Kid Icarus Franchise: Future Uncertain, Potentially Doomed
Pit's career hangs in the balance.
We knew that Nintendo was going to release another Kid Icarus the moment the company included the series' hero, Pit, in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for Wii. After 20 years of listening to fans beg for a sequel, it made little sense to feature him so prominently without caving in to their demands.
Thus, we have Kid Icarus: Uprising, slated to arrive on 3DS before the end of the year. The game, spearheaded by Super Smash Bros. alum Masahiro Sakurai, continues Pit's fight against Medusa, as the winged protagonist destroys monsters both on the ground and in the air. The game still has plenty of time before it hits shelves, but it appears to offer plenty of thrills, with intense aerial battles, epic looking boss fights and some of the best graphics we've seen on the platform.
That said, it remains to be seen whether this promising title will revive the franchise or be its swan song, which is a nicer way to say final nail in the coffin.
Obviously, it's a Nintendo IP, so the chance that Uprising is just the beginning of many sequels is a great possibility.
At the same time, Sakurai has already admitted that he and his team have struggled with the game's development. On top of that, the six-person multiplayer mode has failed to impress; a speedier frame rate and the inclusion of a jump button (this also goes for single player) would help.
Why do we think Kid Icarus is in danger? Because it's significantly less popular than Star Fox, another Nintendo IP that's sort of in limbo. After years of messing with the successful formula, the publisher will resurrect Star Fox 64 and release the remake on 3DS September 9. It's a nostalgic play, one the company hopes to cash in on at retail.
If things go sour, there exists the possibility of the big N pulling the plug on Fox McCloud and friends. Shigeru Miyamoto said as much in a recent interview, where the legendary game designer admitted, "If first-time players like this game, Star Fox will be reborn! So if there's anyone out there who wants to look at the future, please play this!"
Two things jump out here, starting with "first-time players." Nintendo already knows the hardcore fans will purchase Star For 64 3D. Miyamoto is essentially telling us that unless newcomers buy this game, the series is in jeopardy.
Then we have what appears to be a plea, "please play this!" In 20 years of following this industry, we've never heard Miyamoto beg consumers to play Nintendo's games.
Clearly, if the Star Fox dominoes fall, Kid Icarus is sure to follow. Not only does Nintendo need great review scores, but the company also needs players to vote with their wallets. If this game underperforms, you can forget about seeing Kid Icarus adventures moving forward.
This could also result in a disconnect between Nintendo and its fans. We can't imagine Kid Icarus: Uprising existing purely because of the company's desire to continue the brand. The fans had a lot to do with this revival, and they're the ones who will indirectly determine its fate.
The conclusion? Miyamoto has reason to worry.
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