Quite a few of us were pleasantly surprised when Nintendo took the wraps off the title it hopes will spearhead the 3DS launch: Kid Icarus: Uprising. Essentially, this represented the revival of a franchise that had been dead for almost a quarter of a century now, and to see it return to the spotlight with such style was a genuinely compelling treat for Nintendo fans. For all others, this was essentially a new IP from Nintendo. It now appears, however, that this initial assumption was more correct than we could have initially imagined.
There was also some confusion regarding just why something like Kid Icarus was chosen, when Nintendo could have gone down the safe route, and launched the new hardware with a Mario or a Zelda title. Well, now we know. Or at least, we have some clarity on the matter.
Speaking to 1Up, Nintendo’s Masahiro Sakurai, who’s heading up development of Kid Icarus Uprising on 3DS said he “deliberately choose a difficult genre” to tackle when Nintendo tasked him with making a launch game for the new handheld.
Expounding on his thoughts on the matter, Sakurai said: “I could have chosen a genre that was easy to develop, but I doubted Iwata wanted something everyone’s seen before, or something small, or something like Wii Party. In the end I deliberately choose a difficult genre, something I wouldn’t usually work with.”
However, the shooter genre isn’t exactly popular in Japan. When asked about the potential of a lukewarm reception by the audiences in his homeland, Sakurai was quick to defend his decision. “That’s frankly not a major genre in Japan… Although overseas there are piles of masterpieces in that field. You can’t argue that the marketplace for it [in Japan] is very healthy.”
He let us in on some more secrets about the title, which are actually quite interesting, now that I think about it. He reveals that Kid Icarus: Uprising started life as an all new IP, specifically built for the 3DS, before it was rebranded as Kid Icarus. “I wanted the game flow to involve traveling to enenemy territory in the air, then fighting bosses on the ground,” explained Sakurai.
“During that first conversation with Iwata, I asked him whether I had to stick with a Nintendo franchise for this project,” he explained. “When I presented my project to Nintendo, it was as a wholly original game, but in the end I suggested that we make it a Kid Icarus title instead.
“I’d have the goddess Palutena grant Pit the power of flight for five minutes at a time, and he’d fly into enemy strongholds and fight enemies on the ground afterwards. It sounded like a ton of fun, I thought, and I got the go-ahead pretty soon afterward.”
All this sounds very interesting. I wonder what compelled Nintendo to revive a character with almost no recognition, as opposed to branding this as a whole new IP altogether.