One Nintendo boss has officially debunked the idea that the company is working on a Nintendo 64 Classic. Sadly, the N64 classic won't be following in the footsteps on 2016's NES Classic and 2017's SNES Classic in time for Christmas 2018.
The house that Mario built was first rumored to be working on a downsized version of the '90s console in 2017. Since then, various N64 Classic designs, logos, and even leak dates have had gamers on the edge of their seats. Earlier this month, sources suggested that Nintendo would officially unveil the N64 Classic by the end of November, but consider everyone's hopes dashed.
Speaking to Kotaku, Nintendo America President Reggie Fils-Aimé crushed the dream of an N64 classic:
“I would not ever rule something out, but what I can tell you is certainly that’s not in our planning horizon.”
He went on to explain Nintendo's strategy with retro consoles and why the N64 Classic won't be here in 2018:
“We were clear when we did the first two Classic series that, for us, these were limited time opportunities that were a way for us as a business to bridge from the conclusion of Wii U as a hardware system to the launch of Nintendo Switch. That was the very strategic reason we launched the NES Classic system.”
It sounds like it won't simply be a case of expecting a revamped console like clockwork, and Nintendo is instead filling gaps in its release schedule with nostalgia. With the Wii U heading toward the end of its life cycle in 2016 and the Nintendo Switch not coming out until March 2017, the NES Classic was a clever way to make some money in the interim.
This will obviously be disappointing for Nintendo fans, but it's important to remember that Aimé doesn't completely rule out an N64 Classic at some point in the future. The company is apparently working on a Nintendo Switch 2 for 2019, meaning developers are likely hard at work on future consoles instead of going back into Nintendo's back catalog at the moment.
The Nintendo 64 became synonymous with the 3D gaming revolution. Award-winning titles like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, GoldenEye 007, and Mario 64 have all earned their place in the Gaming Hall of Fame and been reinvented over the years. The above games and other entries like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Smash Bros would've been perfect for the N64 Classic.
This means that the holiday season is left wide open for the PlayStation Classic to corner the retro gaming market. Opinions have been divided when it comes to the PlayStation Classic, with the main criticism being the console's lack of classic games. Licensing was a problem for Sony, but with Nintendo being known for its first-party games, the options for the N64 Classic are nearly unlimited.
The Nintendo Switch offerings are currently pretty limited for classic games, which makes sense if the company is planning on rolling out its older consoles in Classic form. For now, it sounds like a case of when and not if for the Nintendo 64 Classic. That being said, plenty of players still have the original system knocking around in the attic and can still get behind the sights of a Walther PPK to play GoldenEye 007 as it was originally intended.