I understand your point, but ... Mario. They brand so many things as Mario. I'm surprised Pikman wasn't a game where you control a bunch of miniature Mario pawns. I'd bet anything it was considered. And how Animal Crossing escaped Mario branding I'm not sure. Mario Crossing sounds so very Nintendo. Honestly, that's a read turn-off for me, especially since the Mario characters are so flat and uninspired. It just feels like a complete absence of creativity.
I guess I shouldn't argue with success, though. I think it's entered Pavlovian territory at this point. People would buy a Mario game about mucking out stables or sorting garbage and they would decide they liked the game even before they played it. I'm sure Sony or Microsoft would love to have a brand they could exploit to that level.
It just seems kind of blah to me to start with "OK we need to make another Zelda game, any ideas?" or "someone had a good idea for a game, let's make it a Mario title". You know? I don't necessarily blame Nintendo for milking those cows but it's not a practice that appeals to me, either.
That's funny. You know what Pikmin was based off? :D
I have never been less surprised in my life.
I'd also like to throw out here that I'm not really talking about sequels. Games that continue a story or an adventure set in the same world don't really bother me--at least, until there is a significant drop in quality and you get that "what next?" kind of feel. I'll be fine with another God of War, Halo, or Mario Galaxy. Series like Forza or Gran Turismo are also exempt, as long as they keep moving forward. It's when the characters are torn away from their game worlds and pasted all over everything else for the sole purpose of branding, that's what bugs me.
With Nintendo, you get the feeling that they look at the calendar and say, "we need another Mario game". I don't really like that. It's kind of the same with Zelda, where you get the idea that they're constantly sorting through unrelated ideas for something they can transform into a Zelda title. It seems really cynical to me.