Coming into E3 this year, you have to believe this was a very important time for Nintendo. The Wii has seemingly fallen off the map after its commanding sales lead these past few years mainly due to a decline in quality titles (or any at all) for the system so this was Nintendo’s chance to reclaim the masses and usher in the dawn of their new console the WiiU. So how did they do? Here are my thoughts on what Nintendo brough to the table for E3 2012:
Pikmin 3: Nintendo’s E3 Presser started off strong as the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage to introduce us to his newest project, the long-awaited Pikmin 3. The game looks very much like you remembered back on the Gamecube only with much better graphics and fantastic looking background details such as the water and foliage. New to the game are rock type Pikmin which are effective at smashing through walls. I’d have to assume that more types will be present as you play. You’re also getting 4 player co-op as well.
MiiVerse and New Super Mario Bros U: Nintendo is really pushing a more social platform this time around introducing a feature called Miiverse which will essentially be your dashboard when you boot up the system. Floating icons will be scattered around the screen with Miis moving around made up of your friends, your own Miis, and even people you’ve met online. Little speech bubbles will appear over their heads every now and then based on messages and trending topics. Nintendo plans to expand the Miiverse to the 3DS, smartphones, tablets, etc down the road.
Nintendo’s big Mario offering is New Super Mario Bros U which looks very similar to the Wii game. Miiverse will be integrated into the game as you’ll see messages pop up on the overworld from your friends giving you details, tips, or general messages. Players can use the tablet to help other players by placing platforms. There looks to be different colored Yoshi’s and powers added to the game this time around as well.
Strong Third Party Support: This was the most surprising part strictly because I was seeing some big names flash across the screen such as Mass Effect 3, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Darksiders II, Trine 2: Director’s Cut, Scribblenauts Unlimited and Assassin’s Creed III to name a few. It’s quite a different approach than we saw with the Wii. The biggest question is will gamers want to shell out another 60 bucks for a game they already own on another system. Will the added content justify repurchasing the game again?
Wii FitU: Not much needs to be said. It’s Wii Fit, only now you can keep playing on the tablet if the TV is occupied.
SiNG: So this is what FreeStyle Games has been working on. SiNG at it’s most basic level looks like a karaoke game with the ability for other people to dance along. So picture Karaoke mixed with something like Just Dance. Also, the trailer left me feeling more uncomfortable than anything else. I don’t know about you but if my friends and I all stood around singing “Call Me Maybe”, something is definitely wrong….
ZombiU: Remember that FPS Ubisoft game that was shown off last year called Killer Freaks from Outerspace? Well, fast forward a year later and the game has morphed (or zombified) into ZombiU. Set in London during a zombie outbreak, you set out to scavenge for supplies and other items while trying to stay alive because if you die, that character is dead forever. You’ll venture back out from the safe house without your stuff and you can even run into your now zombified former self. The game seems promising and certainly fit to scare the pants off you.
Quick 3DS Mention: Since Nintendo was running a short conference, they brushed past the 3DS as they were planning on holding another conference through their website the next night. They did mention Paper Mario: Sticker Star, New Super Mario Bros 2, and Luigi’s Mansion 2 however.
NintendoLand: Ever wished for a Nintendo themed Amusement Park? Well, the Big N is planning on delivering that, only virtually, to WiiU later this year. This would seem to be Nintendo’s casual friendly minigame package. The interesting thing is that instead of Miis, this theme park is based on actually Nintendo franchises. You’re getting 12 different “attractions” though only 5 were shown off including The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, DK’s Crash Course, and Takamaru’s Ninja Castle.
Lack of Hard Console Information: Nintendo was upfront and straight with us when they said the conference was going to be all about the games. It certainly was but the negative aspect to that is we didn’t get any information on a release date or price for the console. I feel like many people were hoping to get that information as the console is set to release later this year. It would of been nice to get a little more detail about the console outside of a quick features trailer.
Time Management: I know they had a pre-E3 briefing, but overall, Nintendo set a hard cap on their conference to go no longer than 1 hour. I feel like this was a mistake as it limited them in content and forced a few segments to feel rushed. Most other press conferences extended to an hour and 20/hour and a half. Why couldn’t they take on a bit more time so they could give people more information?
I really feel like this was a missed opportunity for Nintendo. The conference started off strong with Miyamoto but slowly lost strength as it went on. The announcements they made didn’t really strike a chord with me like Microsoft or Sony did, though obviously I can’t speak for everyone. It honestly felt like Nintendo was holding back for some reason. Surprisingly, we found out later that Platinum Games is working on a brawler type game exclusively for the WiiU so I’m not sure why it wasn’t at least mentioned during the show. Also, we know that a new Smash Bros is in development, but again, no mention. It’s really tough to gauge where Nintendo is going with the WiiU but one thing is for sure: Next year will be a massively important time as Microsoft and Sony will most likely be readying new consoles. Only time will tell how things pan out.