Nintendo showed off a handful of new projects during their annual E3 Nintendo Direct, though many were upset at the absence of expected franchises like Animal Crossing, Metroid Prime, and the rumored Star Fox racing game from Retro Studios. Basically, Nintendo in 2018 is all about one game, and it's a real big one: Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
As the title suggests, this fifth entry in the series aims to be the ultimate Smash experience for the ages, bringing together literally every single character from the entire history of the franchise, from N64 fighters like Mario and Kirby to guest combatants we never thought would be returning to the Smash stage, like Solid Snake, Mega Man, and Cloud Strife, and even a few characters we reckoned Nintendo had completely forgotten about, like Pichu and Ice Climbers.
In addition to these returning champions, there are also new characters joining the fray, though series creator Masahiro Sakurai suggested there would be fewer new fighters this time around. In addition to the previously-confirmed Inklings from Splatoon, confirmed newcomers include Princess Daisy and Samus' arch-nemesis, Ridley. One character who won't be making their playable debut is Waluigi, who is relegated to Assist Trophy status, much to the chagrin of his inexplicable internet fandom.
As for stages, Nintendo is hinting that "most" battle arenas will be represented, and they will feature both "Omega" variations (returning from the Wii U and 3DS iterations) and "Battlefield" versions, which include floating platforms, a long-requested addition for vertically-oriented characters; we all remember the whole "Little Mac is OP" controversy from the launch of the Wii U version!
Oh, right. Not that they really needed to, but Nintendo did, in fact, show off other games aside from Super Smash Brothers. In fact, the whole first half of the show was dedicated to upcoming non-Smash titles, and the Direct opened with a first look at the visually unique mech combat game, Daemon x Machina. The bold color choices and minimalist use of textures reminds us of Killer 7's distinct art style, and the title is being produced by Kenichiro Tsukuda, one of the masterminds behind the cult mech combat simulator, Armored Core.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is getting new story content in the form of Torna: The Golden Country, a DLC set before the events of the main game. Dragon Ball Fighter Z will make the leap from PS4 and Xbox to the Switch sometime in 2018, but it wasn't the most significant Switch port announced during the video. That honor goes to Fortnite: Battle Royale, the internet sensation which has been sweeping the globe for months. Offering cross-play with the Xbox version (but not PS4), Fortnite for Switch suffers from a handful of visual downgrades, like a drop from 60 to 30 fps and a significantly lower resolution, but the same great gameplay as the other versions.
Aside from Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, the three biggest first-party titles for Switch were Super Mario Party, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and the dual games, Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. Super Mario Party is the first proper Mario Party title since 2015's Mario Party 10, and – calm down, everyone – Waluigi will be a playable character, but Birdo will not. #JusticeForBirdo. Fire Emblem: Three Houses looks like the true successor to Fire Emblem: Awakening, offering a provocative, cinematic art style and other visual enhancements which represent a true next-generation leap for the series. Meanwhile, the two Pokémon titles look like brand new takes on the classic Red and Blue region, only with some new twists inspired by the enormously popular Pokémon Go!
Finally, Nintendo announced a trio of indie titles coming to Switch, including the cult hit, Hollow Knight (with previously-released DLC bundled in, natch), the pixel-art side-scrolling arcade combat game Killer Queen Black, and the highly-anticipated Overcooked 2. Due out on August 7, Overcooked 2 looks to be offering more of the same frantic multiplayer cooking action, but with an extra coat of visual polish and the new addition of online multiplayer, a feature which was absent from all versions of the original title.
Depending on how much one adores Super Smash Brothers, this year's E3 Nintendo Direct was either a smashing success (no pun intended) or a dismal disappointment. If the prospect of Every. Fighter. Ever. is enough to make you buy a Switch, then that's fantastic! If you were hoping for news on Metroid Prime 4, Animal Crossing, or potential new DLC Kingdoms for Super Mario Odyssey, then the presentation probably left you feeling cold.
How do you think Nintendo did with its E3 2018 showing? Let us know in the comments! You can watch the full briefing for yourself below.
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