Sorry about that headline. I couldn’t resist.
Anyway, Japanese news outlet Nikkei is reporting that Nintendo is launching a new initiative in which the Kyoto publisher will pick up and produce entries in other publishers’ franchises. This is a bizarre move for the usually withdrawn and conservative Nintendo, but even more bizarre is the first game they’ve decided to revive: Sega’s virtual life experiment Seaman.
Seaman was originally directed by experimental game designer Yoot Saito and was released for the Dreamcast in 2000. The game was based around raising a bizarre man-fish/frog hybrid (the titular Seaman,) and while it wasn’t the first virtual pet game, it certainly was the strangest — once Seaman was mature enough to talk, he’d often give you advice for how to live your life, or wax poetic about a number of philosophical topics.
While the game (obviously) didn’t that sell that well, it’s pioneering integration of voice commands arguably helped pave the way for future voice-based sims like Nintendogs and Love Plus. The new Seaman title is apparently being developed in-house at Nintendo for the 3DS and it’s unclear at this point if any of the original staff are involved.
If the news is true, it’s certainly a strange but weird choice for Nintendo. While I’m sure Seaman fans (*ahem*) around the world are celebrating the return of their favorite frogman, I think the more exciting news is that Nintendo themselves are reviving franchises abandoned by their original publishers. It’s an interesting idea, and if Nintendo really is making sequels to other companies’ games, how about they finish up Mega Man Legends 3 while they’re at it?