Pikmin 3 Confirmed Offline – Should We Be Worried?

Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed Pikmin 3 will only feature local multiplayer when it debuts alongside the Wii U sometime later this year, in an interview with IGN.  Here’s his exact words for why this is:

“In the situation of Pikmin, for example, since you would have lots of individual, small creatures, the Pikmin, whose every movement and location is going to be really important in the game, it would be very difficult to sync up over an internet connection.”

Is anyone else a little perplexed by this statement?  I’d understand if this were a brand new genre, but Pikmin is essentially an RTS, of which there are countless dozens out there, and all of them online.  Where would StarCraft II be right now if it weren’t online?  So I’m wondering if this is something potential Wii U owners should be worried about, and likely not in the sense you’re thinking.

Apparently this is too complex for Nintendo to get online.

Obviously this isn’t the sort of news you want to hear right before Nintendo launches their most online-connected console in history.  Miiverse looks like it will connect players in ways no other Nintendo console has done before, and even though it’s going to be heavily moderated, at least it’s a good start in creating the online Nintendo community we’ve all been dreaming of.

What worries me isn’t so much Nintendo appearing to ‘go back to their old ways,’ although admittedly I’m none to pleased to hear that New Super Mario Bros. 2 only supports offline co-op.  No, I’m much more afraid this has to do with the developer themselves.  Nintendo has only released a handful of online games throughout the years.  They had virtually nothing on the GameCube, and their Wii offerings weren’t exactly deep.  For every Super Smash Bros.-type game that was online-enabled there were countless others that remained offline.  Even on the 3DS there were many games expected to feature online multiplayer like Star Fox, which ended up shipping with local multiplayer only.  Now there’s NSMB 2, which I already mentioned, and the list goes on and on.  The bottom line is, Nintendo doesn’t really have much experience making online videogames.  That’s a fact.

So how it is something like this is online?

It’s now 2012 and virtually every game that gets released with multiplayer has an online component to it.  By neglecting online for so long, has Nintendo put themselves in a situation where they’re simply unable to meet player demands?  It’s interesting food for thought, wouldn’t you say?  In fact I’m very curious to hear what you think about this topic.  Do you believe that because Nintendo has skipped out on the online scene for so long that their internal teams simply aren’t up to snuff?  Don’t you think they could simply hire third parties to write net code for them, or would this be a financial impact they’d rather avoid?

13 thoughts on “Pikmin 3 Confirmed Offline – Should We Be Worried?”

  1. Man i want to talk about this subject a lot more. I read that same quote and almost felt out of my chair. Good thing i wasnt actually sitting in one. Seriously, pikmin too complex for a lag-free online game? This was icing on the cake, just confirmed that nintendo has absolutely no skills at all making online games. The problem is, online multiplayer is crucial to a whole lot of paying customers. If theyre not too talented to do it themselves, then hire somebody else to do it. That simple. They broke my heart when they confirmed super mario bros 2 was offline only, this didnt help at all.

  2. I disagree with the general concept of Nintendo being totally clueless of online infrastructure. Because they’re developing these systems themselves. How can they make their own systems and infrastructure without knowing how to program for it? It doesn’t make sense. Plus, we do have games like Mario Kart 7, an internal Nintendo-developed game with a lag-free and great online infrastructure. Mario Kart Wii also had great online for the Wii.

    I absolutely agree with the mind-boggling choice of not including online play with New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Wii U. These games are meant to be online experiencing, but it’s never been about Nintendo not being able to do it. They’re actually making a conscious choice about keeping it local. I have no idea what their reasoning is, but it’s stupid and should be changed.

    Pikmin 3 is a special case entirely which I don’t think represents Nintendo’s full know-how of online infrastructure. I honestly have never thought of it actually being online because Pikmin is first and foremost a single-player experience. The co-op in Pikmin 2 is terrible and the one in Pikmin 3 will most likely be basic, too. Why do we need to have this mentality of a single-player game that needs to have online attached to it? It happened a lot this generation because of dumb fan demands…online multiplayer forced into a single player game will bog down the experience, just like what happened with Bioshock 2 and Dead Space 2. Why can’t a single-player game just be that anymore? No online necessary. The way it has always been? Miyamoto’s comments most likely represent this situation; they just don’t have time to create a lag-free online environment for the game anymore because they haven’t even thought of it in the first place…until the negative press and constant questions during this year’s E3 reveal. Miyamoto was pressed to say something, and he did portray it badly…but it shouldn’t be understood in a sense that Nintendo doesn’t know online. It’s been in development in secret for years and having something like online added in the last minute will bog down the whole experience and focus: single-player gaming! Online won’t be pretty or fun in Pikmin 3…and it’s not worth the effort. I mean come on. This is Pikmin we’re talking about here. This is a niche series that will not sell over a million. Nobody will play this online even if they do add it in. And besides, how many strategy RPGs do we know of which are online-enabled? There are only a handful of those if I’m not mistaken, most of which are PC-based. Red Alert 3 and Halo Wars are possibly the only console SRPGs with online components.

    1. I have no problem whatsoever with the fact that single player game should continue to be made, that’s not why I started this. I started this because of exactly what Miyamoto said. It seems, at least based on his words, that Nintendo simply doesn’t have the experience behind them to make this as smooth as they’d like online. We also have comments now from Iwata that basically says the Wii U will never have an online network like PSN and Live because the company would have to invest billions to “catch-up.” That speaks volumes, in their technical expertise pertaining to online infrastructure. That’s my main argument here, not so much that everything should be online enabled because quite frankly I’m not for that at all. I think certain games SHOULD be single player, like BioShock and Metroid.

      The other argument is that if you’re going to have a multiplayer component in 2012, it really should be online. Local should also be included, but in this day and age of everyone on the move, an online component in a game that already supports multiplayer is sort of a given, so not having it in a real-time strategy game (i.e. Pikmin) seems like a loss. Every RTS released in the past five years has been online, including Halo Wars (which was surprisingly excellent actually).

      So I hope that clears things up. I am NOT saying everything must have an online component or multiplayer in general, just that if a game DOES have multiplayer that it should be online in 2012. The simple truth is we’re all so connected today that it seems like an afterthought to actually have to check and see if a game is online today thanks to Twitter, Facebook, etc. Get what I mean?

      1. Yeah, I sort of get where you’re coming from now. I’m going to reserve my final judgment when I see actual online-focused games running on the Wii U online infrastructure, whatever that’s going to be. I know that it’s going to be under the “Nintendo Network” name the 3DS has employed, but other than that nothing else is known about it…aside from that very bleak comment of not playing catch up with the competitors. Because as we’ve seen with the Wii, if a developer puts their mind to some good online play, then you’re going to get a good online game. I’ve seen a lot of people very pleased with Call of Duty’s online multiplayer on the Wii for example, so Black Ops 2 may be the perfect benchmark to see where all this is going with the Wii U. As long as the developer provides good working servers, online play shouldn’t be that big of a problem, right? At least…that’s how I’m thinking right now. I mean, the whole outlook of the Wii U being lifting limitations off developers (as Nintendo puts it) directly contradicts their statement of not giving it a good infrastructure, which is why I’m confused by everything right now.

        I’m half agreeing with you regarding the statement of every game with a multiplayer component should have online, too. I think it depends whether that aspect of local multiplayer is worth bringing online or not. With the 2D Mario games, for example, I think it totally should be online! But with Pikmin 3 it still doesn’t gel with me. Because correct me if I’m wrong, most of the recent RTS games have competitive online multiplayer, right? Not co-op? If so, then Pikmin 3 doesn’t fit the bill because it’s local co-op according to the developers, which is extremely long-winded and boring for an online session. Don’t think Pikmin 3 is a right RTS to have a competitive aspect…unless they think of something for the sequel. :P Anyway, same case applies to any game that has a type of multiplayer component which is too basic or not worth being online or just too boring to be so.

  3. Every RTS game that i can think of ahmed is both online coop and comp. As for cod being good on the wii online….. I think that probably comes from someone who hasnt tried the game on the 360 or ps3. Reviews gave modern warfare 2 terrible scores on wii partly cause of unplayable online play. The first nintendo online game that ive played that was fantastic was mario kart 7. There are many good 3rd party playable online gems ( revelations, pes) but nintendo just doest do the job. First with star fox, now with mario. Saying that pikmin would be too complex? I disagree with you. I think nintendo really lacks knowledge when it comes to online programming.

  4. From what I know right now the Wii won’t really have any infrastructure in place at all, just a pipeline which allows third parties to use their own dedicated servers. Sony still doesn’t something like that except they control the brunt of the weight. So third party titles should work fine on the Wii U, but might not be able to access core functionality like cross game chatting and things like that. We just don’t know at this point, but it’s quite clear they don’t have the same experience that MS and Sony have in terms of overall network strength.

    It’s their first party stuff that has me more curious. RTS games have both co-op and competitive multiplayer and it could be a blast with Pikmin 3, but if Nintendo doesn’t think they can handle it then that does indeed scare me.

  5. I watched online MW3 gameplay for the Wii, and it was surprisingly good…maybe the patches helped. As for online RTS games, thanks for correcting me on that, Steven. But regarding Pikmin 3, I’m not saying it’s too complex to do online. I’m saying that Nintendo and the team working on it haven’t considered online in the first place so they didn’t optimize it for online play. I’m sure whatever Miyamoto said is referring to the tight development schedule and to focus on what matters, not the general mentality within Nintendo. If they really felt that online is essential for Pikmin 3, they could’ve gotten the Mario Kart team to work on it. They didn’t even bother. And none of us even really thought of Pikmin being online until they demonstrated it at E3. I honestly think it’s a single player game at best. Doesn’t need local or even online co-op, just like its previous installments.

    But I do agree with you when referring to first-party titles within Nintendo. Animal Crossing and Mario Kart seem to be the only consistent franchises with good online play. Kid Icarus had a good and functioning online mode too, yet lackluster in terms of content. They do need to broaden their spectrum with Mario for example. I’m just not seeing enough appeal with Pikmin 3 unless they actually think of specific online modes and components from the get go.

    Who knows? Perhaps this uproar is a good thing, because they’re listening to the feedback right now. A lot of people asked Miyamoto about. Maybe launch time isn’t the best to demand of online heavy gaming. It’s always possible to expand later in the Wii U’s console life. It’s not like they’re going to wait another 6 years to fully embrace online ala XBLA/PSN.

  6. At this point I think Nintendo should simply look at what everyone else is doing in the online space. Let’s forget about Pikmin right now, and Mario, etc. Let’s just say that in terms of a global strategy that Nintendo should really rethink their online strategy. If they plan to include multiplayer in any game, they should automatically think “ok so how should be go about online, so we have 4 players, 20 players, etc.” At this point in time they shouldn’t say “should we include online?” If they can get past that I think that would be a huge win for gamers and the company in general. I took a quick look at the iPhone here and I actually have a whole bunch of games that support online multiplayer, which is insane since 99% of the iPhone games I own are from indie developer. If an indie developer can easily add online support from a phone (!) than I’m fairly certain Nintendo will have no problem adding online support to whatever they please. They just have to get over that initial hurdle.

  7. I guess it sort of depends on which team you’re talking to within Nintendo, Jarrod. But you’re right, the mentalitiy needs to change. They need to look at what the Mario Kart team is doing and follow suit.

  8. Nintendo is missing a golden opportunity (pun intended) by not having New Super Mario Bros. 2 and U being able to be played online in addition to local multiplayer. Really, I’d have loved to connect to someone and play through NSMB2, since there is nobody near me who would have both a 3DS and that game (and I know I’m far from the only one in this boat). Also, to me the focus on local multiplayer-only for most of their games kind of defeats the purpose of the upcoming Miiverse.

    On a somewhat online-related note, Nintendo needs to take a good look at doing DLC. Supposedly, Super Mario 3D Land *can* be updated this way but it’s probably unlikely that it ever will be.

    1. Yeah I agree with the above statement fully. I just wanted to add that I think we’ll be surprised with their DLC plans though as Fire Emblem has been getting almost monthly updates since it was released, and some of the DLC has been surprisingly deep.

  9. Will they have lobbies or a place to hang out and chat on the wii u? Good convo here and i’m of the opinion that Batman will always beat waluigi at jenga, but who knows?

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