The article on ‘No, Nintendo (or any other company) Can’t Make Sequels To Every Game You Want’ was available a week earlier through the Gamerbraves Newsletter. Sign up for free to gain access to more articles about news and trends in the gaming industry and community.
Last week, a fan bought 40K USD worth of stock in Nintendo simply so he could attend a shareholder meeting and ask them why there hasn’t been a new F-Zero sequel, alongside new sequels to Baten Kaitos, Wario Land, The Frog For Whom the Bell Tolls, Trade & Battle: Card Hero and Chōsōjū Mecha MG.
It’s a fair point. With all the Switch money Nintendo is accumulating, why don’t they take the opportunity to make a sequel/remake/revival for some of their older, more obscure IPs?
Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa however responded back with a pretty simple but poignant answer: “It is realistically difficult to develop new titles and remakes, including sequels, for every Nintendo game that people request, but we are very grateful and appreciate the expectations our fans have for our games,”.
It is a response that probably made many Nintendo fans sad, perhaps even angry, but given the question, it was the most honest, direct, and professional answer that he could have given and while I have a number of problems with Nintendo, I respect Mr. Furukawa for his response.
Nintendo has developed and published tons of great games but in the current gaming climate, it really isn’t realistic to ask them to cover each and every one of their various classic IPs for a variety of reasons. Game companies can’t make sequels to every game, nor do they owe them to fans.
Nintendo (And Other Game Companies) Can’t Make Sequels For Every Game
Just by reading the comments on Nintendo’s answer, I can already see some pretty typical responses:
“Yes you can, you have plenty of money,” says one user. “What a load of bs. Nintendo used to hit each of its franchises at least once a generation… The ones people want the most get skipped over multiple generations in a row and Nintendo is rolling in dough. Maybe spend more resources on things that aren’t Mario-related.” Says another.
Money seems to be the primary factor for many fans. A lot of people seem to think that companies like Nintendo or Playstation are so rich, that they can just throw money at any new game and it’ll just poof into existence but that’s not the case.
Yes, Nintendo has a lot of money to make games but they also expect each game they publish to bring a proportional amount of money back. These companies have to spend millions on new projects and often plan them out well in advance. Animal Crossing New Horizons for example took 8 years to make. There’s a lot more that goes into greenlighting a game than “they could just do it if they wanted to”.
We should also keep in mind that gaming has changed a lot since the days of N64, Gamecube, and DS. With the advent of HD gaming, one triple-A title takes around 2-3 years to make, with large budgets and hundreds of employees. Gamers also expect games to be longer as well as have online features. That’s a lot of time and resources put into one title so publishers have to be selective of what franchises they make games for.
What I’m ultimately getting at here is that in most cases, having a game approved for development is decided by two variables: how much does it cost to make, and how much will it sell?
In Nintendo’s case, Mario, Pokemon, and Zelda all sell for millions and with a broad audience always looking forward to the next entry. Therefore they can afford to have loads of big-budget sequels and spin-offs for these series as they’re guaranteed to sell well. But other franchises simply aren’t as lucky.
So why no new F-Zero
So with this in mind, let’s really think about why there hasn’t been a new F-Zero. All of this is admittedly speculation so take it with a pinch of salt, Nintendo has never directly commented on why there isn’t a new F-Zero. That being said, we can estimate why Nintendo wouldn’t want to return to the series
F-Zero is a high-speed futuristic racing game with a great emphasis on going fast. The races take place on highly detailed tracks with 30 racers who can crash into each other and can explode with enough damage. In order to create this product, the game will likely need to have a stable frame rate of 60 fps without any performance issues like screen tearing.
Is this impossible? No, in spite of the Switch’s limited power, Nintendo’s games tend to be well optimized and have pushed the console far past what people would expect. Chances are though, it will be expensive to make. It will need a lot of QA testing and programming to get it running smoothly and that’s not even looking into other aspects like graphic design, modeling, and marketing.
Now let’s look at the other variable: would it sell well enough to justify that budget? In my opinion, probably not. F-Zero is niche and exists within a genre that is already quite niche outside of a few select franchises. It’s a sci-fi racing game known for its notoriously high difficulty, which could be a hard sell to both the casual-oriented Mario Kart crowd and the licensed car simulator Forza/Gran Turismo crowd.
One way Nintendo could potentially get around this obscurity is by adding microtransactions to the game. If only a few thousand people buy the title, then attempt to get them to pay more. It’s a tactic that niche titles often employ to help make up for a lack of overall sales. However, Nintendo tends to not implement these in their console titles and it would probably be deeply unpopular among fans so that’s out as well.
There is also the fact that well, let’s be honest, most people asking for F-Zero to return in particular, probably haven’t even played F-Zero. It’s more likely they’ve played Captain Falcon in Smash Bros and thought it’d be cool if his series came back. If F-Zero was to come back though, would they actually buy it? Let’s keep in mind, that Falcon doesn’t punch, kick or talk much in F-Zero since you know, he’s in a ship.
Former Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Amie said it best: “100,000 signatures doesn’t mean 100,000 sales”. It’s very easy to sign a petition or support an online cause but there’s no guarantee that these people will actually spend $60 on a new F-Zero game and Nintendo likely knows this.
Closing Thoughts On Nintendo Sequels
To clarify, I am in no way saying that I don’t want a new F-Zero, a new Golden Sun, or any other hidden gem to return. I’d be ecstatic to see any Nintendo IP get a sequel or revival and I understand the frustration fans feel knowing something they love isn’t getting the love it deserves. I recently finished an article explaining how much I love the Darkstalkers series and how I wish Capcom would resurrect that franchise.
That being said, you need to look at these decisions from the company’s perspective. If you want to set up a lemonade stand, you need to figure out how much it is to fund the ingredients, equipment, the marketing and then estimate if the profits you’ll get are worth all that spending. It’s not fair on fans to expect Nintendo to potentially risk millions just because they want Captain Falcon back.
Who knows, maybe one day F-Zero will beat all the odds and come racing back to the Switch (maybe it could be a launch title for the long-prophesied Switch Pro). But until that faithful day, let’s just be happy we got five fantastic games and one of the most iconic characters in Super Smash Bros.