MyNintendoNews featured extensive coverage of Nintendo’s E3 news through Nintendo Direct this year which made this observers’ replay of it more digestible. Nintendo made some headlines in the months leading up to E3 2013 when they decided to opt out for a big presentation. Some deemed it as a crazy, grave mistake while most looked at it with “wait and see” shades. An even smaller amount of gamers and analysts thought it was a good idea.
One thing is for sure, with Sony and Microsoft taking to it on day one, day two was Nintendo’s day and as expected they didn’t disappoint when it came to first party titles. The company rolled out Pikmin, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros. franchises for new titles. The only three franchises missing here were Kirby, Metroid (which almost everyone wanted), and Star Fox.
Instead Nintendo went with their popular Nintendo Direct news outlet on 3DS and Wii U to get their E3 information out. Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime had this to say, “Nearly every major piece of Nintendo IP will be represented on our platforms in 2013, with even more coming in 2014. There’s one fundamental truth in the video game industry: Software sells hardware. That was true with Wii and Nintendo DS, it’s starting to happen with Nintendo 3DS and will be on display this summer and holiday season with Wii U. When gamers are making their purchasing decisions this year they’re going to find that the games and experiences they want are either unique or entirely exclusive to a Nintendo platform.”
Truth be told, the Nintendo 3DS has been selling very well and can only get better given that Nintendo tends to know what they’re doing with the handheld approach. Nintendo will show their new wares at the E3 event, but will also put demos of Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD in Best Buy stores Wednesday 4PM-8PM and Saturday 1PM-5PM.
Let’s see what Nintendo had to present for the Wii U home console. Super Mario 3D World is a local multiplayer—four player—Mario title in a 3D landscape. The creative team behind this game also did the Super Mario Galaxy series—which was the anticipated “3D Mario game”—and Super Mario 3D Land. Similar to Super Mario Bros. 2—the U.S version—it features the team of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad. The four characters have their own abilities and play differently from each other. The game has competitive and cooperative modes and a new transformation power up in the cat which can scratch enemies and climb up flag poles. This one drops in December.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is Retro Studios’ “secret game” and the one they chose over new Metroid. This will be the first DKC on the Wii U and is pretty much a straight forward platformer. With the move to Nintendo’s next generation console comes more detailed HD graphics and features such as perspective. Beyond that, you’re talking standard DKC fare: great action, challenging enemies and bosses, and boss music. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze hits in November.
A port of the GameCube classic comes in the form of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. The game will feature 1080p HD graphics (of course) and a change in the Tingle Tuner to the Tingle Bottle which can be used to post comments in the Miiverse about the game. These bottles wash up on shores in the game. There’s also more speed sailing the world. Other than that, there’s nothing new here. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.
Mario Kart 8 sees the series return for its eighth lap. It features an anti-gravity element and online multiplayer. Other than that, much from the previous titles in the series returns. Mario Kart 8 lands spring 2014.
Platinum Games two titles with the oft discussed The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2. The first of the two is a superhero-themed action game by the director of Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2—Hideki Kamiya. Essentially, the player controls the leader of this team (Wonder-Red) to battle alien invaders. They can transform into different weapons to take out these enemies and protect the city. The Wonderful 101 drops September 15. Bayonetta 2 is the sequel—obviously—to the 2009 release. It’s an action title with more abilities and more action. It drops in 2014.
RPG powerhouse Monolith Soft—The Xenoblade Chronicles, Xenosaga, Super Robot Taisen OG, etc.—showcased a bit of its open world game featuring robots and sky battles. Codenamed X at the moment, it comes out in 2014. New Super Luigi U is part of the Year of Luigi and is basically a Luigi-centric version of New Super Mario Bros. U. It comes through the eShop June 20th and retail in late August.
Wii Party U and Wii Fit U see the return of blockbuster titles that launched millions of ships for the Wii. Wii Party U—a party game for local multiplayer—drops in October and Wii Fit U—an exercise title—in December. Finally for the Wii U on the first party front, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U it’s a franchise wide fighting game scheduled to hit the Wii U in 2014. You can also expect the Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem crossover RPG from Atlus and Intelligent Systems.
If you’re a fan of the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series, then you’ll be glad to hear that Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be arriving, but no date has been announced. It will be on Wii U and it will feature winter Olympic staples such as figure skating, bobsleigh, snowboarding, and so on. There will also be Dream Events—which have been seen in other Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games titles. The Wii U GamePad will be heavily used in this game as well as the Wii Remote Plus.
Pikmin 3 has been anticipated for some time now and it was supposed to be a launch window title. Even further, it was supposedly planned for Wii. In Pikmin 3 three explorers battle predators, brave puzzles, and gather food. It’s a difficult game to explain since it features a little of everything in a neat, great bundle of a game. Pikmin 3 comes out this summer—August 4th to be exact.
The Nintendo 3DS sees Pokemon X and Pokemon Y coming October 12 for a worldwide release. It will have a graphical change which is new to the series overall, similar to the change that took place in Pokemon Black/White and HeartGold/SoulSilver kicked up a few notches. There will be more interaction between trainer (player) and their Pokemon as well. There’s also Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS which arrives in 2014.
Shin Megami Tensei IV will also come to the 3DS. The first person RPG that dabbles with demons and the occult was announced at E3 2010 and released in Japan last year. It comes to North America in July. Yoshi’s New Island is the third addition to the Yoshi’s Island series and brings new features and worlds to explore. The thing that stood out about this one is the different art styles for the worlds. Yoshi’s New Island comes out later this year.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a new entry into the Mario & Luigi RPG series which goes between the real world of the Mushroom Kingdom and related locales and Luigi’s dreams. Think of the adventures from Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story only a…new adventure this time around. The same Mario & Luigi comedy will be available here. Expect it August 11th.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is one of probably two or three anticipated 3DS titles—the other definite one being new Pokemon and the interchangeable ones being Smash and Mario & Luigi. This is a sequel to the Super Nintendo classic A Link to the Past and takes place sometime after the events of that title. All of the Legend of Zelda staples of puzzle solving, exploration, fantasy, and battling beasts are here. It will be released this holiday season.
The decision to showcase everything through Nintendo Direct could be seen as a clever one on one hand, but all the titles listed are ones that could’ve gone to the big dance on an E3 stage. There would’ve been a big, positive reaction for a number of these—especially for Super Smash Bros. By putting them on Nintendo Direct the wow factor overall was shaved a bit for a lot of these. Another thing that shaved the wow factor was that some of these were already expected or mentioned. The absence of Metroid was a bummer as there’s already a recent Donkey Kong Country out. You can add a lack of third party titles to that list.
Overall it was a good, but not great presentation. It didn’t go over Sony’s, but it had something that Sony and Microsoft didn’t have—iconic franchises. That’s Nintendo’s strength here, really.