Before I wrap up this series of articles with what I’d imagine would be a Hybrid console’s 2016 lineup, I just wanted to go back through the past 5 years and note that there were quite a large collection of titles that just kind of fell by the wayside because I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Most of these are either smaller or handheld-centric so I just wasn’t sure what they would be on a Hybrid console. They might have existed, might have been cancelled, might have been replaced, or who knows what. But in either case, I just wanted to list them all now to add to the sense that a development strategy focusing on one console instead of two would be a big boost to the size of a system’s software lineup:
- Pokédex 3D (3DS, 2011)
- Nintendo Video (3DS, 2011)
- Swapnote (3DS, 2011)
- Crosswords Plus (3DS, 2012)
- Pokémon Dream Radar (3DS, 2012)
- Style Savvy Trendsetters (3DS, 2012)
- Pokédex 3D Pro (3DS, 2012)
- Brain Age: Concentration Training (3DS, 2013)
- Flipnote Studio 3D (3DS, 2015)
- Pokémon Rumble World (3DS, 2015)
- Nintendo Badge Arcade (3DS, 2015)
It is at this moment that I want to remind everyone of how eerily similar the imaginary 2011 that I invented to placate this project is to the current, real-life 2016. At the time of this article’s posting, the Wii U and 3DS’s release lineup looks about as bad or even worse than the lineup I pointed out for the last year of Wii and DS in the Hybrid universe. Barely anything is coming out until the NX’s supposed release in March of 2017.
But my, how the story changes without so many games being shifted in development to a new console. And with those in mind towards the end of the year, think about the good games that have or will come out for Wii U and 3DS in first half of this year and then think about how put together on one console, they’d cover a large swath of Nintendo’s IPs. Between Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, an HD Fire Emblem title, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, Pokkén Tournament, Star Fox Zero & Star Fox Guard, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and Kirby: Planet Robobot, there’s a lot of good games to keep attention on the Hybrid.
I would like to note, though, that Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam and Kirby: Planet Robobot are both titles that I feel were made to fill up space, as they both came a little earlier than expected and use an engine previously used on the same console. So it’s possible that the same developer would have spent an extra year working on a new game, but once I remembered that the studios behind both series have a history of putting out games in the series on the same console and quickly in succession (Mario & Luigi longer than Kirby, of course) I figured both games would just release in 2016 anyway.
Of the undated games that I think we’ll see this year still, I’d imagine many of them would still end up on the Hybrid, including Paper Mario: Color Splash, Rhythm Heaven MegaMix, Pokémon Sun and Moon, and two games that I’d imagine will see themselves to Western shores this year: Great Detective Pikachu and BoxBoy! Another Box.
What interests me, though, is thinking about where Metroid Prime: Federation Force would land. It’s certainly possible that series director Kensuke Tanabe would still want a co-op shooter in the Metroid Prime universe. But even then, many things would have changed from the product we will be receiving in August. The most notable changes we’d see? Obviously, the controls would be 100x better with two actual analog sticks, but more than that, the art style would likely change from being a cartoonish, “chibi” style and have been designed more in line with the realistic, gritty and dark style many have always wanted from the Metroid series. It may not be enough of a change to turn the fanbase’s current opinion on the game around, but it would certainly be more positive than what we have.
Now, let’s get to the best part of this 2016: the games that would have released this year if it weren’t for the console-handheld split and NX’s imminent release. From the 2015 part of the article, you might recall that I mentioned that Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash would likely not have released in this universe. Instead, another, more in-depth game would be developed instead with release on their recent 2-year cycle in 2016. And my best bet would be that the game would be an HD Golden Sun title.
More importantly, 2 games rumored for NX that would more than likely hit the end of their development cycle and come out for the Hybrid in 2016 would be New IPs or Titles from both the Pikmin & 2D Mario developers and the 3D Mario Developers. Pikmin 4 was mentioned at E3 last year to be almost finished, and likely now an NX game, while 3D Mario’s 3 year development cycle should point to a new game this year– also likely pushed to NX in 2017. For the Hybrid though? They’d come out this year.
I’d mentioned at the end of the 2015 section of the article that I felt that Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes were made to fill in the extended gap left by a delay of the Wii U versions of the Animal Crossing and The Legend of Zelda franchises, which are both likely to release for NX within the first year. Without a new system, both would then move up in release date. Which is why the end of the Hybrid’s 2016 would see the release of both a new title from the developers of Animal Crossing, Wii Sports & Splatoon, and of course, the long awaited HD Zelda title.
Speaking of the latter title, note what it does for the system. Because by this point, the Hybrid would already have HD versions of Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. For those keeping track at home, that is every single 3D Zelda game ever released on a home console rereleased in HD on a single system. Not too shabby.
Nintendo “Hybrid” Games of 2016:
- Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
- HD Fire Emblem title
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
- Pokkén Tournament
- Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
- Star Fox Guard
- Star Fox Zero
- Mini Mario and Friends: amiibo Challenge
- Pocket Card Jockey
- Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
- Kirby: Planet Robobot
- Metroid Prime: Federation Force
- Paper Mario: Color Splash
- Rhythm Heaven MegaMix
- Pokémon Sun and Moon
- Great Detective Pikachu
- BoxBoy! Another Box
- New Title or IP from the Pikmin./2D Mario developers
- New Title or IP from the Animal Crossing/Wii Sports/Splatoon Developers
- New HD Golden Sun title
- New Title or IP from the 3D Mario developers
- The Legend of Zelda HD title (Wii U/NX)
What I hope I’ve demonstrated in this article are the positive effects that a single, hybrid console could have on Nintendo’s game development output. The most important two being that Nintendo can focus software production originally split on two systems into a single one– meaning more games on a single system, which would help fill out the software drought Nintendo consoles often have without 3rd party support–, and that now, without needing to produce what many might view as the same game on multiple consoles, Nintendo developers will have the opportunities to develop a more diverse console library or experiment with a franchise that already released a “safe” title on the same system.
Could I have made those two points in a much shorter article? Yes.
Did I heartily enjoying this to my own amusement? Also yes.
Of course, as is any speculative alternate history, what I’ve laid out here is very likely not exactly what would happen if Nintendo had released a hybrid console in 2011 instead of proceeding on the 3DS and Wii U, but it’s not much of a stretch to say that it at the very least could have looked as such without too many development issues and delays that have plagued other developers in the move into HD gaming.
If Nintendo’s NX does end up being the hybrid system that rumors suggest, there is a good to great chance that it would benefit even further than this hypothetical Hybrid did– Nintendo has already gone through the HD growing pains from the Wii U, and has committed to being able to make more games and at a faster rate.
And of course, it just so happens that the developers of games like Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, 2D Mario, Pikmin, 3D Mario and other developers like Retro Studios (Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze), Intelligent Systems (Paper Mario: Color Splash), HAL Laboratories (Kirby: Planet Robobot), Monster Games (Xenoblade Chronicles 3D), Camelot Software Planning (Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash), Arika (Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure), and Nd Cube (Mario Party 10) all have their development cycles lined up to put out at least one game in the first year of the Nx’s life cycle– a factoid of which I will mention in a later article.
As far as games are concerned, Nintendo should be locked and loaded to produce the best release window they’ve ever made– and if rumors of 3rd party support are true, it could even be the best release window any console has ever had. We will just have to see if the machine itself can stand on it’s own.