A big push for Nintendo of late has involved creating all-new franchises, like the colorful team shooter Splatoon or the wild fighter Arms. These games allow Nintendo to test out new genres, but also introduce brand-new worlds and characters, ones that are pretty far removed from Mario and Zelda. Arms, in particular, is a fascinating detour for the company, featuring a diverse lineup of surprisingly stylish fighters. And now the company is expanding on that world through a just-announced series of graphic novels.
Nintendo will be partnering with Dark Horse on the new books, which come out next fall, and right now the two aren’t saying much about what to expect. “Dark Horse is excited to announce a new publishing program for the energetic and strategic fighting game,” is about as much as the company has said. We don’t even know who will be writing the series, though artist Joe Ng will be in charge of the art side of the production.
But even with that brief description, it’s easy to be excited by the potential for the series. The game itself doesn’t provide much information about any of its combatants; instead, you can infer things about the cast of Arms from how they dress and where they fight. But there’s clearly a lot lurking beneath the surface in terms of backstory. Why does Lola Pop dress like a clown? Is Master Mummy actually alive? And seriously what’s up with everyone having springs for arms?
It’s a strategy that feels similar to Overwatch. Just like Arms, Blizzard’s shooter is a multiplayer game starring a large and eclectic cast. And just like Arms, you don’t learn a whole lot about the characters from playing the game itself. You get the gist — the cast is made up of a team of former superheroes that span the globe — but if you really want to learn more about them, you need to delve into a wealth of supplemental material, including digital comics and some very impressive animated shorts.
Arms isn’t a game with a deep story; since it’s a multiplayer-focused experience, there isn’t much a of narrative in the game at all. But Nintendo has clearly spent a lot of time developing the game’s distinct cast of fighters, and a graphic novel seems like a perfect way to explore them further. Now they just need to do Splatoon next.