Nintendo came out swinging this E3. It turns out when you develop most of the games for your own video game system you can hoard information about your first party games and then reveal them all at once.
Nintendo seems to have learned a bit from its first digital press conference in 2013. This year, viewers were treated to amusing Robot Chicken claymation skits breaking up the gaming new (but not for overly long). After introductions, Nintendo introduced something called Amiibo; small figures which appear to be similar to the toys of Disney Infinity or Skylanders figures. These figures will be used first with Super Smash Bros. Wii U. Amiibo figures can be read with the Wii U gamepad and scanned into the game. There is two-way data sharing between the Wii U and Amiibo figures. In Super Smash Bros. Wii U, data in the figure becomes personalized over time, which means that the figures learn and get stronger the more they are used in-game. They can also learn new moves and level up. Next year a peripheral will be released that allows Amiibo figures to be read into the 3DS.
Following the push to sell Amiibo figures, the digital event switched over to a yarn shop. Yes. You read that right. Yoshi’s Woolly World is a soft, friendly platformer starring everyone’s favorite Mario Bros. dinosaur. As the name suggests, the art style is fully committed to wool yarn and a handmade feel. According to Woolly World’s creative director, they want the game to constantly surprise and bring a smile to the face of their players. Yoshi’s Woolly World is coming in 2015.
Who do audiences recognize from the Super Mario Bros. series that isn’t Yoshi, Bowser, Peach, Luigi, or Mario? Toad! Nintendo knows that Toad has never been front and center in his very own game… until now. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a puzzle platformer that makes use of the Wii U gamepad. Players will be tasked with guiding Captain Toad through various stages to retrieve a star at the end of each.
Then, Nintendo dropped its bombs. There is a new Legend of Zelda game coming to Wii U. That news itself isn’t entirely unexpected, but perhaps we all need to readjust our expectations a bit. I know that I wasn’t expecting to get blown away by the reveal, but I just about pooped my pants when I saw how gorgeous the game was. The brief glimpse of the game in action showed a figure on a horse who many assumed was Link (though later there was a comment by the series’ producer that cast some doubt on that assumption). Though we don’t know much about it, what tidbits we saw were really exciting. Initially we were shown a beautiful vista; then we were told that the vista was an entirely explorable. Yep, the next Legend of Zelda is going to be an open world. That has laser arrows. And weird magic robots. It will be released next year.
Knowing that they couldn’t possibly top their previous announcement, Nintendo let everyone cool off with a friendly reminder that Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire will release on November 21.
Bayonetta 2 was next on Nintendo’s announcement list. Releasing this October, Bayonetta 2 will come packaged with the first Bayonetta and different outfits based on various Nintendo characters.
Speaking of characters, Nintendo announced that Hyrule Warriors will release September 26 and will feature a huge roster of playable characters that includes Link, Zelda, Impa, Midna, and the promise that “you’ll be able to play as your favorite Legend of Zelda character.”
Also announced was Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, which looks like a cross between Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Kirby Canvas Curse. Players use the Wii U gamepad to draw a pathway for the ball-ified Kirby to make his way through various levels and defeat any enemies.
The Monolithsoft’s logo came up on-screen. Afterward, gorgeous, sweeping CGI sequences heralded a new big budget JRPG. Xenoblade Chronicles X looks like another stab at the next great sweeping space opera and I am totally on board to see where this craziness leads.
Next up was Mario Maker, which is possibly one of the most self-explanatory games in history. Mario Maker gives players the ability to create their own Mario levels and share them with friends. Level creators will have the ability to switch between original Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. graphic styles. Expect to see this title sometime in 2015.
Leave it to Nintendo to ask the one question no one has ever asked themselves: “What if you could shoot ink and turn into a squid?” That was the driving idea behind Splatoon, a third-person paintball shooter that allows players to transform into squids and traverse arenas by flowing through their own ink. Splatoon releases in 2015.
The digital press conference concluded with the reveal of the goddess Lady Palutena from Kid Icarus as a playable character in the new Super Smash Bros. The disclosure came in the form of an animated sequence courtesy of the Shaft animation studio; perhaps that means we will be seeing a Super Smash Bros. anime? Make it so, Nintendo.
Overall, this was a fantastic press conference from Nintendo. They unveiled games that I’m excited for and want to play. Unfortunately, many of the most interesting games shown were still a year or more out. That’s a long wait no matter how you slice it. Hopefully Super Smash Bros. and the possibility of some third-party titles can tide Wii U owners over until the promises of this E3 come to pass.
What did you think of the conference? Good? Adequate? Meh?