Anticipating a game’s reveal and launch is always a tantalizing affair. The more information fans have, the more unbearable the wait becomes. However, the inverse also rings true when little information regarding a game—other than its existence—can be equally frustrating. Such is the case with Nintendo’s Pikmin 4, a game wrapped in near silence for the last six years.
Pikmin 4 Development Timeline
The last mainline Pikmin game was Pikmin 3 for the Wii U in 2013. The game was hinted at starting in 2007 by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto before outright confirmation at E3 2008. It was then unveiled in 2012, showcased alongside the Wii U. However, due to undisclosed circumstances, the game was delayed until a mid-2013 worldwide release.
Pikmin 4 rumors started cropping up in 2014 when Miyamoto made some comments during a Q&A session regarding the Pikmin short films that released after Pikmin 3. He said:
“Continually launching campaigns after the release of a software will lay the groundwork for the next iteration of Pikmin in the future.”
Sure enough, the following year, Miyamoto continued alluding to a new Pikmin game possibly in the works. He outright confirmed its existence in September that same year in an interview with Eurogamer, saying that the next Pikmin game was “in development” and was “very close to completion.”
Miyamoto continued to spoon-feed fans tidbits of news over the next couple of years.
During E3 2016, he once again said that work was progressing on the next Pikmin title. However, he stated there were some internal difficulties within the company regarding setting priorities—and trying to fit Pikmin 4 into said priority list.
That same year, Hey! Pikmin, a side-scrolling Pikmin for the 3DS was announced, confusing many eager fans whether this was the game Miyamoto was alluding to. He quashed the initial confusion by establishing that this was NOT Pikmin 4, and its development was still ongoing.
Once 2017 rolled around, Eurogamer snagged another interview with Miyamoto at E3 and asked about Pikmin 4. He prefaced his comments by saying:
“I’ve been told not to share anything about this from PR, but I can tell you it’s progressing.”
He followed this statement up with:
“It’s actually very close to completion.”
Nintendo then added onto Miyamoto’s statement by stating:
“We can confirm Pikmin 4 is in development but that is all we can confirm at present.”
Since these statements and interviews, all Pikmin 4 news and updates have come to a standstill. 2020 has fared no different than years prior.
What is Known so Far
From what has been established by Miyamoto and Nintendo, here are the facts.
- Pikmin 4 exists
- Pikmin 4 is in development
- Pikmin 4 has been in development as early as 2015
- It is not a priority title for Nintendo
- Nintendo PR does not want to reveal more than what is already known
Discounting all of Miyamoto’s statements regarding Pikmin 4’s progress, the most concerning piece of information he gave was the tidbit about Nintendo’s priority list.
In 2015, his full statement regarding the matter reads:
“When we are in development, we have to create a list of priorities and it has been hard to kind of fit that [Pikmin 4] into that list.”
This alludes to the possibility that, while Pikmin 4 is indeed being worked on, it is not a high-priority title for the company at the moment. Nintendo has come a ways since 2015, with the launch of a new console and a truckload of first-party games accompanying it. Pikmin 4 could have gotten lost on that list of priorities as Nintendo was preparing for its own next-gen step. The COVID-19 pandemic may have also played a role.
However, since the Switch has launched and continues to thrive, now might be a time better than ever for the development team to resume operations—which it already may have. This might be why Nintendo PR did not want Miyamoto to comment so frankly.
Pikmin 4 did not suffer a project restart like Metroid Prime 4, meaning its development is matching Nintendo’s expectations. If development had become an issue, nothing would have stopped Nintendo from publishing an update video in the same vein as the Metroid Prime 4 one.
As for the game itself, it seems to be a direct continuation of Pikmin 3.
In Pikmin 3, provided players collected all the fruit, they would achieve the “best” ending. Aside from differences in narration and dialog among characters, the best ending had a post-credits scene, where a spaceship in the distance crash lands on the planet Alph and his crew just departed from. The Pikmin who witnessed the crash all rush to the scene before the screen fades out.
Pikmin 4 will most likely take place on the same planet with an entirely new crew at its helm. It is even possible that Pikmin 4’s crew could travel between planets and find new Pikmin but that is purely speculation.
With Pikmin 3 taking five years to be released since its announcement, and Pikmin 4 following in its footsteps, it is possible fans may see Pikmin by 2020 or 2021.