Something amazing happened at the past weekend's Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF). Something that nobody could have seen coming...gaming behemoths Nintendo reentered the world of film!
The living legend that is Shigeru Miyamoto graced the TIFF stage to talk to the huge crowd about the up and coming theatrical adaptations of his Pikmin franchise - PIKMIN Short Movies. The 23 minute, 3D animated film will comprise of 3 tales "The Night Juicer", "Treasures in A Bottle", and "Occupational Hazards".
Pikmin is a top down, 3D strategy game where you are placed in the role of the extra-terrestrial astronaut Captain Olimar, who crash lands on an alien, Earth-like planet. He soon discovers the titular, tiny, multicolored, half-animal/half-plant hybrids that, helpfully, adhere to his every whistle and are soon tasked with aiding Olimar in his search for the missing parts of his spacecraft.
First released in 2001 on the much underrated Gamecube console, the Pikmin series, now on its third iteration, has garnered good reviews across the board and remains an important ingredient in the veritable feast that is the Nintendoverse.
But Why PIKMIN Short Movies?
For years Miyamoto-san has been against the idea of making films with Nintendo characters (I wonder why...), but has recently warmed to the idea due to technological advancements in filmmaking.
"Making films in the past was something that was made with a completely different skill set, but now I feel that it's rather similar," said Miyamoto. He went on to discuss the films as a project that seeks the expansion of the video game world and will imbue the Pikmin characters with more life and personality.
Now I understand why Miyamoto-san is pushing Pikmin as Nintendo's latest cinematic poster...plants? Like Pokemon, which already exists as a theatrical franchise, Pikmin are incredibly cute, child friendly critters and the film's run time, if we ever see a physical, non-eShop release in the west, will be more than enough to placate the kids for a short while. But what about those who scream for a theatrical outing of some of Nintendo's more renowned characters?
"...technically, there are various things we can do," said Miyamoto.
Has Miyamoto-san left the door open for more silver screen Nintendo adventures post, the debacle that was, the Super Mario Bros. movie? Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, certainly believes so when he revealed, earlier this year, that Nintendo have been contemplating licensing their IP's to other sources. "We are not at a stage where we can share the specifics with you today, but we are seeing possibilities in licensing character IP in areas Nintendo has never worked before," said Iwata-san.
So This Could Mean...
Star Fox - The Movie
Imagine Fox McCloud and the Star Fox heroes taking on the evils of Andross in an all animated adventure! I'd pay good money to see that! Did someone say mocap?! WHY THE HECK NOT!
Metroid - The Movie
Not an original Miyamoto IP but a favorite of gamers and Nintendo zealots worldwide. Imagine joining Samus Aran, the heroic bounty hunter, as she ventures into distant space in an effort to stop the dastardly Space Pirates from harnessing the sheer destructive power of the Metroids!
and, of course...
The Legend Of Zelda - The Movie
With the dizzying amount of lore that exists for this seminal series, a truly epic film adaption could be a distinct possibility. Think something on the scale of Peter Jackson's Ring and Hobbit trilogies and I'd hand over my card and pin number. "Just keep it. Have all my money. All the money ever."
It is a long shot, but here's hoping that one day we'll have more Nintendo-y goodness to whet our appetites than this heartbreaker.
Which Nintendo IP would you most like to see on the silver screen?
(Source: Reuters, TIFF, IGN, Nintendo)