Nintendo fans may not be the only ones growing ever weary of Mario's sports, kart and paper-based adventures. With almost nothing in the way of new franchise characters coming out of Nintendo in the past decade, it's enough to make even the harden Nintendo devotee hope for something exciting and new. That includes Super Smash Bros. Brawl producer Masahiro Sakurai, who ends today's Smash Bros. Dojo with an aside. He highlights the characters in Brawl's All-Star mode, expressing what seems like frustration at Nintendo's lack of new icons.
When they're all lined up like this, it becomes obvious that there is roughly 6-year blank before and after Pikmin. While there have been big series since then like "Animal Crossing," "Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day," and "Wii Sports" it does seem that coming up with a completely new character-driven series has gotten more difficult recently.
Odd then, that the Mii, probably the most identifiable Nintendo-created humanoid to debut in the Wii generation is not a playable character. It's understandable, given the potential issues of bringing your Mii into online brawls, given their varying hitbox sizes, but they seem like a perfect fit.
It almost seems like a waste, given the creative talent at the developer/publisher, but it's clear that Nintendo has been successful with its reliance on older characters, with nostalgia playing a big part in Super Smash Bros. Brawl interest. Add to that the interesting and more abstract gameplay concepts that have emerged from Nintendo over the past few years—we certainly can't play a Brain Age math problem or anything from Electroplankton—and it makes a great deal of sense to rely on Mario, Link and Samus. That doesn't mean it's not somewhat annoying.
Given that Nintendo's last "character" franchise, Pikmin, had debuted within weeks of the Gamecube launch and we've seen almost nothing in the way of new character IP for the Wii, it would seem we'll just have to live with it.
Just a quick warning that the Smash Bros. Dojo post on the matter may contain spoilers for those who haven't finished or played the game yet.
All-Star [Smash Bros. Dojo]