A Pikmin extinction occurs when the player does not have any more Pikmin of a given type. There are two types of extinction: a partial one, which is declared when all Pikmin of one type are lost, and a total one, which happens when there are no Pikmin left whatsoever. Pikmin can become extinct by being killed, swapped for a different type with Candypop Buds, or left behind at sunset.
To counter an extinction, the affected Onion(s) spit out a single seed of the same type, with the exact rules for this depending on the game and the type of extinction. Alternatively, if possible, the player can also choose to start the next day on an area that has some sprouts of lost types, and use those. Regardless, the player must then regrow the corresponding armies from scratch, and if they do not treat these Pikmin with care, they will be easy prey to all manner of enemies and could quickly end up with another extinction.
In Pikmin and Pikmin 2, losing all Pikmin of a given type makes it very hard, but possible, to create more in the same day. If there are still other Pikmin when this occurs, the day will go on, but if not, a total extinction is declared instead. In order to create more Pikmin in the same day, the player can use Candypop Buds or the ability of White and Purple Pikmin to carry items to randomly picked Onions. If they are unable to create any, and have to end the day, the affected Onions will spew out a single seed at the start of the next day.
In Pikmin 2, if all Pikmin the player brought in a cave are lost, a Pikmin extinction is declared, even if it is only local. The leader(s) are returned to the surface, and, provided they still have Pikmin in the area or Onions, can continue on with the day. Otherwise, a total extinction takes place straight afterwards. In the event that the player loses all Pikmin of one type while inside a cave, they will be able to continue through the cave, if they still have other types. When they return to the surface, the game will act as if it were a landing on a new day, which will make the Onion of that type spit a new seed, and the ship erroneously declare that all the Pikmin of that type were lost yesterday, despite it being the same day. In this game, White Pikmin and Purple Pikmin are not affected by partial extinctions, given their unique method of birth.
In Pikmin 3, if all of a certain type of Pikmin is lost, the Onion will immediately create a new Pikmin of that type. This will even happen if there are sprouts of the same type in a different area. If this loss happens via sunset, then the Onion will spit out seeds for the affected Pikmin at the morning of the next day.
Regardless of game, if the player lands on an area that has sprouts of extinct types, the respective Onions will not spit out any seeds, and the player must use those sprouts instead. Leaving sprouts behind at the end of the day works just the same as if the last Pikmin of those type have been left to be eaten by the predators of the night, except there is no actual abandonment taking place.
In Pikmin and Pikmin 2, if the player loses every one of their Pikmin in a single day, that day will end immediately, a sad cutscene will play, and on the following day, each Onion will produce a single seed, provided that there are no sprouts of the corresponding Pikmin type in the area the player chooses to land in. Other than that, the processes and rules are similar to partial extinctions. A total extinction can still be declared even if there are Pikmin sprouts in other areas.
It is impossible to obtain a total extinction during the day in Pikmin 3, since the Onion instantly shoots a seed whenever a type goes extinct. Even trying to wipe out all Pikmin at once with a bomb rock, for instance, will still make the Onion go through the partial extinction progress for each type, one at a time. Losing all Pikmin during the sunset is possible, and will simply act the same as if several sunset partial extinctions have taken place, with the added detail that Alph will write down on the voyage log that the crew is now without any Pikmin.
Cutscenes and comments
In order to highlight the importance of an extinction, as well as the Onion's behavior to counteract an extinction, some cutscenes and comments from the characters can take place.
In Pikmin and Pikmin 2, when a total extinction takes place, everything stops, and a cutscene takes place. It shows the leaders looking around and realizing that their entire army has been lost, with the words "Pikmin extinction!" on-screen. They then head for their ship and lift off in sadness.
When an Onion from an extinct type spits out seeds, a cutscene takes place that focuses on the Onion, and then Captain Olimar, the Hocotate ship, or one of the Koppaites[source needed] comment on it, in each of the three games respectively. This cutscene can also happen on the day following the first total extinction instead. In Pikmin, Olimar will only comment the first time it happens, but comments will be made every time in the other games.
In Pikmin, the following is Olimar's voyage log entry on the first day a total extinction occurs:
In Pikmin, on the night after an Onion spits some Pikmin out for the first time, Captain Olimar writes the following:
In Pikmin 3, the first time all Pikmin are left behind over sunset, Alph will write the following on the voyage log, in the North American version:
In other game modes
In 2-Player Battle and Bingo Battle, a Pikmin extinction is another way for a player to win. Should any player lose all of their Pikmin, a Pikmin extinction is declared, and the other wins. This is not a usual way to win, but falling boulders, bomb rocks, Volatile Dweevils and mines can cause massive damage for unaware leaders.
Interestingly, in 2-Player Battle, a Pikmin extinction occurs if one player has one Pikmin left and it is killed by the opposing player's Pikmin, despite the fact that a Pikmin is always reborn at the player's Onion if it is killed by another Pikmin. The same does not occur in Bingo Battle, and the counter will briefly show that the leader has 0 out of 0 Pikmin, before the recently-killed Pikmin is reborn.
100 Pikmin conflict
There may be times where an Onion will want to eject a seed because of an extinction, but doing so would put more than 100 Pikmin on the field. Each game has a specific way of handling this scenario.
- Through the use of a glitch in Pikmin 2, it's possible to have the game instantly declare a Pikmin extinction the second a cave is entered. It involves tricking the game into letting the leaders inside a cave with 0 Pikmin, which requires going in and dismissing the Pikmin at the exact same time.
- In Pikmin 2, with a glitch, it is possible to obtain a Pikmin extinction on day 1.
- If the player obtains a total extinction on day 30 in Pikmin, the ending cutscene will still show some Pikmin.
- A total extinction in the Mission Mode of Pikmin 3 yields a message reading "Pikmin extinct!" All of the Pikmin spirits surrounding the text will only be of Pikmin available in the stage.
- “When the Pikmin become extinct, the Onion releases a single seed. How does the Onion know that the Pikmin have all been lost? I do not understand this mechanism, but I have no time to try to decipher its riddle. I must do all I can to protect the lone Pikmin. And, of course, I must prevent such an extinction from ever happening again!” – Captain Olimar in in a monolog
- “Disaster averted! All your Pikmin were wiped out yesterday, but their Onion just released a seed! If Pikmin were machines, they could simply be repaired, but... This single Pikmin is a precious rarity. I advise you to take better care of it.” – the Hocotate ship in a dialog
- YouTube video of a Pikmin 2 day 1 extinction
- YouTube video of a total extinction on day 30
- YouTube video of Pikmin 2, showing what happens when a total extinction occurs but one Pikmin is still alive, thanks to a glitch
|Types||Red Pikmin • Yellow Pikmin • Blue Pikmin • Purple Pikmin • White Pikmin|
Rock Pikmin • Winged Pikmin • Bulbmin
|Biology||Candypop Bud • Maturity • Onion (Pellet, Enemies) • Pikmin extinction • Spirit|
|Abilities||Carrying • Digging • Dodge • Hiding|
|Controlling||Dismiss • Group move • Pluck • Throw • Whistle|
|Other||Mushroom Pikmin • Olimar as Pikmin|