERELEASES OF OLD GAMES WE LOVE.
In other words…
The First leg is for the Future.
The Second leg is for the Present.
And the Third leg is for the Past.
All three together create ironclad consumer confidence. The Third leg has games we already love and know they are good. Second leg has sequels to games we love so we want to see how they are (though they might suck, but that risk is lower since they are sequels of established formulas). The First leg is the thrill of new but highly risky since the new can totally suck.
Successful consoles do not just have ‘good games’ or ‘best selling games’. They have Malstrom’s Stool.
Malstrom’s Stool: Wii
Future games were Wii Sports and the promise that motion controlled games would bring (I know… I know!)
Present games such as sequels of Mario Kart, 3d Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and the like.
Past games returning such as the Virtual Console, various ports (PS2 ports and Gamecube ports).
Virtual Console was a BIG awesome feature of the Wii. But the point is that Wii covered the Malstrom Stool perfectly which is why it was sold out for years. Nintendo’s additional games to the Wii library all fit into the stool. You had new past games such as Virtual Console and ports. You had new sequels such as the new Mario Kart. And you had future games such as Wii Fit.
Malstrom’s Stool: NES
Future games were Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, and Metroid.
Present games such as the Nintendo sports games. Sports games (aside from ones like radical changes like Wii Sports) are all ‘present games’.
Past games such as arcade ports (Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Galaga, etc.)
When game consoles fail, you can see they did not fulfill Malstorm’s Stool. SNES launch line up was full of Present games, very little future games (Super Mario World was a sequel, not ‘omg brand new’). This is how Sega made a foot hold because Sonic was NEW. It wasn’t until Nintendo put out Donkey Kong Country, which was very NEW, that the SNES righted itself up. SNES also seriously lacked Past games. There is a reason why Super Mario All-Stars is so beloved. We needed 16-bit re-releases of Zelda 1, 2, Kid Icarus.
N64 was a disaster. Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time were more ‘future’ than ‘present’ due to their radical 3d change. It worked. But what about the sequels to the present games? Nintendo lost the entire 2d platformer gamers which were their base market. What about the old games? There were none. N64 only sold in America because America was the only place that accepted 3d Mario. Despite that, the other legs of the stool should have been present to get the transition to move over.
Here is the story of the NX Launch line-up:
Nintendo is putting together a triple-A software line-up, to ensure NX flies out of the gate next year.
Developer Game Freak will bring Pokémon to the platform, while Nintendo’s first party titles include the previously announced Zelda game – Breath of the Wild – and
a new Mario game. All three products are scheduled to appear within the first six months of the machine’s life.
The firm has also been busy securing third-party support, with Sega, Square Enix, Ubisoft, Activision and Warner Bros already on-board.
Sources close to Nintendo have told MCV that the firm is determined that NX will not suffer the same slow start as either the Wii U or 3DS.
The Pokemon title is curious. I do not understand Pokemon and do not pretend to do so. However, Nintendo is in a good position to cultivate the Pokemon Go phenomenon into people buying NX for Pokemon.
Zelda BoW will be a Present game.
Mario is a question mark. It is either Present or Future.
I am ignoring the third party games because they aren’t going to release shit. There has never been a case where third party games are responsible for moving Nintendo hardware… especially in the first couple of years.
Where is Pikmin 4? Isn’t that done too? Maybe that is in the pipeline. Pikmin 4 is not a good ‘launch title’. Mario is good. Zelda is good. But Pikmin?
The big question is the NX Future games and Past games. We know there will be a new Mario Kart and such. But I want to know about the NEW IPs. I want to know about the next Wii Sports. I want to know about the Past games. Are these going to be ports like Smash 4 and Splatoon? What is going on with the Virtual Console?
I’ll go into the launch library some more, but you need to consider is that Games Perform Jobs. The reason why we buy different games is because we want them to perform different jobs.
Zelda is the meaty game you play solo for hours on end for the RPG/Adventure itch.
Mario is a light hearted game you play for the Adventure itch.
Metroid is the definitive Nintendo hardcore game for experienced gamers.
But where is the MULTIPLAYER game?
We still do not know much about NX’s software line-up, but it seems there are huge holes. Where are the sports games? Where are the RPGs?
Nintendo needs to realize that people do not buy Nintendo consoles anymore because they know the library will have big holes (such as no RPGs). Nintendo cannot make every game genre. But they need to provide a wide variety of jobs for the software to do. 3d Mario World didn’t sell Wii Us, so why would this Mario do the same?