By AARON YNCLAN, Staff Writer
The Wii U is struggling. Every writer in this industry has written to some extent on the failings of Nintendo’s latest (this writer included), and those troubles will only continue. The trouble is, the Wii U isn’t really a bad system. It’s suffered due to confused marketing and a drought so bad it could kill a cactus. Help is on the way in the form of some excellent apps, but even with big names like Donkey Kong and Super Smash Bros attached we can’t help but think that there are a few heavy hitters who have yet to be mentioned. With that in mind, let me list just a few games I’d like to see return:
Fire Emblem– Nintendo’s premier Turn-Based Strategy series and my favorite franchise, Fire Emblem was first introduced to Western gamers thanks to some character inclusions in Super Smash Bros Melee and since then has since developed a strong following. Though primarily a handheld franchise in the states, Fire Emblem has branched into home consoles before via the Radiance saga, and I think another console outing would be a perfect addition to the Wii U library. Intelligent Systems proved dual screen gaming could work well for the franchise with Shadow Dragon and Awakening, and while the series might not push quite the same numbers as Mario or Zelda a console release would provide a welcome alternative for gamers looking for something with a bit more strategy. With that said, an in the works crossover with the Shin Megami Tensei franchise will have to sate gamers for the moment.
Metroid– The Wonder Woman to Zelda and Mario’s Batman and Superman, Samus Aran has one of the fiercest fanbases in the industry and a Wii U outing isn’t so much an “if” as a “when.” That a new entry has yet to be announced, however, can most likely be attributed to Samus Aran’s disappointing last entry. Other M wasn’t necessarily a terrible game-it had a wonderful art direction and the combat was pretty fun when you weren’t stopping to line up missiles-and any title following the universally acclaimed Prime Trilogy was bound to face heavy scrutiny. With that said the characterization of Samus was atrocious to the point of insulting, with Team Ninja painting one of the strongest, boldest, and most independent women in gaming as a weak, submissive, sexualized brat- in other words, everything Samus Aran isn’t. With the Wii U desperate for games, a return to form, whether through 2D side-scrolling or the FPS viewpoint of Metroid Prime, would be just the ticket to both push consoles and restore fan confidence in the famed bounty hunter.
Star Fox– Another fan favorite, Star Fox’s eclectic cast and exhilarating space battles have remained a standout amongst the biggest names of Nintendo’s back-catalogue. Unfortunately, the illustrious developer seems to have forgotten that in recent years. Though a 3DS remake of Star Fox 64 was a launch title for the handheld, a true console sequel hasn’t been seen since Star Fox Assault released nearly a decade ago on the GameCube, with the farm animal pilots having skipped over the Wii entirely. With the recent launch of the 8th-gen consoles and fans hungry for Fox McCloud’s return, a Wii U entry could fill a currently vacant void in the shooter genre for fast, chaotic space warfare.
Pokémon– Possibly the least likely contender on this list for a console entry, Pokémon is still one series I’d love to see on the Wii U. Though its greatest success has undoubtedly been on handheld systems, Pokémon has still made some entertaining entries on home consoles, such as the massive arena battles of Pokémon Stadium and traversing the vast Orre region of Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness. Even a sequel to the 64 classic Pokémon Snap would be a welcome addition, with the Wii U gamepad practically tailor-made for Snap’s photography gameplay. Most important of all, there is one thing that Pokémon does better than almost any franchise in Nintendo’s library: it sells. While its console spinoffs have never done near as well as the handhelds, a proper Pokémon title or a return to a cherished property like Snap could potentially help drive the hardware sales Nintendo desperately needs. Better still, they can just defy fans expectations and unveil the long-desired Pokémon MMO to compete with The Elder Scrolls Online….yea, probably not.
And that concludes my three-part series on returning franchises. It’s always important to look to the future, because the future brings new ideas and fresh perspective. But it’s also important to remember where games have been and, from time to time, see where they can still take us. While some franchises have petered out and been left by the wayside, others, like Mario, LoZ, and DK, have not only soldiered on but have even found ways to remain fresh and new after countless retellings.