It’s time to end the day with a look at the video game trailers from the week that was in the Game Trailers Roundup. There was a Nintendo Direct last week which means that we have five Nintendo trailers of the twelve in this week’s roundup. We have launch trailers, announcement trailers and Codemasters even put together a trailer of community footage for Dirt Rally.
As we have come to expect from Nintendo, their E3 presentation focused largely on first-party titles and franchises. While a number of the announced games for the Wii U were previously announced, the 3DS got all of the big surprises and reveals. Nintendo’s handheld got some new entries in a number of Nintendo’s legendary franchises including The Legend of Zeldo, Mario, Metroid and Animal Crossing. While Nintendo might have been lacking the overall punch on console that Sony and Microsoft had, fans should still be happy with what they saw.
Poor Nintendo. They were the biggest name in gaming through the Nintendo 64 but just lost traction along the way. Sure, the Wii was a sales success but they lost third-party support along the way and that hasn’t changed with the underpowered Wii U. That being said, Nintendo was probably the top first-party developer and publisher last year and this year’s E3 presentation hopes to help them retain the title.
We knew that Nintendo has been in rough shape since the launch of their current-gen Wii U console was a catastrophic flop. Between not having any killer apps on launch to an apparent massive marketing problem getting the message out that the Wii U is a new console and not a controller, the last year-and-a-half hasn’t been pretty for the granddaddy of game companies.
Yesterday’s quarterly earnings call showed how bad the situation is for Nintendo. The company announced a big loss for the fiscal year, noted poor Wii U sales for the first nine months of the fiscal year and lowered expectations for 3DS sales for the year.
I have no scientific proof of this but I’m pretty sure that everyone from my age and younger (from, say, 25 down to old enough to play games) has been exposed to Pokemon at some point. Whether it’s the games or the anime or even the trading card game (which Wizards of the Coasts brought to America to try to get kids into TCG and move them onto Magic: The Gathering), everyone knows Pokemon. So, naturally, it’s massive news and a massive event when Game Freak releases a new Pokemon game that is the first major update to the formula that everyone loves.
While the basic underlying formula of the Pokemon franchise hasn’t changed, that doesn’t mean that reviewers don’t love the latest entry into the franchise. The worst review right now is 70% because of the current lack of an import feature from previous games and some framerate issues. The rest of the critics still love the classic formula and adore the new 3D art-style that Game Freak adopted for their first game on the 3DS. If you already have an opinion of Pokemon games from previous generations, it’s not likely that your opinion of this game will be any different.
Microsoft followed Nintendo into the realm of motion controls and now Nintendo is following Microsoft in naming new consoles with a lower number than the previous one. The difference is that Nintendo’s new console name makes sense.
Launching on October 12th (the same day as Pokemon X & Y) is a 2D-only entry-level version of their 3DS portable console called the Nintendo 2DS.
Nintendo’s first quarter results had some good news and bad news for the Japanese console manufacturer. On the plus side, they turned a net profit for the three months from April to June and scored their highest gross profit compared to sales in the last five years.
The bad news is that those good financial results were on the back of 3DS hardware and software sales. The 3DS managed almost nine times the console sales and eleven times the game sales of the Wii U as Nintendo’s next-gen offering limped through the quarter with only 160,000 consoles sold.
Coming into E3, many people were considering a move to the Wii U as it was the only console that was confirmed to not be actively battling its consumer’s rights. Then Sony came out on Monday night and destroyed everything that the Xbox One stood for.
Nintendo has a lot to gain at E3 this year despite not being there. That relied on Sony falling flat on its face. They were very prepared for that with a line-up of the expected first-party franchises and a third-party sizzle reel. The problem was that they were missing the big guns that were needed to pit them strongly against the PlayStation 4.
As expected, this morning’s big Pokemon-related announcement by Nintendo was a new Pokemon game for the 3DS. What was surprising was that Nintendo has created a full 3D world for the new game as opposed to the classic styling of the quasi-top down perspective for moving through the world and the mostly static combat screen. That’s fitting considering that it’s the first Pokemon game in 3D (the Black and White series were released on the DS).
In addition to the new graphics style and fully-animated battles, you’re playing in a new area of
post-nuclear war Japan the world that looks very much based on Europe. Whether this new region of the Pokemon world is cutoff from the other regions remains to be seen. However, we do know that there will be new Pokemon added to the 649 already in your Pokedex. (That makes me feel old. It was only 251 when I last played a Pokemon game.) Chespin, Fennekin and Froakie have been confirmed as the grass, fire and water type starter Pokemon for the games.
Pokemon X and Pokemon Y are due out in October and will be released simultaneously worldwide, a first for Pokemon games.