Nintendo E3 2014
A lot happened at Nintendo's E3 presentations this year. While Microsoft's press conference impressed me with some huge worlds and pretty textures, Nintendo was the one party to really blow me away. I mean, they had everything! Let's list that everything.
In no particular order...
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS
The info just keeps rolling in, huh? Palutena from Kid Icarus and various Mii Fighters are now confirmed as playable. Do you remember those details from a few weeks ago about those figurines (sold separately) that can interact with game software? Yes, they will be sold for Smash Bros. And they are called Amiibo's. They can trace your playing style, store it on the figurine's chip, and allow you to share and upgrade your digital presence! At least it's a little more than a dumb add-on. This function is primarily for the Wii U Gamepad. However, Nintendo is working on a 3DS hook-up to these Amiibo's. Speaking of which, the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. will launch on October 3rd! Wii U version is still slated for this holiday.
Splatoon is an entirely new concept from Nintendo! It's a 4v4 multiplayer online shooter that replaces bullets/rockets/dogs with ink. You play as little squid boys and girls who carry ink guns used for spraying up entire cityscapes. The goal of the game is to cover as much of the ground as you can with your team's color of ink. Whichever team has covered the most territory by the end of the match wins!
Nintendo may have only showed one map so far, but they've really done a great job explaining what it's all about. It's not about combat, per se. It's area control. You just kill people as a means of doing that. And in Splatoon, inklings don't die in bloody terror. They explode into ink when you blow each other up.
When you cover the ground or walls in your team's ink, your character can transform into a squid and traverse more quickly along all those surfaces that you own. It's not about kill count or flag capturing. It's more about moving quickly and developing strategies the best way to gain area/keep area. This game really has my eye. It's like Team Fortress 2 in a way, a shooter with strategy and planning over visceral action. The footage at E3 made Splatoon look pretty intense.
Splatoon will release in 2015.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Out of all the characters that I would never expect to earn a game title on his/her own, the captain of the Toad Brigade is probably pretty high on that list. Premiering as a jokingly cowardly Toad in Super Mario Galaxy, Captain Toad's pseudo-bravery made him likable enough to appear in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D World.
This time around, the Cap is dropped in the same sort of puzzle block worlds as in Super Mario 3D World where he must find coins, treasure, and stars. Nintendo took this concept and is expanding it into an entire game in itself. It's a pretty basic puzzle platformer like Mario but with less stomping and more Gamepad.
Captain Toad: the Winter Soldier will release holiday 2014.
This is truly a bizarre little game here. Dynasty Warriors meets Legend of Zelda. Not two franchises you'd expect to see come together. From this footage, it seems like they've managed it.
Playable characters at this time include Link, Princess Zelda, Impa, and Midna. Legend of Zelda fans and Dynasty Warriors fans alike should both be pleased by the amount of heart being put into this game.
Hyrule Warriors (finished title yet?) will release in late September of 2014.
Yoshi's Wooly World
Yarn Yoshi finally sees the light of day! A spiritual successor to Kirby's Epic Yarn, this new Yoshi game will expand the yarn-based combat with humming noises, flutter kicks, and lots of eggs following you around. The game play seems very similar to something like Yoshi's Story or any other Yoshi game. Let's hope the game quality is the same. Chances are it will be.
Hopefully they'll sell Yoshi dolls made of yarn as a promotion or something.
Yoshi's Wooly World will release next year.
Mario Party 10
A new Mario Party game is in the works! Even though we just got one?
This time, the approach is different. Up to four players with Wii remotes play as the board hoppers. The Wii U Gamepad carrier plays as Bowser! The mini-games and whatnot are based around Bowser terrorizing the other players. So think of those 1 v 3 mini-games, but make it all 1 v 4 Mario Party. Bowser Party, basically.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to see how this turns out. To me, it just doesn't seem like a great idea. Setting up this 1 v 4 thing from the beginning sort of limits the kind of mini-games you can play, right? The randomness of the 1v1v1v1, 2v2, or 3v1 games was what made Mario Party so spontaneous. Maybe I'm over-thinking it.
Mario Party 10 has no confirmed release date.
Kirby's Rainbow Curse
This apparent follow-up to Kirby Canvas Curse only makes sense. You can draw on the Wii U Gamepad and make it happen on the TV! All it does is remind me of the painful train sequences from Kirby's Epic Yarn.
Kirby will be cursed by rainbows sometime in 2015.
As one would expect, there was a brief showcase of cool, new indie titles coming to the Wii U and 3DS eShop. Gunman Clive 2!?
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire/ Omega Ruby
The upcoming remakes of the third generation Pokemon games will be hitting the 3DS this November. There is plenty of new, spiffy footage of battling and traversing the cities and islands for your ogling purposes. Yeah, all those Pokemon fans out there are going to be lining up for this one. In the meantime, please enjoy these trumpets.
Ever wanted to make your own Super Mario Bros. stages? Well, some people online have been hacking and doing it for years. Nintendo decided to jump on the train and give us software to do it better! Now you can create your own custom courses and share them with your friends! Both original Super Mario Bros and the recent New Super Mario Bros. U styles are available.
Took long enough, huh? We'll get to try it for ourselves in 2015.
The new Legend of Zelda
No new titles or vague plot points yet, folks. The only thing that we saw today from Eiji Aonuma was an in-engine video of a fantastic view over Hyrule, followed by horseback action with a laser-shooting monster. Everything from the colors to the detail to the animation in this short cutscene was masterful. Just bloody gorgeous.
Aonuma-san talked briefly about his new Legend of Zelda idea. Instead of sprawling overworlds like Ocarina of Time/Wind Waker/Twilight Princess/Skyward Sword, he was thinking of having a tighter-knit environment more like the original Legend of Zelda. He wants something less linear. More open-ended and reliant on player initiative (or that's my interpretation of what he says).
2015 is the tentative release date for this new Zelda.
The new trailer for Platinum's newest angel-slayer doesn't answer many questions. We have no idea what the plot is or what is going on. All we know is it's going to be crazy. Among the new footage of insane violence against God's armies, Nintendo announced that Bayonetta 2 will include the original Bayonetta (which was never originally released on a Nintendo console). And some new costumes for the eponymous witch.
Bayonetta 2 hits the Wii U in October.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Oh sweet mother of God...
This is what I've been waiting for. A hyper-stylized JRPG with in-depth real-time battle system set in a Western-style open world of exploration and side quests. Not only is the world enormous and spectacular to behold, but the mechanics of battle improve upon those of the Wii's Xenoblade Chronicles. There's a class system this time? Must be replacing the Skill Trees. Although the Arts system, recharge times, team synergy, equipment, and all that jazz seems to be a serious improvement from last time.
The story isn't a sequel or even in the same universe as Xenoblade Chronicles (as the title would imply). In 2054, rival alien armies choose Earth as their battle ground, and humanity is caught in the crossfire. The major world governments manage to build ships to escape and find another world. While in transit, one the USA's ships crashes onto an alien world. You, the protagonist, wake up from your pod and discover than Neo Los Angeles is being settled in the wreckage from a crashed ship. You must help recover humanity and find others to rebuild their world.
The scale of the game's world seems to be intact. Humongous not only in size, but in the depth of its relationships between people and places. I anticipate the adventures, the new worlds, and the new stories that I will encounter in the new Xenoblade. For me, this is the stuff of dreams.
Xenoblade Chronicles X will release sometime in 2015.
Project Giant Robot
This aptly-named prototype by Shigeru Miyamoto himself is a custom giant robot fighting simulator. You use the Wii U Gamepad's gyroscope to control the pose of a giant robot as you battle another metal monstrosity sumo-style. The goal is to knock the other one over. At this point, the physics seem pretty basic. It's more focused on balance than punching and kicking.
It might be a while before we see this one.
Another prototype from the Miyamoto Man. Project Guard is a tower-defense game in which you are given a maze with a power crystal (?) at the center. Robots will invade and try to reach that power source. As the player, you must position laser camera/turrets to stop the invaders. The catch?
You control one turret at a time. All twelve of them show up on the screen. You must watch all of them and keep track of where each camera is and where all the Johnny-Five's are. Miyamoto suggests that it's more of a group effort. Your family and friends help you watch out for enemies. During the presentation, audience members yelled out camera numbers without prompt. Seems like a fun sort of interactivity.
Yeah, might be a while for this game, too. Don't hold your breath.
And there we are!
One thing really stuck out to me this year. After watching the Microsoft press conference (admittedly very nice), something about the Nintendo presentations as the Digital Event and the Treehouse broadcast really struck me with more awe. They both had pretty graphics and fun online functions. There were cool, new games all around.
When I heard the Microsoft devs and producers talk, they spoke of their games like they were so proud of the physics engine, the weather effects, and the attention to detail and history. All cool stuff to watch, yes. But when I heard the English speakers translating the Nintendo devs, they spoke less of actual physics and graphics, and more about actual game play elements. I was fascinated in hearing the philosophy behind Splatoon's concept, the world design of the new Legend of Zelda, and the new game play specifics of Xenoblade, Project Giant Robot and Project Guard.
It reminded me why I played these games in the first place. I don't play games for sleek menu designs and expansive maps. I play games for engagement. I play to be drawn into a new idea/way of thinking that requires some level of learning on my part to figure out a system visually. Nintendo blew me out of the water. And the funny thing is, they've been doing this for years. I just realized now how much I respect them for it. I realize why I'm a gamer playing these games and writing about them on the internet.
Video games aren't about engaging the eyes. They're about engaging the brain.
And that's why Nintendo had a kick-ass E3 this year. Because they know what their games are about and they make them. Microsoft on the other hand, know what gamers spend their money on, and supply more of it. There is the dichotomy between business and art. I don't despise Microsoft as much as I did a year ago. Now, I just prefer to stick with Nintendo. And now I know why.
Categories: Features, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U