Nintendo Reveals Shocking Early Pikmin Designs

The final Pikmin designs were a lot different from Nintendo's early ideas.

With Pikmin 4 just a few days away from release, Nintendo has released a new entry in its "Ask the Developer" series. In the interview, Shigeru Miyamoto, Shigefumi Hino, Junji Morii, and Masamichi Abe reflect on the early days of the series, while offering some interesting new details about the first Pikmin's development. Apparently, discussions surrounding the game began during the transition from the Super Nintendo to the N64. The original concept would have had a top-down view of the screen, so Hino notes that he tried to make the "gender and personality of each character identifiable from what's on their head."

At this point, the plant-like nature of Pikmin was not part of the concept. Instead, Nintendo was exploring the idea of multiple on-screen characters that the player would control va AI chips in their heads. The initial design ended up looking "a bit Yoshi-like," as Hino notes, but "we felt it lacked impact as a character." The design can be found below.

(Photo: Nintendo)

As Miyamoto notes, one of the goals for the team was coming up with a design "that girls around the age of high school would find cute." When Morii came on as a designer, he drew multiple sketches, and a version close to the final Pikmin design "was selected by unanimous decision." Morii states that the films of Tim Burton had a major impact on him at the time, and he "wanted the designs to not just be cute, but also give a sense of eeriness, or some emotional weight." The Burton influence is very evident in many of Morii's earliest sketches, including the one found below.

(Photo: Nintendo)

Morii's addition of the leaf on the character's head seemed to have a major influence on how the Pikmin concept eventually changed and evolved into the finished product, though there were a number of other influences along the way. While it took some time to get there, Pikmin would eventually release on the GameCube, spawning a series that has now been around for more than two decades! Readers can check out the next game in the series when Pikmin 4 releases on July 21st.

Are you planning to check out Pikmin 4 this month? Are you surprised by how far the Pikmin designs have come? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!