Gaming trends come and go. Hell, when Doom appeared, developers frantically emulated that iconic first person style. For many years, FPS games were referred to as Doom Clones. When a game truly perfects a style and is wildly successful, developers will inevitably put their own spin on it or sometimes shamefully try to make a quick buck.
Nintendo seems to ignore these trends in the industry. In fact, it’s just now getting into the mobile-gaming scene, years after Apple and Google created an environment, which generates tons of revenue. What’s sad is that there are many Nintendo franchises that can easily be used in interesting ways. I’m not saying it should just copy everything that becomes popular, but there are whole genres being developed that could use that Nintendo touch, just for the sake of the genre.
This is why Nintendo needs to make a MOBA.
Before I go any further, let me first say that I am in no way a MOBA fanatic. In fact, the only MOBA I regularly play is Smite and its a prime example of what can be done with the style. That being said, I have immense respect for what MOBA games have done for that style of game, the heightened awareness of competitive gaming that comes with its popularity.
While trying to come up with the general concept for a Nintendo MOBA, I spent hours thinking of how it could be done without it being too much like Super Smash Bros. Using that sort of model, a MOBA by the Big N would simply be an extra mode for Smash, something that wouldn’t really take advantage of the mechanics of the genre, a rushed multiplayer mode on a clearly single player experience if it were.
Then, a revelation occurred while playing my DS. What other Nintendo franchise has a vast history, tons of characters, and a strategy-centered gameplay? Fire Emblem.
Think of it this way. How simple would it be to replace all the characters in Smite or League with characters from Fire Emblem? Even that simple act alone would still be an interesting way to play. Add in some locales from various games and let the money roll in. However, something that simple wouldn’t take advantage of the concept, even though it would inevitably be profitable.
Considering that Nintendo focuses almost entirely on console gaming with their own dedicated hardware, this Fire Emblem re-imagining could be the birth of a MOBA unique to consoles. Sure, Smite is available on Xbox, but it did start on PC.
This Fire Emblem title could also make interesting use of the Wii U gamepad or the dual screens of the 3DS. Not only could maps be presented, but players could also ping locations, and mark out strategies; pretty much anything that could be done with a PC is possible. This would also give Nintendo a chance to add more voice chat support to its games.
One of the defining features of Fire Emblem is that characters can upgrade their class. This could be done mid-game, allowing players to choose to upgrade after reaching level ten. Players could also hold back on upgrading for the extra stats as well, just like in the source material. This could create many interesting decisions from players and develop unique abilities for characters. Add in characters that can choose between a few classes will make things even better.
As another interesting spin, most MOBA games are played in real time, while every Fire Emblem title is turn based. Thus a MOBA could be created in a turn-based system, fitting more with the style of the source material, while experimenting with the genre. This could also be played against friends similarly to the Civilization series that enables players to play a single game over several days, if not longer. That sort of play could also be ported over to smart phones with little difficulty.
A Fire Emblem MOBA could also give players a chance to create their own champions, due to the classes of the games each having unique looks and skills. Players could choose a class, edit a model, and gank lanes as their own characters. Most characters would be the iconic characters throughout the series and could have powers unique to their stories or design, retaining the general idea of their respective class.
Even though I can see this sort of project being immensely amazing for fans of Nintendo, MOBA games, and the Fire Emblem franchise, I don’t see this sort of thing happening for a while. Nintendo really doesn’t like to take risks with its franchises. Although, sometimes those titles such as Metroid Prime or Wind Waker, prove to be some of the most interesting. In fact, maybe Retro Studios need to head this project. Seriously guys, this could be a great chance to get Nintendo into MOBA games or even the PC market. Call me if you need a project leader.
Or fans should start making this a reality. Of course Nintendo would cancel it, but hey, it’d be fun for a while.
Until I can have Lyn take out monsters in the jungle, I can be found putting some serious hours into Shadow Dragon on the DS.