Pikmin: a Neglected Franchise

Brandon Dosen, Columnist

Over the past two decades, one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises has received only three games, leading many fans to think that the dormant series is being altogether left behind.

In 2001, Pikmin was released on the GameCube with a positive reaction from those who played it. According to Nintendo, the game sold around 1.6 million copies. From there it has become a cult-classic game franchise that almost all who have played it love. The game follows an astronaut exploring a new world. There the character finds a small species called Pikmin, which he uses to survive the dangerous, yet dangerous planet as he explores. And yet, after the second game, the IP (intellectual property) stopped cold. Games stopped coming, apart from the ports of Pikmin one and two to Wii. It had stopped so much that when Pikmin 3 finally released in 2013, almost a decade after the previous game, many thought it would renew the franchise. It would finally give the IP the attention it deserved. And yet, that just wasn’t the case. Eight years later and the developers haven’t given us any more information. The characters were reduced to faint and side characters, such as in Smash Bros., a fighting game from Nintendo.

Pikmin 4 is a ghost. Popular game developer Shigeru Miyamoto introduced it in an interview with EuroGamer, where he stated that the game was “very close to completion.” Of course, that interview was almost six years ago, and almost no new updates have been provided since. Other than that, the fans received news that it was still progressing after the release of a spin-off game, Hey Pikmin, but the news seems to stop there.

But just when the series seemed to be completely dead, the audience finally got something from Nintendo. In 2020, the heavily rumored Pikmin 3 Deluxe, released on the Nintendo Switch to great success. The game has sold 1.94 million copies up to this point, greater than any other Pikmin game to date. Because of the success, many believe that Nintendo will try again and give the series the game people have asked for since 2013. But first, it seems that Nintendo wants to regrow the fanbase with a slow and safe start. After the port, we received news of a new mobile game made by Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go, dubbed “Pikmin Go.” Nintendo announced it on March 23, 2021.

So far, not too much about the game has been announced, but many have already speculated what it is going to be. Although a developer of the game, Tatsuo Nomura, has already spoken about how it will be “very different,” many seem to think it will follow the same concept of wandering around the environment and accomplishing tasks seen in their other games. Just this time, doing tasks with the Pikmin. However, some Pikmin fans don’t believe the game will make it to release because of their track record. With the fate of Pikmin 4, it is hard to believe that Nintendo will finally give us a new game. In fact, the developers of the game, Niantic, have said no word on the untitled game since its announcement on March 29. 

After a long and tragic tale of great games, it is hard for most fans to think they will ever receive the game they’ve been waiting so long for. Pikmin seems to be the game that just does not last, just something for fans to look back to. However, the games still run and fun is had everyday. Pikmin 3 Deluxe is still purchasable today at the Nintendo website, and you can pre-register for the new mobile game at the Niantic website.