Nintendo E3 press shows tend to be like Star Trek movies—with rare exception, every other one is good. Since we got an amazing show last year I was silently dreading a disappointing one this week, and unfortunately that came to pass. While Nintendo’s E3 Digital Event wasn’t a total wash it still left a lot to be desired, especially compared to all the surprises from Sony and Bethesda. There’s a lot of ground to cover so let’s get into it.
Their big push for Wii U was Super Mario Maker, which is appropriate considering this is Mario’s 30th anniversary. They announced Amiibo functionality which makes sense and allows Mario to appear like various other Nintendo mascots. All that said, Mario Maker feels like a fun eShop downloadable bonus that should have been out months ago, not a headlining fall release. That it’s still not out and Nintendo is talking it up so much is a little troubling.
Yoshi’s Wooly World is still coming, but on freaking October 16th in America. This is particularly galling considering Europe gets it this month and Japan gets it in July. The game looks fun but once again it’s something we’re waiting way too long for considering it’s another rote 2D platformer.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is finally making it's way stateside on December 4th, just in time for my birthday. This is one of the few Wii U games I’m really excited for, and if reports out of Japan are any indication it’s one of the best RPGs in years. I know localization takes a long time with massive games like this but we should have gotten a solid release date a while ago.
The only big Wii U surprise we got—and it wasn’t really even a surprise—was Star Fox Zero. Codeveloped with Platinum Games, Star Fox and team finally return in their first adventure since the 2006 DS game. The new Star Fox has a bizarre control scheme that uses the GamePad for gyro movement while keeping traditional gameplay on your TV. Miyamoto’s vague “it’s not a sequel, but it’s not a remake” comment about the story just served to confuse and annoy me. What it is then? A prequel? The last game had 9 possible endings, so I want to know what Fox and his buddies have been up to in the last 9 years. Star Fox Zero should be out this holiday.
The 3DS got a few more surprises, although I’m not sure all of them are good. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is a three-player cooperative title slated for a fall release. It sounds a lot like 4 Swords Adventure from back on the GameCube. Fire Emblem Fates is coming early 2016 and in two flavors as per Pokemon tradition, and I’m not sure I’m happy about that. Hyrule Warriors Legends is bringing the frenetic action to the 3DS in Q1 next year, with all of the Wii U’s DLC plus some Windwaker extras.
The weirdest 3DS surprise, however, was Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Now before you get excited, understand that this is a 4-player co-op, mission-based shooter where you and your team play as cutesy chibi-fied Galactic Federation troopers. It also includes a bizarre three-on-three multiplayer sport called Blast Ball, which sounds like Metroid Soccer. Samus isn’t mentioned in any of this. To be honest I’m glad Nintendo hasn’t completely forgotten that the Metroid series exists, but this is not the triumphant return to form I wanted after the disappointment of Metroid: Other M five years ago. All I’m saying is Retro Studios’ next game better damn well be Metroid Prime 4, starring Samus Aran.
Sadly, there wasn’t much else to get excited about in this year’s Digital Event. For the most part it was updates and release dates for games we’ve been hearing about for two years (or longer), many of them way past due. It’s nice to finally get solid dates for a lot of these games, not to mention a clear look at Star Fox, but E3 isn’t for showing off what we already know about. E3 is for huge surprises, standing ovations. With Zelda Wii U a no-show and Metroid veering off in a truly strange direction, the whole thing left me with a sick feeling. I can’t shake the suspicion that Nintendo is just killing time until they reveal the NX next year, slowly cutting down Wii U support as they plan to kill off the console. Wii U was never the success they wanted, and it will be five years old in 2016; way past its prime.
With Nintendo’s troubling shift to mobile development and a lack of huge, steady Wii U software, the future is rather murky. The decidedly bleak release timeline below just says “too little, too late” to me. Satoru Iwata is already apologizing after the backlash this year’s event is getting from the fans, so we can only hope for some more substantial surprises later this year. That said, it’s hard to not feel like the Wii U is slowly transitioning onto life support.
Play Levels Designed by Others or Create Your Own in Super Mario Maker for Wii U
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- This year Mario reaches an impressive milestone in video gaming: 30 years as a leading man in Nintendo’s timeless Super Mario Bros. series. At E3, Nintendo celebrates Mario’s longevity with a new installment in the franchise called Super Mario Maker, one of many games at the show that transforms familiar characters and their games with unique new looks, styles and game-play features. Players will see new installments of beloved franchises like Star Fox, Yoshi,Animal Crossing, Mario & Luigi, Xenoblade and Metroid, and enjoy the reimagining of Bowser and Donkey Kong as Skylanders figures that also have amiibo functionality with compatible Nintendo games.
During the Nintendo Digital Event video on the opening day of E3 2015 in Los Angeles, Nintendo announced games launching in the near future, with a focus on what fans can enjoy in the second half of 2015 and early 2016. (Photo: Business Wire)
During the Nintendo Digital Event video on the opening day of E3 2015 in Los Angeles, Nintendo announced games launching in the near future, with a focus on what fans can enjoy in the second half of 2015 and early 2016. To view the Nintendo Digital Event in its entirety, visit http://e3.nintendo.com. Nintendo will continue to share information on future games and initiatives in the months ahead.
“Millions of video game players worldwide look to Nintendo to deliver surprises and smiles,” said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. “That’s what we have on display at E3 – familiar characters and franchises transformed in unexpected ways that can only be found on Nintendo systems.”
Here’s a roundup of some of the news and games Nintendo is showing this week:
Wii U Games and Other News
Additionally, select Nindie developers will feature exclusive content and reveals on Nintendo Treehouse: Live throughout the week of E3. Titles include Runbow (13AM Games), FAST Racing Neo (Shin’en) and Typoman (Headup Games and Brainseed Factory) for Wii U, SteamWorld Heist (Image & Form) for Nintendo 3DS, and Mutant Mudds Super Challenge (Renegade Kid) for both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.
For details about these games, the Nintendo Treehouse: Live programming and other Nintendo activities during E3 2015, visithttp://e3.nintendo.com.
As a treat for fans watching all the E3 action from home, the Nintendo eShop is hosting its biggest sale of the year for both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games. Players can get up to 30 percent off select games related to some of the top franchises featured at the show, including Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and Yoshi. The sale runs now through June 23 at 8:59 a.m. PT. For full details, check http://e3.nintendo.com/offers.
Remember that Wii U and Nintendo 3DS feature parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu or http://www.nintendo.com/3ds.
About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii U™ and Wii™ home consoles, and Nintendo 3DS™ and Nintendo DS™ families of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System™, Nintendo has sold more than 4.3 billion video games and more than 680 million hardware units globally, including the current-generation Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL, as well as the Game Boy™, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi™ and Nintendo DSi XL™, Super NES™, Nintendo 64™, Nintendo GameCube™ and Wii systems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names such as Mario™, Donkey Kong™, Metroid™, Zelda™ and Pokémon™. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in the Western Hemisphere. For more information about Nintendo, please visit the company’s website at http://www.nintendo.com.