Nintendo has gone through an incredible transformation over the last few years. After introducing the #1. Wii back in 2006, fans of the Nintendo legacy thought that it would revolutionize the industry in terms of how gamers play. Yet, it never really took off as many expected and gamers faced disappointment as it seemed that Nintendo wasn't going to return to their former glory as one of the greatest game platforms of all time.
Things changed for Nintendo when they returned to their roots and introduced the Nintendo Switch early in 2017. As the gaming communities first hybrid console, the Switch combined Nintendo's niche of developing incredible handheld systems with the ability to play the same game plugged in as a console.
It was and is a revolution, and fans are excited about the future of the hybrid console. Yet quietly Nintendo has also been developing a loyal fanbase on mobile devices. Even though Nintendo was slow to join the rising trend of developing original games sold exclusively on mobile networks, in March the social app Miitomo was released followed shortly by the auto-runner Super Mario Run. Nintendo caught gamers attention and then dropped another beloved game into the mobile network with Fire Emblem: Heroes.
With three entries on the market, Nintendo seems to be on a role as they've announced a smart phone version of the fan-favorite game, Animal Crossing which could be launching this summer yet. Pretty impressive line up so far, but then news broke that Nintendo was possibly working on an all new mobile only game based on one of the most acclaimed Nintendo series of all time: The Legend of Zelda.
But What's Next?
As exciting as this year looks for Nintendo on the mobile market, it's almost more exciting to think about what's still coming as Nintendo has so many viable properties that could be developed in the (hopefully) near future.
- Game Genre: Racing
- First Release: F-Zero (1990 - SNES)
- Latest Release: F-Zero Climax (2004 - Game Boy Advance)
One of the pioneering games for its genre, F-Zero brought a level of breakneck speed and insanity that was rarely matched - even today. F-Zero dates all the way back to the SNES, and although it was fairly flat compared to the more roller-coaster style we're accustomed to now, F-Zero was at one point the proverbial racing game.
Of the plethora of games that Nintendo has at their disposal, F-Zero would be perfectly suited for the level of insanity that we would expect from the series. The style of game would work wonderfully on touchscreen devices, since games like Zorg's AG Drive has proven that tilt and tap controls are fully capable of navigating a racing ship around loopy tracks.
2. Donkey Kong Country
- Game Genre: Side-scrolling Platformer
- First Release: Donkey Kong (1994 - SNES)
- Latest Release: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (2014 - Wii U)
If Super Mario Run showed us anything it's that the side scrolling autorun game can work on mobile devices. And if you've played any of the Donkey Kong games over the years, you'll remember the hours of joy you spent bouncing around through Donkey Kong Country and all the remaining games in the series.
For Donkey Kong to be effective, I think that it would need to be a genuine campaign style game rather than the fairly short and simple Super Mario Run's 8 worlds. If #DonkeyKong joined the mobile market with something nostalgic like Donkey Kong Legends that lets you play through a campaign as each character from the beloved ape family: Donkey, Diddy, Dixie, Chunky, Tiny and so many more.
- Game Genre: Open World Fantasy RPG
- First Release: Xenoblade Chronicles (2010 - Wii)
- Latest Release: Xenoblade Chronicles X (2015 - Wii U)
The Xeno prefix crosses three very distinct game worlds: "Gears" is owned by Square Enix, "Saga" by Bandai Namco and "Blade" by Nintendo. Xenoblade isn't a major franchise from NIntendo's history book like these other games, considering that the first game in the series was released in 2010. Yet, Nintendo is currently working on Xenoblade Chronicles 2, so it would be the perfect time to begin developing a mobile game as well.
Xenoblade Chronicles would bring a new dynamic to their mobile development as it would allow Nintendo to introduce something rather large in scale and match up well with current science fiction RPG's currently on the market, but could potentially introduce the open world feel that players had in the console versions.
- Game Genre: Platform Puzzle Adventure
- First Release: Metroid (1986 - NES)
- Latest Release: Metroid Prime: Federation Force (2016 - 3DS)
The Metroid series is almost as cherished as Mario or Zelda, since it combines aspects of both: the platforming of Super Mario Bros and the exploration of The Legend of Zelda. The Metroid franchise could work well on mobile devices as a side scrolling action puzzler, considering that through the history of the game that has remained one of the staples of the series no matter what platform.
Considering that there are currently several knockoffs on the market, like Meganoid, it means that there is potential for the original to clean up. Bringing the classic feel of Metroid and utilizing mechanics like Super Mario Run is using would be a great way to make the mobile transition for this franchise.
Ultimately these are only a few potential future transitional games for Nintendo, but what franchise would you like to see most?