Nintendo has a wealth of franchises under their belt, and they’re all multi-million sellers. That said, for every major mover like Mario Kart, there’s smaller successes as well. That’s where you’ll find the Pikmin franchise, but Nintendo is hoping to change that with the latest installment.

In a developer roundtable for Pikmin 4, Shigeru Miyamoto opened up about the sales of the Pikmin franchise in general. While Pikmin games have moved millions over the years, they’re not exactly lighting the charts ablaze. This is something that’s bugged Miyamoto ever since the series first released, and he thinks it has something to do with the perceived difficulty of the franchise.

In his comments, Miyamoto talks about how difficulty is core to the Pikmin experience, and moving too far away from the challenges players face would result in something that didn’t feel like Pikmin. It’s all about finding the right balance for players and the franchise together, and it seems like Pikmin 4 may have found that sweet spot.

You can see Miyamoto’s full comments on Pikmin sales and the importance of difficulty below.

There have been three games in the series until now, from Pikmin to Pikmin 3, and personally I’ve always wondered, “Why haven’t they exploded more in sales even though they’re so much fun to play? Why do people think they’re so difficult?”

I get that people find it more difficult when death is a factor. But I think the franchise’s strength lies in its relationship with mortality. If something is irreversible, you need to figure out a way to prevent undesired things from happening. To try to prevent Pikmin from dying, you need to practice “Dandori.” To me, that’s what makes this game unique. I think people find Pikmin difficult for two reasons: the controls and the depth of gameplay. I spent a long time mulling over how we could convey these points as “interesting” rather than “difficult.”

We were talking about how we want as many people as possible to play Pikmin 4, but if it’s not Pikmin-like enough, we won’t meet the expectations of those who’ve enjoyed the series until now. The first game provided a deeper challenge, while the second game was broader in terms of content, and we went back to something closer to the first one in Pikmin 3. But after thinking about it, I realized that we could do both. We could retain the depth of gameplay that makes Pikmin so interesting, while providing the functional support to address the challenges around controls.

[Shigeru Miyamoto]

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Comments (7)

the schaef

10M ago

On my like second or third playthrough of Pikmin 3, I finished the game on Day 25 with food supplies at or around 50.

The problem with Pikmin is not its difficulty.


10M ago

There's a lot of franchises of theirs that don't sell well and they don't see the love from Nintendo either, cough F-Zero, Kid Ikarus, DK Country, Metroid (though we did see some love recently).


10M ago


Pikmin was always going to be niche since it's a real-time strategy game. Dumbing it down won't draw the masses.

Back during the GameCube era I got Pikmin 1 because I needed it to get a trophy in SSB Melee. I don't like RTS games with the exception of Fire Emblem, Shining Force 1, and Final Fantasy Tactics (original and the Advance era).

With the others, they're all RTS RPGs while Pikmin is just RTS only. You have to chart out what you want to do for a given day and hope your Pikmin management is good enough to not fall behind in your overall goals unless you run out of time (like in Pikmin 1, failing to get all your ship items results in Olimar biting it and the game being over).

With Pikmin 1 I just fell behind the 8-ball early on and I couldn't keep up. I didn't have the time just to keep replaying over and over again until I got fast enough to beat the game. The later Pikmin games adjusted the matter of what you needed to do, but there's still a matter you still needed to be on top of stuff or you'll fall behind and likely game over.

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10M ago


I feel ya on the RTS front. I didn't play Pikmin until the new play control on the Wii. Couldn't find the second one and played 3 on the WiiU. I'm waiting for 4 to arrive from Target :) But yeah, if you don't manage things properly you can get in trouble.

RTS and the SRPGs you listed are definitely nowhere near the same genre though, so I'm trying to understand your comparison, but it makes no sense. The RT means real time, meaning the game is always moving even without your input. Those other games are turn based on a grid and, like youve mentioned, RPGs.

And in Pikmin 2, there is no deadline and you literally cant game over like you can in 1. That alone makes It so anyone can brute force their way through the game eventually. It's feasible to do in 3, but you'd have to be extremely young with no understanding of the game or stand still for many days, as each item you collect increases the amount of days you have left, and by an absurdly large amount.


10M ago

"There have been three games in the series until now, from Pikmin to Pikmin 3, ..."
'Hey! Pikmin' is sitting on my shelf crying.


10M ago

Difficult? How is it difficult? I've seen complaints saying it's too easy. Pretty sure it has to do with the two previous consoles it's been on. They skipped the Wii except the port... And Wii was the perfect fit for it. And the genre.

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