Nintendo had a great E3 last year. Some would even say they won the expo. But why is this E3 more important than last year’s for the empire that Mario built? Andrew and Aaron take a look Nintendo may have planned for the Nintendo Direct presentation this year. Don’t forget to check out our Sony and Microsoft predictions from the past two days and look out for our predication we wish would come true on Monday! Enjoy!
For all that Nintendo fails to do to stay current in today’s gaming industry (bad online infrastructure, no cross-buy, hesitance to accept Twitch streaming as entertaining, borderline egregious pay-model for Let’s Play Youtubers), where they have excelled in the past few years is in their new approach to E3. For the unfamiliar, rather than hold a huge, often boring press conference, Nintendo has taken to presenting their material through a digital event.
This allows their game announcements to have some pre-recorded sections that are highly edited and highly entertaining. It also avoids those cringe-worthy moments where an executive makes an announcement, pauses for applause, and gets none.
Principally, this approach allows the games’ lead designers an opportunity to speak more intimately about their game. So rather than hearing, “RAWR CHECK OUT THOSE GRAPHICSES!!!” we get Miyamoto or Aonuma speaking one-on-one with the camera about what they’ve spent their last two years creating. It’s truly a great watch. And many probably missed it last year, but following the digital event was Nintendo Treehouse Live, a live show from the E3 floor that gave more details and showed new footage of newly announced games and held live interviews. For all the things Nintendo doesn’t seem to “get,” they perform better at E3 than any other competitor.
All that said, my prediction is another homerun from Ninty in the presser production department. The event will be entertaining and possibly even worth rewatching. As for games, Nintendo has already said Zelda Wii U won’t be appearing this year, so I fully expect the minimum amount of details about it. Star Fox Wii U will be a focal point. We’ll get at least one new Smash Bros. character (Toad, anyone?), and probably two inklings from Splatoon. Coming with those characters will be a Captain Toad map and a Splatoon map. We will certainly get a heavy dose of Yarn Yoshi footage, some Fire Emblem news, and perhaps some info Nintendo’s plan for mobile games.
Beyond that, there will be some game released on the e-Shop as soon as the digital event is over. I don’t know if it will be a new Virtual Console game or something akin to Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball, but it will be available by 11 AM EST Tuesday, so have your wallets ready.
In my perfect world, this game will be Metroid Fusion being released on VC in order to promote a newly announced Metroid Prime coming to Wii U in Fall 2015 (inevitably delayed to Spring/Fall 2016 because you can’t and shouldn’t rush perfection). We are long overdue for a new 3D Metroid, and it’s been over a year since Retro Studios released Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. It’s time for them to return to the Metroid roots that made them who they are. It’s time to believe.
Whether or not it’s Metroid, we will finally find out what Retro has been working on since DKCTF’s launch last February, which makes us all winners, truly. There’s also the barely announced new Nintendo platform floating out there with no clarity at all. My bet is a new portable platform to be released next year, if not 2017. The 3DS is great, but being in its second redesign means it’s nearly time for Nintendo to move on to the next portable system. I don’t think we’ll get much if any news about it, however.
My final E3 prediction is a simple one: Nintendo wins E3 2015, and it’s not close. Sure Microsoft will come away with some Star Wars Battlefront exclusive content, Sony will have more Destiny exclusive content, but Nintendo will win on the strength of its titles popularity of its mainstay franchises. Maybe even a new Mario? No, but they will win E3 2015.
Nintendo was hands down the winner of last year’s expo. Everything they brought to the table they delivered on and helped remind everyone that they are never completely out of it. They showed us great games like Smash Brothers, gave us a glimpse of the next Xenoblade, and had every gamer wide eyed as they gave us a tease of the next chapter in the beloved Zelda series.
But all of that greatness they displayed was last’s year’s painting. And even though they delivered on pretty much all their announcements, it always seems they have to come to E3 and prove themselves once more. No matter how good they were last year, they have to be better the next year or once again be surrounded by “Nintendo is Dead” headlines.
The current state of Nintendo is much better than last year and that can’t be overlooked in the slightest. Nintendo brought out the big guns to help move some Wii U consoles during the Holiday season last year with both Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers making their debut on the console. The 3DS still held strong as king of the handhelds by sending the Vita into the dreaded “legacy” category. And, of course, I would be remiss not to mention the toy crack that they introduced to the world known as Amibos. You may hate the little boogers, but there is no denying the success that Nintendo has reaped with them.
In other words, Nintendo is still making it’s fair share of money.
The most intriguing aspect about Nintendo this year is them actually changing with the times. We are starting to see a company accused of not evolving to keep up with Sony and Microsoft with strong hardware, ignoring the smartphone market, and not taking advantage of the online generation, now realizing that all those things are not fads and, you know, are kind of sticking around for while. And that is what we have been waiting to see from Nintendo for a while now. We all know they can make great games, but we have all wondered what would happen if they finally started to implement a stronger online interface and take advantage of the smart phones that are now in everyone’s pocket.
With the announcement of the company finally branching out into the smartphone market and a new way to connect all your devices including your Wii U, 3DS, and their future console release, codenamed NX, using an online interface. it seems like Nintendo is ready to make the technological leap we have been waiting for. If they are going to release the NX sometime in the next year or so, the online interface and community they create now will give us a glimpse into what their vision is for a new console. And Nintendo has been able to look at their competitors and have a pretty clear template of what works and doesn’t work when it comes to online services, and implement the best of both into something that can’t be any worse than the archaic system they have now. .Getting a better online interface and experience is going to give us a preview of what Nintendo’s development plan is for the NX.
Updating the online portion of their console may also bring back third party support along with an update to next-gen graphical hardware. And even though Nintendo’s core titles (Mario Kart, Smash, etc) all look great in HD, it would help the company to get their hardware up to or close to what the PS4 and Xbox One is pushing in order to allow game development to be easier for studios and take the excuse away from big publishers for not wanting to release games for the system.
Even though Bayonetta 2 won numerous awards and critical praise, and The Devil’s Third looks promising, Nintendo needs third party support to compete. With many developers already expressing how difficult it is to port games to the the PS3 or Xbox 360, Nintendo has put themselves squarely in that box with the Wii U. With how the cost of game development continues to rise, why would a publisher do a port to a less powerful machine that has been a major sales disappointment? The Answer: They don’t.
Even though I don’t care if Call of Duty or Assassins Creed is available on my Nintendo console, Nintendo should. Especially with the long gaps between their first party games being developed. The Zelda delay would be much easier to swallow for some owners if they had Arkham City, even if it’s a bit less visually appealing, or another big third party game to fill in the space.We know that the NX will have more powerful hardware under the hood, but if we see more third party support for the Wii U now, it may indicate that publishers and developers have a renewed faith in what that the NX will be the console they will support. And since Nintendo will not be talking about the NX, as far as we know anyway, any hint of what we can expect would be welcome.
And this is why E3 2015 may be more important for Nintendo than last year’s. They showed us, and delivered, on awesome games the past year and I’m sure they have more games to announce that will get us all excited this year such as the new Starfox or (fingers crossed) something about Metroid, but now is the time they need to fix their online and third party support problem.
E3 2015 will go along way in Nintendo deciding if they want to perform the necessary adjustments to be on top again. Let’s hope they do, because a world without Nintendo may be a scary place to live.