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Who Will Define The Next Year of Nintendo? February 25, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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On March 18th, 2014 the Year of Luigi will officially end. The Year of Luigi, originally announced a year ago, was one of the best promotional events in the history of Nintendo and brought a character typically seen in the background up front and center as he happened to star in several major games that got released over the course of that year, including Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, New Super Luigi U and Dr. Luigi.

With the year wrapping up soon, and with all the positive press from the promotion, I started to wonder if Nintendo might try the event again with a new character for 2014.  Luigi was chosen because he was a background character that hadn’t got as much appreciation as Nintendo’s biggest mascot, Mario. He was also chosen because Nintendo had planned an entire lineup of games which featured him to release within that year, including several games he would star in. So it would be logical to assume Nintendo may want to promote some other secondary character once the Year of Luigi concludes.

But which character?  With a bit of speculation, and a bit of conjecture lets take a look at some of the options.

Samus Aran – The third major Nintendo property has not seen much love from Nintendo in this current generation.  Since the release of Metroid: Other M, we haven’t heard a peep from the franchise’s hero Samus Aran, despite the demand for new Metroid Prime games.  Short of releases of the original Metroid games on the Wii U and 3DS platforms, and a fantastic bunch of minigames in the Wii U launch title Nintendo Land, there have not been any new Metroid games released on the current Nintendo platforms. I think the time is right for some new Metroid games, all it would take is a new game’s announcement.  In the meantime, Metroid Fusion has already been confirmed as an early title for the Wii U’s first GBA Virtual Console releases, and Samus was one of the first characters confirmed for the next Super Smash Bros game.

Donkey Kong – Could this year be on like Donkey Kong?  It’s already started up.  One of the original mascots of the Nintendo company, Donkey Kong would be a great contender to dedicate the next year.  With Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze releasing this month on the Wii U, the lineup is already in place.  He has also been confirmed as one of the first playable characters for the next Super Smash Bros game and Mario Kart 8.  However, even I have to admit the timing may be wrong for Donkey Kong this year.  With the new Donkey Kong Country game getting released while we are still officially in the Year of Luigi, it may have been too soon to dedicate the next year of releases to him.

Bowser – A role once played by Dennis Hopper, next to Mario or Luigi, Bowser is one of the most iconic characters from the Super Mario series, and if Nintendo wanted to devote another year to a lesser appreciated character from the Super Mario franchise, Bowser would probably be the most likely candidate. While typically the villain of nearly every Super Mario Bros game, Bowser has occasionally joined Mario with his battles, like in Super Mario RPG, or joined him with his recreational activities, like Golf or Go Karting.  Interesting to note that not only will he be returning as a playable character in Mario Kart 8, all the Koopalings will be coming with him.

Pikachu – The most iconic mascot for one of the most popular game franchises in history could find a year dedicated to him.  Yes I know that Nintendo already released the sixth generation Pokémon games in 2013, but Nintendo doesn’t need to launch a new Pokémon generational game, they could be in development of new spin-off titles like a new Pokémon Ranger game.  On top of that, there have been rumors for a few months now that an interactive game starring Pikachu is under development and will be the next game Nintendo releases in the Pokémon series.  Could this Pikachu game be the flagship title of a year of Pikachu like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was for The Year of Luigi?

The Year of Luigi ends March 18th, 2014.  I guess we’ll find out what will be coming in less than a month.  Until then, speculate away.  I’ll see you on Miiverse.

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