Nintendo has no shortage of critically acclaimed franchises – ranging from the eponymous Super Mario Bros to the lesser known Legendary Starfy. With Fire Emblem moving from a D-list franchise in America to one of the most successful due to the success of Fire Emblem: Awakening, Nintendo has shown they are willing to change gears when a franchise reaches sudden success. So we took a look back and chose 9 Nintendo franchises that haven’t received a mainline entry in at least 5 years that Nintendo should give one more chance on the Nintendo Switch.
The last time Mario and crew geared up for a fierce game of soccer it was 2007 and Nintendo had just entered the world of online gaming. Somehow, Nintendo released a feature-rich version of the most popular sport in the world, complete with one of the greatest matchmaking lobby theme songs, with typical Mario flair.
The Switch is a match made in heaven to send Mario back out to the soccer field. Mario Strikers has always been a multiplayer focused series, as is the Nintendo Switch console which straight out of the box comes with the ability for 2 players to face off against each other. Even on the Wii, Mario Strikers has had flawless online, so what better game to showcase the new online service than with a game that will have greater playability than EA’s FIFA release and signature Nintendo charm?
While Mario Strikers may take on some of the load for Nintendo’s need to prove the value of their online service, Pilotwings will allow Nintendo to show off other features. Every Nintendo Switch controller has a built-in gyroscope, allowing a refined improvement over the 2011 3DS launch game’s motion-based controls. The Switch will be the most graphically impressive console Nintendo has ever released and Nintendo is now flexing its open world muscle with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Combining these elements, Nintendo can provide a full-featured sequel to Pilotwings Resort.
The flight simulator scene is sparse in recent years. A new release could fill a niche that has an itch. While this is a lower priority franchise for Nintendo, probably held in the same vault as Wave Race and Kid Icarus, the potential is there for this to become a full-fledged success. Even with all of its faults and launching before the 3DS reached critical mass, Pilotwings Resort still sold over a million units between the physical release and digital re-release.
Custom Robo has always been one of the Nintendo franchises that has seemed to keep greatness just outside its grasp. Custom Robo is a real-time Action-RPG series focused on customizing, improving, and battling your robot in arenas. Essentially it is Pokemon meets mech fighting. What could possibly go wrong? A lack of support, marketing, and pushing out its latest 2007 Nintendo DS release shortly after Pokemon Diamond and Pearl kept the monster gatherers away as they got their fill with Nintendo’s flagship RPG franchise.
One of the most sorely missed franchises, a modern entry can take all of the improvements made in the genre and technology and apply them to perfection. Take the lessons of Xenoblade or Final Fantasy in real-time combat, the breadth of content of a modern Pokemon game, the graphics of the current generation and the story of a second-rate manga and you have a million-plus seller. As one of the dozens of players of Custom Robo on both the GameCube and DS, this franchise has been sorely missed.
War, War never changes, but consoles do. Famicom Wars, Advance Wars, Battalion Wars. Fire Emblem’s ugly step brother. Once the belle of the ball, after 2 successive console flops we last saw Wars in the form of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin on Nintendo DS in 2008. Wars, like Fire Emblem, is a turn based Tactical Strategy-RPG. Two core mechanics have typically separated the franchises – unit replenishment and characterization. In the Wars franchise you act as a leader of your nameless troops rather than a small army of main characters. Over the course of a chapter you build up your army, send them off to die, then send their nameless successors to follow in their suicidal footsteps. Chrom, Ike, and Tharja must be kept safe, but Tank #23 will soon by Tank RIP.
Jokes aside, if Fire Emblem can get 6(if you count all of the Fates games as separate entities, for the sake of comparison I am – deal with it) releases within 2 years it is unacceptable that Wars has been sent to the great E.T. dumpster in the sky. The first DS game, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, was arguably the single greatest entry in the franchise. A Switch game could allow for asynchronous online multiplayer, similar to a game of chess, or go the route of the Battalion Wars members of the franchise and be the big war game that Nintendo needs to help attract casuals. Either way, a new Wars game would be a welcome change of pace after the successive releases of Fire Emblem.
One of the forgotten franchises that can trace its roots back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the Excite series hasn’t been seen or heard from since 2009, or 2011 in Japan if you are a member of Club Nintendo. After skipping the GameCube, Nintendo reimagined the franchise with the 2006 Wii launch title, Excite Truck. In an even more bizarre move, Nintendo chose to follow this up with Excitebots, a game that is the brainchild of an acid trip while locked in a room with a man in a frog suit watching Transformers. Where Excitebots excels is in embracing its absurdity.
The Excite series brought arcade racing elements not seen in any other racing series published by Nintendo. In an era where users are moving towards simulation races, is there room for a balls to the walls arcade racer? Yes! If Nintendo continues to build off of the physics based shenanigans of the later entries, these games could carve themselves a solid niche. Add gyroscopic controls, local single Joycon multiplayer, HD Rumble for all of the course changes and differing landscapes, online support, and HD graphics, but grounds the games a bit closer to reality, then this series could come back strong.
Animal Crossing had its last main series entry in 2012, with 3 spin-offs released since. If any game was developed that embodied the core idea behind the Nintendo Switch, it is Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing is Nintendo’s hybrid of The Sims and Harvest Moon, with a little bit of Monopoly thrown in there….oh and verbal abuse! Never forgetti, Resetti! Animal Crossing is about building your community, visiting friends, gardening, collecting insects, chopping down grass, being verbally abused by your neighbors, being verbally abused by your landlord, being verbally abused by… I never realized how abusive this game was until this moment. For all of its fun, relaxation, and escapism, it sure does have a dark undercurrent of hostility and resentment.
Remember when I said earlier what better game to show Nintendo’s new online service than Mario Strikers? I lied. There are millions of die-hard Animal Crossing fans that are waiting anxiously for word of an actual Animal Crossing to come out again, and this is the type of game that will help convince even the most skeptical Nintendo hardcore fans that it is worthwhile to pay for the Nintendo Network.
Nintendo has a history of letting racing franchises not named Mario Kart slip and away and fade into the pages of gaming history. Wave Race, Diddy Kong Racing, the above mentioned Excite, but most importantly, F-Zero. F-Zero is a futuristic hyperspeed racing game known for its beautiful graphics and memorable songs. If you’ve never played F-Zero, try Fast Racing Neo on the Wii U, or check out Fast RMX, an upcoming Switch title. The Fast Racing series has tried to fill the gap that F-Zero left, but nobody can fill Captain Falcon’s big shoes.
The 2004 entry, F-Zero GX, makes this series the one that has gone the longest stretch without an update on this list, but for good reason. F-Zero GX may have been one of the most complete racing games of all time – tight, exhilarating gameplay, a solid story, a large list of customization options, and a great soundtrack. Maybe it is a fear of comparison that has paralyzed Nintendo over the last decade, but it is time for Captain Falcon to step on the track once more. Imagine driving down the racetrack and throttling your boost when the controller begins to rumble emphatically, or you go off the road and the controller begins to pulsate. The possibilities are endless using HD Rumble. The graphical power of the Switch and the ability to take it with you anywhere to show off your skills make the F-Zero series a natural fit for the Switch. Don’t let a 3rd console slip by without F-Zero.
No list of franchises any Nintendo system needs would ever be complete without the requisite Mother listing. Mother, known as EarthBound in the United States, is an RPG trilogy by Creatures, Inc. Utilizing a unique comedic story-telling, a series that had its last new release in 2006 for the Game Boy Advance has been lauded universally and tops nearly every poll on which franchise people miss the most.
Shigesato Itoi, the writer and creator of Mother, calls Mother 4 “totally impossible”. He thinks the story of Mother is complete, but this wouldn’t necessarily stop Mother from coming to the Switch. Mother 3 starring Lucas, in America of Super Smash Bros fame, has never made its way outside of Japan. Despite teasing and hinting by Nintendo and begging from the gaming community, the game has yet to hit Western consoles. Mother 1 & 2 both made their way stateside for the Wii U Virtual Console, so it appears it is only a matter of time before the final game in the series makes its way over. But until then, it stays on our list!
Even if it’s just a Virtual Console title, for the love of god Nintendo I need Mother 3!
And maybe, just maybe, Itoi will one day get the inspiration to write a new game. Any new game in the series would not be Mother without Itoi at the helm.
What can be said about Metroid that has never been said before? For those unfamiliar with Metroid it stars a woman and she’s pretty cool. Her name is Samus and she was raised by bird people. She kills things in space then gets money for it. There, that’s Metroid.
Metroid’s 3D trilogy, Metroid Prime, may now be more famous than the original 2D games. Metroid Prime became an entity unto itself with 2 spinoffs. Meanwhile, the only follow-up to Metroid in the post-Prime era was the critically maligned Metroid: Other M. I’m not joining the MOM debate now, merely mentioning it has been nearly 7 years since its release. Metroid is one of the more ‘hardcore’ franchises that Nintendo has readily available at its disposal, it’s about time they take advantage of it.
Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America, does give hope to fans. When asked about Mother 3, he told fans to come back and talk to him about Metroid and Mother next year and “see what’s happened”. It is up to all of us to make sure we stay vocal in our online support of both franchises to instill faith that a new entry will be viable.
Bonus: Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
There is one other game that should come out for the Switch, just for the prescient nature of the franchise – Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. In 2003, Square Enix tried to do what the Nintendo Switch set out to do, allow full console game multiplayer in a handheld format. If you were able to corral 4 friends with Gameboys and a GBA-GCN Adapter then you were in for a treat. No other game can compare to the magical experience that was a first run through of FF:CC. The only other game that can truly be compared is The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures in its own unique way.
Technically a Square Enix franchise, SE seems to be betting big on the Switch. They have announced more games for the Switch then they released on the Wii U. If this happens, you’re all invited over to my place for some Final Fantasy.
Is there a series you think we missed? Tweet us at @justpausegaming or post in the comments and let us know!