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.
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.
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?