Nintendo Announces They Want Adult Content on The Switch
In a surprising announcement, Nintendo has reportedly announced they want more adult geared content on the Switch. This completely has taken many in the industry by surprise as the company has always pushed the family-friendly agenda. Nintendo themselves have barely made any games over the rating of E. Even with some of the darker themes in their games, they still make it so a child can interrupt the world’s more playful light. This could open up a world of new possibilities for the company and their partners that fans have wanted to see for decades now.
A lot of content in Nintendo games is known for having dark overtones that only an adult would catch. This is extremely prevalent in some of their most popular games like Majoras Mask. It has long been a standing joke that it’s the adults playing Nintendo games instead of kids. Maybe, just maybe, the company finally took notice and was like “ Wow, all our fans have really grown up now, huh?” It’s also safe to say that the development teams for games like Metroid and Zelda probably have been held back by rating standards.
To get an E-rating from ESRB you have to follow a pretty tight set of guidelines. There can be no blood in your games or any bit of language. This includes cursing as well as anything that could allude to sexual themes. The violence also has to stay pretty toned down. This is why you never see Link fighting other humans and always see him going up against monsters. To be fair Nintendo has been pretty ingenious about finding it’s way into popular genres while avoiding an M or even T rating.
The game Splatoon is one of the only FPS games you will ever find with an E rating. This is because Nintendo found an around using actual guns and people. The invention of inklings is honestly incredibly smart when you look at it from a rating standpoint. Just turn the ink into bullets and squids into people and you could quickly be looking at a mature rating. Looking at Nintendo from this angle really makes me respect their creativity a lot more. They really have to have a creative team to work their way around the industry as much as they do. I mean these people literally sat around and were like “squids shoot ink, let’s do something with that!”
Open To Change
I will say there are quite a few franchises I’d love to see Nintendo just throw caution to the wind with. I’m not looking for a game made to be M just for the sake of trying to pull to a more mature audience. Honestly, the mature audience is going to buy into Nintendo games regardless, and they know this now. I really feel like Breath of The Wild was the beginning of this. The game may not have a lot of adult content, but the gameplay style is more geared towards adults. The combat and challenges in the game are scaled up to what you would find in games like Skyrim.
While this isn’t a complete piece of proof Nintendo has been planning this for awhile let’s take a look at some other games. Pokemon has long been a franchise about just collecting animals. Now, the games are trying to pull themselves into being a more story-heavy series. While this can be chalked up to the fighting back against Yo-kai Watch, Nintendo has never really been one for taking a competitive stance. If you’ve also noticed Nintendo has been putting a lot of effort into their most mature franchise Fire Emblem. Before this Generation Fire Emblem was considered to still be niche, now it feels as though they are really pushing it to be one of their star series.
This change in focus was probably caused by Nintendo’s Wii boom. Nintendo wanted to keep the casual fans by releasing another smash hit like the Wii. This is when the Wii U came out and pretty much failed. The system tried to take a middle ground approach between the two sets of gamers, but couldn’t cater to either of them. The hardcore gamers were fed up with gimmicks and had gone with Sony/Microsoft by this point. The casual games had moved onto smartphones and the ease of free app games. This made it so the Wii U sales never made it off the ground.
Now that the casual market had moved on to the next big thing, Nintendo has to find a way to draw back the crowd. Instead of just bringing on Triple-A developers though, they themselves want to make games for their fans. Nintendo fans now though are a much older demographic than when the company first started. This means that they need to make more engrossing experiences to keep up with fans of their series.
Sadly, you can only do so much while keeping a family free appearance. I believe this is why Nintendo has finally selected to start moving some of their series more forward in terms of content. Instead of letting Zelda be an easy to follow game, they decided to make Breath of The Wild and up the difficulty. The fans, in turn, loved it but felt like it was missing some of the key Zelda aspects at a time. I feel like Nintendo will use Super Mario Odyssey as their next gauge to determine how much traditionalism fans want to keep.
I think after Nintendo grasps our feeling we will start to see them produce games where they are more concerned with gameplay and story than getting an ESRB rating. This will allow the teams we know and love to put their full effort into creating more worlds for us. I still do believe that games like Mario will never move past an E10 rating, but Metroid and Zelda will be a whole other story. Here’s to many more Nintendo games like Breath of The Wild and Mario Odyssey!