Nintendo, between Super Mario, Zelda and beyond: the risk of destroying an IP is constant

Nintendo, between Super Mario, Zelda and beyond: the risk of destroying an IP is constant

Nintendo, between Super Mario, Zelda and beyond

In its creative arsenal, Nintendo contains a huge selection of absolutely precious video game IPs, which can often boast a decade-long success.

Just recently, Super Mario and Link celebrated an important anniversary, with the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda and the acrobatics of the mustachioed Italian plumber. But not only the two great heavyweights: over the years, the forges of the Kyoto giant have brought Donkey Kong, Metroid, Pikmin, Mario Kart, Star Fox and many others into the homes of players. Often, however, it takes a long time to see an unreleased chapter of one of these IPs land on the market.

A circumstance that, according to Shuntaro Furukawa, President of Nintendo, is an absolute necessity. In the course of an interview granted to Nikkei, the executive motivated the Company's prudent approach to videogame development. "We must always keep in mind that the origins of our characters lie in video games. - explained Furukawa - These are characters that people have grown fond of over the course of countless hours of gameplay. We have to evolve these characters in a way that does not destroy the memories that fans have. We must always proceed with caution so as not to damage the value of a series ".

"If you want to increase sales in the short term, - added the President - there are other ways to do it. It is more about understanding how to ensure that Nintendo remains a long-term beloved brand. This is a debate that takes shape frequently within the company, and something that I always think carefully about whenever I have to make a decision. The risk of destroying a Nintendo series, a brand in whose construction it took us more than 30 years, it's always lurking ".

Nintendo is holding back Zelda’s 35th anniversary because it’s marketing

The Legend of Zelda turned 35 on Sunday, February 21, but Nintendo let the anniversary pass by without making much noise. If you’re a fan of the publisher’s major adventure series, you might find the silence distressing. But if you look at the anniversary as marketing, Nintendo’s decisions make more sense.

When a corporation celebrates an anniversary, it is with the purpose of selling more products. And the way that Nintendo is going to maximize its return on these marketing efforts is to spread them out and let them breathe.

The first consideration when it comes to the timing of a Zelda anniversary is Mario. Nintendo’s 35th anniversary celebration for Super Mario is still ongoing. It’s unlikely that Nintendo would want celebrations for Zelda and Mario to overlap. It would get more from each if it put some separation between the two events.

The company is ending the Mario anniversary on March 31.

In addition to Mario, Nintendo is also worried about getting the most from each and every new Zelda product going forward.

Even if Nintendo does start rolling out the party balloons and birthday cake for Zelda, don’t expect it all to come at once. This is still marketing. And Nintendo will want to position The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD out in front.

This is one of the biggest reasons that Nintendo didn’t talk about other Zelda beyond Skyward Sword HD in its latest Direct video event. The company doesn’t want other Zelda games to distract from its attempts to bring back Skyward Sword.

Sure, it could’ve released Wind Waker and Twilight Princess at the same time, but the company wants Zelda fans all focused on Skyward Sword.

So instead of creating a situation where other Zelda releases on Switch cannibalize sales that could’ve gone to Skyward Sword, Nintendo will create a steady cadence of releases to celebrate the series. That will start with Skyward Sword HD in July, but we should hear about what is coming soon after that this summer.

Again, the key word here is marketing. Nintendo wants to create a story for Zelda fans that will lead them to spending the most money possible. That begins with Skyward Sword HD in July, continues with the likely ports of Wind Waker/Twilight Princess HD, and then may culminate finally with the launch of Breath of the Wild 2.

The idea is to create key moments that Zelda fans won’t want to miss out on. And to partake in the first step of the festivities, all you have to do is drop $60 for a Wii remaster.

GamesBeatGamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is 'where passion meets business.' What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and 'open office' events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
  • Become a member