As we mentioned earlier today, Nintendo has kicked off an ‘Ask the Developer’ series for Pikmin 4 leading to its launch on July 21st, 2023. The first of this four-part series is absolutely jam-packed with all-new details on how Pikmin came to be, what Pikmin looked like in the early days of development, inspirations for the franchise and so much more.

If you don’t feel like reading through the full interview, don’t worry! We’ve gone through the entire feature and put together bullet points for all the juiciest tidbits. You can see our complete breakdown below.

  • the discussions of what would eventually become Pikmin started during the transition from SNES to N64
  • the original idea used creatures with AI chips in their heads to make them think a certain way
  • you would control the creatures by swapping their chips
  • as they explored the map and gained more experience, their chip capacity would increase
  • there were also emotion chips that would change how the creatures acted
  • the game was originally going to be a top-down experience
  • there were conversations about making a character that high school girls would find cute
  • Pikmin’s artist was inspired by Tim Burton’s style when coming up with the look we know today
  • the team also watched the animated film Fantastic Planet for inspiration
  • Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene was read during Pikmin’s development as well
  • Pikmin started true development on the N64, but was moved to GameCube due to power
  • Miyamoto came up with the idea of throwing Pikmin and having them cling to enemies
  • Miyamoto was hesitant about the game right up to the end of development
  • Miyamoto pledged to step down from his role on the project if Pikmin failed
  • during development, the Pikmin were referred to as ‘ippiki’
  • in Japanese, “ippiki” means “one small animal
  • one dev heard the team counting the creatures and mistakenly thought their name was “Piki”
  • Piki evolved to Picky, and then the team settled on Pikmin as it sounded like ‘Pick Me’
  • Miyamoto was working on the reveal trailer right up to its showing at E3 2001
  • When Pikmin was shown at E3, just one stage was completed and it was made for show-goers
  • Miyamoto’s desire to create a management game led to Pikmin’s development
  • Miyamoto also came up with the idea by observing ants in his garden

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Comments (2)


10M ago

Pikmin really was a brilliant answer to the question "How can we do an RTS on a console?" I'm so impressed with how seamlessly Nintendo translated the gameplay to a controller.


10M ago

"the team also watched the animated film Fantastic Planet for inspiration"

Yikes! Love that movie but can't see much of it's inspiration in the games. Not exactly child friendly. Not adult friendly for some since it's so surrealistic and absurd =D

Would LOVE to see a game strongly inspired by it though. Give it the VR treatment while you're at it (whoever you are).
(If we are talking about the 1973 French movie)

Would also have been interesting to see how the N64 game with the chip creatures would have been. Maybe the can use some of those ideas in another game.

Oh well. In the end the Pikmin games are great, so nice it turned out like it did.