Nintendo is generally thought to exist in its own fancy little bubble, protected from the outside world and faintly out of touch with the rest of us. However, Nintendo of America's marketing department may be a bit more savvy than we thought, and seems to have an ear to the ground when it comes to hot topics.
Take, for instance, the thorny issue of female protagonists. E3 in particular was a hotbed of complaints that almost all game leads were burly men being manly and burly, with only Nintendo really offering us something different. Having heard that praise, Nintendo is now actively promoting playable female characters as a selling point, starting with Pikmin 3.
Jon Wahlgren uploaded a photo of a Nintendo press release, one boasting of Pikmin 3's new co-protagonist, Brittany.
"In the game players take command of three new characters," explains the promotional fluff. "Alph, Charlie, and in a first for the series, female explorer Brittany. Brittany is one of the many playable female characters in upcoming Wii U games."
Some have considered this an odd move on Nintendo's part, going out of its way to talk about female characters. Others may even consider it somewhat patronizing. It does, however, make sense when you consider what a hot-button topic this has become, especially amongst the gaming press to whom such press releases are being sent. It's got people talking right now, so I'd say the mission was accomplished!
In any case, Nintendo earned its praise for revealing things like a returning playable Princess Peach in Super Mario 3D World, at a time where publishers still desperately cling to muscular soldier men called Jake because that's what focus-tested teenage boys say they want. Nintendo always seems to want to do its own thing, chained not by a subservience to trends and marketing, and as such, it's in a position to be more open-minded and serve a wider audience than those companies who are, ironically, restricting what their games can be in a clawing bid to "reach a wider audience."
It's easy to think of Nintendo as the kindly uncle who's not quite with us in the real world, but this was a smart little move. Whether it'll pay off is another matter, but I can certainly dig where it's going.
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11:00 AM on 08.22.2014