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Nintendo’s Top 5 Potential Partners For the Future
Helping hands make light work as they say, and Nintendo’s series of partnerships over the years have made that more evident than ever. Alongside Retro or Monolith Soft, Nintendo’s proved itself willing on more than one occasion to make great games with other equally great companies. As the Wii U’s software library would continue to benefit from considerable growth, potential collaborations shouldn’t be ruled out as a means of much needed hardware support. Here are just a few ideas of where Nintendo can best look for new friends going forward into this new year.
If there’s any company swooning over Nintendo these days, it’s easily Platinum Games. Though still boasting a few multi-platform releases to its name such as the original Bayonetta and Vanquish, its most recent partnerships with the company, including the former’s sequel of Bayonetta 2 and its new IP of The Wonderful 101, demonstrates an uncanny dedication to Nintendo as it is telling of the two’s blooming relationship. Both are exclusives and one an untested brand. Only furthering speculation is Platinum Games’ director Hideki Kamiya more than openly stating his interests in outright working for Nintendo exclusively as a second party. Having such acclaimed if not niche titles like Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, and Okami under his belt, the latter of which he unapologetically rooted in Zelda fashion, Kamiya is a worthwhile ally to have in a time where Nintendo’s creativity is more valuable than ever. Platinum may be the very closest to ever being Nintendo’s next second party studio and if Bayonetta 2’s success materializes, that may very well be everything short of 99% guaranteed.
As funny as it sounds to today’s gamers, there was indeed a day when SEGA and the Big N were seemingly mortal enemies in the console wars of the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo era. Though scraping tooth and nail against the SNES and its successors, SEGA ultimately dropped out of the console race, but it’s ironically been Nintendo that it’s released a variety of its series on. It certainly seems that those times are days gone by as cooperative as the companies have become lately. From the Olympics to Super Smash Bros., the two’s respective mascots have paired together more times than we can count now, and the two have seemingly gotten only closer since. Despite retaining multi-platform releases on X-Box 360 and PS3 with its flagship series of Sonic the Hedgehog, the fastest thing alive’s done arguably well on Nintendo systems following the Nintendo exclusive of Sonic Colors on Wii and DS. Uncannily well for a former rival. As a third-party developer essentially up for hire by anyone, it’s not impossible that SEGA might very well choose Nintendo as its most welcoming stable in light of its exclusives of Sonic: Lost World for Wii U and its now forgotten Wii cult game of The Conduit. Fans are quick to raise doubts over the historic move that something as much as a total merge could occur. On one hand, maybe it is unthinkable that Sonic and friends would ever willingly submit to the company family that essentially beat them long ago. Then again, if a blue sneaker wearing Hedgehog can make friends with a chubby Italian Plumber while speed skating, then anything’s possible.
The studio behind Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon may have already solidified its future with Nintendo, but its story may be far from over considering the potential it has to go even further. Though having been contracted out to develop more exclusively Nintendo titles for the long-term, it’s likely that that kind of partnership could continue indefinitely if the studio was keen on going as far as a second party under Nintendo’s wing. Sealing a permanent team-up is likely in the face of its small yet note-worthy Nintendo-centric collection of Super Mario Strikers for Gamecube and Punch-Out!!’s Wii remake. With more eclectic, non-nintendo games like Captain America: Super Soldier and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, there’s no guarantee that Next Level may be limited to handhelds only either. The future could look bright Luigi-less or not if another superhero or boxing game was up their alley.
Unlike most others, Bandai Namco (or Namco Bandai as most of you will remember before their name change) is one of the few developers still presently at work with Nintendo in a very big way rather than having a company history reserved to the past. Not simply working with their own IP, Bandai Namco is most famously employed at present on the much anticipated Super Smash Bros. titles for Wii U and 3DS slated for release sometime in 2014 and quite the heavy hand in Nintendo’s stable for it. Working with Nintendo’s own Masahiro Sakurai has put them on the shortlist for most valued partners right now, and the company isn’t a stranger to the Nintendo waters, once accruing at least 40% of its annual sales from the Nintendo Entertainment system. As of 2012, Tekken Tag Tournament 2’s Wii U release and exclusive content only further fostered a bond between the companies and a deeper partnership isn’t far fetched sometime in the near-future. While a merge might be a ways off, it’s a tempting possibility with specifically Japanese juggernauts like Tekken, Soul Calibur, and the Tales series would compliment Nintendo’s own library nicely. For now, Super Smash Bros. will surely be the company’s biggest legacy to Nintendo yet, and that impression is likely to leave its mark for a good time to come.
Perhaps the biggest wild-card pick of them all would lie with Capcom. The company’s no doubt gained the strangest reputation among its fans, churning out the polarizing Resident Evil series like clockwork while holding other beloved, dormant series like MegaMan and Okami close to its chest with little in terms of recent releases. Nevertheless, its series remain some of the most influential in the Japanese market in spite of attempts to appeal to a Western one. While a team-up with Nintendo isn’t necessarily probable, it’s possible given its historically Nintendo, release of Phoenix Wright and its unusual selection of the 3DS as Resident Evil: Revelations’ first system platform prior to its multi-platform console launch. Gaining further series like Street Fighter and having the chance to resurrect games like Okami and MegaMan and stabilizing Resident Evil’s reputation would be a remarkable opportunity for Nintendo to say the least. Granted, Capcom’s chances with an exclusive deal alongside a console manufacturer are slime, but it’d be a fascinating one nonetheless for series like Marvel Vs. Capcom and more Wright games to join the Nintendo family.
It may very well not be the case that Nintendo may garner an influx of partnerships or second party acquisitions, but it’s a shot worth trying in an industry where the demand of software development is becoming increasingly more difficult to meet.
Tell us in the comments below: what companies would you see Nintendo partnering up with in the future?