Mysterious Emio Trailer Marks A Major Change for Family Friendly Nintendo

What’s he smiling about?

screenshot from Nintendo Emio trailer

When you think of game studios known for horror games, you might consider Bloober Team, Supermassive, or Remedy Entertainment. One thing’s for sure: Nintendo is probably nowhere to be found on the list. But a cryptic teaser trailer might have just revealed a new horror project coming from the developer of typically cheerful games like the Super Mario series. Either that or Nintendo is just pulling a bizarre prank on its fans.

Nintendo’s new trailer, titled simply “Emio,” first appeared on its YouTube channel the morning of July 10. Lasting just 15 seconds, the trailer depicts a figure standing in a dark room wearing a trench coat and a paper bag with a creepy drawn-on smile over his head. The grainy feel of the video makes it look like it was shot on a degrading VHS, complete with quick-cut closeups of the figure in standard horror trailer style. It’s pretty spooky stuff, enough so that the trailer on the Nintendo UK page also starts with the warning, “This video contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.”

So what’s this all about? The only clue so far comes from the title of the video, “Emio.” The short clip ends with a flash of kanji spelling out the word emio, which translates in Japanese to “smiling man.” A pretty fitting name, all in all, considering the perpetually smiling face on his fashionable paper bag.

Almost nothing is known about Emio so far, aside from its potential title.


Other than that, there’s really no hint of just what Emio is — or if that’s even the title of the mysterious game. The most natural conclusion would seem to be that Emio is a pretty upsetting-looking horror title from the usually family friendly developer, but that’s not much to go on. The trailer does begin with the Nintendo Switch logo, so presumably whatever Emio is, we’ll be seeing more of it before too long, given that the Switch’s successor is due to be revealed next year.

Even with those vaguest of details, Emio seems worth paying attention to. While the Switch has its share of horror games, Nintendo itself has rarely dipped its toes into the horror genre. The company co-developed the 2005 GameCube horror game Geist with the now-defunct n-Space, and published Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, but didn’t have a hand in its development. Since then, it’s left the scary stuff to other publishers and developers. The closest Nintendo has veered into horror itself is the silly haunted house of Luigi’s Mansion.

Nintendo isn’t exactly known for horror games.


At this point, it’s not clear if Emio is being developed by Nintendo or made by a third-party developer. Bloober Team is known to be working on a game for Nintendo codenamed Project M, so naturally there’s already speculation that that’s who is behind the creepy new teaser.

Despite the lack of details, Emio already has gamers riled up, and for good reason. The internet loves a good mystery, and the potential of a disturbing horror game from Nintendo is too juicy of a case not to try to crack. Whatever Emio ends up being, its teaser has certainly done its job of getting Nintendo fans paying close attention.

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