E3 2014: Nintendo Round-Up
Nintendo may not have had a big E3 press conference but that didn't mean that they weren't ready to put on a big show during their main Digital Event.
As usual Nintendo have gone last in the E3 press conference line-up, broadcasting their Digital Event first thing in the morning on day one of E3 but they really pulled out all of the stops bringing in the guys from Robot Chicken to create some entertaining interludes with a claymation Reggie Fils-Aime and a cavalcade of classic Nintendo characters causing all kinds of mayhem.
Robot Chicken wasn't the only bit of showmanship to feature in the Digital Event as Satoru Iwata and Fils-Aime facing off in a Matrix-style battle to introduce the new Mii fighters for Smash Bros Brawl [video above].
This is actually where the tone changed a little with Nintendo taking an approach very similar to EA in terms of how they presented their titles. Many of the games, beginning with Super Smash Bros, featured videos of the developers talking about the games and what they've poured into them.
Super Smash Bros is shaping up really nicely on both Wii U and 3DS and the Miis have been redesigned with bigger better-animated bodies to come with the game's acrobatic melee moves. Mii fighters will be fully customisable with player bale to choose one of three different classes – the Brawler, based on Mario, the Sword Fighter based on Link and the Cannon Fighter based on MegaMan. Players also have the choice of special moves from four pools of eight different moves, 32 in total, which opens up a host of options for tailoring characters to a specific play style.
Nintendo also want players to have fun with the Miis and showed off an interesting array of special Miis based on celebrities including Ice-T which was pretty cool.
This show was all about the Wii U and Super Smash Bros 3DS was the only one of Nintendo's handheld titles to feature. It got dated for release on October the 3rd with the Wii U version coming in time for Christmas.
They announced a whole load of Wii U games for this year and next incuding Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for a Christmas release and Yoshi's Wooly World for 2015. Hyrule Warriors also made an appearance and it looks like Tecmo Koei has done a phenomenal job of blendind Dynasty Warrior's gameplay with the Zelda universe. It will be out later this year.
The major feature of the Nintendo Digital Event was The Legend Of Zelda on the Wii U. This is the most eagerly-awaited title for a lot of Nintendo fans and it was interesting to see just what direction Nintendo would take the series.
The power of the Wii U has afforded Eiji Aonuma and his team a lot of freedom to create the most expansive Zelda game yet. Aonuma-san revealed that the Wii U version of Hyrule will be a massive, rich, free-roaming world with plenty of locations fto explore with Link and his faithful steed Epona.
Another key feature of Nintendo's briefing was Bayonetta 2. This is coming in the autumn of this year and the trailer revealed that it will come with the original Bayonetta as standard. It did cause a little bit of controversy later on in the day as Platinum Game's voiced his displeasure at what Nintendo had done with their box art describing it as "JUNK" and worse.
A few other intersting titles made their first appearanced. First was Nintendo's attempt at building a user-generated content community in the form of Mario Maker. The video showed off a simple Wii U Gamepad powered level editor and two different level skins in classic Super Mario Bros and the fancy New Super Mario Bros skins.
Mario fans will be alble to use Mario Maker to build and share their own Mario levels with their friends over the Nintendo Network. It's an interesting idea and we'll be excited to see more on it as it's release approaches in 2015.
X made an appearance with a new name, Xenoblade Chronicles X. Sadly it won't be released in 2014 but it's aiming for release next year. All of the footage shown off in the Digital Event and later on during Nintendo's E3 livecasts was in Japanese so it looks like there's still a fair bit of localisation to go. It does promise over 100 hours of gameplay though and could be the very thing to entice JRPG fans to make the jump and buy a Wii U next year when it arrives.
The final interesting title that popped up was the new multiplayer shooter Splatoon. This is a quirky title with players able to morph between a person armed with a cannon that sprays ink and a squid that can swim in the ink that's been sprayed all over the level. The squid can move very quickly through the ink and can also use it to hide.
The main thrust of the multiplayer is four-on-four gameplay where teams battle to control the level by spraying it with ink and taking down the enmy team. There morphing mechanic and the squid mode offer some interesting gameplay options and this has the potential to be the Wii U's answer to Team Fortress 2. It's due out in 2015.
After the show a few interesting announcements appeared. First of all Shigeru Miyamoto stated that he was in the early stages of development on a Gamepad-focused Star Fox game for the Wii U. Everyone loves Star Fox and it will be interesting to see more on what he has planned for the game.
Finally Nintendo and Tomonobu Itagaki revealed that orphaned THQ title Devil's Third has become a Wii U-exclusive title now and is due out some time in 2015. It looks ridiculously violent and mysogynistic, everything that you'd expect from Itagaki-san. That said it should provide another compelling reason for core gamers to pick up a Wii U over the next 18 months.
Nintendo's Digital Event wasn't a definitive show in terms of bringing gamers over to the Wii U but it was certainly demonstration that Nintendo's home console has something to offer gamers of all types over the next year or so.