Nintendo has a rep for being conservative with their IP. You don’t say! The publisher has always been ready to give third parties a shot at crafting first party experiences. Just look at Minish Cap and several other Zelda games, which were handled by Capcom: and are often celebrated.
But in recent years, they have started lending some of their bigger properties to smaller studios more and more, perhaps best shown through Cadence of Hyrule; which was heavily promoted by Nintendo. Either way, Nintendo is always aware of the damage they could do to their own brand. That mantra hasn’t changed, even in 2021.
Speaking to Nikkei (as translated by Nintendo Everything), Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa is smart enough to recognize how easy it would be to tarnish a franchise. Furukawa explains: “We must keep in mind that the origins of the characters are in the games. These are characters that fans have grown attached to through countless hours of playtime. We must develop those characters in a way that won’t destroy fans’ memories of the characters in their worlds.”
Furukawa goes on to say that “proceeding with caution” is key, and that they don’t want to “damage the value of the brand.” He explains that although short term sales could be easy to create with a short-sighted strategy, “there are other ways” to do this. Instead, Furukawa is focused on “keeping Nintendo a beloved brand in the long run.”
Whenever his successor takes over, they could have a different outlook. But for now, tradition is still at the core of Nintendo. They have branched out into newer fields like the mobile arena and online subscription service; but they are still very much the old conservative publisher of old. And they sport all of the strengths and weaknesses that come with that.