E3 2014: Nintendo May Have Won E3 Without Even Showing Up
For the second straight year, Nintendo forewent the big press event and instead kicked off the first official day of E3 with a special Nintendo Direct video conference. While it might scream of a company bleeding cash, it may not have been a bad idea this year. With neither Sony nor Microsoft setting the world on fire with their media briefings, the door was open for the white brand to make a big impression.
Not only did they have a big opportunity, they took it and got people excited about Nintendo for the first time in a few years.
The E3 edition of Nintendo Direct started with a look at Super Smash Bros. The cool little tidbit to come out of that is that your Miis can be combatants in the new SSB. You can set them up as the Brawler, Swordfighter or Gunner classes and select special moves for them to use. It’s almost like something out of a wrestling game but it’s about time that something like this came to a big, mainstream fighting game. Sure, created fighters might screw up the competitive scene but I’m more interested in fun at home.
Tying into Super Smash Bros., Ninty showed off the Amiibo figurines. These are similar to the NFC figurines that come with Skylanders and Disney Infinity. They’re currently going to tie in with a number of Nintendo first-party games. The first of these is Super Smash Bros. which is going to see figurines on the Wii U GamePad spawn into the game and able to level up as you play with them.
Along with SSB, Amiibos are going to be integrated into Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Party 10 and Yoshi’s Wooly World. Apparently, we should also expect them to be integrated into the upcoming Skylanders and Disney Infinity games which is actually a really cool idea and a major coup for Nintendo. Amiibos are expected to release this holiday alongside Super Smash Bros.
While The Legend of Zelda won’t be getting a fresh release on Wii U this year, Nintendo teased next year’s Zelda game. This game’s gimmick isn’t really what you’d call a gimmick for most games, though. It’s an open-world Zelda game which is designed to seem like a massive world for Link to explore and use in his approach to combat.
If you’re looking for a Legend of Zelda game this year, the LoZ / Dynasty Warriors mashup/crossover game Hyrule Warriors will be out this September. It will include a two-player co-op mode so you can mow through enemies as both Link and Zelda. I’d imagine there’s fan fic to this effect so clearly someone is reading the internet.
One new Nintendo IP got a good chunk of screen time was Splatoon. This is a third-person multiplayer ink shooter. It’s probably the most intriguing game in this Nintendo Direct because it’s the most unexpected one to come out of Ninty. While we’d expect a shooter out of Nintendo of the NES, SNES and N64 eras, I don’t think we’ve thought of Nintendo as the type of company that would try releasing a shooter, even non-violent ones, since the early days of the Wii.
Anyway, Splatoon sees two teams of four do battle to paint as much of the battleground as possible in their colour ink. To help themselves out, players can basically ink opposing players to death. Theplayers can also transform into squids to swim through the ink to help them navigate the level.
Wii U exclusive Bayonetta 2 got a new trailer for its October launch date. In addition to getting Bayonetta 2, players will also get a copy of Bayonetta 1 with their purchases along with Nintendo themed costumes including Link and Samus. Despite being on Wii U and wedging in the Nintendo tie-ins, it still looks like the same ridiculous action and fun that you expect from Platinum Games.
If action games aren’t your speed, you could always try your hand at Monolithsoft’s latest sci-fi RPG epic. Their previously announced Project X turns out to be, unsurprisingly, a new Xenoblade Chronicles game. This one looks like it could be another critical hit and I hope that people buy this one before Gamestop can restrict supply and allegedly sell new copies as used ones for $100.
Some Nintendo side characters are getting their own games this fall. In a sequel to Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Yoshi will get a similarly knitting themed Yoshi’s Wooly World. And Toad will be getting the game that no one asked for with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Mario also got a game about building your own Super Mario levels called Mario Maker.
And the very last game teased was a new Star Fox game for the Wii U. Unfortunately, that’s all that Nintendo gave us. We got to see a little bit of Miyamoto playing the game without a formal introduction of the game though Nintendo confirmed the game’s identity later.
Like the rest of the console manufacturers, Nintendo’s E3 was good if this was their 2015 presentation. I can’t help but be more interested in a year that has a new Zelda, a new Xenoblade Chronicles and a new Star Fox than I am in a year that Bayonetta and LittleBigYoshi. Sure, Super Smash Bros. Wii U will help move some systems but it’s the big games coming out in 2015 that will finally make or completely break Nintendo’s hope in this generation. I just hope they are starting to learn their lessons for their Gen 9 console already.