Continuing on the heels of Dead Space 3, Only Single Player continues it’s coverage of the most anticipated games of 2013. The cream of this years crop are being highlighted daily by our site, and today is no exception…
The year – 2013. Four extraterrestrial crewmates arrive on a strange planet. With no sign of intelligent life around, they begin their search for their fearless Captain. That planet? Earth. And humanity has been wiped out.
Hostile creatures are all around and the oxygen in the atmosphere is highly toxic to this alien species. Their only hope? 1 inch tall creatures known as Pikmin. You see, this isn’t the plot of some science-fiction movie – it’s Pikmin 3!
Released in 2001 during the GameCube’s launch window, the original Pikmin was the result of gaming Godfather Shigeru Miyamoto trying to do something fresh and different. And like almost always, he succeeded. Aboard the S.S. Dolphin (catch the GameCube reference?), Captain Olimar, a tiny humanoid alien from the planet Hocotate, is heading toward enjoying an intergalactic vacation. However, during the flight, Olimar’s ship is struck by a comet. His vessel breaks apart into pieces and he crash lands on an unknown planet.
When Olimar awakens after the crash, he finds himself at odds with the hostile environment. He’s missing 30 pieces from his ship thus preventing his escape. Worse yet, the atmosphere is rich with oxygen, a gas deadly to those from Hocotate. The dilemma comes in the form of Olimar’s life support system – it will only last him 30 days. The Captain has no time to lolly-gag around this new planetary discovery. He must recover enough pieces of his ship to be able to escape this new and dangerous location. And it must be before his life support runs out.
That’s when he meets the Pikmin.
The Pikmin, are a small endangered life forms that live on this futuristic non-human inhabiting Earth. But what the creatures lack in size they more than make up for in strength and discipline. The Pikmin are willing and eager to listen to Captain Olimar’s directions, aiding in both the Pikmin’s survival as a species and the Captain’s as an alien to this planet.
The player as Captain Olimar has 30 days to rebuild a flyable ship. And it’s just days – not nights. The local predators are much more dangerous at when the sun sets, forcing Olimar and the Pikmin to return his ship and their “onion” pods respectively. As they adventure during the day, the Pikmin have the ability to carry nourishing supplies back to their color coded onions, thus growing more seeds and replenishing the Pikmin army. At maximum, Captain Olimar can command up to 100 Pikmin.
During his travels, Olimar discovers there are three different types of Pikmin; red, yellow and blue. The red are the most common form. They have the ability to withstand fire and are slightly more powerful in attacking. Yellow Pikmin are able to be thrown by Olimar over greater distances and are also capable of carrying bomb rocks for him. Finally, found later in the game are the blue waterproof Pikmin. They are immune to water attacks, can travel the underwater portions of levels and also have the ability to save drowning Pikmin of the other varieties.
With Captain Olimar directing his Pikmin army via his whistle, they help him do all the necessary tasks; attack hostile creatures, collect resources, knock down walls, build bridges, defeat huge bosses and of course collect ship parts.
As you might guess, Olimar and the Pikmin are successful. After collecting the necessary ship mechanics, they wave good-bye to each other as the Captain blasts off back towards home. Until he returns in…
Captain Olimar returns to Hocotate only to discover that the company he works for, Hocotate Freight, is in massive debt. A co-worker, Louie, was attacked while carrying a large load of the expensive golden Pikpik Carrots (a local delicacy). Now bankrupt, Hocotate Freight has lost everything after being unable to pay back a huge loan. This includes Olimar’s S.S. Dolphin which was taken promptly after his arrival. Aboard the S.S. Dolphin, however, was a bottle cap that Olimar brought back as a souvenir. Determining the bottle cap to be extremely valuable, Captain Olimar’s boss The President sends he and Louie back to the Pikmin planet to scrounge up more treasure and save the company.
Once back on (what they don’t know is) Earth, Captain Olimar and Louie work to track down the 201 treasures scattered across the planet. The player now has the ability to swap between controlling both characters at the same time, enabling the duo to cover more ground much more quickly. Also changed is the 30 day time limit within the second game. It’s entirely removed aiming to get rid off unneeded stress put upon the player. Additionally, there are two new types of Pikmin; purple and white. The purple Pikmin are large and slow. However they have the ability to carry ten times the amount of weight as a normal Pikmin. The white Pikmin are poison resistant and have the ability to locate treasure buried underground. Also slightly modified were the yellow Pikmin. No longer needed to carry bomb rocks, in Pikmin 2 they are now immune to electricity.
The player once again controls his variety of Pikmin friends through puzzles and challenges. Eventually, the Hocotate duo returns home with enough treasure to save the company. It’s later revealed that the Louie was never actually attacked. In an unlockable video it’s discovered that Louie couldn’t help himself and ate the entire shipment of golden Pikpik Carrots, thus setting the scene for the entire story of Pikmin 2. Oh, Louie…
Both Pikmin and Pikmin 2 performed well critically and commercially. But after the second outing, the Pikmin series seemingly went M.I.A. for a while. At 2008’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) it was mentioned during a Nintendo developer’s round-table that production on the third entry was underway. However, no further details were given. Then for 3 full years – crickets. Nintendo went completely mum on what was officially going on with one of their newest hit franchises. Finally, just prior to E3 2011, rumors of a new Nintendo console began circulating. And with the unveiling of the Nintendo Wii U at E3 came the reveal that Pikmin 3 was being made for the next-generation console. Mr. Miyamoto stated that the special screen-based controller and HD graphics of the Wii U would better suit the franchise, thus the wait on a new entry to the series.
Not much else was shared about the game for the following year. Then on June 5th, 2012 during Nintendo’s E3 press conference, Miyamoto finally showcased over 5 minutes of their “real-time action management game”. The crowd was impressed and new excitement for the game was sparked. Players were initially told the game would be a Wii U launch title, however, it’s release was disappointingly pushed back.
During the press conference’s demo, Miyamoto teased quite a bit of what the game would hold. All the main action takes place on the player’s television, but as for controls they have two options; either use the Nintendo GamePad entirely (the touch-screen is an interactive map) or use a Wii Remote/Nunchuck combo and the player can still use the GamePad as a map device. The latter being similar to the Wii re-release controls of Pikmin and Pikmin 2.
This time on your trip back to the Pikmin planet, gamers will be maneuvering 4 main playable characters. Suspiciously, none of them are Captain Olimar or Louie. The reason for this Miyamoto coyly says “is a secret”. Players upgrade from controlling two characters at once in Pikmin 2, to four in Pikmin 3. By seamlessly swapping between them via the GamePad’s touch screen, you can cover tons of territory in a matter of seconds. Characters are also able to work together to traverse the areas. At one point we saw one non-Pikmin character throwing another over a large gap during the demo.
Once again, two new forms of Pikmin are available in the latest iteration of the game; rock Pikmin and flying Pikmin. The rock Pikmin were the Belle of the Ball in this demo. Formally introduced early, they were shown to be useful in taking down stronger barriers and bosses. A crystal wall was broken down and shattered to pieces, and a boss with crystal segmented portions was quickly taken apart by the beefy boulder style creatures. Also shown, but only in a quick glimpse, were flying pink Pikmin. No details have yet to be given on exactly what these guys are capable of (other than flying of course).
Shigeru Miyamoto has spent quite a few years figuring out exactly where he wanted this franchise to head with its upcoming release. He’s mentioned that Pikmin 3 will be more similar to the original than Pikmin 2. When speaking to GamesMaster, Miyamoto said:
“Looking at Pikmin 1 we noticed that it wasn’t a very easy game for people to play, and from time to time they had to feel some stress. Our main aim in Pikmin 2 was to get rid of any stress as much as possible, so that it would be very user-friendly. Well, I myself couldn’t agree with that direction perfectly. That kind of nature of Pikmin 1 was exactly what I wanted to reproduce and I was actually intentionally doing so, so that Pikmin 1 could be a strategic game.”
He concluded saying:
“When we started creating Pikmin 3 I gathered the main members who worked on Pikmin 2 and talked about how I thought it was important to get back to the basics of Pikmin 1. Or I should say that half of my job at that time wasn’t just to talk, but rather to persuade them to understand what I intended to do and to agree to my idea.”
Seriously, who can argue with Shigeru Miyamoto?
We’re aren’t far off from revisiting the Pikmin on their home planet (our planet). Nintendo has yet to give an official release date, but Spring 2013 is still the target time frame. Make sure you re-up on your anxiety meds if necessary, it sounds like Miyamoto-san is bringing back the stress and excitement with Pikmin 3. In the meantime, check out Nintendo’s latest Pikmin 3 trailer below.