The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a singular achievement, having reexamined the Zelda formula and created an entirely new experience that feels familiar and yet distinct. This fresh approach was captured in the critical praise across the board, including in our own review. But what other Nintendo franchises need a new outlook? With some help from the Chatty, we came up with ten more Nintendo franchises that could benefit from "the Breath of the Wild treatment." These are series that deserve look back at first principles and modern design sensibilities to make something entirely new.
Metroid is a clear standout for this treatment, in part because it shares so many parallels with Zelda. Like Zelda, its jump to 3D was a major landmark in gaming, but it's also started to stagnate since then. Unlike Zelda, though, Metroid's response to this stagnation was to go into hibernation for the last several years. If we discount Metroid Prime: Federation Force (and we should), the last game in the series was Other M, and that was a full seven years ago. Clearly, Samus is primed for a come-back.
Best of all, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild might light the path. Both series began as quiet adventures, with a sense of atmosphere leading the design direction. Metroid could benefit just as much from a less guided experience, putting Samus into a derelict space station or mysterious planet and letting her explore as she may. An empty world to explore would trade Zelda's peppy spirit for a creepy exploration adventure. Meanwhile, BotW has shown that Nintendo can gate content in ways that are more subtle than colored doors, and let the player enjoy finding their own solutions. (Steve Watts)
"So a Breath of the Wild treatment of Metroid would probably mean creating an open world that is unforgiving and mysterious, and finding various power ups to let you explore more of that world. Hopefully in the process they would discard of baggage like "Well we have to take place in Metroid continuity so you have to start off with everything from the previous game and then lose it" and trying to include every enemy and power up from previous games. Keep whatever would make sense but scrap everything else and just focus on exploring an alien world." -Mecha Tofu Pirate
"A proper Metroid would be about exploration and isolation. People would complain that the world was too empty and doesn't have enough enemies. They don't realize that both Metroid and Zelda are adventure games that focus on mood, tone, and location, not a flood of enemies that are placed willy-nilly." -Serpico74
Excitebike has been in dire need of an update for so long that it’s hard to imagine anything other than the classics like the original game and Excitebike 64. But given the climate for racing games, it would be welcomed with open arms if it were to go the way of games like Burnout Paradise or adopt a system like The Crew’s open world stylings. There aren’t enough games out there already that even focus on motorcycles, so there’s a wide gap available for players to tear into an Excitebike given a whole new facelift. It could absolutely work with the right amount of care. (Brittany Vincent)
"excitebike as an openworld stunt game like those GTA clips of crazy far/precise landings" -threeup
F-Zero is a game that could definitely use some sort of reimagining. Regarding a remake of the game Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto has said “Why F-Zero? What do you want that we haven’t done before?” Here are three things that I think would be able to bring new life to the series.
Expand the story. F-Zero’s universe is full of interesting characters but we only get to see them talk smack in between races. This creates an opportunity for a deeper campaign mode that either incorporates open world elements or even allows players to control the drivers outside of their cars.
More cars on screen. Every F-Zero game has been at the cutting edge of the racer genre when they were released. Imagine a race with 60 or 120 machines going at it simultaneously! More is not always better, but pushing frames per second to the limit while also creating an insanely competitive racing environment is something that the game has been known for.
Online Play. This is so painfully obvious that it hurt my fingers to type it out. F-Zero never saw the light of day online. While online multiplayer has been the achilles heel for Nintendo in the past, Mario Kart 8 offered a fantastic framework for what F-Zero could do online. Creating a way to compete in an online Grand Prix and special events could keep the game fresh for years and introduce a whole new generation of gamers to the series.
I could keep going on about this, but we have to make room for the other writers. (Asif Khan)
"f-zero where you can get out and walk around and go to the bar in mute city with the other racers, like tron or starwars pod racer" -threeup
Nintendo's Punch-Out!! revival for Wii came and went in 2009. While the game was well-received, it was ultimately a remake of the NES Classic. Were Nintendo to bring Little Mac out of retirement again, I'd prefer a design that stuck closer to the sequel than the original. Although the first game lives on in the speedrunning community, Super Punch-Out!! on SNES carved out a niche as a more arcadey title featuring opponents able to be KO'd in seconds instead of minutes.
Most victories in the first game hinge on finding an opponent's weak spot and punching it at precisely the right time. Super Punch-Out!! offered more variety by giving players a larger arsenal of moves that could be chained together in myriad ways, opening up multiple strategies. Super Punch-Out!! could be beaten in less than 15 to 20 minutes, but the joy comes from matching optimal moves to each opponent and shaving milliseconds off one's time.
Nintendo could pull our nostalgia strings by crafting the game in a 16-bit style and offering it as a budget-priced game, no higher than around $20. A reasonable price point for a game that will be finished quickly the first time, but that players will keep coming back to over months and years. (David Craddock)
"Punch Out VR. Comes with an apparatus that actually tries to punch you in the face." -Thund3rball
Game & Watch
Nintendo's Game & Watch originated as a series of bite-sized, handheld games, each of which centered on one objective. That construction makes Switch the perfect platform to host a Game & Watch resurrection. Nintendo could release a suite of minigames starring Mr. G&W himself, each available at a nominal fee or bundled together in 1-2-Switch-style package. Some could be traditional games played with traditional control schemes, while Nintendo could tailor others to take advantage of the Switch Joy-Con peripheral's "3D Rumble" haptic tech.
Game & Watch is not a brand (or character) that warrants a retail-priced title, but a collection of simple games engineered to show off what the Switch and its controllers could do would be darn near perfect. (David Craddock)
"Game & Watch: Squish as a full-fat roguelike set in a constantly shifting trap-labyrinth." -kallanta
While the full cast of Mushroom Kingdom greats have gained their respective times in the sun, it's Luigi who has played second banana to his more famous brother. Still, Nintendo has seen fit to differentiate Luigi from Mario with his own personality and sub-plot. Not only is he an adventurer who regularly helps save the princess, he's also an amateur (if reluctant) ghostbuster. With two games under his belt he's gotten pretty good at it.
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon already nailed the tone needed for another entry in the series. It's wacky and fun, and spooky in that kid-safe way you see in PG Halloween movies. A new Luigi's Mansion, then, should be a refinement: a wider range of tools, a great variety of puzzles, and maybe even some take-it-anywhere functionality with the Nintendo Switch that really shows off the device's central hook. (Steve Watts)
"Luigi's Mansion. Actually Im not sure how they would improve on Dark Moon because it was fantastic. Would love to see an HD follow up." -atom519
The entire premise of Pikmin seems suited to a more open world than what we’ve been given previously. Players could search all over a colorful world for new Pikmin varieties, plant life, and other interesting organic life on a brand new planet. There’s a whole new world of possibilities out there if you were to take Pikmin in the same sort of direction Zelda went in, and it boggles the mind to think about. (Brittany Vincent)
StarTropics is a strange NES franchise that Nintendo seems content to simply forget. The first title in the series was an oddball in that it wasn't intended to be released in Japan (and still hasn't been). Instead it was developed specifically to be distributed in North America and Europe. Developed by Nintendo Integrated Research & Development Department (IRD), StarTropics has lightweight Earthbound vibes, though it's toned down a lot from Shugesato Itoi's masterpiece. It channeled Zelda and featured a protagonist in a much more modern setting than many RPGs did at the time.
StarTropics did well by all accounts, at least well enough to receive a sequel. Unfortunately Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II was released in 1994 at the very end of the NES's life and as the second-to-last title released for the console, it received unjust comparison to games coming out for the then-new SNES. Zoda's Revenge had nine chapters and each took place in a different time and era. Unfortunately, this game didn't get a chance to fly and was only released in North America.
For whatever reason Nintendo took Zoda's Revenge's commercial failure to heart and haven't revisited the series yet. Reviving the series would give Nintendo a great opportunity to project the company's talent for quirkiness and unique gaming into an almost completely blank slate. (Jason Faulkner)
Star Fox has been getting the short end of the stick for a while beginning with the cancellation of Star Fox 2. While Star Fox 64 was an excellent title, other entries in the series have had varying degrees of quality, and the latest, Star Fox Zero, was critically panned. Star Fox's lore is barely understandable, so now would be a great time for Nintendo to go back to all the great ideas from Star Fox 2 and give the series a reboot that gives a solid foundation that the franchise can move forward on. (Jason Faulkner)
Retro Studios breathed new life into Donkey Kong by building on the foundation Rare put into place with its Donkey Kong Country trilogy on SNES. Since 2D Kong has been done and redone, the studio Nintendo hands the baton (or banana peel) to next should take a crack at 3D. Donkey Kong Country 64 hasn't aged well, like most games at the dawn of gaming in three dimensions. The graphics and control were rough, and in DK64's case, gameplay didn't veer far enough from what made the 2D games stand out. A return to 3D would fly in the face of the industry-wide trend to go running back to 2D, and afford developers a chance to hone 3D platforming—a sandbox in which few play today. (David Craddock)
Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Ten: The 'Zelda: Breath of the Wild' Treatment
I'm in full agreement with Metroid, Donkey Kong and Star Fox.
Same, although I'd take another real Metroid in any capacity right now.
Of all its many IPs, Metroid deserves a return. At the very least Nintendo could hand it off to a third-party studio that it trusts.
Metroid and Star Fox both have the potential to be amazingly good if done right. I would especially love to see a really well-done 1st party Metroid game. That.... is probably my most wished for Nintendo game right now.
A Star Fox adventure-style game where you can hop in a ship and do mission and then get out and explore planets and dungeons also sounds like a great game. Zelda BotW meets Star Fox in No Man's Sky. Sign me the 'ef up!