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Q&A – 4/23/17

animal crossing mail

Question: What do you think of Eurogamer’s SNES Mini rumor?

When I read Eurogamer’s article, I had the same reaction as everyone else. Will this be just as difficult to find in stores as the NES Mini Classic? Will this be discontinued after six months like the NES Classic Mini? Will I have to compete against people who are setting up bots to purchase all available NES Classics through online stores?

Buying an SNES Mini sounds more exhausting than exciting.  Collectors and scalpers can knock themselves out, but I think I’ll stick with the Virtual Console.

The Virtual Console was never a perfect service, but I prefer the convenience of having all of my classic games — NES, SNES, N64 — downloaded on one single console. And with the Switch, I am looking forward to the day when I can take all of my SNES and N64 games on the go. The less game consoles that are hooked up in my household, the better.

On an semi-related topic…

As I’m growing older, I’ve been trying to reduce the clutter in my home. I don’t like walking into a room and seeing every table and shelf covered with amiibo figures, Skylander figures, and gaming accessories. I conduct professional business meetings in my home, and I don’t want people to get the impression that I live like a pig. The NES Mini and SNES Mini are just more junk that would sit on a shelf and collect dust.

I can’t help but wonder if casual gamers grew tired of the Wii brand because it accumulated so much plastic junk in their households: Wii remotes, Wii nunchucks, Wii U GamePad, Wii Fit balance boards, Wii Sensor Bar, Wii Speak, and the Wii Wheel. And during that same time period, homes were being cluttered with fake guitars and fake drum-sets thanks to Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

I think casual gamers looked at all of this junk and said, “Oh god. What the hell am I doing with my life?”


 

Question: Do you believe Retro Studios’ project will still release in 2017?

They’ve been working on this game for three and a half years. If Retro Studios releases nothing by the end of this year, then it means Retro Studios hasn’t released a game in four years.

With that said, here’s the big problem with Retro’s game releasing in 2017.

2017’s holiday lineup is starting to become crowded. They are already juggling a handful of games in 2017: ARMS, Splatoon, Mario + Rabbids, Fire Emblem Warriors, Super Mario Odyssey, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that the real release schedule looks similar to this completely made-up release schedule.

  • June – ARMS
  • July – Splatoon 2
  • August / September – Mario + Rabbids
  • October – Fire Emblem Warriors
  • November – Super Mario Odyssey
  • December – Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Where exactly would this mysterious Retro Studios’ project fit on the schedule? What happens if Nintendo announces something related to Smash Bros or Pokemon for the holidays? Then Nintendo’s holiday schedule will become even more crowded.

This is why I am starting to believe that Retro’s project will get released in early 2018. Because there just isn’t that much room for it on the schedule anymore. Remember when Tropical Freeze was finished, scheduled for holiday 2013, but Nintendo later bumped it to February 2014? Tropical Freeze was moved to early 2014 because Nintendo didn’t have any major Wii U games during Jan-March 2014.


 

 

Question: Wait, are the rumors about a Rabbids x Mario crossover actually true?

As I wrote in a previous blog post, the official title is “Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle”. The aesthetics and art style remind me a tiny bit of Super Mario 3D World. It has colorful graphics, and it has humor that you wouldn’t typically see in a traditional Mario game.

Here’s why I’m expecting this game to be good.

  1. Ubisoft wants Mario + Rabbids to grow into a successful franchise. But it can’t become a respectable franchise unless Kingdom Battle is well-received by both critics and fans.
  2. The reputation of the Mario brand is also at stake. Nintendo won’t let just any company develop and publish games based around Mario unless they’re confident in the team and the concept. Remember, this is the same Nintendo who rejected Vicarious Vision’s proposals to add Princess Peach, Kirby, and Star Fox in Skylanders.

Here’s my theory on why this Mario + Rabbids game even exists.

With casual gamers abandoning consoles for mobile devices, Ubisoft was quickly running out of ways to keep the Rabbids brand relevant. Rabbids hasn’t been a relevant brand since the Wii and DS years (2006 – 2012).

Also, keep in mind that Rabbid games have declined in quality since 2009’s Rabbids Go Home (78 on Metacritic) and 2006’s Rayman Raving Rabbids (76 on Metacritic). For example, Rabbids Land received mixed reviews on Wii U (52 on Metacritic). Rabbids Travel in Time also received mixed reviews on the Nintendo 3DS (55 on Metacritic).

How do you re-energize a brand that is slowly fading away into irrelevance? By attaching the Rabbids brand to an even stronger brand: Super Mario.

If you glance over at Nintendo’s history, they worked on a crossover franchise with Sega called Mario & Sonic at the Olympics. Sega is the publisher of that series. Nintendo has also worked on a crossover game with Atlus called Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. So it was only a matter of time until Nintendo collaborated with Ubisoft, one of their most loyal partners, on a crossover game.

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