Nintendo has a strong history with licensed games. GoldenEye 007 with Rare was a well-renowned classic on the Nintendo 64, and more recently, titles like Team Ninja’s Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order have satiated Marvel fans on Nintendo Switch. Yet, for as good as these games are, there simply aren’t many of them coming out in the modern era. That might be a byproduct of the diminishing returns that publishers were seeing after flooding the market with poor movie tie-in games just a couple generations ago. However, in the right hands, a licensed video game has limitless potential, as seen with examples like Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series. So, what if Nintendo’s studios and close associates were to work on new licensed games for Switch?
Monolith Soft – Star Wars
The Xenoblade Chronicles series pushes Nintendo’s hardware to its limits. Monolith Soft developers are masters of creating beautiful and varied open worlds, and their work contributing to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is further testament to that. Applying Monolith Soft’s skill sets to Star Wars could be magical. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic showcased what a western RPG in that world could be, but a JRPG would be entirely different. Monolith Soft’s signature world design would bring rewarding exploration and new life to Tatooine, Coruscant, or new unseen planets.
Players would take part in a galaxy-spanning story and recruit various Jedi, bounty hunters, or ragtag Star Wars types to join their crew. Turn-based combat might involve learning how to best combine the Force powers, lightsabers, and weapons of such a disparate team. With a ship in toe, players could also freely explore the galaxy and land on planets to accomplish side missions or the main quest. Whether it’s exploring uncharted territory or perhaps revisiting fan-favorite time periods such as the Old Republic era, Monolith Soft has the potential to create a grand Star Wars adventure.
Next Level Games – Ghostbusters
Luigi’s Mansion is a beloved Nintendo franchise and wouldn’t have gotten that far without Next Level Games on the sequels. The dedication the studio displays towards fleshing out Luigi as a character is admirable, and his character goes hand in hand with the fantastic level design, comedy, and ghost-hunting action. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is also arguably the best-looking game on Switch. With that in mind, it would be awesome if Next Level Games could turn its attention to another ghost hunting series with the Ghostbusters franchise.
In this adventure, cooperative play could place up to four friends in the boots of the original cast. The Ectomobile could be used for vehicle sections or open-world traversal, and Proton Packs would replace Luigi’s Poltergust 3000. Iconic creatures such as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man could act as bosses or persistent threats that follow the player, Mr. X-style. Next Level Games’ comedic ability would also suit the tone perfectly, and Ghostbusters fans could receive the game they’ve always wanted (if the actual one wasn’t enough).
Retro Studios – Alien
Metroid is a series that is inspired by Alien. The main nemesis, Ridley, vaguely resembles a Xenomorph and is named after the director of the original film. Retro Studios is already skilled at creating first-person Metroid games with a dash of horror included, so a marriage with the Alien series could go the distance. Creative Assembly’s terrifying Alien: Isolation demonstrated what this could look like, but I think Retro Studios could take it a step further.
Intricate Metroidvania level design could be used to create a wonderfully layered space station or other signature Alien location. Puzzles would have the added stress of being hunted by Xenomorphs, and unlockable paths could create risk vs. reward gameplay. Do you take a vent shortcut at the cost of being louder and attracting unwanted attention? Familiar Alien weapons could take the place of Samus’s typical weapons and gadgets, and boss fights could implement clever mechanics like taking advantage of the artificial gravity to win. Retro Studios is well versed in making sci-fi creatures, first-person combat, and rewarding level design, and those aspects would all fit an Alien game perfectly.
Intelligent Systems – Mission Impossible
James Bond has had his fair share of video game adaptations, but the same can’t be said of Ethan Hunt. Mission: Impossible on Nintendo 64 was a mixed game, but it made fantastic use of franchise staples like spying, searching for intel, and using face masks as disguises. While Intelligent Systems is known for turn-based tactics titles like the Fire Emblem series, I think the team could do something special with this license.
A hypothetical Mission: Impossible game from Intelligent Systems could task players with going on spy missions unlike anything else in the genre. With a team of IMF agents, players could use their turns to infiltrate a location, learn hidden passcodes, and even capture enemies to create mask disguises. AI opponents would spend turns trying to catch the player, and when the sides inevitably meet, combat would begin and all the subterfuge pays off. The better prepared a player becomes through their actions prior to combat, the more bonuses they can use to get the upper hand as the bullets start flying. Between missions, third-person exploration could let players explore a home base and get to know their IMF agents, as well as build bonds and customize weapons and cosmetics.
Masahiro Sakurai – Harry Potter
Masahiro Sakurai hasn’t worked on a game outside of the Super Smash Bros. series since Kid Icarus: Uprising back in 2012. Yet, there are elements present in his work on the Kid Icarus series that would fit nicely in a Harry Potter game too. The flying mechanics implemented in Kid Icarus: Uprising could translate to broomstick flying in a Harry Potter game. Beyond this, Masahiro Sakurai’s dedication to the details and lore of characters in his games would ensure a faithful recreation of the Hogwarts setting and its memorable characters.
As a 3D action adventure with Hogwarts as an explorable home base, players could follow the journey of the books and perhaps enjoy a more complete adaptation of the story. It could alternatively be set in a different time period and play around with fresh versions of familiar characters. Alternatively, a Harry Potter fighting game with Sakurai’s Super Smash Bros. team could also be a fun time thanks to a plethora of in-universe characters with a wide range of magic spells. But of all the hypothetical licensed games for Nintendo Switch we’re spitballing here, this one seems the least likely, with Hogwarts Legacy already in the works.
What would be your dream Nintendo-made licensed game?