Update: A Nintendo representative responded to our inquiries about online play on Wii U. “Just to clarify: Wii U and Nintendo Land have been confirmed for the holiday season. Pikmin 3 was given a broader time period: It will arrive sometime in the ‘launch window.’ Once that gets narrowed down to something more specific we’ll announce it,” said Nintendo’s rep, “[As for Pikmin 3 online multiplayer,] Mr. Miyamoto said no online multiplayer. Anything could change, but I’m not going to question the guy who’s actually making the game. So in short, we have nothing more to announce at this time.”
The announcement of Pikmin 3 for Wii U at Nintendo’s E3 2012 press conference excited a very select number of people. Pikmin and Pikmin 2 for Gamecube are seen as exotic creatures in the Nintendo first-party library, the last full-fledged video game franchise birthed by Shigeru Miyamoto before he turned his eye to less goal-oriented fare like Nintendogs, Wii Sports, and Wii Music. The strange strategy adventures of Olimar, a marooned alien scouring Earth’s gardens for parts of his spaceship with the help of critters called Pikmin, were never A-list Nintendo games. They were quirky second-stringers, idiosyncratic and fun, but not essential. So Pikmin 3 is for those obsessives that miss the series’ flavor and for Nintendo zealots anxious for Miyamoto to get back to his roots.
The new game’s emphasis on multiplayer—four-player games that are part co-operative and part competitive were introduced E3—could make the game a must play on Wii U though. Just think: A simple but addictive online multiplayer strategy game that benefits from Nintendo’s warm humor and accessible rules!
Too bad the game won’t have online multiplayer.
Shigeru Miyamoto told IGN in a Monday interview that his new strategy game will not support online multiplayer, unlike older Nintendo titles like 2008’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl and 2005’s Mario Kart DS.
“[In] the case of Mario Kart, we did have online multiplayer, and that’s something that… You have to be very careful that don’t drop frames as you’re trying to sync up with other players over what could be a very great physical distance, over the Internet,” said Miyamoto, “But in the situation of Pikmin, for example, since you would have lots of individual, small creatures, the Pikmin, whose every movement and location is going to be important in the game, it would be very difficult to sync up over an Internet connection. So I think what we’ve decided to do is focus on single-player and local multiplayer aspects, which are really fun. But unfortunately, no online multiplayer for Pikmin 3.”
The problem of managing even hundreds of small, usable assets in a multiplayer game hasn’t posed much of a problem for Blizzard in StarCraft or even for small independently made games like Multiwinia. Miaymoto’s logic doesn’t hold when compared to other games with somewhat similar play to Pikmin.
Wii U’s online infrastructure is still an unknown quantity beyond scant details about the Miiverse service and the use of Friend Codes. Digital Trends has reached out to Nintendo for comment on whether online multiplayer features in Wii U launch titles like Pikmin 3 and Nintendo Land have been finalized or if they could change over the next 6 months. We will update this article if and when we receive a response.