Nintendo Spotlight E3 2017: Breaking the Internet

Posted in Kulturecade by - June 17, 2017

I think Nintendo did an excellent job this year with their E3 pre-recorded-we-don’t-do-press-conferences video presentation, a format that they’ve excelled at in recent years. This allows them to pack a lot of content from a lot of different upcoming projects into a much shorter period than other companies’ more traditional conferences, and do so with minimal room for foul-ups and awkward mistiming. Ensuring that botches like Suda51 screwing his translator by going off-script this past January become the exception, rather than the rule.

Of course, me saying that I thought Nintendo scored a big win this year, compared to other companies’ performances or not, isn’t without at least a little bias, as would a lot of reviews from other folks who looked at the companies that they were excited for — it’s tough to say that any one company “won” E3 by giving its fans what they wanted to see, but that’s exactly what Nintendo did, both in their 25 minute live stream and their afternoon Treehouse event that followed. Despite being punctuated by an odd, persistent monologue about “The Game” by Reggie Fils-Aime, the video was tight and well-planned, and the content, despite being mostly comprised of things we were already aware of, was consistently impressive.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2


Nintendo kicked off with an, as usual, bonkers video montage of different locales in which to play Nintendo Switch such as under bridges and during Fast and the Furious-style gearhead meetings. The montage also included a lot of FIFA 18 so that Nintendo didn’t have to waste valuable time talking about a non-exclusive (what good would that do, right?). The first full trailer presented was for Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which, I’ll admit, isn’t on my personal list of games to pick up, but it’s fantastic to see the series continuing to receive support as one of Nintendo’s biggest second-party titles. It’s a huge exclusive and putting it first up on one of their most significant press releases shows a lot of confidence in it.

Kirby


 

Next up was a new console Kirby title that looks to continue utilizing the core mechanics and graphical style that have made for the little pink puffball’s two very well-received 3DS titles, Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot. The gameplay was packed with familiar faces including Wispy Woods and Sir Kibble, but what was really interesting was the way the gameplay seemed focused on four-person co-op play, with each player not only playing one of the series’ beloved characters, but utilizing classic Kirby powers such as fire, sword, and stone abilities, and more. The given date was 2018, which seemed appropriate given it was our first look at the new game and one of the only titles that appeared to be releasing any later than this holiday.

“A Core RPG Pokémon Title” (and also Pokken Tournament DX in case you forgot)


 

We apparently bothered The Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara as he understandably tried to get some work done. He shooed us away by reminding us that Nintendo had already dropped the news of Pokken Tournament DX for the Switch, and confirmed Game Freak’s work on “a core RPG Pokémon title on Nintendo Switch.” Confirmation was all we were gonna get, but it was good enough for me, and when he mentioned that “it may not release for more than a year,” I was more than okay with getting out of his hair to let him get back to what he was doing. The new version of Pokken Tournament DX was actually a surprise to me when it was announced during Pokémon Direct the other day, as it seemed like more of a hassle to get it released again than other Switch titles with fewer companies involved. With the original version still on my personal backlog (along with a lot of other Wii U titles, including Xenoblade Chronicles X), it’s not a day one pickup for me, but the ability to play head to head with a single set of Joy-Con is a great addition to the original version.

Metroid Prime 4


 

Not unlike Ishihara’s no-frills confirmation of a new Pokemon title, Metroid Prime 4 was revealed in little more than a teaser image, with no date, gameplay, or other imagery to speak of. Still, it should be more than enough to get people talking about the game’s release likely being at least a year away, given the way the fan base has clamored for it in recent years.

Yoshi


 

Continuing the trend of traditional 2D platformers, as well as simplistic working titles attached to them, we got a look at a new Yoshi game with more than a passing resemblance to the Wii U/3DS Yoshi’s Woolly World. Instead of yarn, however, the new title boasts a charming 2.5D cardboard/paper diorama look to it that boasts plenty of charm with its arts-and-crafts style, as well as a delightful minimalist soundtrack with an absolutely saccharine recorder melody. Unlike Kirby, the multiplayer seems to be limited to only two players, but the co-operative aspect appears to be especially important with objects being moved back and forth to clear paths and reach new areas, plus interaction between the foreground and background and at least one large-scale boss fight.

Fire Emblem Warriors


 

A new trailer for Fire Emblem Warriors proves that the partnership between Nintendo and Koei-Tecmo is likely to continue bearing fruit after the success of Hyrule Warriors. The trailer seemed to focus a lot on the story the game will be based around, as well as some of the characters that are going to be featured, including Marth and a number of characters from the recent Fates titles. Set for a fall release, Warriors is yet another title that seems to be promising a robust and diverse launch year for the Switch.

Breath of the Wild DLC Packs 1 and 2


 

Zelda series director Eiji Aonuma made the obligatory references to the special Zelda items that will be featured in the upcoming Skyrim port for the Switch before introducing new trailers for each of Breath of the Wild’s on-the-horizon DLC packages. The first, entitled “The Master Trials,” boasts new armor pieces and what seems to be a focus on testing the player’s combat and strategical skills with features called “Trial of the Sword” and “Hero’s Path Mode.” Pack 2, “The Champions’ Ballad” seemed more story-focused, with little shown in terms of gameplay, instead showing each of the game’s four champions against the backdrop of Kass the Rito performing a beautiful song called, of course, “The Champions’ Ballad.” Pack 1 is on the horizon, releasing June 30 while Pack 2 is set for the holiday season, and both come at a single package price of $19.99. Also accompanying the DLC packs are some beautiful looking amiibo for each of the four champions found in the game.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle


 

Reggie returned for a moment to mention Nintendo’s upcoming eSports events for Splatoon 2 and Arms (both of which were understandably too close to release to receive much more attention), before throwing it over to Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot for a look at Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Perhaps the only really lackluster title shown during the spotlight, Nintendo is confusing me a bit on this one. They seem to be keeping their distance from the title itself and its promotion, allowing Ubisoft to take the reigns on developing and debuting it, yet still didn’t have a problem lending its licenses out to them for it, allowing the Mushroom Kingdom to be overrun by the same vermin that nearly buried Rayman. Still, the game itself, oddly enough, didn’t look half bad, attempting to blend exploration and strategy-RPG elements. Hopefully, Ubisoft will prove that they’ve turned over a new leaf with the Rabbids when the game releases on August 29, 2017.

Rocket League on Nintendo Switch


 

An understandably short announcement, given that it isn’t a new game, the announcement that Rocket League would be coming to the Switch was actually my personal favorite announcement of the presentation. Rocket League is a game that I still play regularly on PS4 more than a year after I originally bought it and in spite of the fact that I never play games online. The game will, of course, be getting the Nintendo treatment that all big third-party titles seem to get nowadays, with exclusive Nintendo-themed cosmetic items, as well as cross-network play with other systems. I’m sincerely hoping that I can pick up another physical copy of the game, but either way I’ll be online when it releases this holiday season.

Super Mario Odyssey


 

As if anything else could have closed out the presentation, we got a new trailer for Super Mario Odyssey that, start to finish, looked absolutely incredible. Showing off a whole new variety of locales and abilities, unlike anything we’ve seen in a Mario title before. In addition to a better look at the swanky New Donk City, Mario is seen traveling to a prehistoric era meadow surrounded by waterfalls and inhabited by a massive T-Rex, as well as a Mexican pueblo and spooky cemetery. The new anthropomorphic hat character is also shown to allow Mario to transform and use new abilities including those of Goombas, Cheep-Cheeps, Bullet Bills, a rocket ship, a frog, and the aforementioned Tyrannosaurus, all set to a fantastic original, very un-Nintendo jazz tune. The release date of October 27th is also even earlier than was suggested which somehow makes Super Mario Odyssey even more exciting than I could have thought.

Grade: B+


The last thing I want to do is lower a grade too much because of what I thought I was supposed to see, like Super Smash Bros. or F-Zero. Nintendo has recently avoided getting too far ahead of themselves with their press reveals, and this is a perfect example of that. The lineup of games itself is stellar, save for the blemish of the confusing Mario/Rabbids mashup, and most importantly, it’s all about getting the Switch off to a strong first year, which is easily one of it’s biggest hurdles, as we’ve all heard. The bombshell drops of Metroid Prime 4 and a new Pokemon game were given an almost laughably small amount of attention due specifically to their far-off releases, but they were there, dammit, and flanked by some great looking and varied games.

Other things shown/mentioned throughout the rest of the day during Nintendo Treehouse Live:

Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS, a remake of Metroid II for the Game Boy, releasing on September 15 in standard and collector’s editions.

Sonic Forces, the sequel to Sonic Generations, will be coming to the Switch as well as other platforms.

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star, the third installment in Marvelous Entertainment’s very Japanese action series, to be released on Switch July 25.

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, a remake of the GBA original for the 3DS featuring an all new RTS-style mode starring an army of Goombas, releasing October 6.

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He is a video game staff writer and dreamed of being a video game as a young boy. Then somebody told him that you can't really do that, so he compromised by doing a bunch of stuff related to that, playing video games, reading about video games, writing about video games, working at a video game store, and all those good nerdy things. Aside from video games, he's also a dork of all trades, with an interest in heavy metal music, wrestling, sports, and Magic the Gathering.
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