Nintendo didn’t want to let Samus into Fortnite

Back in 2021, court documents released As part of Epic’s legal battle with Apple, it emerged that Epic planned to lock in Samus Aran at one point Fortnite. But a skin based on the futuristic bounty hunter from Nintendo’s Metroid series never materialized.

Considering the documents also mentioned some already released characters, including God of War’s Kratos and Halo’s Master Chief, some speculated that Samus may have been intended to represent Nintendo alongside these PlayStation and Xbox mascots in Fortnite‘s Gaming Legends series. Kratos and the Chief were both added at the end of 2020.

Now, thanks to an interview with Epic’s former creative lead, Donald Mustard in the Game file newsletter we know why Samus never joined them.

It seems Nintendo was keen to see the Samus Fortnite, but couldn’t bear to see it appear on rival console hardware. The company requested she be exclusive to the Switch version of the game, but was met with a red line from Epic.

“I wanted three things,” Mustard said of the three iconic characters. But Nintendo couldn’t tolerate its prized character appearing on competing systems. “They became really fascinated by the fact that their characters were appearing on platforms that weren’t their platforms. They would be thrilled if it had Nintendo characters in it Fortnitebut only if it is on their platform.”

Nintendo’s request for Switch exclusivity for Samus met a red line of Epic’s own, Mustard explained. “For me and for all of Epic we say: ‘That is an absolute must. We want to be sure of that Fortnite is the same experience no matter what screen or device you’re playing on.’”

To anyone familiar with the tight control Nintendo exerts over its prized properties, this isn’t a surprising anecdote. But it’s worth noting that the company is still one of the few opponents Fortnites massive crossover marketing power. Epic has been able to overcome the doubts of most of the rest of the entertainment industry; After all, this is a game where Spider-Man, Batman, Darth Vader and John Wick can appear side by side.

For Mustard this was the realization of a long-cherished dream. “I wanted to create a place that was basically like playing in the backyard when you were a kid in the ’80s, or playing with your toys on the playroom floor,” he told Game File. “There was no one there to say, ‘Well, Spider-Man gets to do this, and Batman gets to do this on his own. And Barbie can’t handle Spider-Man.” I’m like, I want to create something where you can hang out with your friends and express yourself however you want.

As it turns out, the appeal of putting their characters was up front FortniteThe tens of millions of active players were too strong for most intellectual property owners to resist. But not for Nintendo, which seems to have a rather old-fashioned view of this kind of cross-platform, metaverse marketing. Perhaps that will cause the Kyoto company to fall behind. But the intensity of the connection between Nintendo’s characters, games and hardware is unparalleled anywhere else in the gaming industry, and the sales numbers speak for themselves. So maybe there’s something to it after all.