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What the GBA Ambassador Games Could Tell Us About Nintendo's Future

by Neal Ronaghan - May 11, 2012, 8:39 am PDT
Total comments: 16

The 10 games that went out to loyal customers might hint at the future. Or not. But hopefully they do.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones was one of the 10 free Game Boy Advance Ambassador games that went out to 3DS owners who bought the system before the price drop last summer. Around the time the game was confirmed to be a part of the Ambassador games, we learned about Fire Emblem: Awakening, the newest entry in the series on 3DS that came out in Japan last month and is likely due out in North America and Europe later this year.

That got me thinking: maybe those games are meant to hype us up for new games in those series. It could be a totally unfounded idea. Maybe they just gave us WarioWare because they needed to give out 10 games. But maybe they didn't.

F-Zero: Maximum Velocity

Release Date: June 11, 2001
Developer: Nd Cube
Last Series Release: 2004 (F-Zero Climax - Japan Only GBA)


What games could come from this?
Well, developer Nd Cube just finished up Mario Party 9 for Wii, which came roughly a year and a half after Wii Party. Maybe they could be working on a new version of F-Zero for 3DS and/or Wii U for a 2013 release? Either that, or maybe the remnants of the F-Zero GX team is hard at work on a follow-up. Hopefully, F-Zero is coming back, though.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

Original Release Date: August 11, 2001
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Last Series Release: 2011 (Mario Kart 7 - 3DS)



What games could come from this?
Honestly? Nothing yet. If we're using this as a preview of future games, I could see this just saying that Mario Kart 7 is in stores now. There is no doubt that a new Mario Kart game will hit Wii U, but I'd expect it to not come out for a few years.

Wario Land 4

Original Release Date: November 18, 2001
Developer: Nintendo R&D 1
Last Series Release: 2008 (Wario Land: Shake It - Wii)



What games could come from this?
In the first year and a half of the 3DS' life, there will be two new entries in the Mario series. After that, I think it might be time for a change. With Wario's success on portable platforms in the past with the Wario Land series, I could see EAD Tokyo making a Wario game using all the crazy ideas they might not have used in Super Mario 3D Land. When I first thought of that possibility, it seemed crazy, but it seems crazy enough to actually happen.

Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3

Original Release Date: September 24, 2002
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Last Series Release: 2005 (Yoshi's Island DS)



What games could come from this?
Two years ago, a developer gave the Kirby series a shot in the arm with Kirby's Epic Yarn. Two years before that, the same developer gave the Wario Land series a fresh Wii release with Wario Land: Shake It. Good Feel, the team behind those two games, is likely preparing a new game for a late 2012 release. I think that game might be a Yoshi title, possibly in the vein of Yoshi's Island. If it's a 3DS title, I imagine we will see it this fall. If it's a Wii U game, I think Good Feel might not have it done until 2013.

Metroid Fusion

Original Release Date: November 17, 2002
Developer: Nintendo R&D 1
Last Series Release: 2010 (Metroid: Other M - Wii)



What games could come from this? Metroid Dread? No, that sounds like an unfunny joke at this point. Metroid: Other M left the series in a bad place, with a poor sales and critical response. I don't think Yoshio Sakamoto will be forcibly removed from the series he helped create, but I do think he won't get the budget he got with Other M. I think it would be a really smart move on Nintendo's part to create a new 2D Metroid game for download on 3DS and/or Wii U. It would show they are serious about their download services, and it would be a way to shut up all of the 2D-loving Metroid fans.

WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!

Original Release Date: May 21, 2003
Developer: Nintendo R&D 1
Last Series Release: 2010 (WarioWare: DIY - DS)


What games could come from this?
WarioWare hasn't hit the 3DS yet, but I think the series is more direly needed on Wii U. It might not be a launch title, but I think it'd be smart to have a new WarioWare title out on Wii U within the first year. Of course, since Sakamoto's team will likely be behind it, that might nix my Metroid idea.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Original Release Date: May 24, 2004
Developer: NST
Last Series Release: 2010 (Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem - DS)



What games could come from this?
NST is staffing up, but I don't think it'll be anything too interesting for now. They might be working on a more in-depth Wii U title or something, but for now, they're probably working on a Mario vs. Donkey Kong title for download on Wii U or 3DS. It'll be good, as Mario vs. Donkey Kong's previous foray into DSiWare was fantastic.

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror

Original Release Date: July 2, 2004
Developer: HAL Laboratory, Flagship, Dimps
Last Series Release: 2011 (Kirby's Return to Dream Land - Wii)


What games could come from this?
Kirby will be celebrating his 20th anniversary this summer with a new Wii collection. That could very well be what this Ambassador title was hinting at. With two Kirby games out last year, I don't think we're going to see a new game from the little pink puff until, at the earliest, 2013.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Original Release Date: January 10, 2005
Developer: Flagship
Last Series Release: 2011 (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Wii)


What games could come from this?
Retro Studios is making a Zelda Wii U game. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Maybe I'm wrong, but this is what I think will happen as of today. However, as time goes on, maybe they are doing that Star Fox game. If that's the case, then maybe Minish Cap is hinting at a new entry in the series for 3DS, made by a company similar to Flagship.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Original Release Date: May 23, 2005
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Last Series Release: 2012 (Fire Emblem - Japan Only (so far) 3DS)


What games could come from this?
The game that spawned this idea also very clearly was included to get people psyched for Fire Emblem: Awakening on 3DS. The game came out in Japan last month and is apparently amazing. It's confirmed for a 2012 European release, and very likely coming to North America this year as well.

Talkback

geoMay 11, 2012

Great article, I've thought the same!  However, I hope the NES ambassador games don't hint at the future.  (At least those from the black-box early NES variety)

ResettisCousinMay 11, 2012

Seeing all these titles in one group (again) really reminds one of the superlative level that Nintendo achieved with their GBA titles. But I don't think the selection was any more deliberate than picking the highlights of their published library and placating fans. What I do expect is that Nintendo will milk their franchies dry with the Wii U generation in a combination Hail Mary and tribute to save or honor (they'll project the former but know - deep inside - it's about the later) a dying model of game development and distribution. This explosive transformation will also be the grand, and parting, salute to their icon, Miyamoto.

CericMay 11, 2012

On the Metroid Series if they did go downloadable I really wish they do something with the Bounty Hunter side of Samus.  Lets face it for most of the series she really is more of a gun for hire lone wolf.  I think a series of losely interconnected bounty game for Metroid would be interesting.  Especially if the back tracking Full fans love could cross episodes.

Think about it like this, You buy Episode 1 you notice some areas you can't get to, note for designer you may also not know how they get through it while making episode 1, you buy Episode 2 it not only introduces a new area/mission/etc explicitily but it adds content to Episode 1.  Preferable progressing the area and allowing you to stretch you new abilities.  Int typical Metroid fashion it won't tell you about it.  You have to go back and find it for yourself.

TJ SpykeMay 11, 2012

Please, no. I hate the whole idea of episodic games. When I buy a game, I expect to get a whole game. It's like buying a movie and finding out you only get the first 1/4 of it and you have to keep buying to get the whole movie.

CericMay 11, 2012

Quote from: TJ

Please, no. I hate the whole idea of episodic games. When I buy a game, I expect to get a whole game. It's like buying a movie and finding out you only get the first 1/4 of it and you have to keep buying to get the whole movie.

I would want to make something that felt more like a good American TV Episode.  Where it could stand on its own if all the other episodes didn't exist, but you could get more out of it from the existance of the other episodes.

TJ SpykeMay 11, 2012

That is something I would be OK with. Each entry is stand alone and you don't feel like you are missing anything.

NbzMay 11, 2012

Great article Neal! I am personally one of the 2D Metroid Loving fanatics out there who would be enthralled by a new entry into the series. As said before Other M really wasn't what I was hoping for, even though its structure was similar to Fusion - a game I love - it just didn't do it for me. I think that Nintendo would do well to release a downloadable Metroid title, or even a more fully fledged 2.5D sidescroller that takes advantage of  the 3D in the same way that something like Mutant Mudds did (having multiple layers etc...)

the asylumMay 11, 2012

It's been almost nine years since F-Zero GX

Come on Nintendo. Don't let me down again this year.

TrueNerdMay 11, 2012

I don't think there will ever come a time when I am satisfied with the amount of 2D Metroid games. I'll always want more, and I'll buy them in whatever form Nintendo decides to sell them to me.

Quote from: TrueNerd

I don't think there will ever come a time when I am satisfied with the amount of 2D Metroid games. I'll always want more, and I'll buy them in whatever form Nintendo decides to sell them to me.

I definitely agree with this sentiment. Also, Mario.

Evan_BMay 11, 2012

I dunno. Retro handling Zelda, especially this soon after Skywad Sword, just seems so unlikely to me. However, with the Zelda tech demo last year beign a massive tease for an HD Zelda offering, Nintendo better get on getting an HD Zelda out there soon. Because that demo looked GLORIOUS.

Quote from: Evan_B

I dunno. Retro handling Zelda, especially this soon after Skywad Sword, just seems so unlikely to me. However, with the Zelda tech demo last year beign a massive tease for an HD Zelda offering, Nintendo better get on getting an HD Zelda out there soon. Because that demo looked GLORIOUS.

Well if Nintendo's getting out another Zelda game anytime soon it most likely has to come from outside the usual Zelda team, since they were busy up until 6-8 months ago with Skyward Sword, meaning their next game realistically wouldn't be out until at least 2014. Looking outside that team, we'd be talking another EAD team, which seems unlikely, Intelligent Systems, which doesn't really have the experience for this kind of game, or Retro, unless they were going outside Nintendo or creating a new team specifically for it. Of those options, I think Retro makes the most sense. I'd personally rather see them do something else, but I can see the argument.

TJ SpykeMay 11, 2012

Miyamoto (I think, maybe it was Aonuma) also said that the next Zelda game will not take as long as the last one to come out (5 years after the previous Zelda). So it makes sense that the next one would be in development already.

Retro hasn't really done anything publicaly since developing the retro tracks in Mario Kart 7, and it's doubtful the entire studio was needed for that. I think they have probably been secretly working on the next Zelda for the last 1 1/2 years, and Nintendo will unveil it at E3 with a 2013 release date.

nickmitchMay 12, 2012

It'd make a lot of sense if Retro was working on something that got moved from the Wii to the Wii U. Zelda makes sense because that game would take a lot of time. F-Zero (or maybe Star Fox) probably wouldn't take as much unless it got bumped up.

AdrockMay 12, 2012

We keep talking about how Retro Studios handling Zelda (which would be awesome) but what if a completely different team within Nintendo is working on the next Zelda and has been since before Skyward Sword launched? We all kind of expect Zelda to come from Aonuma's Software Development Group 3. There's really nothing stopping Nintendo from handing the series to another team realizing, "Well, shit, we could really use a new Zelda title ASAP." Apparently, EAD Tokyo Development Group 1 co-produced Ocarina of Time 3D and Four Swords Anniversary with Grezzo. It could be them. Maybe Retro Studios is working on Zelda Wii U and EAD Tokyo/Grezzo are working on Zelda 3DS with Aonuma's team working on a sequel down the road. I'll take my tin foil hat off now.

SonofMrPeanutMay 21, 2012

I know there's been plenty of hints at Retro making a Zelda game, but I don't think it's a Wii U game.  Rather, I believe Retro is the studio taking up the Flagship mantle and making 3DS Zelda.


With Skyward Sword only being half a year old at this point (it happened yesterday, incidentally) and the promise that the next game for 3DS will be new, it seems a much more likely setting in my mind than Wii U.  Too, a console Zelda isn't the kind of thing I see Nintendo outsourcing.  Though Retro could maybe help with part of it like they did in MK7, in that case Nintendo needed assistance to get the game out by the end of the year.  A console Zelda typically takes years of development, and as SS proved they're willing to push up the release date if necessary rather than do whatever it takes to get it out of the gate by a date.

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