For a brief moment earlier this year, after the Nintendo Direct on February 17, 2021, it seemed like Nintendo might be bringing back Miis. The Direct showed off Mario Golf: Super Rush, which uses Miis in the story mode and as a playable character in some other modes. The presentation also announced a port of the 3DS game Miitopia for the Switch. The major change to the game for the new platform was an updated Mii maker, with wigs and makeup. These two games together made it seem like Nintendo was priming us for a true Mii comeback. Since then, however, that feeling has started to fade. This leads me to wonder, should the Mii return to its former glory? Does anyone even want them to recover their prominence?
The Mii made its debut as a player avatar back in the mid 2000s, for the Wii. They went on to be a big part of the 3DS and Wii U experiences as well. Miis broke into the mobile space with Miitomo, a social network app. They also played a part in the development of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, where Miis were used to create NPCs. But since the release of the Switch, Miis have felt like an afterthought; a lingering, dwindling part of the Nintendo landscape.
One understandable take is that the Miis are tied to the Wii branding, they had their day in the sun, and we don’t need them anymore. Nintendo seems to be intent on sunsetting the focus on Miis during the Switch era. With a few notable exceptions, many of the games on the Switch that include Miis are ports from earlier systems. Nintendo has done a lot with the Mii, and games and services like Wii Sports, Miiverse, Miitomo, and Miitopia were fun, but it’s been almost 15 years between the launch of the Wii and Mario Golf: Super Rush. Maybe it’s time to move on.
On the other hand, the Mii is a fun and powerful character creation tool. With some time and effort, it’s possible to create a surprisingly true to life version of yourself, or your friends and family. The Switch lacks a great deal of online functionality, and Miis could help fill some of that in. Miis could be great characters to play in minigame collections, an updated reboot of Wii Sports, or even brand new games. While the Mario Golf: Super Rush story mode may have left a lot to be desired, it showed the potential of a sports adventure game built entirely around Miis.
Personally, I think we could use additional Mii functionality in more new games. I feel there’s no limit to new things Nintendo could do with Miis, and the robust tool shouldn’t be abandoned or left only to legacy ports. I hope that the port of Miitopia and the release of Mario Golf: Super Rush usher in a new era of Miis, rather than offering them a last gasp.
What do you think, should Nintendo bring back an emphasis on the Mii or let it slide into obscurity and live only in our memories? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or join the Boss Rush Discord and chime in there.