I’d like to take a moment for a huge “called it!” right now, as Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata announced tentative plans for their Nintendo Figurine Platform, or NFP, at an investor meeting today. I don’t want to brag, but I’ve been speculating about a “Skylanders but Smash Bros” tie-in for over a year. It makes perfect sense: Nintendo is a toy company first and foremost, and in light of recent news that they turned down exclusivity of the Skylanders franchise, I knew they must have been working on something like this for quite a while.
While it makes perfect sense for these figures to be an extension of the Smash Bros franchise—the games themselves are roughly about Nintendo figurines that come to life and do battle—the kicker is that these figures won’t be anchored to a single game. Rather, they’ll work with a range of software, sort of like how legacy Skylanders lines still work with the new games, but without all the new features.
This means that the Nintendo figures will work on both Wii U and 3DS, taking advantage of each console’s Near Field Communication technology to both read and write data to a wide range of software. The 3DS doesn’t have a built in NFC reader, but Nintendo has revealed a prototype for a wireless reader that would connect through the 3DS’s IR port; basically, like the 3DS Skylanders portal. With software-independent compatibility, it’s easy to see these figures applying to not only future Smash Bros titles, but also Mario Kart, Hyrule Legends and of course, Pokemon. It’s important to note that the first figure they revealed was Mario.
I have to say that I’m pretty excited about the prospect of a Nintendo-centric figurine collection, although my wallet is more worried than it is during a Steam sale. I’ve always appreciated the concept behind Skylanders and Disney Infinity, but neither series has really grabbed me; I don’t have any nostalgia invested in either property. I admit to perceiving my fellow GN staffers who are huge Skylanders fans (and parents) with some bemusement for spending so much on all those little figures. That said, I always knew this day was coming. I’ve fully admitted that if there was a Skylanders style game that struck on my particular fandom, I’d probably spend stupid amounts of money it. It looks like that just might happen now.