Nintendo fans aren’t left with much of an extended universe when it comes to franchises.
Sure, the Mario-verse is alive and well thanks to the side characters of Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Captain Toad all getting their own adventures outside of the Mushroom Kingdom, but that’s it.
Often, fans view these side characters in a positive light in their respective franchises, so it begs the question, would other Nintendo franchises shine if they followed similar approaches?
Expanding the Universe
The biggest question here is: are there franchises that have enough side characters to build out their own universe?
I think so.
I look at The Legend of Zelda, and we’re always following Link and Zelda. That’s not a bad thing, but there are some other fun characters to explore.
Breath of the Wild served up a few on a golden platter that could shine in their own spinoff games. Urbosa is often a fan-favorite when it comes to guardians from Breath of the Wild and could make for a fun spinoff.
Another fun idea could be a darker spinoff centered on the Sheikah and their history, especially surrounding the shameful history of the Shadow Temple from Ocarina of Time.
Others that may be worth exploring could be characters from Kirby or Star Fox games.
Part of the problem with this approach is outside of Mario and Zelda, there aren’t too many franchises that can realistically feature spinoffs.
Fire Emblem never has a consistent cast as each game typically features a new cast. Xenoblade Chronicles has followed suit.
Then there’s some that have tried building it out and it just hasn’t worked. The Metroid series is a great example of this as Metroid Prime: Federation Force never fully resonated with fans.
What Do You Think?
This is a tricky tightrope as Nintendo could put itself in danger of feeling too gimmicky or money-grabbing. On the other hand, with the right approach and planning, Nintendo could build out another host of games spun out of another franchise.
I think The Legend of Zelda has the best potential for this, although I wouldn’t want it to be forced. There’s a lot of fun corners of Hyrule to explore that we are left to imagine via head canons and fan fiction.
But what do you think? Should Nintendo spin out characters from other established franchises? Which ones are best primed for a similar approach as Mario and his friends? Let us know in the comments below or via our Discord channel.
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