Nintendo has more recently been known to do its own thing at E3 (and throughout the year). The problem with this concept is that sometimes it doesn’t translate so well – something that Nintendo should have been getting comfortable with since the Wii U’s big stage presence with Nintendoland.
When gamers are looking forward to E3, they are looking for the next big game reveals from their favorite series, or they’re looking to be blown away by something new. What they are not looking forward to is seeing their favorite series bastardized in childish, insulting ways, and to see games they were already aware of.
Nintendo really dropped the ball at this year’s E3, but some of what disappointed people may simply be up to misinterpretation. Nintendo did mention that they were only really focusing on near-future releases, which is why we didn’t get any new trailers or anything for the Wii U Legend of Zelda, or anything else that would have been a huge surprise. We did get Triforce Heroes and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, though, and both of those games will definitely appeal to the masses of their fans (even though Triforce Heroes may be pushing it). But again, this highlights another problem: too much focus on the 3DS and not enough on the Wii U. The Wii U is essentially dead in the water, and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is the perfect way to spit in the face of the people who stand by your products. That game is bad enough looking to be completely ignored at an E3. Don’t get me wrong, it could end up being an incredibly awesome experience (ala Nintendoland), but we can’t get that from what we saw. Nintendo might as well have trotted out a Barbie horse game – they would have got the same reaction. And they made the same mistake with the Metroid game that they previewed. Nobody cares about Metroid unless it’s an adventure game. It’s embarrassing that we’ve had to wait this long for another game in the series on either console or handheld, and the one that we get is most definitely not the one that we want.
Another huge misstep was the developer diary portions of the video. We care about why you make games, but not to the extent that we want to lose other games from your presentation. There were other trailers that were finding their way to Nintendo’s YouTube channel, from Fatal Frame to Steamworld Heist, and yet, they found 10 minutes to talk about why Yoshi makes for a cute plushie. It was a big mistake.
Now, I’ve been incredibly harsh on Nintendo, and that’s perhaps because I’m a huge Nintendo fan. I expect more from them. They made a bunch of snafus in their E3 presentation, and that depresses me. From an objective point of view though, they did have a serviceable package for the near-future. While the other conferences were focusing on things that probably won’t be out until mid to late 2016, Nintendo stuck to their guns and showed us things that would be out soon (even if some of them were really lame). Some of these games are really good looking.
Star Fox Zero, while not exactly as polished as most HD games, is still pretty impressive when you think that the Wii U has to render the game twice because of the two distinct views. And with Platinum Games helping out, I can only expect it to get better as it goes. It looks like it will be a lot of fun, and I’m going to eagerly snatch it up when I get my hand on it. One disturbing thing that I read about was that there would be no online multiplayer. This highlights, once again, that Nintendo does not care about rends, much to the detriment of its aging fanbase (and technology). They absolutely need to get with the times, otherwise they are going to lost in the tide, and will not be able to right the sinking ship.
Xenoblade Chronicles X and Fire Emblem Fates both looked incredible, and I honestly cannot believe they spent so much time talking to developers and not enough time displaying those games. Yoshi’s Woolly World looked fine, and the 3DS installment of Animal Crossing is bound to sell like hotcakes. I’ll even give a nod to games like Yokai Watch, Mario Tennis and the Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem crossover. Again, the problem with a lot of these things was that we were already aware of them, and E3 is about the spectacle of seeing something new.
Luckily, even though Mario Maker has been on the horizon for what seems like forever, it is the kind of presentation that always seems to show something that we haven’t seen before. Though it’s likely going to cost as much as a feature game (rumors say $60), Nintendo has a lot of faith in it, to the point that they were willing to use it as the baseline for all the other games, and they also closed with it. For Mario’s 30th anniversary, we really deserved a bit more though. It’s not that Mario Maker isn’t going to be a good game, it’s just that it is likely not going to appeal to everyone. That said, it’s not wholly unbelievable that we won’t get some kind of mega Mario deal later on this year.
Nintendo has been known to march to the beat of their own drum. Sometimes it bites them in the behind, and at E3 this year, that seems to be the case. I remind you once again to keep in mind that Nintendo’s presentation focused on a much more reserved time frame than the other conference presenters did. If it were a regular Nintendo Direct, I would have accepted it for what it was. In the midst of E3, though, I’d give this presentation a 6.5/10.