Pikmin 4 is the best-selling Pikmin game ever, Nintendo has said. The Nintendo Switch exclusive has sold 2.5 million units since going on sale in July, which beats the worldwide cumulative totals of all other Pikmin games.
How did Pikmin 4 break out? It certainly helped that it launched on a console with such an enormous install base (130 million and counting!), but Nintendo said it increased awareness of Pikmin ahead of Pikmin 4’s release by adding Pikmin Easter eggs in Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios and in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, for example. Nintendo also released HD versions of Pikmin 1 and Pikmin 2 on Nintendo Switch ahead of the launch of Pikmin 4, which helped get the brand back in the headlines.
In Japan, where Pikmin is especially popular, Nintendo played short Pikmin quiz shows on in-train video screens. There was loads of Pikmin merch, too. “With these items, people could enjoy small encounters with Pikmin throughout their day,” Nintendo said.
The first Pikmin game was released on Nintendo GameCube in 2001, and was followed by Pikmin 2 and Pikmin 3. Legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto released a series of Pikmin short movies (all three videos have been viewed over 440 million times). Then there’s Pikmin Bloom, the mobile game developed by Pokemon Go maker Niantic.
Pikmin 4, then, launched with the backing of Nintendo’s big Pikmin push. Sales in Japan were “particularly robust”, Nintendo said. “We believe this is in part due to the fact that when Pikmin was released for Nintendo GameCube in 2001, the song about Pikmin featured in its TV commercial became quite popular among children,” Nintendo explained. “Many who became familiar with Pikmin at the time are now parents and are enjoying Pikmin 4 alongside their children with a sense of nostalgia.”
IGN’s Pikmin 4 review returned a 9/10: “Pikmin 4 adds variety to the series’ traditional gameplay by offering options other than the grab-and-throw formula of the past, and brings an extra helping of top-tier levels after the credits roll.”
Given Pikmin 4’s success, it seems likely Nintendo will return to the series at some point in the future for Pikmin 5. Perhaps that will come years down the line when the Switch 2 is six years old?
Nintendo is expected to launch its next generation console at some point in 2024, with development kits reportedly now with partner studios. Apparently this Switch 2 can be used in portable mode, like the original Switch, and has an LCD screen as opposed to an OLED screen in order to keep costs down. It also comes with a cartridge slot for physical games. However, the crucial question of backwards compatibility with Nintendo Switch games remains unclear.
In May, Nintendo said it’s the long-rumoured Switch successor wouldn’t release until April 2024 at the earliest, and in September said it had moved on to a brand new The Legend of Zelda game, ruling out Tears of the Kingdom DLC. It seems likely this new Zelda game will launch on Nintendo’s next console.