Early Pikmin had creatures with AI chips in their heads.

Early Pikmin had creatures with AI chips in their heads.

The Dark Origins of Pikmin

Pikmin 4 — Overview Trailer

When you look at Pikmin now, it’s hard to imagine that they had a darker beginning. In a recent interview with Nintendo’s “Ask The Developer” series, the creators of Pikmin shared some intriguing insights. Shigeru Miyamoto, along with former series directors Shigefumi Hino and Masamichi Abe, programmer Yuji Kando, and designer Junji Morii revealed the origins of these funky little guys.

Originally, the team had planned to create creatures with AI chips in their heads as the main characters. Players would be able to control these creatures by assGameTopicing different chips. The concept art for this prototype was shown, and the early Pikmin looked like round creatures with limbs, a nose, eyes, and an antenna.

But something was missing. The team felt that the desGameTopics “lacked impact as a character”, despite being cute. Since the game was designed with a top-down camera, it was crucial for each Pikmin to be instantly recognizable. This led to the decision to make the Pikmin look more like plants.

Pikmin Early Sketch

Junji Morii, the designer, drew sketches of Pikmin with plant-like features, and the team unanimously chose this direction. Miyamoto became particularly intrigued by the idea of plants walking and mentioned, “it would be cute if it sucked up water from the leaf on its head.” Morii’s distinctive style, inspired by the works of film director Tim Burton, added a touch of eeriness and emotional weight to the desGameTopics.

The team intentionally wanted to create a contrast to the bright and vibrant desGameTopics of the Mario and Zelda series. They aimed for a “sober, mature, and mysterious world”. To find inspiration, the team watched experimental films like Fantastic Planet, leaving them with puzzled looks on their faces, and indulged in indie and artistic films. They even read The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins to learn about the strange ecology of living things.

In the end, the dark origins of Pikmin gave birth to a unique and fascinating world. Fast forward to today, and Tom had the opportunity to experience Pikmin 4 firsthand. He claims that it’s a return to the series’ roots, with cave exploration and thrilling night missions. Get ready to embark on a journey with these extraordinary plant-like creatures!

Note: Check out the Pikmin 4 — Overview Trailer for a sneak peek into this enchanting world!