Even though Nintendo has been in a bit of hot water lately due to their anti-consumer tendencies, they’ve surely come out on top with their newest gender inclusivity initiatives. In response to the lack of representation for trans and other gender non-conforming people in their games, Nintendo has announced that they are making a big change to one of their most beloved IPs: Pikmin. From here on out, all main series Pikmin games will be based around a new plant-like alien species, the Pikmxn.
In an interview, Nintendo’s lead game director Shigeru Miyamoto stated that it has always been his dream for there to be trans Pikmxn. “The idea of Pikmxn began when I saw a blue plant,” said Mr. Miyamoto. “I thought, ‘What if that plant was actually a girl?’ That question was certainly a core thing in our minds as we were developing Pikmxn.”
The core gameplay of Pikmxn is functionally indistinct from previous games in the series. You still control swarms of sentient, plantlike alien creatures to gather objects and fight enemies. Unlike the previous games, however, there are trans and non-binary Pikmxn. This doesn’t have too many ramifications on gameplay, however. In fact, there are really no differences at all, you’re just supposed to appreciate the gender diversity on display.
Some LGBTQ advocates argue that this is a shallow gesture that doesn’t improve the lives of trans people at all. Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser begs to differ. “There isn’t just a single trans or non-binary Pikmxn, they all are,” he said in a recent interview. “That’s like, hundreds of gender divergent characters, much more than anything a game like Cyberpunk 2077 could offer. It was either this or trans Waluigi, and I really don’t think the world is ready for an Italian character that’s not cis.”
While Pikmxn is stirring a debate about the nature of inclusivity and representation, it could very well be an attempt to distract from Nintendo’s most recent flopped idea, Mario Gender Reveal Party.