E3 2015: Sean’s thoughts on Nintendo’s Digital Event

By GamingNexus On 17 Jun, 2015 At 11:00 AM | Categorized As Gaming Industry News | With 0 Comment

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.


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