Nintendo has built a video game empire off of their exclusive franchises. Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Animal Crossing, the list goes on and on. They've created games so iconic that they've reshaped, or even outright created entire genres.
While they have an incredible pedigree when it comes to their game series, not every Nintendo original has gone on to be a huge hit financially. There are a ton of games that are beloved by fans and critics alike, but they just didn't do enough business to continue being a priority for Miyamoto and the crew. Thus, many games have fallen to the wayside, seemingly forgotten forever due to their poor market performance.
Thankfully, we've now hit a point in the gaming industry where people who grew up on these abandoned Nintendo series are now old and wise enough to say, "I'll just make my own dang Advance Wars game!" That's exactly what's happening: indie devs are making spiritual successors to the games that Nintendo forgot, and are proving that there's still life in some dormant franchises.
For example, look at the recent strategy game, Wargroove, which came out in February. All it takes is one glance to see the influence that the Advance War series had on the developers. The Advance Wars series was full of incredibly fun tactics games, but hasn't had a game released since 2008. The last one didn't set the world on fire in terms of sales, but pretty much every Advance Wars game received great reviews, and have developed a cult following. It took 11 years for a developer like Chucklefish to come along, and redefine the game's concept for a new generation.
Also, Wargroove has adorable doggo soldiers. So, it's basically the best Advance Wars game ever.
Then there is the recently announced Bug Fables from Moonsprout Games. It's pretty obvious that Paper Mario was the inspiration for the bug based RPG. Everything from the art style, to the combat mechanics, to even the font of the speech bubbles, screams Paper Mario, which is another series that seems to have vanished without a trace.
To be fair, Nintendo did release a Paper Mario game on the Wii U, but it wasn't a traditional RPG like the first game. It also received alright but not spectacular reviews, and of course, it was on the Wii U, which meant it sold terribly and barely anyone played it. Bug Fables looks like the Paper Mario games of old, and considering that Nintendo doesn't seem to be going back to that well anytime soon, it'll nice to have a game that harkens back to the original game, or even Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. Plus, the Switch is the perfect system for a Paper Mario game on the go.
Nintendo knows that their Mario Kart series is a best seller, so they wouldn't dare let that series sit for too long. However, their other racing game franchise hasn't received any love in an obscenely long time. F-Zero hasn't had a new game since F-Zero Climax in 2004, and that was a Gameboy Advance game that barely got released outside of Japan. If you're looking for a game released worldwide on consoles, you'd have to go to 2003 for F-Zero GX on the Gamecube, which is insane.
Luckily, some indie developers have recognized the F-Zero shaped hole in the gaming world, which is why games like Redout, and Fast Racing RMX are filling that high-speed void. They've taken elements of F-Zero, and updated them to fit today's video game standards. It's demonstrated that a new F-Zero game would totally work, and that people wouldn't mind seeing Captain Falcon in a game other than Super Smash Bros.
Finally, there's the Metroid series. Now, we can't say that Metroid is dead and buried, seeing as it's had several iterations over the years. It's just never seemed like it was considered to be one of Nintendo's golden gooses, despite its popularity in North America. We've gone many years between games in the series, with the latest release, Metroid: Samus Returns, coming out seven years after Metroid: Other M. And even then, Samus Returns is a remake of the original Gameboy's Metroid II: Return Of Samus, so it's technically not even an entirely new game.
As a result, the rise of so-called "Metroidvania" games has been growing steadily over the past decade. Games like Axiom Verge, Hollow Knight, The Mummy: Demastered, Guacamelee, and countless others have all been inspired by the way Metroid games play, and in some cases, they've even improved upon the formula. So, while we continue to wait forever for Metroid Prime 4, there's at least a massive selection of Metroid-like options.
These are just a few examples of indie developers that have seen the niche market that Nintendo has neglected to capitalize upon. Nintendo has a treasure trove of games that all either deserve sequels, reboots, remakes, or spiritual successors. Yet they seem to go back to the same franchises over and over again. We know that a new Mario, Zelda, or Pokemon game is likely just around the corner, but what about a new Punch-Out? Or a new Pikmin? Or heck, what about Pokemon Snap? Why have they forsaken Pokemon Snap?!
At least the people who grew up playing these games haven't forgotten them like Nintendo has. There is a demand for the continuation of these beloved series, and if Nintendo won't make them, then it's up to indie devs to do the job for them. Hopefully, if games like Bug Fables and Wargroove do well enough, maybe Nintendo will be convinced to go up into their attic, dust off that old box of forgotten games, and pull an old franchise or two out of obscurity.
We guess what we're trying to say is: Hey, Nintendo. Just make another Pokemon Snap already!