It’s been 35 years since Mario showed up on the scene with his incredible jumping ability and penchant for landing on turtles. Nintendo celebrated with an announcement of several Mario products including a special Game and Watch, retail re-releases of several of the 3D games, and even a weird augmented reality RC racing game. Super Mario Galaxy 2 was notably left out of this, but overall it was quite the show. All of this is due to come along over the next five months.
One thing that stood out to many though is that there was a running theme of “limited production” and “limited release” for some of the games. There wasn’t any explanation for this, but by March the Game and Watch and Mario 35 will be gone. Nintendo has previously encountered (or intentionally created) issues with a limited production of hardware, but have never been this open about it. The assumption is that this is to create artificial scarcity and drive sales with a “fear of missing out.” That could very well be, but it also made me consider something that may also be influential.
The franchise for Zelda will have its 35th anniversary in February of 2021. That’s roughly six months from the Mario announcement. The seemingly arbitrary expiration dates for the Mario items are around six months from the time those games and products release. If I had to guess, Zelda will have a similar celebration with the re-release of many games on the Switch. If they follow the setup of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, it would be one game from each of the Nintendo 64, Gamecube, and Wii. I would assume that would be Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker HD, and Twilight Princess HD.
I can’t speculate on what other games might be a part of this, but I did notice that six months after The Legend of Zelda released in 1986, Metroid came along. I’m not sure if Nintendo planned those releases to work that way 35 years ago, but it seems like it would work perfectly now. Metroid is another franchise ripe for re-releases, especially for the Metroid Prime series. I also wouldn’t be surprised if there were similar seemingly-arbitrary expiration dates on Zelda products to coincide with this potential event.
These are, of course, speculation as I mentioned. However, it would be a good way to capitalize on a time where delays are ravaging the industry. As most fans know, Metroid Prime 4 development was rebooted, so it could be some time before it establishes another pillar for the Switch. The status of Breath of the Wild 2 is also currently unknown. Nintendo has plenty of ammunition in the reserve if they want to keep their player base happy while these system-sellers are developed. Staying relevant while the next generation of consoles launches is also important (though they are looking increasingly bland).
Do you think this speculation has any merit? Why do you think Nintendo is limiting the production and release of some hardware and games? Let us know in the comments!