Nintendo should start developing mature video games

Eternal Darkness – what would a Nintendo horror game look like? (Image: Nintendo)

A reader imagines what would happen if Nintendo started developing games for adults, such as first-person shooters and survival horrors.

I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that Nintendo is the most respected video game developer in the world and has been for at least 40 years. Other studios come and go, and most modern ones only release a new game about every five years – so good luck looking forward to The Last Of Us Part 3 considering Naughty Dog has two new games to make before then.

There are many things that set Nintendo apart from other developers, but one of the less appreciated is how they approach each individual genre. Rather than just making platform games, they’ve made everything from sports sims to fighters to strategy games and role-playing games. However, they all have one thing in common: they are all family-friendly.

I’m not saying that as a criticism, but it does limit what they can do and mean that that good old Nintendo magic has never been worked into survival horror, first-person shooters, or anything with a serious plot. The reasons for this are obvious, but I hope that one day they will change their minds.

Before you accuse me of being silly, it’s worth pointing out that Nintendo has dabbled with ideas like this before. It released survival horror Eternal Darkness as a first-party Nintendo game and is solely responsible for Bayonetta still being a thing, with both making it into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. They also organized a remake of Metal Gear Solid, as well as relatively serious action games like Geist and Disaster: Day Of Crisis.

The thing about all these games, though, is that Nintendo released them but didn’t make them, and with the exception of Bayonetta, it’s obvious that they all would have been a lot better if they had. But Nintendo itself doesn’t make this kind of game and I think that’s a real shame.

My suggestion then is simple: set-up on for adults only Label for games that are rated for adults and made clearly for kids, then giving Nintendo’s developers a chance to let off steam. It would have to be brand new franchises, no one wants to see GTA: Mushroom Kingdom but this is even better as far as I’m concerned.

Maybe they could do a sequel to Eternal Darkness, I think that could be interesting, but what about a realistic first-person shooter that plays as well as Splatoon? Or a more serious fighting game by the same team behind Smash Bros. that didn’t feature mascots (although the Fire Emblem cast could work).

Or a Zelda-style game but with a more realistic setting, even if it’s still fantasy, with a real and complex story. How would a Nintendo take on a Sony-formulated third-person action-adventure? No sad dads, hopefully, but imagine a serious post-apocalyptic game that has the same quality as Zelda or Metroid.

I think the most serious thing an in-house Nintendo developer ever gets is Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade games, although even by RPG standards they’re still pretty cartoony. But what if they did something more realistic and maybe took inspiration from Fallout or Mass Effect?

The possibilities are endless and while I have no real hope that it will ever happen, I do hope that one day I will be proven wrong. As games appeal to more and more people, Nintendo might realize that they are indeed missing out on a large audience, and as long as they think they can keep the games out of the reach of children, I think their developers would jump at the chance.

It might be like when Disney founded Touchstone Pictures to release less family-friendly movies, so it’s not as if companies haven’t done anything like this before. It’s just a dream of mine, but I thought I’d share it.

From reader Goodspeed

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