Nintendo announces that the Pikmin series will be returning after a long absence, although it will unexpectedly be on a Nintendo handheld rather than a console.
While the name of the game series is still synonymous with Nintendo's penchant for bizarre world-building and eclectic creativity, the Pikmin franchise is one that has slowly faded into relative obscurity. That absence has only become more pronounced in the time that has passed since the last Pikmin release, as other Nintendo stalwarts like the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda franchise continue to stay relevant with development news and innovative game releases.
It has been a long four years since the release of Pikmin 3 for the Wii U, but it finally appears that the surprisingly charismatic plant aliens will be returning to a Nintendo games lineup in the near future. Nintendo announced earlier today that the company would be releasing a side-scrolling Pikmin adventure for the Nintendo 3DS sometime in 2017, tentatively titled Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS.
Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS will be the first new game in the series since the aforementioned Pikmin 3, and could be the Pikmin 4 game Shigeru Miyamoto hinted at just over a year ago. The game will also be Pikmin's first foray into the handheld market, and because of that drastic change, Nintendo has swapped the classic top-down Pikmin gameplay for a side-scrolling viewpoint instead. Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS will see the return of Captain Olimar, as players control the perpetually curious space captain and throw individual Pikmin by flicking the 3DS' stylus across the screen.
Fans disappointed by the shift in direction for Pikmin can take solace in the fact that Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS has not yet been officially recognized as the game Miyamoto was discussing earlier, meaning there could be a Pikmin 4 on the horizon still. It was only a few months ago that Miyamoto discussed Pikmin 4's development, stating that the process was going slowly because Nintendo was busy with other, higher priorities.
Whether or not Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS is Pikmin 4, however, is less important than the revelation that gamers will finally be getting another Pikmin game after almost half a decade of waiting. It will also be interesting to see what has changed in the 4 years since Pikmin 3 - reports surfaced early after that game's release that Nintendo had tested Pikmin 3 for the Nintendo 3DS, but the handheld wasn't a good fit for the series. Clearly Nintendo changed its mind, and whatever caused that shift in development philosophy should make Pikmin fans excited for the game's handheld debut.
Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS will be available for Nintendo 3DS sometime in 2017.