WiiU

Missed Opportunities: The Wonderful 101 Pokémon

by Nicholas Bray - September 7, 2013, 4:35 pm PDT
Total comments: 17

This week's thoughts include a TV series and a large 3D world to explore.

This week I have another couple of missed opportunities to share. The first is about a console Pokémon game and the second is an idea on how The Wonderful 101 could have been a larger success.

Pokémon Console Game

This is a fairly obvious opportunity that many feel should have been exploited at least once by now, a full 3D, console Pokémon adventure.

While many talk about how Nintendo should create a Pokémon MMO, I don’t believe that it is necessary to go that far. Many people would love to be able to explore a fully 3D Pokémon world in a third person style, even if it was mostly a single player experience.

The new Pokémon X and Y games are definitely moving much closer to what people have been wanting, but they’re still not there, and we may never really get a game that goes as far as people are imagining.

People want a console quality version of the mainline Pokémon games. A massive world on the order of something like Skyrim or Xenoblade would be what is needed to really wow people. Now, I don’t mean exactly like those games, just something along those lines. Make it feel like you can go almost anywhere, bring in lush environments with rivers, dense forests, etc., and let players move and interact more freely within the world. Just being able to experience the Pokémon world in a bigger way would be very exciting.

Nintendo and Game Freak have their reasons why they keep the main games strictly on the portable systems, but to me, it is just leaving money on the table, not to mention a potential killer app for the Wii U.

The Wonderful 101 TV Series

It’s no real surprise that the release of The Wonderful 101 has failed to light up the Wii U in any meaningful way. For starters, its a brand new IP with almost zero mainstream exposure. Sure, the game seems to be aimed mainly at an older core type crowd, but that’s not to say the game and characters would not appeal to children, quite the opposite.

The main thing Nintendo wants is to have games that will inspire people to go out and purchase a system. The Wonderful 101 could have been something like that for the younger generation, but the marketing has been decidedly low key. It’s understandable, although, if Nintendo took a larger risk on really pushing the title they could possibly have had a larger hit.

One of the oldest tricks in the book to get kids on board with new characters and gaming software, is to create a TV series. The Wonderful 101 has some great designs that are full of personality; I don’t think it would be a huge stretch of the imagination to see how these characters could fit into a fun, CG cartoon. If successful, the kids watching would want to play the game. Match the cartoon with a higher dose of general advertising, and it could have been a more compelling reason for them to go out and buy the system, or at the very least, bug their parents to buy one.

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Talkback

yoshi1001September 08, 2013

A lower-risk investment for 101 might have been a comic book-the series seems well-suited for it, and it would have been easier to get out for the launch.

ClexYoshiSeptember 09, 2013

Pokemon Collesium and Pokemon XD poisoned that water hole, lemme tell you.

yoshi1001September 09, 2013

Quote from: ClexYoshi

Pokemon Collesium and Pokemon XD poisoned that water hole, lemme tell you.

I never thought they were that bad-I actually enjoyed them a fair bit, though admittedly they don't match the main games. The one part that always stood out to me as being bad though was the battle scenario machine-it had this huge animation before the battle started (perhaps to hide load time), and if you failed a session, you'd have to watch it all over again before getting another try.

Chad SexingtonSeptember 09, 2013

I would be in favor of Nintendo licensing out and working with Bathesda to create this mythic Skyrim-esque Pokemon game.

ShayminSeptember 09, 2013

I agree, because putting Bethesda on it means it will never pass Nintendo's certification and will never come out.

Ian SaneSeptember 09, 2013

When I imagine a full 3D console Pokemon RPG I always think of something that looks like an N64 game.  The reason for that is that that was what console games looked like when I first started wanting such a game.  I figured Nintendo wasn't offering such a title on the N64 because of technical limitations or because the development time would have taken too long to get the game out while the N64 was still current.  I just assumed that such a title would show up on the Gamecube.

I guess it sort of did but somehow Nintendo figured out a way to completely fuck it all up.  Pokemon Colosseum was really the Other M of the Gamecube.  The Gamecube era was pretty frustrating because it seemed like Nintendo dropped the ball on every chance they had.  You want to sell Gamecubes?  You release a proper Pokemon RPG on it, that's effectively a full 3D take on the handheld games, and every Pokemon fan will have to own one.  Oh and if you're really clever you make the handheld and console games have exclusive Pokemon so that they have to use the Cube-GBA connectivity to catch 'em all.  Is that not the most OBVIOUS idea in the world?  Nintendo's strategy has effectively been to make it so that a Pokemon fan ONLY has to have a Nintendo handheld to get a worthwhile Pokemon experience.  What the fuck stupid "throw money down the shitter" strategy is that?  So the GBA is a huge success while Nintendo scratches their heads wondering why the Cube flounders.

For a good comparison, imagine if Nintendo kept Mario platformers strictly on consoles because that's what he was associated with.  So no Super Mario Land games on the Game Boy and no NSMB on the DS.  Wouldn't that have been ridiculously stupid?  Yet I hear the decision to keep the "real" Pokemon games on the handhelds defended in this very way - that Pokemon is inherently a handheld series and must be kept as such.  Yet Mario, Metroid and Zelda are allowed to go to handhelds.  Kirby started off on the Game Boy but no one cares that real Kirby games appear on consoles.  If Nintendo was so strict about keeping their other franchises on their "native" platform would the Game Boy even have lasted long enough for Pokemon to have been created?

They could make a console Pokemon game now but it wouldn't matter.  The timing for such a title was ten years ago.  That's why everyone talks MMO because THAT is the obvious console Pokemon to make in 2013.

The argument Nintendo has made is that Pokémon is a game designed for multiplayer. Up until the Wii that wasn't really possible on consoles, and even then, online multiplayer isn't really that popular in Japan, which, as has been established, is what Nintendo bases their decision-making on.

CericSeptember 09, 2013

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

The argument Nintendo has made is that Pokémon is a game designed for multiplayer. Up until the Wii that wasn't really possible on consoles, and even then, online multiplayer isn't really that popular in Japan, which, as has been established, is what Nintendo bases their decision-making on.

PSO waves Hi.

StogiSeptember 09, 2013

So does Monster Hunter which might as well be a sophisticated Pokemon.

Ian SaneSeptember 09, 2013

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

The argument Nintendo has made is that Pokémon is a game designed for multiplayer. Up until the Wii that wasn't really possible on consoles, and even then, online multiplayer isn't really that popular in Japan, which, as has been established, is what Nintendo bases their decision-making on.

Oh and I'm pretty sure online multiplayer was possible on consoles prior to the Wii, and I'm not just talking non-Nintendo consoles either.  Besides the obvious idea was to involve GC-GBA connectivity.  So a Pokemon fan buys both a GBA AND Gamecube, buys a game for each, trades between his GC game and his GBA game and then goes out and trades between GBA games including Pokemon that can only be found in single player in the Gamecube game.  This even works within Nintendo's bullshit excuses about not going online on the Gamecube.

They had a console that wouldn't sell and they pushed this connectivity crap in place of online gaming and they had the killer app for BOTH staring them right in the face and did nothing.  And for all their talk about Pokemon being a multiplayer game, Zelda is as single player of a game as you can get but they made some multiplayer version to try (and fail) to sell connectivity.  Nintendo seemed to regard connectivity as a multiplayer thing!

I think the real reason is that Nintendo made games like Snap and Stadium as stopgaps to get N64 Pokemon product out to the market faster than it would have taken to get a proper Pokemon game ready and then realized that could rip the Pokemon fanbase off with sub-standard crap provided they released a "real" Pokemon game every few years and that became their Pokemon business model.  In typical Nintendo fashion they let short term greed blind them and ripping off Pokemon fans with junk distracted them from the true system selling potential of a proper console Pokemon.  The handheld Pokemon RPGs exist to prop up the Pokemon crap.  Having a GOOD and proper Pokemon console game would condition Pokemon fans to expect better and destroy the sales potential of every half-baked Pokemon spin-off.

...or Nintendo are just idiots.  That's a simple explanation that can cover probably 80% of the decisions they've made since the Virtual Boy.

OblivionSeptember 09, 2013

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

The argument Nintendo has made is that Pokémon is a game designed for multiplayer. Up until the Wii that wasn't really possible on consoles, and even then, online multiplayer isn't really that popular in Japan, which, as has been established, is what Nintendo bases their decision-making on.

So Xbox Live never existed on the original Xbox? Halo: Combat Evolved never had online functionality?

I was of course referring to Nintendo consoles. We're talking about Pokémon here, do you think there was much chance of that hitting the Xbox?

OblivionSeptember 09, 2013

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Up until the Wii that wasn't really possible on consoles,

Doesn't sound like you were talking about Nintendo consoles here.

Yes, if you remove it from the context it doesn't say what I intended to say. I seriously doubt anyone but you thought I was saying that the Wii was the first online console. And in addition to that, I'm insulted that on today of all days you used the Xbox as your example of an earlier online console.

Mop it upSeptember 09, 2013

When I read the title I thought this was going to be an idea about making a Pokémon game where you control 101 Pokémon. I leave disappointed.

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

I'm insulted that on today of all days you used the Xbox as your example of an earlier online console.

Ha ha, I get it, because today is the Dreamcast's 14thn anniversary in NA, right?

Quote from: Mop

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

I'm insulted that on today of all days you used the Xbox as your example of an earlier online console.

Ha ha, I get it, because today is the Dreamcast's 14thn anniversary in NA, right?

Indeed. I was playing online games on my Dreamcast well before the Xbox launched.

StogiSeptember 10, 2013

I mentioned this in another thread, but a console Pokemon could kill two birds with one stone. It's a drastic move that could potentially have the best gamepad use.

Like Skyward Sword, Nintendo used a lot of tested ideas to form the mechanics of the game. Nintendo has several excellent games to look back on for Pokemon, including PokeSnap and Xenoblade.

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