Nintendo is weaning itself off Mario and Zelda as it looks to original games

Nintendo Switch
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Nintendo could be working on coming up with original game franchises as it looks to become less reliant on the Mario and Zelda franchises. 

In an interview with Japanese publication Nikkei (courtesy of VGC) Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa outlined the company’s plan to further invest in original games going forward. 

Furukawa said, “Games are not a necessity of life. In order for customers to choose games in their finite time, they have to be interesting. Competition is tough, and I am not optimistic.

“In the future, we will focus on creating new game series as well as long-sellers such as Mario and Zelda.”

Nintendo has always had a rich stable of gaming IPs at its disposal, with several massive franchises exclusively under its control. These include legendary series like Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Animal Crossing. 

However, most of these franchises are now decades old — Mario celebrated its 35th-anniversary last year, Zelda is hitting the same milestone this year — so it makes sense that Nintendo is keen to try and create some new series to keep its slate fresh. 

Splatoon is arguable the newest Nintendo franchise that has really taken off and become one of the company’s core franchises. The first game in the colorful shooter series debuted on the Wii U in 2015, and a sequel launched in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch. Splatoon 3 was announced earlier this year for a 2022 release.  

Nintendo has released a handful of original titles for the Switch, including ARMS and Ring Fit Adventure. But it definitely sounds like the plan is to take a punt new series more often — while, of course, ensuring that the bankable flagship franchises continue. 

The Switch's lifecycle 

In the same interview, Furukawa commented on the Switch’s expected lifecycle: “We always say that we are in the middle of the Switch’s lifecycle, and since one piece of hardware can be used to play both stationary and portable games, we can offer a wide variety of software for this purpose. The life cycle can still be extended.”

Considering the Switch originally released in 2017, it sounds like Nintendo is planning on getting at least another four years out of the system. So maybe don’t expect a Nintendo Switch 2 anytime soon, of course, that doesn’t rule out a mid-generation refresh like a Nintendo Switch Pro coming much sooner. 

Furukawa also discussed the current Switch stock issues, which are due to the global semiconductor shortage which is impacting just about every tech product out there. He said there is a “possibility of shortages at some retailers in the future” and that in “some cases we may not be able to prepare enough for orders."

While not abundant, the supply of the Switch has been fairly stable over the last year, though the initial lockdowns in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic did hit stock levels quite significantly. 

However, it sounds like finding a Switch to buy could get tougher in the coming months. So make sure to keep tabs on our where to buy a Nintendo Switch guide for the latest stock information. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.