How not to pitch an idea to Nintendo

Last Monday’s UK chart revealed that Skylanders SuperChargers on Wii U was the second best-selling version at launch.

It’s highly likely that Activision’s partnership with Nintendo – allowing Donkey and Bowser to feature in the Wii U, Wii and 3DS versions – played a crucial role in this success.

Skylanders SuperChargers isn’t the first instance of Activision ‘borrowing’ some of Nintendo’s beloved characters. Their first pitch was far from successful though.

In fact, it’s a pretty tragic tale.

Back in 2006, Activision had both Samus Aran and Link running around in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Footage even exists of Samus – fresh from Metroid Prime – firing various beams from her arm cannon and rolling around in morph ball form.

It’s not hard to imagine that Activision were mildly confident of being granted Nintendo’s blessing. Just a couple of years earlier EA struck a deal to feature the likes of Mario and Luigi in both SSX on Tour and NBA Street V3 on GameCube, while Fight Night Round 2 included Super Punch Out as an extra.

Rather than show Nintendo their handiwork using the Wii version of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance however – in hope of receiving permission to use both characters as system exclusives – Activision instead showcased the duo using the PlayStation 2 build, which was presumably the lead version.

For reasons obvious Nintendo didn’t take kindly to seeing their creations on a rival console, instantly putting an end to any potential endorsement. Not only was a lesson learned that day – it’s likely that Activision was left feeling pretty embarrassed too.

Leave a Comment