E3 2015: Nintendo Digital Event

Nintendo finished up the main press conferences this year, and in following their preference in recent years, opted for an online digital presentation as opposed to a live one – the Nintendo Digital Event. It was very cute, and utilised Muppet-style puppets of Nintendo executives to make the presentation. The announcements came thick and fast over the hour-long presentation, so details were light. Here we go!

  • The announcements kicked off with a game that was known to be on the cards: StarFox Zero for the Wii U. The trailer was all gameplay, and was followed by a discussion with Shigeru Miyamoto about where his inspiration came from – the TV show Thunderbirds. Aiming is performed on the gamepad from a cockpit view, while the game is played out in third person on the TV screen. Another new feature in this iteration is the transformations of the main ship, the R-wing – it can become a walker, a rover, and a drone, in order to vary the gameplay.
  • Reggie appeared next to announce Nintendo’s theme for E3 2015: transformation, and the various ways that this is considered by Nintendo, in the transformation of the company itself, and within the games that are coming this year and the future.
  • Next, Activision took pat to discuss the next Skylanders game, Skylanders Superchargers. Here, Donkey Kong and Bowser Skylander figurines were announced, only for Nintendo, but the interesting thing here is that not only is the figurine available for Skylanders, but the base can be twisted into Amiibo mode, for use in other Nintendo games.
  • Up next was The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes for 3DS. This new Zelda game is a Co-op dungeon crawler, and for the (I believe) first time in Zelda games, Link can change costumes to change abilities. The goal for multiplayer here is to solve puzzles co-operatively, and includes a totem mechanic, wherein players can carry their friends in order to reach higher places. The game is for up to three players (as a four-player totem was deemed “too tall”), but can be played by a single player, with the player able to switch between characters to solve puzzles.
  • This was followed by the announcement of the 3DS version of Hyrule WarriorsHyrule Warriors Legends, which is essentially a re-imagining of the Wii U version, and this comes with all of the DLC characters from the Wii U version, along with some new characters from The Wind Waker only available for the 3DS. It’s due out Q1 2016.
  • Next up was a brief look at a new 3DS game – Metroid Prime: Federation Force, a new first-person Metroid game focused on four-player co-op. Looking very cartoony in comparison to prior titles in the series, it also includes a new mode called ‘Metroid Prime: Blast Ball’ – a multiplayer experience that was only briefly shown, and announced as a 2016 release.
  • Fire Emblem Fates was announced next – a follow up to the popular 2013 release for the 3DS. It’s due out in 2016. The trailer was brief, but showed a little gameplay.
  • The following announcement was for a very Japanese looking RPG that only has a Japanese trailer at present: Genei Ibun Roku #FE (there’s no direct translation that makes sense, but it has to do with illusion). It’s due out in 2016. The trailer was entirely in Japanese, but I believe this is the Fire Embem x Shin Megami Tensei game that was teased earlier this year (not having played either franchise, I couldn’t recognise any characters).
  • The next trailer showed the eagerly anticipated Xenoblade Chronicles X, coming soon for the Wii U. It still looks amazing, and is due for release December 4th, 2015.
  • A new Animal Crossing was announced! Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. This new title brings the ability to decorate not only your home, but the land around it. Not only that, cards were used to introduce other characters (I think), although the function wasn’t explained directly. Not much other gameplay detail was shown, but a new Animal Crossing is always welcome. Release is September 25th, 2015.
  • Yet another Animal Crossing game was announced next – Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival for the Wii U. Looking less like an Animal Crossing game and more like a Mario Party-style game, this one is due out by Xmas this year.
  • Yoshi’s Wooly World was next on show, with a discussion around the origins of the yarn Yoshi. The game has been in development for some time, and has been shown previously, but it looks like a great deal of fun and is due out on October 16th, 2015. It also has a co-op mode, where players can be both co-operative and competitive. further, Amiibos can be used to change the colouring of Yoshi – a Mario Amiibo would change Yoshi to Mario colours, for example.
  • Next up, a new Yo-kai Watch game was announced for 3DS, simply titled Yo-kai Watch. If you’ve not heard of it, Yo-kai Watch is the new sensation in Japan, and this is the first game to be released on Western shores – due out by Xmas this year.
  • A new Mario and Luigi RPG was announced next for 3DS: Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. Lots of gameplay was on display, and as usual, it looks like a blast. It’s due out in 2016.
  • Next up was Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for Wii U. Looking much like you would expect it to, it’s due out by Xmas this year! The trailer was very brief, but showed enough gameplay to make us excited.
  • Super Mario Maker was up next – this is the upcoming Mario level designer due out soon for Wii U. The game is about creation, and puts tools in the hands of players so that they can create Mario levels that are only limited by their imagination. The video was a discussion with the designers, primarily about their inspirations for this game, and how they designed levels in previous Mario games. It’s due out September 11th 2015. They also mentioned that a new 8-bit Mario Amiibo would be released at the same time, which would bring exclusive control functions to Super Mario Maker.
  • Reggie appeared next to sum up the presentation. Nintendo Treehouse will continue the E3 story for the next few days, and Super Mario Maker will be playable at 100 Best Buy stores in the US and Canada at select times on select days. The show then concluded with a tribute to Mario, on his 30th Anniversary – a new website has been set up where fans can submit Super Mario-related content and Nintendo will donate to charity. More details at Let’s Super Mario.

This concluded the presentation. For such a (comparatively) short presentation, a great deal of titles were announced – many of which are due for release this year! That said, the show was very 3DS heavy, with two-thirds of the announcements made for 3DS.

Again, as per previous years, Nintendo’s Treehouse began immediately, and will continue to demonstrate the majority of these games for the remainder of E3.

For those interested, the full presentation can be streamed at Nintendo’s E3 page (although 95% of it is embedded above).

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Proud dad, retro collector, and Japanophile. Voracious consumer of all forms of media, and generally time poor. Actually, just generally poor - all of this costs money! Loves gaming in all its forms, but just not very good at it. Still - practice makes perfect. Long-term interest in video games, music, comics, TV, and movies, with recent interest in anime, manga, and tabletop games. No time like the present.
  • I do wonder if Nintendo’sNintendo’s big announcements before E3 were to make sure they got at least some attention, knowing that they’d not be able to exceed Microsoft or Sony.

    Also, the inevitable question… where’s the mobile games?

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