When it comes to the Wario series, it’s never been particularly mainstream. Oh sure, the first game sold about 5 million copies and a couple of the more successful Wario Land and WarioWare titles sold about 2 million overall, but the series has generally been seen as a Nintendo C lister in terms of franchise relevance and popularity.
But even for the unpopularity of the series in general, I have to say I’m more than a tad worried about Game & Wario and the possible effects it could have on the franchise’s future. Why? Here’s my reasons:
Nintendo’s franchise culling comments about Fire Emblem put the Wario series in trouble
First and foremost is this. Just a few days ago, someone from Intelligent Systems mentioned in an interview that Fire Emblem Awakening could have been the last Fire Emblem game if it’d failed to sell. Here’s the quote in question:
if the sales of this episode stayed below 250,000 copies, we’d stop working on the saga.
Now thankfully, this was averted when it came to Fire Emblem. Awakening sold millions of copies and shot straight up the sales charts, everyone liked it, and now the series has basically been saved from imminent demise as a result.
But do you know what series I fear might not be so lucky?
The Wario series.
Think about it. WarioWare DIY and Snapped kind of bombed, with the latter only selling about half a million copies worldwide. Wario Master of Disguise and Shake It didn’t do much better, with the former never managing to cross the million copies mark and the latter just barely managing it. And Game & Wario doesn’t look like it’s going to do much better, with the game selling just 50 000 copies in Japan as of this point in time.
Above: Remember this game? Nor do many other people apparently.
That’s not exactly good for series viability. Remember, Miyamoto basically shut down F-Zero over similar sales, Advance Wars has apparently vanished without a trace and Starfy pretty much became fish food as a result of similar sales figures. Now keep in mind that Nintendo were ready to basically shut down Fire Emblem for about the same amount of sales, and it really does make me worry that the Wario series could be next.
Above: What happened to Advance Wars since this game?
But it doesn’t end there. You know what else is worrying? How Game & Wario seems to be literally the worst possible game to release now…
Game & Wario is the wrong game at the wrong time on the wrong console…
But even if the Wario series isn’t doing so great at the moment, then there’s always a chance a successful new game could encourage the makers to keep it going. After all, Fire Emblem Awakening smashed records and outdid everyone’s predictions, and that was enough to save Fire Emblem…
Unfortunately, we then get to another problem. Game & Wario is literally in the worst possible situation of any modern Nintendo game ever when it comes to sales.
For starters, it’s being released on the Wii U, a console which has so far failed to take off and has sold about 4 million units worldwide. Why is this a concern you may ask?
Well to put it bluntly, even the likes of New Super Mario Bros U haven’t smashed sales records on a console that’s still not selling too well. And that’s about as mainstream a Nintendo game as you can imagine.
Above: This game failed to sell Wii U systems. A game from a series which sold about 20 million copies on the Wii and DS.
So what we now need is an obscure title like Game & Wario to literally sell to about a quarter of all current Wii U owners in the world, or push sales of the system significantly enough that people are willing to buy the console to play it. This is extremely unlikely to happen given that even the best games in the franchise haven’t sold 3 million copies on a console that’s sold about 100 million units. The Wario franchise is about as much of a system seller as F-Zero, Advance Wars or Starfy, aka not in the slightest.
Above: Its direct competitor Nintendo Land failed to sell Wii Us too. Game & Wario is basically in the exact same genre, and potentially with about half the mainstream appeal.
It’s also being released just a week or so after E3. Problem? Well E3 is where many ‘major’ games get announced. You know, like Super Mario 3D, Super Smash Bros 4, maybe new Zelda, Mario Kart, all those titles. And some of them are going to be out this year.
So not only does Game & Wario have to compete with all the other ‘summer’ games (like Pikmin 3 and Mario & Luigi Dream Team Bros), but also every single game that’s announced at E3 or the Nintendo Directs being held at around the same time. This means that it doesn’t have the advantage of being bought just so Wii U fans have ‘something’ to play until the big titles are released, since many of them will likely just wait a few more weeks or months for the games they’ve been saving for and discussing for about 4 years now.
Above: Some of the many, many 3DS games people might want to buy instead of this or a Wii U…
Above: And if Smash Bros, 3D Mario, Zelda U or Mario Kart comes out this year, people will save their money for those instead.
Think of it like this. You’ve got this interesting new gadget you want people to buy. And then right when it’s due to be released, Apple comes out with a new iPhone announcement, complete with comments that it’ll be out before the year’s end. People are just going to wait for the super fancy new product with a trusted brand than buy something else in the meantime. I worry this same situation could happen to Game & Wario.
To make things worse, this isn’t a normal game with a whole lot of mainstream appeal. It’s a mini game collection on a console which already has a mini game collection in the form of Nintendo Land (a game which has already kind of underperformed as is even despite being bundled with the system), it’s got some fairly mediocre reviews on both English and Japanese gaming websites, and looks about as wacky and unique as you can possibly imagine, in a market which seems to absolutely hate anything that looks remotely anime style or wacky in the slightest.
Above: One hell of a difficult sell in the US and European market
So yeah, Game & Wario has quite the odds stacked against it. A game from a fairly unpopular genre on a currently underperforming games console with a quirky art style and gameplay mechanics in a series which has failed to sell for the last four games straight. It really does make me a tad nervous for the future of the Wario series in general at this point, and it’s enough that I think Nintendo is going to need one hell of a marketing plan to try to save the series.
Do you worry that Game & Wario could lead to the end of the Wario series in the same way Fire Emblem Awakening nearly did for Fire Emblem or various F-Zero games did for F-Zero? And how in the name of anyone is Nintendo going to try to market Game & Wario outside of Japan?
It’s called Crowdfarter and works by Tweets instead of donations, but the whole thing is a pretty funny mockery of the Kickstarter fad. You’ve got Wario droning about his plans and how he shouldn’t have to pay for anything himself (why should I pay when others can pay to make my dreams come true?), him annoying random Nintendo of America marketing folk by shoving a microphone in their faces and the whole feel of a low budget rip off Kickstarter campaign like so many others. Here’s the link to the site:
As you can see, it’s a pretty funny parody, even if the sounds effects played as you scroll down do get a bit tedious. And for an official website gimmick, this is actually a pretty good one for a WarioWare title. Certainly gets people’s attention going.
Above: Although perhaps they shouldn’t have linked to a non existent game page on the ‘Crowdfarter’ campaign. Looks unprofessional.
So that’s Nintendo of America’s Game and Wario marketing gimmick for you, a Kickstarter parody with Wario pitching the game as if it was a new project. What do you think of the idea? Is this a good way to promote the game? Does it uncomfortably remind you of an awfully large amount of Kickstarter campaigns that people are actually starting for real?
As I suspected yesterday, Game and Wario was shown at today’s Nintendo Direct events in the form of a new trailer. So here’s the Game and Wario presentation from today’s European Nintendo Direct:
There’s not much that is already shown on the Japanese website, but it does have some neat footage of the game’s cut scenes in there as well.
But that’s not all that’s happened as far as this game goes. Nope, Nintendo has also translated the Iwata Asks interview for the game, which can be found at one of these two addresses:
They’ve also began to launch the official US website for the game. This can be found here:
Either way, there’s plenty of new Game and Wario footage available now, and it seems like Nintendo is actually going to be promoting the game a bit soon. What did you think of the Game and Wario trailer from today’s Nintendo Direct, or the now translated Iwata Asks interview for the game?
Well, it’s that time again. Nintendo have announced another Nintendo Direct at short notice (one which is being held on the 17th May 2013) and they’ve said both 3DS and Wii U games be shown, so I thought it was the perfect time to get writing down my Nintendo Direct predictions. Here are some games and series I predict will be shown in the upcoming Nintendo Direct.
Wii U Game Predictions
Game and Wario
I would seriously eat my hat if this game doesn’t end up getting at least mentioned at Nintendo Direct tomorrow. It’s being released in only about a month’s time, it’s had zero advertising from Nintendo for ages and needs some sort of hype to get the game selling period (especially after the poor sales numbers its had in Japan).
So I definitely think we’ll see Game and Wario at this Nintendo Direct, and we’ll likely see the other mini games as part of that.
I also suspect we might see the official website for the game launch soon, especially given how it’s now less than a month until the game’s release yet the title has no web presence whatsoever.
I expect to see at least a trailer for this, as well as possibly more information on the other mini games and an official site launch.
The other Wii U game I think we’ll see at Nintendo Direct tomorrow, Pikmin 3 seems like the perfect game to show a new trailer for. After all, it’s an extremely popular title with the more hardcore Nintendo fans out there, and we haven’t seen a whole lot of it in the last few months.
Add a release date set to be this summer, and I just know Pikmin 3 will be one of the game’s focused on tomorrow.
Mario & Luigi Dream Team Bros
A new game that’s going to be released this summer, the lack of information about the title so far makes me fairly certain Nintendo will discuss it in some way during tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct presentation.
Expect at least a new trailer, if not even more than that.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
A 3DS port of the beloved Wii game that’s being released in just a week or so, Donkey Kong Country Returns seems like a sure-fire inclusion in tomorrow’s presentation. Think about it.
The game’s due out so soon that Nintendo will want to advertise it in every way possible. They haven’t shown many of th secret levels or new content, which could be shown off in the trailer. And finally, Nintendo has already announced here
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D Getting Advertising Push
that the game is being heavily advertised in various forms of media. Nintendo Direct seems like another logical place to market it.
Again, I’ll be extremely surprised if this game doesn’t show up at tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct presentation. It’s a big summer release, it’s a game Nintendo wants to market and just seems like a good game to focus on.
Mario Golf World Tour
The final known first party game due out this summer, Mario Golf World Tour doesn’t have a lot known of it so far. Okay, we know it’s got certain characters and that the online modes are pretty well designed, but we know nearly nothing about how the game actually works or what’s included in it content wise. Heck, we don’t even have a cast iron release date yet!
So I think we’ll see another trailer giving more information about this title. Maybe some video footage of the courses and characters, and the inevitable release date to get people hyped up for the game.
As far as new games go, I have to say I don’t have any real idea what we might be seeing tomorrow. So take anything below with a pinch of salt and don’t worry if nothing there gets confirmed as a real game.
First up on the ‘Nintendo series that might get new games announced soon’ list is Metroid. As you probably know, Metroid hasn’t had many games in the last few years (absolute no Metroid titles have been released since Metroid Other M in 2010, a good three years ago). Additionally, it seems the 2D Metroidvania style titles in the series have basically disappeared off the face of the earth in recent history as well.
So I think now might be the time Nintendo will announce the next game in the series. Will it be on 3DS or Wii U? 2D or 3D? Made by Nintendo or someone else? Who knows, but I think it’s likely Nintendo has plans for this IP somewhere down the line and that there’s a good chance the next game will be revealed within a year or so. So it seems like a good possible candidate for ‘Nintendo series getting new game announced at Nintendo Direct tomorrow’.
Another series that might have its next game announced soon is Kirby. Last seen in Kirby’s Dream Collection in 2012 (and last seen in an original game in Kirby’s Mass Attack/Return to Dream Land in 2011), Kirby hasn’t really had a lot of games in recent years.
And given that over time the rule has been to have one Kirby game a year or so, the fact the pink puffball hasn’t made an appearance on either the 3DS or Wii U is actually kind of surprising to be honest.
So with that said, I think there’s a good chance a new Kirby game for the 3DS will be revealed fairly soon. Will it be at tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct? Not sure to be honest, but I think there’s a hope in hell that it might make a surprise appearance as one of Nintendo’s lesser game reveals.
Throughout the 3DS’s recent history, we’ve had a lot of Mario sub series and spinoffs get represented. We’ve had:
- A 3D Mario game (Super Mario 3D Land)
- A 2D Mario game (New Super Mario Bros 2)
- A Mario Kart title (Mario Kart 7)
- A Mario Tennis title (Mario Tennis Open)
- Mario and Sonic (Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games)
- Luigi’s Mansion (Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon)
- Paper Mario (Paper Mario Sticker Star)
- Mario & Luigi (Mario & Luigi Dream Team Bros)
- Mario Golf (Mario Golf World Tour)
- Mario vs Donkey Kong (Mario and Donkey Kong Minis on the Move)
- Donkey Kong Country (Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D)
- Yoshi’s Island (Yoshi’s Island 3)
- Mario Party (Mario Party 3DS)
Heck, we even had Mario AR cards as a seperate product! Jeez!
But what we surprisingly haven’t had show up on the 3DS yet is Wario. No Wario Land style platformer, no WarioWare title, no Wario games period.
However, I think that might be about to change soon. Okay, I’ve said this for years now…
Could Wario Land and Yoshi’s Island be revived on 3DS?
What happened to WarioWare?
But what else can Nintendo even release on the system Mario wise? I think now is Wario’s time to shine, and I hope the series gets a new game on the 3DS announced in the foreseeable future.
Also, I think this could be good for business too. Not everyone likes the format Game and Wario has taken (what with fewer large mini games and Nintendo Land like gimmicks), so either a traditional Wario Land or traditional WarioWare game could be released as a sort of ‘alternative’ for those that want something more like the games they’re used to.
So that’s what I predict for the May 17th Nintendo Direct. Will I be right? Will I be wrong? We’ll just have to wait and see what happens at 3PM today!
It’s not particularly different from the US or Japanese box art, but there are a few minor differences. Can you spot them?
The first thing you’ll notice is that instead of blue, the box art is in yellow. Not sure why this is, maybe it’s yet another example of the WarioWare games randomly changing the colour of their boxes in different regions (like how WarioWare Touched comes in an orange box in the US and a yellow box in Europe).
It also lacks the subtitle underneath that the US version added. Not a bad thing, the US subtitle made very little sense and was near enough completely unreadable, so getting rid of it was probably a good thing.
Either way, there’s the box art for Game and Wario in Europe. Like it? Dislike it? Post your thoughts either as a comment below or at Nintendo 3DS Community today!