I’m kicking my E3 2019 recap series with Nintendo, my overall winner this year. I mean, I was really happy with what Nintendo showed off but overall, is declaring a winner really saying much? I’ll save that for another post. For now, let’s focus on Nintendo.
Even as they face a new generation of consoles from their rivals, Nintendo’s stance is to continue to do what they do and ignore the noise. That focus on joy and fun really showed through this year as they delivered a wonderful E3 Direct, even if Reggie wasn’t there. Seriously, how weird was that?
Even though we knew some of what they’d be discussing this year, what other surprises did Nintendo have up their sleeves? Let’s discuss.
So is anyone really surprised that Nintendo led the show with Super Smash Bros Ultimate? I figured they’d have some news on DLC and they delivered, even if, for me personally, it wasn’t super exciting. I’m not a Dragon Quest guy, so while I thought it was cool they included a bunch of versions of “The Hero”, I wasn’t through the roof with excitement.
Naturally, a trailer for Dragon Quest XI followed, though the next segment was something I was really hoping they’d do.
So as expected, Mr. Koizumi appeared, who has basically become the face of Nintendo these days, to introduce the public to Doug Bowser, although we actually got the actual Bowser with a tie trying to speak to us with words. It was hilarious and a very easy joke to make, but I’m glad they did it. So yeah, Doug Bowser comes out and together they basically kick the actual Bowser out.
Doug Bowser seems like a cool dude, but did it feel weird not seeing Reggie at all? He’ll be missed for sure.
Okay, next up was Luigi’s Mansion 3, which took up a good chunk of time. This is a beloved series, but also one that I have completely overlooked. When the original launched on Gamecube, I actually opted for Wave Race: Blue Storm instead. I plan to make up for this injustice when Luigi’s Mansion 3 comes out because it looks so, so good.
Next up was a trailer for The Dark Crystal, something I’m not too familiar with but I think it was a movie or tv show back in the 80s by Jim Henson.
Link’s Awakening was next and I can’t get over how great the diorama style graphics look. I remember playing this back on the Gameboy so I was already on board, but this trailer sold me all over again. The surprise reveal came at the end when Dampe, a character first introduced in Ocarina of Time, appeared and revealed the new Chamber Dungeons mode. While playing, you earn dungeon pieces that can be placed as though they were a puzzle, letting players create their own dungeons filled with rewards and a boss battle. You can challenge friends as well. I love this idea and perhaps this is the first step to getting a Legend of Zelda Maker we all want.
From there we got trailers for Trials of Mana and the Collection of Mana. Following that was a surprising reveal that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was being ported over to the Switch. Like honestly, I have no idea what sort of dark magic CD Projekt RED used in order to get this massive title on to the Switch. I’m glad for it, but I’m super curious to see how it runs because I have to image that it’s not going to be close to a 1 for 1 port from its more powerful counterparts. Still, taking Geralt on the go is quite appealing.
The next major first party game for Nintendo in 2019 came next as we got a lengthy trailer for Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’m not a super fan of the franchise, but I do enjoy it. I don’t know how to take Three Houses at the moment, but I find it interesting that the classic formula has been significantly altered for this latest incarnation. There seems to be a greater focus on relationships and calendar management as an instructor at a school. I’ve been hearing that the second half of the game is more tactical combat focused, however.
The next section completely lost me. It was almost like a Resident Evil advertisement as two individuals decided to go to a condemned house to play the first game in the franchise. The weird part is that the ad was basically to reveal that RE5 and 6 were coming to the Switch. There was a serious disconnect in the messaging. Perhaps they were highlighting how portable the Switch actually is…but isn’t that an already known fact?
The next segment was a smaller game blitz of trailers starting with the return of Travis Touchdown and No More Heroes 3. Contra: Rogue Corps came next and…yikes. This new game, and I hate to say this, looks bad like it had a very limited budget or had no development time. The animations and graphics all look outdated. Thankfully, the reveal was saved at the end with the Contra Anniversary Collection.
The interesting mech combat game Daemon x Machina was up after all of that and fans saw even more gameplay and got a few more story beats as well.
Surprisingly, the next trailer revealed a Panzer Dragoon remake. Not a series I grew up with but I know the IP holds a special place in many people’s hearts.
One of the games I predicted, Pokemon Sword/Shield, came next and we didn’t get too much information outside of the Water Gym reveal. Honestly, not surprising considering that fans got a Nintendo Direct a week before with 16 minutes worth of new details.
Astral Chain gave us a new story trailer and then the gangster inspired, isometric viewpoint, twin stick shooter Empire of Sin was revealed next.reveal – looks like a gangster/1920s inspired isometric twin stick shooter. Very cool premise.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order was up next as we got another new story trailer. The end also revealed a few new characters and DLC plans with X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Marvel Knights packs.
Next up was a trailer for the surprising Zelda and NecroDancer mashup Cadence of Hyrule. I haven’t played it yet, but I”m hearing good things and the music is phenomenal.
After that came a new trailer for Mario & Sonic at the 2020 Olympic Games. Yay?
One of the more anticipated titles came next with Animal Crossing New Horizons. This game seemingly takes the familiarity of the town setting and dumps it completely. The game adds some survival and crafting style gameplay, though nothing where your character would die from hunger or thirst. Though that would be interesting, right? This time, you’re on an island and look to not only create a home but establish a town of sorts? Of course, Tom Nook is there to collect on your debts. The surprising announcement was the recent delay into early 2020. From what I’ve heard, it’s largely due to prevent development crunch, which I’m perfectly okay with.
As we near the end, Nintendo puts together a sizzle reel of games that it couldn’t get to. Short clips of all sorts of games coming soon from all sorts of developers.
However, following that hype trailer, this was the point in the show where Nintendo really put the pedal to the metal.
First up came a surprising trailer for Smash Ultimate. It began nearly identical to the K. Rool reveal trailer from a year ago, only this time, the crazed Kremling King joined Diddy and Donkey in their clubhouse. The trio are awoken by a noise outside and see another shadowy figure that looks like….BANJO-KAZOOIE! Oh but wait, it’s that troll, Duck Hunt Dog. Figures right?
Well, well, that’s not all because the actual Banjo and Kazooie drop in confirming the Microsoft and Nintendo team up. What a fantastic reveal, not only because this beloved character joins Smash, but the fact Nintendo cut a trailer featuring all of the former Rare characters. If you look closely, the trailer also features a Jiggy piece rolling across the floor and the music is put together by Grant Kirkhope, an iconic composer on many of the classic Nintendo-Rare games. I absolutely loved this announcement and suddenly, I can’t wait to see the final 2 DLC characters.
Oh, but wait, that wasn’t all.
Breaking with tradition, Nintendo shocked viewers by revealing a game that isn’t expected out in the next 12 months, a rule that they’ve adopted over the past few years. The teaser trailer revealed the existence of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. Both Link and a newly short haired Zelda are exploring some sort of dungeon where they come across a mummified corpse and a strange green light. Before long, the corpse reanimates and looks to have Gerudo symbols and flowing red hair, similar to Ganondorf. The darker tone the trailer gives off have spawned all sorts of theories, even though we’re likely a ways away from seeing the game in full. We’ll return to this topic soon.
Overall, I feel like I did pretty well with my predictions, though much of what was coming we already knew about. So while what Nintendo had was incredibly strong, there were a few holes.
- The company revealed prior to the show that they wouldn’t be talking about new hardware, which I think was disappointing to many fans. Rumors indicated that two new Switch models were being developed, one completely portable and one that had beefier specs. It’s likely they’re still coming, but we’ll just have to wait a bit longer.
- I really thought we’d be seeing a Metroid Prime Trilogy announcement. Perhaps it was all the rumors and leaks we’ve been hearing for a while but I was generally surprised to see nothing mentioned.
- The same goes for Bayonetta 3 considering how long it’s been in development for. Apparently, Kamiya keeps people up to date on Twitter, but I kind of expected a trailer or something. It seems Astral Chain jumped over it in the development cycle since it’s out in August.
If I had to give out a grade, Nintendo would be getting a solid A from me. Loved what they announced, though I have to admit that a Metroid announcement of any kind would have pushed it into A+ territory for me.