The first part of Nintendo’s Ask the Developer series for Pikmin 4 showed off the first concept designs for Pikmin, which look almost nothing like what we know and love.
Ask the Developer is a series of interviews with key Nintendo developers on various projects. The latest series focusing on Pikmin 4 just released, including many staff from the original game, such as Shigeru Miyamoto, Shigefumi Hino, and Masamichi Abe. This first part was heavily focused on the origins of the series, where it was revealed that the first designs for the Pikmin were not at all similar to the plant-like creatures we ended up with.
As seen in the image above, the original Pikmin designs were very basic, with colored balls on their heads differentiating male and female Pikmin. While little else would carry over, that concept would evolve into the different flowers that grow from the Pikmin’s heads.
Junji Morii joined the team around this time as a designer and came up with several new designs for the Pikmin. The sketches that were chosen, while having a slightly creepy tone seen in scribbled black and white, are almost unchanged from what we would get in the final product.
That slightly creepy feeling isn’t completely off-base, as Morii himself said he was partially inspired by the works of Tim Burton. “I wanted the designs to not just be cute, but also give a sense of eeriness, or some emotional weight. That’s why I was drawing the sketches like this, with a style that layers scribbling lines.”
There are far more details and interesting facts about the origins of Pikmin in the full interview, and more to come in subsequent parts, but this early look at how the Pikmin came to be certainly sheds new light on this otherwise bright and colorful series.