Give Vaati back to Nintendo
Give Vaati back to Nintendo
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap was released in late 2004. It's 2019. It's been 15 years since Vaati appeared in a Zelda game. Do you feel old yet? I know I don't; in 2004, I was 3 years old.
I was 3 years old the last time Vaati was particularly relevant, but I still love him. I love his fun and simple design. I love that a being of pure evil was started out as a cute little rodent. I love that that cute little rodent became the second most recurring Zelda villain (#1 being Ganon, of course) not because he was manipulated by a higher being, not because it was in his destiny to do so, not because of some tragic backstory, but simply because he's a power hungry jerk. He's the emo villain, and he's my favorite.
And I know this is the case with so many more people than just me. Vaati has brought us joy, and potentially changed our lives through that joy. For over a decade, we've been cursing Nintendo for seemingly forgetting about him, yet we've failed to ask ourselves a basic, but important, question:
Can Nintendo use him? Does Nintendo have the rights to Vaati?
Let's take a step back. In the early 2000's, Nintendo and Capcom did a series of game collaborations. The results of their efforts were the Oracle games and the Force Trilogy - the mini-series Vaati appears in (Source: https://zelda.gamepedia.com/Capcom#A_Link_to_the_Past_.26_Four_Swords Because the Vaati-featuring games were largely made in association with Capcom, the legality of Nintendo using elements from them in future projects has always been pretty fuzzy.
This fuzziness impacts Vaati's usability even now. During the Q&A section of a WonderCon 2016 panel about the expansion of the Zelda spin-off Hyrule Warriors, a developer of Hyrule Warriors Legends said that, while the theme of the next DLC pack was going to be handheld games, incorporating Vaati, in particular, would be difficult (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96Vf08ImYJk the questioner begins speaking at timestamp 34:20). He never clarifies what about that would be difficult. Based on his body language at hearing the name Vaati and the almost nervous laugh he seems to give while speaking, though, there is an implication that there is something going on behind the scenes that he doesn't want to address.
Evidence further supporting the theory that Nintendo doesn't own Vaati: a man named Hidemaro Fujibayashi. He currently works for Nintendo, but, for a while, he was with Capcom. He directed and planned both Four Swords and Minish Cap during his Capcom era (Source: http://shmuplations.com/minishcap/ Therefore, it is entirely possible that Capcom has most of Vaati's usage rights.
So, can Nintendo use him, considering all this legal stuff? The answer's probably no.
And that's the motion of this petition: petition Capcom to give Vaati's rights to Nintendo. Capcom hasn't used Vaati in 15 years. In all likelihood, this isn't going to change. I'm sure Nintendo would love to have Vaati in its roster of Zelda villains.
If Capcom isn't going to use him, the company should give his rights to people who will.