Top 10 Nintendo Franchises to Revive on the Switch
I don’t think there’s a single video game fan out there right now who isn’t at least intrigued by Nintendo’s newest console, the Nintendo Switch. Even those who wrote off the company for appealing to the casual market or jumped ship when Square did in the mid-‘90s likely know that with every new product there is the potential for Nintendo to drop a bombshell that takes them back to top-dog status. And given the lack of information the company is willing to release about the system — par for the course for them, really — there’s plenty of speculation as to what kind of surprises might be in store for their new toy.
Breath of the Wild is sure to be a classic launch title, while Smash Bros. and Mario Kart ports from the Wii U are likely to round out the early lineup as is the trend with more recent consoles. But Nintendo’s greatest strength is arguably the sheer depth of its bag of tricks. With a 40-year history of making games, Nintendo has dozens of franchises to complicate its balancing act of resources, but each and every one of those franchises also has its fans that can be appeased with a new entry. Whether they need to be dusted off after a decade or two or just retooled after some recent mishandling, the Nintendo Switch is a clean slate with which to do right by these franchises.
The Legendary Starfy
Deemed “too Japanese” for a North American release up until its fifth entry, the Starfy series may therefore be a little bit of an unknown to the North American audience, and given the revival of 2D platformers such as Donkey Kong Country Returns and Yoshi’s Woolly World, Nintendo may be justified in leaving it on the back burner since 2008. But those who have played the series will tell you that the Starfy games still possess enough charm to make them stand apart from other similar titles. A bright, bubbly attitude, big bosses, and fun stage design make up one enjoyable platform that more than encompasses the retrocentric attitude that many Nintendo fans just eat up. There should always be more room in Nintendo’s lineup for more games like The Legendary Starfy, and whether Nintendo commissions developer TOSE for a new entry, or perhaps even a Starfy collection, a new game featuring “Stafy” and friends would be a great way to show fans that the little guy hasn’t been forgotten.
Super Mario Sunshine
Whether or not you see it as just another main series Mario title, there are a few things that can typically be agreed upon about Super Mario Sunshine. For one, it’s a weird game — the story, the setting, and the new gameplay mechanics are way out of left field even for a Mario title, which is likely why its as divisive an entry as the series has had since Super Mario Bros. 2. And secondly, especially for those who remember it fondly, it’s been a bit too long since we’ve revisited the new friends — Piantas, Nokis, and even FLUDD — we made on Isle Delfino. With a new Mario title teased in the Switch reveal trailer, fans already have plenty to look forward to, it just isn’t likely that Mario’s big Gamecube outing is going to see a true follow-up. And yet with Nintendo being just as apt to utilize the market power of HD remakes as Sony and Microsoft, Super Mario Sunshine could see the same kind of update as The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, or another classic entry from the GameCube library, like:
Ever since his classic launch title adventure on the GameCube, Luigi has been defined by his apparently cowardly nature and his adventures hunting ghosts, with most of his spin-off appearances (Mario Kart, Mario Power Tennis, etc.) giving him a newfound identity through this unusual aesthetic. And yet, up until Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the 3DS, Nintendo proved surprisingly reluctant to release another title in the series itself, which was a shame because it was such a departure from the main Mario series and yet such a success. Now that Nintendo has seen the series sell on both console and handheld, it seems reasonable that a either a new entry or a remake of the first title would do well on the Switch, whether or not they choose to treat it as a console entry, handheld, or both.
Kid Icarus is, of course, one of the franchises on this list to have a fairly recent entry, with Uprising having been released in 2012 as an early 3DS title. Kid Icarus: Uprising revitalized the series with a dramatic departure from the original NES title and its Game Boy sequel, Of Myths and Monsters, turning it from a side-scrolling adventure to an action-packed shooter. But Uprising, despite having been an all around excellent game, faced plenty of criticism based around its control scheme, and the fact that it essentially required a stand for the system to play properly and without causing cramps in players’ hands. Given the popularity of the game despite this, as well as the popularity of Pit and Palutena in Smash Bros , it seems that the Switch would benefit greatly either from a follow-up to Uprising or simply a port of it that could rectify the problems of the original release with a more console-like controller.
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
Obviously, this isn’t really a Nintendo franchise, but the Crystal Chronicles spin-off series has still maintained its status as Nintendo exclusive since the original title for the GameCube. Although it has sometimes strayed into strategy and adventure territory, the series originally focused on co-operative multiplayer, which not only set it apart from the main series, but placed it decidedly in Nintendo’s wheelhouse. And it’s the multiplayer capabilities and accessibility of the Switch that makes it apparent that Nintendo should commission Square Enix for another go at it on their new console. While the GameCube original knocked it out of the park with its innovative co-op that utilized the Game Boy Advance link capabilities, the amount of extra hardware required for it made the true potential of the original game severely under-utilized. The potential for the Switch and its exciting multiplayer capabilities would be well-implemented by a Crystal Chronicles game, which would also add a strong RPG title to the early lineup as well.
Still an original idea 17 years after the first and only entry, a follow-up to one of the best spin-off titles ever has been demanded by fans for years now. The roster alone, now at over 800 compared to the original 151 in 1999, offers up nearly endless possibilities for new content, which may actually be why the possibility of a new Pokémon Snap has yet to be even suggested by Nintendo. While taking pictures of Pokémon would have had an extra sense of immersion if either the 3DS or Wii U’s motion controls had been utilized for a sequel, the advent of augmented reality and the portability of the Switch console still seems like a reasonable direction for the series to take should it finally receive a new entry. Regardless of whether or not any sort of new features come into play (except for saving pictures to your SD card, of course), Nintendo would be delivering on one of their most requested ideas should they choose to explore a new Snap game for their shiny new toy.
One of the true unexpected treasures of Nintendo’s past, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem finally saw the light of day (pun intended) on the GameCube in 2002 and turned the heads of survival horror fans who likely never expected a game of its type from Nintendo. Developed by Silicon Knights, the atmosphere and progression of the game highlighted an impressively original title highlighted by fourth-wall breaking “sanity effects,” such as mangled camera angles, the volume on your TV being lowered, and even a blue screen of death. The unfortunate demise of developer Silicon Knights and a series of failed crowdfunding campaigns has made the outlook for a sequel rather grim, but with creator Denis Dyack still clamoring for a new entry, Nintendo still holding onto the trademark after more than a decade, and the ongoing interest in new and original ways to invigorate the survival horror genre with the advent of new technology, there is still some hope for Nintendo to pull through with the announcement of a new Eternal Darkness title.
Pikmin may be on track for a new side-scrolling entry on the 3DS, but given the fan response to it (an internet petition clamoring for its cancellation after only a single trailer), Nintendo may find it in their best interest to start working on a new main title as well. Pikmin is often regarded as one of the last great franchises to come from Nintendo, and it certainly has its fan base. Pikmin 3 was regarded early on as one of the best titles to grace the Wii U’s library, but unfortunately saw low sales figures due to the poor sales performance of the console, to the point that it had to be rereleased under the Nintendo Selects label just to make it available to later adopters. Nintendo should capitalize on the popularity of the Pikmin franchise with the release of the Switch either by continuing to push the excellent Pikmin 3 or by devoting their time to an all new entry to follow it up with.
Ask any Nintendo fan what their biggest forgotten franchise is, and you’re likely to hear the lament for the lack of F-Zero titles in recent years. Last seen on consoles with F-Zero GX and on handhelds with the Japan-exclusive Climax, F-Zero is just one of several racing series from Nintendo that has been ignored in recent years in favor of a focus on Mario Kart. But while Wave Race and Excitebike, for example, had their time in the spotlight, F-Zero has typically felt underused given its originality and cult following, only known to casual fans for its presence in the Smash Bros. series. A new F-Zero game for the Switch could bring the series back to its natural position as the more hardcore and technically ambitious sibling to the ultra-popular Mario Kart franchise. Not only would a new F-Zero satisfy legions of rabid fans who have been waiting over a decade for their speed fix, but it would make an excellent example for showing off the console’s technical prowess — something Nintendo has often failed to do. Surely a high speed split-screen race, running at a high frame rate on a portable system would silence a few critics, no?
Much like the in-development Pikmin title, Metroid’s latest entry, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, was greeted with widespread disdain upon its announcement, leading fans to again question whether or not Nintendo has some sort of vendetta against the series. While Federation Force was eventually released to mediocre reception, it merely represents the prolonging of another down period for one of Nintendo’s most historic franchises. It’s unfortunate that Federation Force and Other M have been the only sporadic releases since the conclusion of the incredible Prime trilogy, but of course, this isn’t the first time that Metroid has been through a rough patch. The Switch represents the potential for yet another revitalization of the franchise, either as a return to the classic 2D adventures or yet another 3D entry to follow up the Prime games. Either way, a new Metroid is likely the biggest splash Nintendo can make to get the Switch started on the right track, simply because of how good the franchise can be, and how much can still be done with it.