In “Detective Pikachu”, Nintendo’s Way Forward Emerges
Stop me if you play a lot of video games (Or are marginally familiar with them.) and have heard this adage before.
“Nintendo doesn’t innovate!”
“Nintendo is afraid to take risks!”
Often, that traditional ding against the company once in the love hotel business in Japan rings true. Mario has appeared in more games than there are STD’s in existence and every few years the same wells that house Pokémon, Legend of Zelda and the Metroid franchise are dipped into. These days, most entries are usually picked up by long running fans upon release. Soon though, I get the sense that that will be different when the next Pokémon game is released to the masses.
Did you ever think that the big N would release a Pokémon game where Pikachu, a traditionally animalistic electric mouse, is voiced by an older Japanese man, solves crimes in what appears to be Boston and even flirts with women in the piece by playfully winking at them in public?
No. Well dear reader, they really are. I must confess when I initially saw the thing; I thought it was a hoax. Sure there have been Pokémon spinoffs before, but they’ve all stuck closer to the original premise than this upcoming item that fans are lobbying to have Danny DeVito star in.
And that differentiation is what’s key here. For me, this represents a company I have long wanted to see, a kind of Nintendo where its developers and creative assets are unrestrained. Imagine the kind of things these individuals could do with no limits imposed whatsoever.
For a Mario game, let’s return to the original idea Mr. Miyamoto had and make one that’s a shooter. In past interviews the man has said the game was even inspired by Easy Rider. So why not make a totally insane and totally amazing game that wears that influence blatantly?
With Zelda, they seem to be doing some of the things I have long wanted. But personally, I think my own vison is too crazy. Imagine a game marketed dually as the Legend of Zelda/Link. Two campaigns, one where you play as the traditional hero and one where you play as the long put upon princess. Make it open world and have a glorious art style and you have a smash hit.
Metroid is one of the trickier ones in my opinion. A few years ago Nintendo tried experimenting with Metroid: Other M and sales were a tad lukewarm. If I had my hands on the franchise, I’d make it a blend of Tom Raider and Alien Isolation. Have the strong female protagonist; make it look realistic as opposed to its traditionally cartoony image and you have another hit entry.
Ultimately, I know that a lot of what I’ve dreamed up will never come to pass (Much like me coming to America.), but I feel a certain need to propose it. Perhaps if Detective Pikachu is successful the flood gates will open. But, given how slow Japan is to change, I doubt it.