How much can you really rely on the glory days to continue to market your product? In the case of the Nintendo Switch and its current and upcoming games, the answer may be almost entirely. The line-up for upcoming Switch games is heavily reliant on Mario and previous goodwill.
Kotaku recently confirmed a leak that Mario will be teaming up with Ubisoft’s crazy little Rabbids in a new title rumored to be revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June of 2017. The rumors stated that it was a joint effort by Ubisoft and Nintendo that may be an RPG, featuring the Snowdrop Engine used most notably for Tom Clancy’s The Division. Ubisoft and Nintendo have worked together on a number of titles featuring the Rabbids in the past, though this would be the first in which Mario and crew join the Rabbid party. It will also make the third Nintendo Switch game featuring Mario this year, the other two being Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and SuperMario Odyssey.
It is truly not out of the ordinary for Nintendo, whose third-party games library has been fairly sparse in comparison to games featuring Nintendo’s characters for several console generations now. The game publisher and developer has been looking to Mario and other company attractions to move product for a very long time. It worked out for the original Wii, though the Wii U suffered a tremendously lackluster library with only a few gems.
The slight difference with the Switch is that Nintendo seems to be looking outside of its own licenses to build its library, though it’s still heavily reliant on rehashes and reboots. Games like Master Blaster Zero, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, and Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap make up a heavy majority of the console’s digital library and are all built around nostalgia and previous success. There’s also the enormous collection of classic SNK Playmore games filling up the Nintendo Switch’s online shop from the Neo Geo Arcade Archives collection, including franchises like Metal Slug and Samurai Showdown.
Nintendo’s ongoing nostalgia prioritization isn’t exactly isolated to the Switch either. The company pushed the NES Classic Edition out the door in 2016, banking on a hungry market that wanted to relive the old days of the original Super Mario Bros. and other classic Nintendo titles. The company has been heavily rumored to be gearing up for a Super Nintendo release in similar fashion later this year.
All of this said, it’s not like there isn’t a compelling reason for Nintendo to continue living in the past when it comes to the Switch. Super Bomberman R may have had the boost of a Switch Launch title, but it’s still proven popular, moving over half a million units. Even further, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe recently broke launch records, making it the fastest selling title in Mario Kart history. The numbers speak for themselves and they certainly present a compelling case.
On the other hand, it’s not like Nintendo isn’t pursuing new opportunities with the Switch either. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is vastly different from any previous Zelda game and currently hand-over-foot the best-selling Nintendo Switch game currently in circulation. Likewise, other titles such as the stretchy competitive boxing title, Arms, set for release in this Summer of 2017, present all-new frontiers for Nintendo to try to capitalize on with their new console.
Despite that, Nintendo will probably continue as they always have, which is heavily relying on the nostalgia of the players as it offers content. New ideas will come, but they will be in between established franchises and re-releases. In ratio to one unique idea like Arms, there is quite literally three known Mario games for the Switch. And when it seems to be working, who is going to convince Nintendo that they should do any different with the Switch, Mario, and their other products?
[Featured Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]