Those who watch Nintendo closely have probably had a whiff of already seen from today’s announcement of Nintendo Labo, its new line of Switch games with DIY paper controllers. And for good reason.
Two Nintendo Labo sets, which include the game cartridge and the materials to assemble the mechanical controllers, will be released on April 20.
One of them, the Robot Kit, lets you create an elaborate backpack-style contraption that connects via a string to your hands and feet, allowing you to control a giant robot onscreen, smashing buildings by moving your body.
Wait a minute… control a giant robot on screen, destroying buildings by moving your body?
It’s true … it’s our old friend Giant Robot Project, which was personally conceptualized, announced and presented to the press at E3 2014 by Shigeru Miyamoto himself.
This was when the Wii U clearly struggled to find games that made good use of the many capabilities of the GamePad controller, and it was announced alongside two other games with deep GamePad integration, which would be finally published as Star Fox Zero and Guard Star Fox.
The premise was similar to Nintendo Labo’s robotics kit: as Miyamoto skillfully demonstrated in the press photo above, you went wild by twisting and turning your body to control the robot’s limbs. After trying it myself, Giant robot was pretty chaotic and you sounded like an idiot doing it, which I guess was the gist.
Alas, it should not be: although Giant Robot Project kept appearing in Nintendo’s lists of upcoming Wii U software, not a word was said about it until it was silently taken off the list just before the Switch launched.
Nintendo Labo robotics kit on-screen gameplay image. Image: Nintendo / YouTube
And there, we assumed that the project had simply been canceled! Ah, but we should always know better than to think Nintendo would do such a thing. No Nintendo games are ever canceled, they are simply placed in a cardboard box marked “For Later”.
To consider Debut on stage, the GameCube tech demo shown at E3 2003 in which you would take a photo of your face and then import it into the software. Miyamoto ultimately said that the game, which never made it to GameCube, was the inspiration for Wii’s Mii Channel.
Or the fact that Nintendo originally wanted a connecting cable to connect the Game Boy Color and the Nintendo 64. Or the fact that he sat on Star Fox 2 until the release of the Super NES Classic.
It is clear that Nintendo felt it had the germ of a great idea with Giant Robot Project, but correctly assessed that it was moving forward on Wii U – even though the console was dying for software! – would not have done justice. Who knows; maybe the continuation of experimentation Giant robot This is what led Nintendo to the idea of papercraft controllers in the first place.
Either way, what was almost surely going to be a overlooked piece of Wii U software is now – if early reactions to Labo are anything to go by – is going to be a better-selling, more engaging experience, and putting it on hold. was the right decision. Nintendo is nothing if not patient, and it has a long memory. Now where’s that cardboard version of Mother 3…