Nintendo once again went the digital route for E3 this year, and the results were mostly successful.
Nintendo’s digital event (are we not calling them Nintendo Directs now?) began with a Robot Chicken-style stop-motion segment, with other such segments sprinkled throughout the show. They were good fun, and thankfully on the short side as to not take too much time away from the games. Not sure how well some Nintendo fans will take to them though, since demanding fanbases seemed to be the butt of most of the jokes.
Nintendo then moved onto Super Smash Bros., and the revelation of Miis joining the game as playable fighters. Miis will come in three varieties: Brawler, Swordfighter and Gunner, and players can use their own Miis for the characters (allowing you to “play as anyone” as Nintendo put it).
We then got information on Amiibo, Nintendo’s new Skylanders/Disney Infinity-style figures that will be used for various games for Wii U (Smash Bros. will be the first to use them, though Nintendo also announced the recently-released Mario Kart 8 will also take advantage of them). The Amiibo figures will be able to transfer data to and from the games for customizable purposes.
After that came the game formerly known as Yarn Yoshi, now known as Yoshi’s Wooly World. Wooly World looks to continue the style of gameplay from Yoshi’s Island, while adding new twists to the formula inspired by Kirby’s Epic Yarn. The game’s re-announcement was welcome, but the reveal that it won’t be released until 2015 became a bit of a recurring downer throughout the presentation.
Nintendo rebounded a bit with games like Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker (a spinoff of Super Mario 3D World that looks to expand the concepts introduced in the Captain Toad levels) and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (a Wii U sequel to the 2005 DS game Kirby Canvas Curse that has a “claymation” aesthetic). The new trailer for the Pokemon Ruby and Saphire remakes was also welcome, but suffice to say the biggest new reveal was the new Legend of Zelda, which looks to bring open-world gameplay to the series, while also changing up the nature of Hyrule itself (Link’s bow and arrow now seems to have a somewhat sci-fi feel to it). The Wii U Legend of Zelda won’t be released until 2015, but suffice to say it looks great.
Bayonetta 2 got a new trailer and, along with the reveal of Nintendo-themed costumes for Bayonetta, the game will also include the original Bayonetta straight out of the box. And thankfully, a release window for this Fall was announced for the game. There was also some more news on Hyrule Warriors. Notably, the ability to play as multiple characters from the Zelda series. Along with Link, you can also play as the likes of Zelda, Impa and Midna, along with the promise of many other characters (am I asking for too much for Beedle to be playable?).
The long-teased ‘Project X’ was officially revealed as Xenoblade Chronicles X, making it a sequel to the Wii cult RPG, and those who keep clamoring for Nintendo to make a new IP got their wish with Splatoon, a kind of Nintendo take on online multiplayer action shooters in which teams of players shoot colored ink at opposing teams, and can turn into squids and travel across your team’s colored ink. No release dates were given for either, unfortunately.
Possibly the unsung hero for Nintendo’s E3 sowing was Mario Maker, which is exactly what it sounds like. A Super Mario level editor. This is a game I’ve been dreaming of. You can make your levels in the vein of the original Super Mario Bros. or New Super Mario Bros. U (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Mario World option). Though again, 2015.
The show ended with the reveal of Palutena from Kid Icarus as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Definitely a surprise addition to the roster, and the trailer was great, but the news that the 3DS version of the game has been delayed until October was a little sour.
Strangely, Mario Party 10 and a Wii U Star Fox were announced after the digital event, but are definitely nice announcements.
Overall, Nintendo pulled out a lot of stops with their games, and there’s definitely a lot to look forward to. It would just be nice to have a little more of an idea when to expect them.