Link in the new Legend of Zelda, Pokémon #6 Charizard, KK Slider from Animal Crossing and Mario Nintendo

No matter what you might have heard, Nintendo is not doomed and it is not a spent force. It is in a slump, however, having failed to build on the enormous success of the Wii with the poorly conceived and poorly named Wii U.

With the company's plans to enter the mobile games market and the announcement that it is working on a new console codenamed NX, Nintendo is approaching a new horizon. Its E3 performance in June also indicated that its focus has shifted away from the Wii U and towards what awaits.

What exactly NX is, is anyone's guess, but it is likely a Wii U successor. We can also assume it will have amiibo support, given how successful the figurines (which have near-field tech and in-game uses) have been for them.

Naturally there will be games, so what about them? Here we offer a list of eight potential games based on existing IP which could turn Nintendo into major force once again.

The Legend of Zelda
The first glimpse of the new Zelda Nintendo offered the world Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda is going fully open world in what appears to be the series' first major departure from formula since Ocarina of Time brought Hyrule into the realm of three dimensions.

Originally touted for release in 2015 in March, Nintendo revealed that the game had been delayed until 2016. Speculation that it would be heading to NX instead of Wii U followed, and that makes perfect sense – though I suspect it'll be released on both platforms.

If NX is out in late 2016, then that's no great stretch. If this happens then the game should make the most of whatever new technology is available to create the kind of Zelda game people have long-dreamed of playing.

It could well have mass appeal too. It's a recognisable name and open world fantasy RPGs are hugely popular (see The Witcher 3, Skyrim, Dragon Age et al).

Pokemon Stadium
Pokémon Stadium\'s start screen Nintendo

Pokémon Stadium

A fully fledged Pokémon adventure on a home console seems like a pipe dream, but a Pokémon game with amiibo support is absolutely, 100%, going to happen at some point. It's the ultimate no-brainer, and the bank-busting endgame for Nintendo's world-conquering amiibo strategy.

The return of Pokémon Stadium makes perfect sense. The game can focus on the battles and create a fulfilling structure for them while the Pokémon gathering aspect of the series can be transferred to the real world – where players would no doubt fight tooth and nail to get their hands on the best Pokémiibo.

All Nintendo needs to do is ensure there's enough supply to meet the demand.

Super Mario Galaxy
There\'s no Mario game like Super Mario Galaxy... except Super Mario Galaxy 2 Nintendo

Super Mario Galaxy 3

Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel are among the finest games ever made, but there hasn't been a Mario game like it since. Those games followed the trajectory of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, but Wii U's 3D Mario platformer Super Mario 3D World (great as it was) felt smaller scale in comparison.

Nintendo isn't known for cynically making sequels without some kind of unique spin or concept at its core, but NX is a big deal for the company so perhaps a little cynicism is required to shift consoles. If SMG3 lived up to its predecessors that would certainly happen.

Metroid Zero Mission
A screenshot from Metroid: Zero Mission, a remake of the original NES game for GameBoy Advanced Nintendo


Five years on from the last Metroid game, Nintendo finally announced a new one at E3 2015. Metroid Prime: Federation Force is a four-player co-op shooter for 3DS that includes a version of football and doesn't star series icon Samus Aran. It's not exactly what fans have been craving, evidently.

When Samus returns (and she will, if Star Fox can return, Metroid proper certainly isn't out of the question) it needs a clean reboot. That means no Metroid Prime sequel, but a healthy dose of Prime's ethos would be great. Of all of Nintendo's properties, Metroid is one that could benefit most from Western influence, and we've seen that with Retro Studios' Prime games.

This doesn't necessarily mean making it a gung-ho action game. Instead the next Metroid should draw influence from Western sci-fi to reinvigorate its existing fiction. There's rich potential with that Metroid universe and it could prove popular with a mass audience given a strong narrative hook.

Most importantly however, it should retain what makes Metroid, Metroid: the exploration, the adventure and the mystique.

Wario Ware
Artwork for WarioWare Nintendo


There are a many Nintendo IPs which would work a treat on mobile (Advanced Wars, any of its platformers etc) but WarioWare would be particularly exciting. The madcap series is a proven delight, and its super-short mini-games would fit very well on smartphones and tablets.

There's no obvious way for micro-transactions to worm their way in (as I'm sure they will in other Nintendo mobile games) but we prefer the idea that Nintendo will make quality mobile games bought as a one-off purchase, like Monument Valley or Rayman Jungle Run. That's probably very naïve of us.

A WarioWare on mobile could sell expansions full of new mini-games, and given the nature of the series they wouldn't be too time-consuming to develop on Nintendo's end.

Animal Crossing
Artwork for Animal Crossing: New Leaf Nintendo

Animal Crossing

A big Animal Crossing game on consoles has the potential to have mass market appeal, but it could also work on mobiles. Given that buying items is so important in Animal Crossing, it's a game that naturally lends itself to the free-to-play model but – as always with freemium games – striking the right balance will be key to any success.

Games like Simpsons Tapped Out and Fallout Shelter prove how popular such games could be, and imagining an Animal Crossing in a similar form doesn't take too much imagination. Cut the timer buffers stretching those games out and we're golden.

Splatoon Nintendo Wii U
One of Splatoon\'s Inklings in action Nintendo

Splatoon 2

The shooter is the gaming industry's most popular genre and long-after the last Metroid Prime hit shelves, Nintendo filled that gap in its repertoire with a new IP earlier this year.

Splatoon has proven to be one of the surprises of 2015, blending unique gameplay with a wonderful sense of style and fun. Given it is on the Wii U however, it almost certainly won't be getting the audience it deserves – despite its success.

A sequel could attain that success. There is also plenty of room for a sequel to build on what Splatoon started, expanding the gameplay without spoiling that well balanced core game. It could be a very successful launch title, though perhaps late 2016 is too early for that.

Super Mario Bros
The original Super Mario Bros for NES Nintendo

Super Mario Bros

Yep, the original Super Mario Bros, available as it was when it was first released 30 years ago. I'm certainly not the first to have brought up this possibility, but Nintendo could instantly drum up considerable interest in the NX if it announced it would include their full back-catalogue of first party games.

Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Super Metroid, Majora's Mask, Metroid Prime – all of them available to play at once, possibly for a monthly subscription. They have all been remade or put up on the Virtual Console before, so maybe it's time for Nintendo to take the concept behind VC to its natural, modern conclusion.

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