Pikmin 4 released this year on Nintendo Switch, about eight years after many fans expected it would come out! Back in 2015, series creator Shigeru Miyamoto said in an interview that the game's development was "very close to completion." In those eight years, Nintendo released spin-offs and a Deluxe version of Pikmin 3, but no sequel. Many fans were getting impatient by the time Pikmin 4 was finally unveiled during a Nintendo Direct last year. Hope had been reignited, but many wondered just what the heck happened. In a new interview with Game Informer, director Yuji Kando and planning director Yutaka Hiramuki offered insight into Miyamoto's 2015 comments.
"After the development for Pikmin 3 ended, we started development for Pikmin 4 as a small team," Kando told Game Informer. "As we made several attempts and tried out various things, there were moments when we could see the game take shape, but since we had to prioritize other projects, we weren't able to create the development team framework needed to complete the game. But the fruits of our labor during that time lead to the result of what Pikmin 4 is today."
"We know the fans were worried since Pikmin 4 was taking a long time, but thanks to their patience, we were able to make a game that is enjoyable for many people," Hiramuki added.
Nintendo's Other Priorities
Since debuting back in 2001, the Pikmin franchise has always been a smaller one for Nintendo. While the series has maintained a passionate following, it has never gotten the same commercial attention as Mario, Zelda, or Splatoon. Pikmin 4 developer Nintendo EPD has worked on all of those franchises over the last eight years, with Hiramuki specifically working on game design for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2. If Nintendo truly did need the developers to "prioritize other projects," it makes a lot of sense that these games were given a focus before Pikmin 4 would see completion. Clearly, Pikmin 4 took longer than expected, but it seems things worked out for the best!
It seems unlikely Nintendo will announce another Pikmin game that far ahead of time again. While we don't know when the next Pikmin game will release, it's a safe bet the series will continue on. Sales for Pikmin 4 have been a lot stronger than previous games in the series. As of this writing, Nintendo has not offered any global sales figures, but Pikmin 4 saw the franchise's biggest launch in Japan, outselling launch numbers for the first three games combined. The success of the Switch console likely helped quite a bit, as previous games in the series released on some of Nintendo's worst-selling systems; the first two games launched on GameCube, while Pikmin 3 debuted on Wii U.
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