Is Nintendo Repeating Itself?

By Chris LeJohn , Updated Apr 18, 2013 05:44 PM EDT

Nintendo tends to release games with well-established characters. The company consistently puts out sequels and spin-offs to existing intellectual properties whenever possible. This trend goes back all the way to Mario's origins. The mustachioed plumber is based on Popeye.

This week's Nintendo Direct presentation was focused almost exclusively on existing IP. In an interview with Gamespot, Bill Trinen, Nintendo's director of product marketing, explains why his company consistently returns to its popular franchises instead of developing new IP.

"There's a couple of driving reasons why you keep seeing a lot of the same franchises come back," Trinen said. "One is just the way that we develop games. What we don't do is start off and say we're going to develop a new game in X series or what are we going to do with it? It's really more about what is a fun and interesting new gameplay element or gameplay mechanic? How do we develop that? And then what kind of a character or what series is that really best suited to?"

Despite their latest Nintendo Direct not containing anything vastly new from what people have seen before Nintendo knows people will buy first-party Nintendo software with recognizable characters. But what about those who want something new? Those people will have to keep waiting.

"You do on the one hand want to try to find a way to bridge that gap between what are the new experiences that we can offer? How can we give the fans what they're looking for in terms of new installments in existing series? And it is a balance that you've got to find."

Which means Nintendo won't mess with its successful formula until it stops working.

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