Nintendo fans have been given something of an early Christmas present this year as Shigeru Miyamoto, who many consider to be the most influential and creative game designer alive today, has confirmed that the company has already started work on new consoles and are currently researching ways that they can take the next step forward in gaming.
Mario fans may be a little less happy as, during the course of the same interview, Miyamoto also claimed that it is a possibility that the next major Mario game may also end up being reserved for the new console, should research and development move forward at an adequate pace.
The news will come as something of a relief to die hard Nintendo fans, especially in the wake of struggling Wii U sales that initially saw the console being sold at a loss and Nintendo itself being forced to announce losses as a result.
However, thanks to a combination of factors that include making manufacturing processes more efficient and cost-effective, the strong sales of the 3DS and an ever-strengthening library of software that has finally seen the company bring some of its killer apps to their latest console, Nintendo has seen something of a slight reversal of fortunes. This led the company to unexpectedly announce that they had turned a profit in their last financial report, despite the fact that the Wii U is simply not selling as well as the PS4 and Xbox One.
Miyamoto commented: “From early on, I wanted Mario to be that character in the digital world, so that with each digital evolution, he was there to usher in the next era. I think that maybe when we release the next hardware system, you can look forward to seeing Mario take on a new role or in a new game.”
While the comment is vague, it does seem to imply that the next stage of evolution for the Mario series is being reserved for whatever technology that minds at Nintendo are currently dreaming up. Fortunately, the comment doesn’t flat-out state that there will be no more Mario games on the Wii U, instead claiming that the next major gameplay alteration in the series will probably have to wait. This likely means that Mario games using existing gameplay formulas could still be released in the coming years.
Miyamoto further added to his comments in the interview, which was released to the associated press, by stating that Nintendo’s focus during the course of 2015 would be to release a strong lineup of titles that would help cement the Wii U as a console that is worth owning for people other than Nintendo fans, while also making use of the additional peripherals that come with it. Recent release, such as the latest Smash Bros title, a new Mario Kart game and the much-anticipated sequel to Bayonetta, all seem to indicate that there is life in the console yet. However this willingness to admit that the company are already working on a new piece of hardware only a year or so after the release of competitor products indicates that Nintendo may be writing the Wii U off as something of a commercial failure, at least in the face of the amazing performance of the Wii.
Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see what direction a new Nintendo console will take from here. Will the company continue to try to capture lightning in a bottle twice with even more innovation in regards to controlling games, or will they revert to the more traditional control methods that appear to be favoured by likes of Microsoft and Sony? Only time will tell.