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Feature: What About Pikmin 3?

Posted by James Newton

The future of Captain Olimar's intergalactic journeys

Last week marked ten years since the original Pikmin released in Japan. In the decade since we've had just a single sequel, but Olimar's adventures are far from over.

The story of an alien who crash lands on a mysterious planet and must recruit tiny plants to work for him, like many of Shigeru Miyamoto's franchises Pikmin is inspired by a real-life hobby: gardening. Whereas The Legend of Zelda was inspired by Miyamoto's exploration of the expansive woods and caves around his childhood home, Pikmin hones in on the minuscule, taking the action right down to ground level.

On the surface, Pikmin was perhaps an odd choice to launch with the GameCube, but then it's an odd game and the 'Cube was arguably an odd console, though we love it all the same. While there's combat, exploration and scale, it's not what you'd call an action game: nor is it hugely strategic, though your followers' varying attributes add some depth. Pikmin is perhaps best described as a time management game: you only have 30 days to recover Olimar's ship debris before his life support fails. There are specific tasks to perform each day before sunset and managing your reserves of Pikmin is essential to success. It's a workplace simulator: leave your employees to their own devices and they'll achieve nothing. It's only by leading the way, issuing commands and making sure nobody's eaten by ferocious animals that you'll get anything done.

On the surface, Pikmin was perhaps an odd choice to launch with the GameCube, but then it's an odd game and the 'Cube was arguably an odd console, though we love it all the same.

The sequel, Pikmin 2, added a subordinate in the form of Louie, letting you split your workload between two characters and increase productivity. It also dropped the 30 day time limit, letting you play at your own pace without one eye on your mortality.

As with all of Miyamoto's creations, Pikmin is a game about finding joy in the (very) small things and nurturing a sense of wonder: tiny Olimar must send 30 Pikmin to stomp on a paper bag blocking his path, or order them to carry a battery to power his ship. It's a Toy Story-like fantasy of what happens beyond the human eye, and dotted with tiny touches that delight: it's classic Miyamoto.

All this makes it all the more baffling, then, that we haven't seen a Pikmin game since the European release of New Play Control Pikmin 2 in 2009 – a re-release that never made it across the pond. Shigeru Miyamoto announced Pikmin 3 all the way back in 2009, but no platform was mentioned until the revelation of Wii U at E3 2011. What could Olimar's adventures look like on Nintendo's new platform?

The New Play Control versions of Pikmin used the Wii Remote's pointer to enhance aiming accuracy, but with the touch screen controller flinging soldiers should be equally straightforward. That's really only the tip of the possibilities though: Pikmin is an invisible version of a world we recognise, and makes you want to believe you could see it for yourself with the right equipment.

While we certainly don't envision augmented reality Pikmin 3 on Wii U, the controller's gift is what Nintendo does best: offering a window into another reality. Point it at the TV to reveal hidden items and extra information; use it to command armies in separate areas easily. The co-operative potential here is immense, too.

The opportunities don't just end at Wii U either: the 3DS is bundled with six AR cards including one of the little Pikmin themselves. How about hooking the 3DS up to the Wii U and using it as a portable Pikiopedia, viewing items from the Pikmin world in the real world via the wonders of augmented reality? Nintendo has dabbled with linking its portable and home consoles before, but none blurs the boundaries quite like Wii U, and we're certain Miyamoto and team have plenty of ideas for how 3DS and Wii U can bring the Pikmin to life.

We haven't had a new Pikmin game since 2004, but we're under the impression Pikmin 3 will once again accompany Nintendo's new hardware close to launch. While the company's vision for Wii U is laudable, we're waiting for real software; if Nintendo can show off a high definition Pikmin that takes full use of the Wii U's new controller, it could really put the console on a lot of radars.

What would you like to see in Pikmin 3, and how do you think the Wii U will be utilised? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, and keep an eye out for our retrospective of the original Pikmin later this week.

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User Comments (34)

shingi_70

#1

shingi_70 said:

Im Calling Pikmin 3 to be one of the Wii U launch titles. I honestly Haven't played the First two but Im eager to see what happens with 3. This will most likley be that Core game that show's how the Wii U controller can be used.

Link245

#2

Link245 said:

AR Pikmin, where you must guide Pikmin around your house. Seriously, that would be awesome.

I-U

#3

I-U said:

I would really like to have the next Pikmin to be on the 3DS to be honest. At this point, it's just about the HD graphics as to why it has to be on the Wii U. Pretty much everything else can easily be done on the 3DS. I cannot say I'm not interested in Pikmin 3 on the Wii U. I just don't see the point why it had to wait this long, when the DS, Wii and 3DS could have easily supported a Pikmin installment.

Adam

#4

Adam said:

I hope they don't drop versus mode. That was the highlight of Pikmin 2 for me. I actually liked the time limit in Pikmin 1, so I'd like to see that as an option or at least as an unlockable "classic mode."

The controller issue is confusing though. Wii remote seems like the perfect fit. Since it was nearly done development on Wii, I hope they leave it in as a control option, though I could see touch screen being useful, too, for managing the different types of Pikmin following you.

theblackdragonAdmin

#5

theblackdragon said:

I'm with you, I-U, but mainly because i'm so handheld-oriented at the moment that i doubt i'd be comfortable tethered to a TV anymore, no matter how awesome the game involved. i don't see why they couldn't go both 3DS and Wii U with it, though — that'd make everyone happy. :3

James

#6

James said:

@Adam I'd be surprised if Wii Remote and Nunchuk wasn't a control method too, as I understand the game was mostly developed for Wii before jumping to Wii U. Having recently started playing New Play Control Pikmin 2 (sorry!) it's brilliantly suited to the controllers and I think a dual analogue or touch screen mode might even be a step down.

shingi_70

#7

shingi_70 said:

The Way I see it is that Miyamoto is Like a kid in a Candy store where He has been given so many options. You first Get the DS with a touch screen made for games. Then you get the Wii with pointer controls that's like controlling a a PC rts. Then the 3DS comes along meaning the game can be even better. Then you hit the Wii U which depending on what happens can have all those control scheme's in one.

I am with TBD when it comes to portables. With the exception of maybe 2 360 games my 3DS is my main console until Wii U.

grumblebuzzz

#9

grumblebuzzz said:

@theblackdragon I feel the same way you do. I just kind of want everything to be on the 3DS at this point. It feels so restrictive to me to have to sit stationary on the couch in front of the tv playing a game now. I also think Pikmin would work fantastically as a 3DS title due to the dual screens and stereoscopic 3D effect.

gabrielwoj

#10

gabrielwoj said:

We haven't had a new Pikmin game since 2004, but we're under the...
I never had played 2D Metroid game since 2004...
Hey, 2 great games in the same year

I hope they can maybe return the time limit... Dang, what an awesome function. Keep the game challenging!

Ryno

#11

Ryno said:

Never played a Pikmin game before. If it is good enough for James it might be very well good enough for me. Besides I am looking to get a launch Wii U and will need soemthing to play! I know, I know, I am sure there will be a lot of great launch games to choose from...

CorbsAdmin

#13

Corbs said:

I too would much rather see the game on 3DS. I think the stylus would offer some great control solutions and like Des, have been getting far more portable-oriented as of late. :D

Nin-freak

#16

Nin-freak said:

I expect it to be a launch title, considering how long it's been in production.
I think the controller could be used by itself nicely to control the Pikmin, but using the TV at the same time demands other controls. If you had to look at the screen each time you threw a Pikmin, you might as well get rid of the TV! I think the Wii remote and nunchuck would be a lot better than the Wii U controller. Nothing can beat the pointer for the best controls.

Grackler

#17

Grackler said:

I just want more Pikmin now, but I could just wait 'til WiiU arrives, there's loads they could do with not just the touch but the second view on the world. Now, Ninty, NOW! (or maybe even a new franchise, there hasn't been anything that new that's that refreshing Nintendo form of bonkers since Pikmin 1!)

Infernapeking

#18

Infernapeking said:

I played the second one on Gamecube it was awesome. Never got the first one since I was still playing N64 up til 2003.

JayceJa

#21

JayceJa said:

they shoulda had pikmin 3 on the wii a long time ago, as well as a pikmin portable for 3ds, and now pikmin 4 should be being made for the wii u

theres no reason it should have taken so long for a single game to be made, we should have had several by now

TeeJay

#22

TeeJay said:

Never played or even seen a Pikmin game. I wonder why it's so popular.

Burning_Spear

#24

Burning_Spear said:

I wouldn't put it past Nintendo to devise a way to make Pikmin rock with the Wii U controller, but ...

I think it works amazingly well with the NPC Wii system, and I don't want to play a home-console game that requires me to constantly stare at, and draw on, a handheld screen. That's what my 3DS and DSi are for.

Shworange

#25

Shworange said:

I think pikmin would work incredibly well on the 3DS. When transferring games from the dsi to the 3DS, you are treated to a 3D animation of the pikmin taking the title and preparing it for your 3DS. It very much made me wonder if anything else Pikmin related would be slated for the 3DS.

rjejr

#26

rjejr said:

Can't wait for this game. (Still waiting for New Play Control Pikmin 2.) This game alone would get me to buy a WiiU at launch, no matter how it controls. That bird in the japanese garden video makes me think this game could almost look true to life, with little Pikimin running around a real garden.

Using the Wiimote pointer and nunchuck makes the most sense, but I wonder if Nintedno will test using them in conjunction with Upad. Would the pad sit comfortably in your lap, to be picked up occasionally to look at the screen? I'm fairly certain my normal sized hands could pick up the Upad while still holding the Wiimote and nunchuck. Probably couldn't hit many buttons but the camera could still work.

Also little 2-D side-scrolling mini-games to break up the action, which would look just like Kirby's Mass Attack. And no, I can't see any good reason why these would need the Upad screen rather than the tv screen, other than to change things up - 3D big screen, 2d little screen. The Blob 2 had a nice mixture of both.

k8sMum

#27

k8sMum said:

i need something so those wee suckers don't go into the water like lemmings! (oh, that 'glurrrrghhhhgle' sound...the pikmanity!)

eviLaTtenDant

#29

eviLaTtenDant said:

On the 3DS i could see a Pikmin game that gives you a preset army of Pikmin instead of having you grow your own troop. It could also get rid of the day/night mechanics and just have you concentrating on exploring and battling enemies. If done right this could make for an amazing eShop title and raise awareness of the series.
The next major installment should just concentrate on the strengths of the NPC titles though. Can't wait to see more of it.

Capt_N

#31

Capt_N said:

I've been thinking about playing it again, since I still need to repair my Wii, I've been playing my 'Cube.

Boyoshi

#32

Boyoshi said:

Never got round to buying it but i have seen and read some good reviews, if Pikmin 3 does come out it will defiantly be a buy for me!!!

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