100 Pikmin limit
In the Pikmin games, there is a gameplay rule that limits the number of Pikmin on the area or cave's sublevel to one hundred at most. Only Pikmin that are out count for this limit, meaning that Pikmin inside an Onion do not count. To note is that when entering a cave, all Pikmin that are in the area, but do not follow the leaders inside, are instantly sent to their Onions. Wild Pikmin that have yet to be discovered count towards the total as well.
With this limit, the player cannot withdraw Pikmin from Onions such that the on-area total surpasses 100; the Onion's menu stops them from selecting any more after that point. When an object is delivered to an Onion, Pikmin seeds come out, which count towards the on-area total. The moment the limit is reached, any new Pikmin are instead created inside the Onion. This can be used to the player's advantage, given that filling out the 100-Pikmin cap and delivering the object is a faster way to obtain ready Pikmin, when compared to letting the seeds come out and plucking them.
This limit applies to all game modes. In the case of 2-Player Battle and Bingo Battle, each player is also limited to having 50 Pikmin of their team on the area at once, and when a Pikmin dies without another Pikmin killing it, the Onion automatically ejects a new seed, if it has any. Notably, the limit does not apply on the Pikmin Short Movies, as more than one hundred Pikmin can be seen at once under Captain Olimar's control in Occupational Hazards. In Pikmin, the on-area counter on the HUD gently pulsates red when the limit is reached.
The mechanic exists for a few assumed reasons:
- With it, players must rely on more than just having a large number of Pikmin in order to complete a task.
- The limit stops the player from having a hard time managing a large army.
- Because each Pikmin is an independent game entity, having the game process too many of them at once could result in the game slowing down.
In addition to the reasons stated above, the 100-Pikmin mechanic is also used as a minor puzzle element due to Purple Pikmin. Because they have the carrying strength and weight of 10 Pikmin, and because some treasures and obstacles require more than 100 Pikmin in strength or weight, the player is forced to use Purples.
There are times where Pikmin have to be added to the area automatically, without the player requesting it directly, such as when discovering a new Onion in Pikmin, which causes the Onion to spit a seed. If the count is already at 100 when this happens, the game will take some action to stop the limit from being passed.
When new types of Onion are discovered without nearby wild Pikmin, they will eject one Pikmin seed. If there are 100 Pikmin already on the field, one of those will be automatically and instantly returned to its respective Onion. In Pikmin 3, it is even possible to see the Pikmin vanish when the seed comes out, since everything is always visible throughout the cutscene, as opposed to the previous games where the Pikmin and some objects become invisible during cutscenes. The rules that decide what Pikmin will be chosen vary by game, and in some scenarios, special actions need to be taken because of the Pikmin's sudden disappearance.
Most of the time, the Pikmin that is sent to its Onion is the one farthest away from the newly-discovered Onion. If this Pikmin cannot be chosen, the game will skip to the second farthest one, and so on. The following table details what happens, depending on the state of the Pikmin. To note is that Pikmin type and maturity do not play a role in deciding the Pikmin.
For Pikmin, the rules change if there's at least one buried Pikmin; please read the next section for more information.
|If the Pikmin...||Behavior in Pikmin||Behavior in Pikmin 3|
|...is idle or in the leader's group...||...it is removed.||...it is removed.|
|...is buried...||...see the next section.||...it can never be removed, even if another irremovable Pikmin has to be chosen in its place.|
|...is carrying...||...it is removed. The game will react just as if the Pikmin got called, regardless of the number of other carriers.||...it cannot be removed.|
|...is being held...||N/A (since Olimar and the Pikmin he's holding have to be close to the Onion to activate it)||...it is removed. The Pikmin is released when the cutscene starts.|
|...suffering from a hazard...||...it is removed. The hazard vanishes exactly when the new Pikmin's seed pops out.||...it is removed. The hazard vanishes exactly when the new Pikmin's seed pops out.|
|...holding a bomb rock...||...it is removed. The bomb rock vanishes.||...it is removed. The bomb rock is dropped.|
|...is spicy...||N/A||...it is removed.|
|...is working on an amount-dependent task (e.g. lifting a bamboo gate)...||N/A||...it cannot be removed.|
|...in a dirt mound...||N/A||...it cannot be removed.|
|...is a Rock Pikmin compressed against the ground...||N/A||...it is removed.|
|...inside a bubble...||N/A||...it is removed.|
In the first Pikmin title, the game will perform a different check if there are buried Pikmin on the area. If there are any buried Pikmin, the game will change the number of Pikmin to return to the Onion from 1 to 2, for some unknown reason. In addition, the game will check buried Pikmin first and other Pikmin second. The "farthest away Pikmin" rule also applies to the buried ones. Here are some examples:
|No buried Pikmin||The farthest Pikmin gets sent to its Onion; see the previous section.|
|1 buried Pikmin||That Pikmin gets sent to its Onion as well as the "normal" farthest one.|
|2 buried Pikmin||Those two Pikmin get sent to their Onion.|
|3+ buried Pikmin||The two farthest buried Pikmin get sent to their Onion.|
The Red, Yellow and Blue Onions in Pikmin 2 and the Red, Rock and Yellow Onions in Pikmin 3 are discovered alongside wild Pikmin, which count towards the 100 limit. The counter on the HUD will not tally them until the Onion is deemed "discovered". While it is impossible to get close to 100 Pikmin with the Red Onion in either game or the Yellow Onion in Pikmin 3, it is possible to do so with the other Onions (although not often done in the case of the Rock Onion). If the player attempts to grow enough Pikmin to cross the 100 Pikmin limit, counting wild Pikmin, the cutscene that plays when 100 Pikmin are first grown will play, although the wild Pikmin will still not be counted on the HUD. In Pikmin 2, the Hocotate ship will draw attention to this.
Queen Candypop Buds
Queen Candypop Buds receive one Pikmin of any type and spit out 9 seeds of the color it displayed at the time. Any new seeds whose creation would make the total inside the sublevel go over 100 will simply not be spat out. The flower will wilt regardless of how many Pikmin come out. If buried Pikmin exist on the surface, and 100 Pikmin are procured underground using Queen Candypop Buds, then the excess Pikmin in the leader's group will be automatically returned to the Onion when the cave is exited. The type of Pikmin returned matches the Pikmin sprouts on the surface.
When entering a sublevel with Bulbmin on it, the game attempts to spawn 10 juveniles per every adult Bulbmin. Any juvenile Bulbmin that would make the total (player's Pikmin + new Bulbmin) surpass 100 will not spawn. This means that it is possible for a sublevel to have mature Bulbmin without any young Bulbmin following behind. As such, if the player intends to obtain Bulbmin, they should enter the sublevel with less than 100 Pikmin on their party. Interestingly, the on-area counter only counts the Bulbmin when they're whistled to the group.
In Pikmin, when a Pikmin extinction occurs, the Onion generates and ejects a new seed of any extinct types at the start of the following day. If there are already 100 Pikmin on the field, the seed is instead kept inside the Onion. This can only happen if the player lands on an area with 100 buried Pikmin.
In Pikmin 2, it is very difficulty, but not impossible, to have 100 Pikmin present on the field when the Onion needs to eject a seed because of an extinction. When one has 99 sprouts, trying to bury another Pikmin via Mamuta or Swooping Snitchbug will just knock the Pikmin back. But by sending one Pikmin to carry something that generates a good number of Pikmin to an Onion (like a Shearwig corpse), and then ordering said Pikmin to go inside the Onion or ship as soon as it's done delivering, it will manage to be inside by the time the Onion ejects the 100th sprout's seed. With this 100 sprout setup, if a Pikmin type different from these sprouts becomes extinct whilst in another area, and the player lands at the area with the 100 sprouts on the next day, the extinct type's Onion will not create a new Pikmin and keep it inside, as with the other games. Instead, the sprout that is farthest from the extinct type's Onion will be instantly sent to its own Onion, and then the extinct type's Onion will eject a new seed freely.
100 sprouts can be In Pikmin 3, Pikmin are automatically generated during the day, immediately after the last of its type is killed. However, if there are no Pikmin of a certain type at the end of the day (say, due to sunset), and the player lands in an area with buried Pikmin of that type, no additional Pikmin will be created. If there are no Pikmin of that type buried in the area, one seed will be created (and stored in the Onion if there are 100 buried Pikmin).
Super Mario 128 was a tech demo made for the GameCube that showed how the console could handle over a hundred independent entities. This demo is part of what inspired the creation of Pikmin, but while 128 was picked in the demo for being twice as much as 64 and a power of two, the limit in the Pikmin games is 100 possibly because it is a "rounder" number. Despite this, in an earlier version of Pikmin showcased at E3 2001, the counter can be seen reading 110 on-area Pikmin at multiple times. It is unknown if this is the limit, if it is actually higher, or if a limit even existed at this point.
- Given unknown circumstances, it is possible for the monologue in which Olimar talks of the 100 Pikmin limit to appear up to three times in the same save file.
- “I have made yet another Pikmin-related discovery. Just when I was about to exceed 100 Pikmin in the field, the Onion stopped expelling seeds, yet the total number of Pikmin continued to climb. It seems that once there are 100 Pikmin in the field, subsequent seeds get stored inside the Onion. Thus, no more than 100 Pikmin can be in the field at one time in any area.” – Captain Olimar in a monologue
- Fan-driven experiments
- YouTube video demonstrating the different effects of discovering an Onion in Pikmin with 100 Pikmin already on the field
- YouTube video showing the Onion's behavior on a field with 100 Pikmin after an extinction
- YouTube video of the E3 2001 trailer, with the counter reading 110 on-area Pikmin (at 01:10)
- YouTube video in which the 100 Pikmin limit monologue appears, despite already appearing on the previous day (at 01:58)
This article was a featured article from April 2nd, 2016 to June 1st, 2016.