Way back in 2021, documents shared as part of Epic’s court battle with Apple confirmed what Nintendo fans had long suspected: that Samus was planned to appear in Fortnite’s bounty hunter season but, for reasons unknown at the time, never made the cut. But those reasons have now been revealed, with former Fortnite boss Donald Mustard explaining Nintendo “got really hung up” about its characters appearing on other platforms when approached.

Fortnite’s bounty hunter season ran from December 2020 to March 2021, and included appearances from two major console mascots: Xbox’s Master Chief and PlayStation’s Kratos. Inevitably, there was plenty of speculation Metroid protagonist Samus Aran would be next to represent Nintendo, but the character never arrived.

When court documents shared later that year confirmed Samus had at one point been planned for Fortnite’s bounty hunter season, speculation only increased. Fans have long wondered if Nintendo’s sticking point was that it didn’t want its characters stepping outside the bounds of its own consoles – and it turns out, as per a new interview with Epic’s former chief creative officer Donald Mustard, those theories were exactly right.

Kratos was one of several familiar faces to join Fortnite’s bounty hunter season in 2020.Watch on YouTube

“[Nintendo] got really hung up on their characters showing up on platforms that weren’t their platforms,” Mustard revealed in a conversation with Stephen Totilo’s Game File. “They would be thrilled to have Nintendo characters in Fortnite, but just only if it’s on their platform.” That, though, was seen to be counter to the spirit of Fortnite. “For me and for all of Epic,” Mustard continued, “we’re like, ‘That is an absolute must. We want to make sure that Fortnite is the same experience, no matter what screen or device you’re playing on.'”

That’s not to say Epic has given up on courting Nintendo; speaking to Axios last year, the company’s executive vice president Saxs Persson explained, “Nintendo has their strategy and we have our strategy, and we hope at some point to use their characters. Our players would love it.” Persson did, however, admit securing Nintendo’s characters was a difficult task.

But while Samus mightn’t be making the jump to Fortnite anytime soon, there are still plenty of big names lining up to get involved. Following Lady Gaga’s long-rumoured Fortnite debut earlier this year, Billie Eilish will soon join the game, adding weight to a much-discussed “leak” pointing to Metallica, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Lego Star Wars collaborations later this year.

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