Coming off of a successful 2014 seeing major games like Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8, and Hyrule Warriors hit store shelves, fans were eager to see what else Nintendo had coming in 2015 to follow up on the momentum earned.
Having already announced a few games like Yoshi’s Woolly World, (at the time) Mario Maker, and a previously revealed Star Fox, Nintendo fans had high hopes to see what else the house of Mario had cooking. Many figured a new WiiU Metroid was a given or perhaps even a revival of another seldom used IP was on the way. With the successful additions of the F-Zero tracks in Mario Kart 8, maybe Nintendo was bringing that franchise back? The hopes and dreams of Nintendo fans were running high leading up to the event.
Did Nintendo drop the ball or are they looking at another fantastic year? Lets check out what happened…
Star Fox Zero
Easily their biggest announcement this year after the oddly subtle reveal last year was the return of Fox McCloud and gang. Honestly, the game looks good if not a modern version of Star Fox 64. I personally loved SF 64 so I’m happy with the news either way. The Arwing can now change into some sort of walker that looks like a chicken in addition to bringing back the landmaster tank. One last thing we learned after the fact is that the ever busy Platinum Games is helping develop the title. Seriously, what are those guys NOT working on…
This one makes too much sense, it’s surprising that it didn’t happen sooner. Nintendo and Activision have partnered up and bringing Skylander versions of Donkey Kong and Bowser to their latest one called Skylander Superchargers. Both characters will have vehicles as well they can use in the game.
Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes
Looking like a new Four Swords Adventures game, this 3DS title sees three Links working together to solve puzzles and defeat bosses. There also appears to be a heavy reliance on costumes and clothing to mix up the abilities and powers.
Hyrule Warriors Legends
Yup, as previously rumored, the well recieved Zelda meets the gameplay of Dynasty Warriors WiiU game is coming to the 3DS with additional Wind Waker characters.
Metroid Prime Federation Force
Well, here it is folks! The announcement you’ve been waiting for! That’s right, Metroid is finally back…only…wait…it’s a 3Ds game that looks more like a spiritual successor to Metroid Prime Hunters. Oh. Looks like we’ll need to keep waiting a few more years…
(Seriously though, I’m somewhat joking. Federation Force will probably be a great game in it’s own right, I’m just jaded and bitter that Nintendo doesn’t seem to want to build a proper new Metroid game, just forcing Samus to make cameos in other games)
Fire Emblem Fates
The upcoming 3DS game finally has a proper name, but outside of a mostly CG trailer, we still don’t have a good understanding of the gameplay. Still though, more Fire Emblem!
Shin Megami X Fire Emblem
Anyone out there read/understand Japanese? Because I don’t. It was a trailer showcasing a game that many thought was cancelled but it’s not. That’s all I got on this one.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
One of the few WiiU games hitting this year got a new trailer. Looks good. Not much else to say on that.
Animal Crossing Bonanza
Two Animal Crossing games are coming and both are probably not what people had in Mind. The first is Happy Home Designer, letting the player be a Home Decorator and Style guide as they buy and decorate villager houses. The second is coming for the WiiU and looks like some sort of Animal Crossing party game where players move around a board trying to be the happiest. For those looking for a pure Animal Crossing experience, keep on moving, nothing to see here.
Yoshi’s Woolly World
While I’m pretty pumped for this yarn version of Yoshi’s Island, the presentation was a little odd. It was mainly a trailer with Emi Watanabe, a software planner and developer, talking about how she knitted the first Yoshi figures which started the whole Yarn Yoshi Amiibo craze. The interview was spliced with gameplay footage which was cool but didn’t do too much for the game if I’m being honest. Perhaps Nintendo felt they’ve already shown off a ton about the game? Either way, I’m still excited about this game.
I won’t lie, I kind of zoned out when this trailer hit. To me, it looked like a more digitized and futuristic Pokemon game. Probably not fair of me to say that, but when you capture creatures and send them out to fight against other odd creatures, it is what it is.
Mario & Luigi Paper Jam
Combining two great IPs into one game is a no brainer. Both franchises are great individually and based on the trailer, work even better together. I like to think of this game as Nintendo’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
Mario Tennis Ultra Smash
I probably should have guessed that a new Mario Sports title would be arriving. While I don’t care much for Tennis, I’ve always found these Mario-fied versions to be a heap of fun especially when playing with others. I don’t doubt that for this new one either.
Super Mario Maker
Surprisingly, this may be my most anticipated WiiU game this year. Being able to craft your own levels from various Mario games over the years and make things that would normally break a traditional game just sounds so fantastic. Placing a larger than life Bowser in front of a flag pole or having a Blooper pop out of a question block is something I never knew I wanted. With the ability to add sprite versions of other Nintendo characters through Amiibo, I can’t wait to dive into this one.
Disorganized – Nintendo, oddly enough, spent a lot of time doing developer interviews which for me had a tendency to wipe out any momentum during the event. Working with just an hour, these interviews cut off a lot of time. Granted, I loved seeing Miyamoto showing off how they used to create old Super Mario NES levels on graph paper, but that wasn’t the right time.
Trailer Trouble – The other big thing I noticed was a lot of quick trailers being crammed in between segments. A lot of 3DS games like Yo-kai, Fire Emblem Fates, and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam received this treatment. Perhaps Nintendo felt the trailers spoke for themselves?
No IP Revival – One of the big hopes I heard from fans going into E3 in regards to Nintendo was that the company would reveal some new games based around older and somewhat forgotten IPs. Hell, even I jumped on that bandwagon. As it turns out, none of that came to pass. The hopes that a new Metroid would hit the WiiU were also dashed, with only a game that looks like a new Metroid Prime Hunters revealed.
Just when you think you have Nintendo figured out and they’re turning a struggling system around, the respond by delivering a Digital Event that somewhat underwhelms.
To be fair, Nintendo did have some cool announcements. I enjoyed seeing Star Fox return, it looks like a spruced up Star Fox 64 which I am more than okay with. Super Mario Maker was also another highlight and seeing sprite based versions of other characters like Marth, Wii Fit Trainer, and Link hoping around in a Mario based game was very cool. I love how powerful yet easy to use that game appears. Yoshi’s Woolly World was another highlight for me as it looks like a yarned up version of Yoshi’s Island from the old the SNES days, one of my favorite Mario games ever.
While it looked like Nintendo was having fun with all the puppets and skits, the event was dominated by developer interviews, one off trailers, and a lack of bold announcements. You know you under performed when your president and CEO comes out after the Digital Event to apologize and reassure fans that their opinions matter. Ouch. (For the record, I did see Reggie’s response to this story saying Iwata didn’t apologize and that Nintendo makes great games. Regardless of intention, the fact remains that Iwata posted his comment shortly after the Digital Event so clearly something didn’t sit right with him.)
Nintendo has made a point these past couple years to only show games that are releasing that same year, which explains why Zelda was held out. Okay, fine, I get it. While I may not like that tactic, I understand it. What I don’t understand is that Nintendo thinks that by showing stuff not coming this year, they’ll frustrate the consumer. I couldn’t disagree more. I mean, look at Microsoft or Sony. Hell, Sony pretty much showed off a line up of games entirely for 2016 and I didn’t hear any complaints. Nintendo’s E3 view is dated and unrealistic. You need to give people reasons to get excited about your product and Zelda would have been a no brainer.
Time is clearly running out on the WiiU and while the console does have a lot of unique experiences to offer, fans may be moving on such as Nintendo appears to be doing as they announced a full reveal of the NX console next year.