E3 2017: Nintendo Conference

by Aaron Fincham

Maybe it’s just me, but outside of Beyond Good and Evil 2, I haven’t felt particularly enthusiastic about anything shown at E3 this year.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been a ton of games that look fun and I’m sure I’ll pick them up. But other than the finish of Ubisoft’s show nothing has, y’know, made me finish.

That was until Nintendo’s E3 Spotlight.

Before we go into what exactly happened, I feel a little bit of context is necessary for those of you who don’t suck up every last drop of information you can get from Nintendo’s teat like the runt of the litter. If you just want to know what happened, skip ahead to the juicy E3 guff.

Nintendo’s newest console, Switch, was released back in March. Unlike their previous console, the WiiU,  Switch has been selling incredibly well and it is still very difficult to find a shop with the console in stock.

As the new console launched, we were told about some of the games we had to look forward too. Arms, Splatoon 2, Skyrim and Super Mario Odyssey to name the biggest hitters.

The console itself launched with Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which has somehow managed to sell more copies for Switch than Switches have even been sold.

So, we had a Zelda game already out, and a bunch of new games coming but it wasn’t really enough. There was still plenty of space in the calendar, plenty of Nintendo IPs that we had no news on and what about 2018 ? There was hope. Oh boy was there hope.

However, being a Nintendo fan often comes with regular disappointment. Such disappointment occurred before E3 even began.

Reggie Fils-Aime, the President of Nintendo of America, confirmed that the E3 spotlight would be just for games coming out in 2017 and that there would be no teases of future games. Disappointing, but there was still hope.

Rumours had been spreading for a while that a brand new mainline Pokémon RPG was being developed for the Switch, when Nintendo announces a special direct specifically for Pokémon just days before E3 starts. The internet explodes. Not literally of course. Although I do feel like after the conference some people’s computers may have taken physical violence equal to that of an explosion.

For you see, as the conference starts a new Pokémon game for Switch was indeed teased. Yet it turned out to be a port, of a port, of an arcade game called Pokken. A neat little fighter in the vein of Tekken. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it was certainly not what people were hoping for.

Finally, Nintendo confirmed that the main focus of their E3 spotlight would be Super Mario Odyssey, a very exciting title but one we already knew about. Fans were braced for a thoroughly mediocre conference.

How wrong we were. By the end of that Nintendo Spotlight, the hype train had well and truly left the station.

Choo Choo.

So for those of you unaware, the Wii had a little game called Xenoblade Chronicles and despite not being a best seller over here It become something of a cult classic. The WiiU then had a spiritual successor of sorts called Xenoblade Chronicles X. Both games were critically adored and of incredible popularity in Japan, selling enough to make it worth it in the EU and NA.

A sequel called Xenoblade Chronicles: 2 was announced back alongside the Switch so it wasn’t particularly mind-blowing but it was nice to get a proper trailer for the game along with a bit of gameplay. It appears to be quite disconnected from the previous games plot wise so new-comers shouldn’t have a problem. There were some very JRPG moments which will be sure to entice a lot of gamers, yet also looks like there’s plenty of stuff for the casual scrub lord like me.

This is where things start to get interesting. A new Kirby game has been announced and it looks alright. It looks like Kirby for better or for worse. Only new thing to say is that it appears you can now turn enemies into friendlies. Which will probably make one of the easiest games even easier, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Kirby isn’t a game you play for the difficulty, you play for the pure fun, which I am sure this new game will contain in the bucket fulls.

What is interesting though is that in the end it was announced to be released in 2018.

Nintendo, you damn liars.

Remember that rumoured Pokémon game I mentioned earlier? Well, they only went and confirmed that Game Freak were developing a mainline Pokémon RPG for Switch. If the idea of finally getting a proper Pokémon game on console, that you can still take on the go, doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside then, and I don’t mean to be cruel here, you’re a heartless evil thing. For the rest of us we will enjoy a beautiful 1080p console Pokémon game.

Not only did we get a new Pokémon announced, we also got another long awaited game announced. The last proper Metroid Prime was released in 2007, a full ten years ago. For those unaware, the Metroid Prime series is an FPS series of games set in outer space with aliens and what not. People who think that Nintendo games are all aimed for children have clearly never played a Metroid Prime game. These are some of the most critically acclaimed FPS games of all time, and I, for one, am wetting myself with excitement to play a new one on the Switch.

Keeping up with Nintendo’s new tradition of imaginative and complex naming, we have Yoshi. Another beautiful looking platformer staring everyone’s favourite babysitter.

The visual style is akin to Woolly World with the backgrounds appearing to be made out of arts and crafts. Yoshi himself, though, looks like his normal self which is nice to see after a stretch of mix and match art styles. The new mechanic of the game is a ‘switch’ mechanic, where you can flip the level to go from one plane to a background plane. A little bit akin to the 3D switching in Super Paper Mario.

Dynasty Warriors is a fun little game where you fight against hordes of bad guys, that’s really the basic premise. On the WiiU and the 3DS you will find Hyrule Warriors, which is the same game but with Zelda characters instead. Nintendo is going for another crossover, this time with the Fire Emblem series. There isn’t much to say about the game, it looks like fun and if you’re a fan of massive beat em ups against hordes then this is something worth keeping an eye on.

We got a bit of information about the upcoming Breath of the Wild expansion packs. New armour, weapons, a new hard mode and some new challenges are the main order for the first expansion packs. Honestly it doesn’t look like anything particularly exciting. Some bare bones DLC that will add a few hours of gameplay but not enough to justify the cost in my opinion.

There was also a teaser for the second expansion pack which appears to revolve around the four champions from the main story. They also revealed that Amiibo of each of these champions will also be available, which is also nice to see if collecting is your jam.

If you don’t know what Rocket League is by now, then you’ve been living under a big rock with the word ignorant scrawled on it. It’s football with cars. I’ve never played it myself. but those who have seem to love it.

Now it has been announced for the Switch, so if you want to play it on the go then here you go. I’ll probably end up picking this up, being able to take these games out and about with you is just too much of a draw to resist.

It wasn’t until the end of the conference where we finally got a look at Super Mario Odyssey, and, holy crap, it was worth the wait.

Not only did we get a massive look at some of the levels, we got introduced to new gameplay that just screams Nintendo Magic. The gimmick this time round is that Mario can throw his cap like a weapon, but if he throws it at certain bad guys and objects, he possesses them. That sounds cool, but it isn’t until you see him turn into a god damn T-Rex that it hits you just how awesome this game is.

You can possess electricity to move across wires, cars to drive, bullet bills to fly, frogs to swim, goombas to goom. A massive torrent of new gameplay styles are opened up through this mechanic. That mixed with the ability to dress Mario up in different outfits and hats makes this game seem the most open and explorable Mario game in years.

You can watch the whole conference here and for more E3 coverage stay tuned to Air3 Radio.

Thoughts? Opinions? Stipulations?