Often times, game franchises get tired of doing the same sort of thing over and over or just want to try something new. This is where spin-offs come in. They allow developers to put a new spin on an existing franchise or experiment with new ideas. The biggest spin-off recently was Hyrule Warriors, a crossover game featuring The Legend of Zelda environments and characters with Dynasty Warriors gameplay.
Not all spin-offs are crossovers though. My favorite spinoff title is Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. An addicting, adorable class-based shooter, PvZ: Garden Warfare took a great existing series and managed to completely change genres. It still kept its popular characteristics though, such as the characters and the art style.
What is your favorite spin-off title? Why do you like it so much?
Wii U owners and fans of Nintendo alike can get excited for the next year, as according to Shigeru Miyamoto, there will be a lot more games for the system in 2015. The releases won’t only be first-party however, but third-party as well, including more spin-offs along the way. We already saw one Nintendo spin-off this year with Hyrule Warriors, and then the soon-to-be-released Captain Toad game, so it will be interesting to see what the next year holds.
Coming from Shigeru Miyamoto in the recently fan-translated Q&A:
On development time, we have already completed the step of learning new development techniques. So, we should experience less developmental delays stemming from learning new hardware. From now on, it becomes a matter of if we can use our experience efficiently and one part of our plan to do so is to use ‘spin off games’, which allow us to use our major title franchises, but create on a smaller scale and we are working hard on making these sort of derived products. In this way, we are preparing to expand on our characters while also increasing the number of software we output and allowing our customers to have their next experiences in certain franchises without waiting three years.
We are also working more and more with many different 3rd party companies to produce our titles [note: this seems to refer to outsourcing stuff like asset creation, cut-scenes, etc] and from this year we have begun to work with some software developers for the very first time. We are in the process of creating a system where we are actively seeking outside assistance to help us create an abundance of major titles. I feel that next year’s Wii U titles are plentiful. We will continue working hard. — Shigeru Miyamoto
Now let us know what you think. Do you like that Nintendo is finally getting more thirty-party games and spinoffs, or does it not matter to you either way? Let us know in the comments below!
It should hardly come as a surprise to anyone that EA wants to release a major military shooter sometime in 2014, and analyst Michael Pachter believes that this title will likely be a spin-off game of EA’s Battlefield franchise. With Battlefield 5 not likely to release until 2015, the company wants something to compete with Activision’s inevitable Call of Duty release next year. Since DICE, the developer currently responsible for Battlefield, has a lot to keep them occupied—including Battlefield 4 updates, Star Wars Battlefront, and Mirror’s Edge 2—the hypothetical spin-off title would probably be handled by a third party.
Pachter believes this third party will be Visceral, the developer behind the Dead Space series. Dead Space and Battlefield are rather different games despite both being shooters of some form or another, so it could be interesting to see how the new title comes out. That said, Visceral has recently put some job listings out for environment artists for a new project they have
described as “a major opportunity to contribute creatively to an exciting new IP.” Other than this project, the only other one we know Visceral is working on is a Star Wars title, so it is entirely possible that this Battlefield spin-off could be an entirely new intellectual property.
Let’s just hope that if this military shooter is the new IP, it has something to differentiate it from the others. It would be a pity to see a new IP by a big name go to waste like that.
Mario’s become one of the most famous faces in modern media, and it’s undeniable that he’s the biggest star in the gaming world. Naturally, a figure with that kind of status is going to be the star of dozens of great games, but how do you tell which ones are the best of the best? Well, that’s a question that’s hard to answer, but below, you’ll find my personal top five favorite Mario spinoffs, and be sure to share your own in the comments!
5) Mario Golf (GBC)
Mario Golf is one of the shining stars in the Game Boy Color library. While NES Open introduced us to the world of tournament golf and Mario Golf on Nintendo 64 showed us what it would look like in full 3D, Mario Golf in the Game Boy Color offered a rich gameplay experience combining the serious suspense of virtual golf with even more serious training regimes. In the end, Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color is just a fantastic handheld golfing experience, and my personal favorite of all the Mario sports games.
4) Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga
Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance applied the RPG formula to a wonderful slapstick cartoon world full of memorable characters and totally zany scenarios. Superstar Saga introduced us to the new world of the Beanbean Kingdom and had a distinct Mario charm that its sequels have somehow never quite matched. And of course, who can forget the almighty harbinger of ultimate evil, Fawful?
3) Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! both get a lot of fan attention for being excellent Mario Kart games (though I personally believe that Super Circuit had the best course design in the series). One title that people often overlook, perhaps for its modernity or perhaps for its commonness, is Mario Kart Wii. Mario Kart Wii has a huge selection of excellent courses and a wonderful soundtrack, both of which are huge factors in its overall quality. But Mario Kart Wii also revolutionized the party racing genre by adding motion-controlled steering, which captivated thousands of new players while also making the experience even more fun for us veteran Karters.
2) Fortune Street
I’ve got to admit, it was tough to decide if Fortune Street counted as a Mario spinoff or just a game with Mario characters in it, especially when I’m treating Yoshi and Luigi’s Mansion as their own series. Nevertheless, Fortune Street is a unique and exciting party game experience. Because it combines the best experiences of Monopoly, Mario Party, and the New York Stock Exchange, Fortune Street provides countless hours of unending fun for you and your friends. It may not be one of the Wii’s best sellers, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best party games of all time.
1) Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door takes the cake as not only the best Mario spinoff title, but also as one of my favorite games of all time. The Thousand-Year Door revisits the stellar RPG-style gameplay of the original Paper Mario and fuses it with a creative new world to explore and dozens of side-characters with quite well-developed backstories. Intelligent Systems gives its players a massive world to explore, with dozens of nooks and crannies, and pulls off a charming papercraft aesthetic with great aplomb. Here’s to hoping that The Thousand-Year Door gets the same treatment as The Wind Waker HD, or at the very least, a re-release on the Wii U Virtual Console.
Honorable Mentions: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Dr. Mario
So these are my top choices! What are your five favorite Mario spinoffs?
After having finished The Wonderful 101, it appears game director Hideki Kamiya is already looking for another little oddball title to work on. At the Penny Arcade Expo, Kamiya was asked whether or not he had any desire to develop for Nintendo’s 3DS—now also encompassing Nintendo’s 2DS—and, as it turns out, he actually has spin-offs he’d like to make for two of his franchises: Okami and Bayonetta.
But these two potential titles wouldn’t just be formula-following sequels either. Kamiya says he’d like to make a Bayonetta game or an Okami game on a smaller scale. If Bayonetta, then the game would follow some fun side story about Jeanna herself, maybe even a story about her as a history teacher. If Okami, then Kamiya would actually like to create a game about Amaterasu’s companion Issun:
“Given the chance, I’d like to make a game based on Jeanne from Bayonetta. Something that’s not as big in scale. Something that’s portable, that you could play in quick sessions, where she’s a history teacher and the kind of fun things that could come out of a scenario like that. If I could get away with it, I’d also like to come up with a spin-off of Okami, less focused on the grand idea of saving the world, but [rather] something focused on the smaller world of the fairy Issun.” — Hideki Kamiya