User:Soprano/A Pikmin 4 Prediction
Before a game is released, video game companies usually publish various prerelease information about the game. This prerelease information is designed to get people excited about the game, and to do this it needs to show various aspects of the game without showing too much. People like to make predictions on what the full game will be like based on the prerelease information, but the fact that the information is deliberately incomplete means that it's never possible to make a fully accurate prediction. In particular, it's easy to assume that the information that has been shown is a key part of the game, when there's often crucial context or extra mechanics that haven't been shown, and this can often be more important than what has been shown so far. Despite these challenges in making predictions, people do it anyway, and it can be interesting to compare predictions of a game to the final product.
At the time of writing this in April 2023, 2 trailers for Pikmin 4 have been published: one in September 2022 and one in February 2023. These trailers show a lot, especially the second one, but there's a lot they don't show. Based on the information in these trailers, I will present a prediction for what Pikmin 4 will be like, based on trailer analysis and speculation done by myself and many other people. I do not expect this prediction to be accurate, and am writing it down so that when the next trailer is published and later when the game is released, it can be compared with the new information or final product to see how incomplete information about a game can be extrapolated.
This page will follow the standard structure of game articles on Pikipedia. However, it will be in future tense instead of present tense, and will explain the reasoning for predicting certain things by referencing scenes in the trailer or other published information.
Some time after the events of Pikmin 3, Hocotate Freight launches another mission to PNF-404 to search the planet for more treasure. They send a crew of 8 Hocotatian explorers in a Hocotate Transportation Company Universal General Navigator (HTCUGN), along with a dog called Oatchi. However, as the ship approaches the planet, they experience a strange pull from the planet in addition to the expected gravitational pull. This causes the ship to lose control, and they initiate the emergency evacuation procedure, ejecting each explorer from the ship in a different direction. The HTCUGN makes a rough automated emergency landing with Oatchi still inside, and while the ship survives, it's badly damaged. Back on Hocotate, Hocotate Freight receives the news and has no choice but to send a new recruit, Anita, to the planet in a small Hocotate Transportation Company Unit (HTCU) to rescue the castaway explorers, collect treasure, and investigate the source of the mysterious force. Anita arrives on the planet safely in the same area as the crashed ship and Oatchi, where the tutorial takes place, and then visits the other areas to rescue the other explorers one-by-one while also collecting treasure.
This prediction is based on a variety of sources. Pikmin 3's best ending cutscene states at the end of the narration that the accident that sent the S.S. Drake hurtling towards PNF-404's surface may not have been an accident at all, and Alph mentions in a check-in conversation that it felt as if some power from the planet's surface was manipulating the ship, which implies that there's something strange about PNF-404, and the fact that this is the closest thing Pikmin 3 has to a cliffhanger means that it's very likely Pikmin 4 was planned to resolve this. The February Pikmin 4 trailer starts with a small pod labeled with flying towards the planet, and later we see it fly towards what looks like a tutorial area, and the scene introducing Oatchi appears to take place in the same area, as do the scenes featuring the large ship labeled with . An unidentified character referred to as a castaway appears in a cave, and my theory is that the castaways are the crew of the large ship. The number 8 is arbitrary and was just chosen so that there could be a symmetrical group of 9 characters with the main one in the center. I have decided not to make any predictions about how the story will end, as there's basically no information to work with.
Pikmin 4 is a main-series game in the Pikmin series, which means it will have the same general gameplay style as the previous games. Each day, the player will select an area to land in, and have some amount of time in the area to do tasks before sunset comes and they are forced to leave. The gameplay speed will be slightly faster than in previous games, and the game will be more focused on exploration. There will only be 1 playable leader, so it will be less focused on multitasking, and there will be no day limit. The game will introduce a companion character called Oatchi, which has various abilities that Pikmin cannot do, adding an additional element to squad management. Multiplayer will exist in Story Mode, but only asymmetric multiplayer where the second player controls Oatchi.
Pikmin 4 will feature 6 Pikmin types in the Story Mode: Red Pikmin, Yellow Pikmin, Blue Pikmin, Purple Pikmin, White Pikmin, and the new Ice Pikmin. There are an additional 2 types that only appear in alternative game modes, Rock Pikmin and Winged Pikmin. This prediction is based on the fact that while the game's key art contains all 8 types, the cropped versions used for the box art and the square icon remove the Rock Pikmin and the Winged Pikmin respectively, implying that they are not major types in the game. I also think there won't be another new type, as the key art has already been made and is being used in promotional material. Of the types in the Story Mode, only Red Pikmin, Yellow Pikmin, and Blue Pikmin will have an Onion, while Purple Pikmin, White Pikmin, and Ice Pikmin will only be able to be produced with Candypop Buds in caves and will be stored in the HTCU. The types will be unlocked in the order Red-Yellow-Ice-Purple-Blue-White.
Pikmin 4 will feature 5 areas, all set in different sections of a large rural estate. No humans are ever seen, but the buildings and gardens are in good condition. 3 of these areas have been shown already in the trailer, and I predict there will be 2 more. It's possible to tell that the trailer shows 3 separate areas and not different sections of one area, because enough of the background is shown to make it impossible for all the outside shots to fit into one background environment. Areas will have a fairly compact design, and will feature multiple landing sites that the player can choose between at the start of the day. The landing sites are indicated by the pink rings of crystals, and the player will only have access to one when first landing in an area, with the others unlocked by walking to them.
- The Crash Site
This is the first area, and it is special in that it is a kind of "safe zone" where enemies do not come out at night. It is the area where the HTCUGN lands and where the tutorial takes place. For this reason, the crew uses it as a kind of hub area, staying there in between days instead of in the atmosphere. There isn't much to do in this area due to its small size, but there are a few pellets and a couple of treasures. Its main purpose is as a place that the main character can return to at the end of the day to talk with the other characters. The area features various large-leafed vegetation in its out-of-bounds terrain, and has some small terraced vegetable gardens.
- Vibrant Garden
This is the second area and first proper area. It takes place in a walled garden-like area with various tools scattered around the area. Most of the trailer shots are set here.
- Sandy Playground
This is the third area and second proper area. It features more sandy terrain and water, and in the background there is a large house and various playground equipment. Cherry blossom trees are nearby and their petals are constantly falling.
- Other areas
The fact that all areas are set close together restricts how diverse the climates of the areas can be. The remaining 2 areas will still be fairly temperate, but one will be colder and set directly next to a building, and one will be in a dense forest with much rougher terrain. This is complete speculation.
Pikmin 4 will feature the return of caves as a mechanic. Caves in this game will have a number of similarities and differences to those in Pikmin 2. They will be underground locations separate from the overground areas, with a loading screen in between, and most will be divided into multiple sublevels. The time above-ground does not progress while exploring a cave. Caves will not be randomized though, and will have the same layout each time they are loaded. Caves will also be shorter than those in Pikmin 2. This prediction is based on the parts of the February trailer that take place underground, which clearly reference the visual style of Pikmin 2's caves, implying that the mechanic is returning. 3 different styles of cave sublevel are seen in the trailer. At one point, a paper bag and some breakable pots are seen in the background, and since those kinds of obstacles would be hard to make work with random sublevel generation, I think that caves won't be randomized in this game.
Caves will be entered through vents in the ground. These vents are low black cylinders with blue lids. The trailer shows 3 of these vents in the Vibrant Garden and 1 in The Crash Site. I predict that the 4 main areas will each have 3 or 4 caves, with The Crash Site having only 1 (a tutorial cave).
Pikmin 4 will feature several collectible items. Treasures will be the main collectible, with each treasure worth some number of Pokos. A majority of treasures will be found in caves, but there will be more overground treasures than in Pikmin 2. Treasures have sparkles around them to indicate that they are treasures. There will also be a new collectible, Gems, which are worth 1 Poko each, similar to Sparklium Seeds. This is what I think the blue crystals in the trailer are. Gems can be found in piles in various locations aboveground and underground, and are sometimes dropped by enemies or destroyed obstacles. Each gem takes 1 Pikmin to carry.
The major story collectible in this game will be castaways. At the bottom of some caves, there will be a castaway. It turns out that these castaways are members of the Hocotatian crew, and each time you rescue one, they join the group back at the HTCUGN in The Crash Site. Not all caves have a castaway, and some instead have a valuable treasure that provides an upgrade to the leader. While treasures are optional collectibles, finding all the castaways is required to beat the game.
Pikmin 4 will feature 9 Hocotatian characters, plus a dog called Oatchi. The February trailer only shows 4 characters, but I think there are more that have not been shown. Each time a castaway is rescued, their identity will be revealed and they will join the team at the HTCUGN. Only one of the leaders will be playable, and I think this is the case because the characters all wear the same color of spacesuit and we only ever see one character being played as in the February trailer. Each character has a name based on a dog breed. The characters are, in order of when they are unlocked:
- Anita: The main character and only playable leader. Has dark red hair. (Name is speculative)
- Shepherd: Oatchi's trainer. Wears a bandana and has yellow hair. (Name confirmed in trailer)
- Collin: Manages the finances of the mission. Has grey hair. (Name confirmed in trailer)
- Beagle: The crew's biologist. Wears glasses and is bald. (Name is speculative)
- 5 additional characters that have not been shown yet, though one can be seen in the scene showing the castaway.
Oatchi is a dog that assists the crew. He is a companion character that works with Anita to collect treasure, navigate the areas, and search for castaways.
The control scheme for Pikmin 4 will be similar to that of Pikmin 3 Deluxe. The game will not feature gyro control options, so all cursor movement will be stick-based. The game will support playing with combined Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller, or a single sideways Joy-Con. When playing with 2 players, Player 1 will control the leader and Player 2 will control Oatchi (and if single Joy-Cons are used, player 2 will hold the controller vertically instead of horizontally). This information comes from the Japanese website for the game, and the detail on asymmetric multiplayer is an interpretation of the way that Player 1 and 2 hold the controller in different orientations. The rest of these controls are guesses based on the kind of movement shown in the trailer.
When playing with combined Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller, the stick moves the leader and cursor, the stick moves the camera (with a full spherical orbit camera, not just a circle with no height control like in Pikmin 3), throws a Pikmin, whistles, locks-on, rapidly moves the camera behind the leader, and switch Pikmin types (Oatchi is considered a Pikmin type for this purpose), charges, and performs miscellaneous functions. When playing with a single sideways Joy-Con, the lack of shoulder buttons means that switching Pikmin types is done with and in one direction only, and centering the camera is done by clicking the stick.
The button (or with a single Joy-Con) is the charge button. When pressed, it will charge the selected Pikmin type towards the cursor, and switch to the next type in the list. If Oatchi is currently selected, then holding the button will instead charge Oatchi's meter (giving a double meaning to the term "charge"). When the meter is full, pressing will cause Oatchi to charge towards the cursor, which is a very powerful attack that is seen to destroy breakable pots in the trailer.
The button (or with a single Joy-Con) does various functions when held, similar to Pikmin 3 Deluxe's "action menu". Pressing it and holding up on the stick uses ultra-spicy spray. Pressing it and holding down dismisses. Pressing it and holding right allows the leader and squad to jump onto Oatchi and ride him. (While riding Oatchi, the button makes Oatchi jump.) With a single Joy-Con exclusively, pressing it and holding left allows the stick to rotate the camera until the button is pressed again.
The and buttons open the pause menu and radar respectively. These are separate tabs of the same menu, and can be switched between with the shoulder buttons. Since a single Joy-Con only has one of those buttons, the radar page is opened by default, and the pause menu has to be switched to.
When playing with a second player in Story Mode, Player 2 controls Oatchi. The only effect this has on Player 1's controls is that the button no longer does anything with Oatchi. If Player 2 is using a single Joy-Con (assumed to be the right Joy-Con here), the stick moves Oatchi, has the same functions as the button in single-player (makes him jump if pressed, charges the meter if held, and charges forward when pressed when the meter is full), and lets Oatchi pull objects that can be carried (he must be next to the object and the button must be held to do this). If Player 2 is using combined Joy-Cons, the stick moves, charges, and pulls. Oatchi can only be moved with a certain radius of the leader. When the leader and squad are riding Oatchi, Player 2 still moves as normal, meaning Player 1 can only move the cursor and camera.
Alternative game modes
Pikmin 4 will feature a Mission Mode, an alternative game mode that challenges the player to complete an objective within a time limit. It will take elements from Pikmin 2's Challenge Mode and Pikmin 3's Mission Mode. All stages will be set in caves, and they will be different from the Story Mode caves and will not be randomly-generated. Different stages will have different objectives, including treasure-collecting and enemy-defeating. Every stage will be playable with 1 or 2 players, and the multiplayer in this mode will be symmetric, with both players controlling a leader in split-screen. All characters from Story Mode will be playable, and rescuing a character in Story Mode for the first time unlocks that character in Mission Mode. This prediction is entirely speculation, as there is no evidence for a Mission Mode yet, but it is very likely that one will be present. The prediction that stages will be in caves is based on the fact that the overground areas are so detailed that split-screen multiplayer likely wouldn't be possible on the Switch's hardware.
I believe that the night scenes shown in the February trailer are from an alternative game mode, which I'm calling Night Mode. This mode, unlocked after beating Story Mode for the first time, will be a single-player survival-based game mode, where the goal is to survive the night while collecting Rainbow Shards. The mode will be playable in each of the 4 main areas, and there will be a difficulty slider on the stage selection screen to adjust how hard the challenge will be. The player will start the night with a large group of Pikmin, and there will be piles of Rainbow Shards scattered around the area. Each Pikmin can carry one shard, and carrying them to the HTCU will earn points. The areas will be filled with enemies that need to be defeated to carry the shards safely. There will also be brown structures in the areas, and additional enemies will periodically come out of these structures. At certain times of the night, large enemies will suddenly become more aggressive and have their eyes turn red, but only for a limited time. If the player survives the night without losing all their Pikmin, they will receive a score, which is based on the difficulty setting, the number of Rainbow Shards collected, and the number of Pikmin deaths.
Pikmin 4 will feature Side Stories, but they will be added as paid downloadable content after the game's release. This is just a theory.
- The Pikmin 4 article, for confirmed information about the game
- The Pikmin 4 images category
- September 2022 trailer
- February 2023 trailer
- Japanese website for the game