Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nintendo Digital Event 2014: Not-so-live Impressions

So it's currently 9:47 BST on the 11 June. Nintendo's E3 Direct aired over 24 hours ago now. I was a bit too tired to delve into it last night though so I've been desperately avoiding any spoilers all day. (Yes, I've become that guy now. :D) Right now I've got the video queued up, ready to go, and yes, it's far too late, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to get some predictions in before I hit play, so...
  • Prediction 1: No Zelda. Well, besides Hyrule Warriors any way. I don't think the Wii U Zelda is far along enough to be shown yet. I could maybe see some sort of Four Swords game coming to the Wii, but that's about it.
  • Prediction 2: Definitely more Mario. I don't think they'll show another 2D or 3D platformer this time, but I really wouldn't be surprised to see a new Mario Party. Mario Maker, I don't know. It's a great idea, and kind of a no-brainer. It has been for a long time. But, I'm not totally sold on that photo and I can't think of the last time a Nintendo E3 leak turned out to be real. Overall, I'm just about erring on the side of:
  • Prediction 3: Mario Maker is real.
  • Prediction 4: NFC! I think NFC is going to be a big focus of this Direct. I'm guessing Smash Bros will have some kind of NFC functionality, but I'm also expecting....
  • Prediction 5: A new NFC-based Nintendo title. Which I strongly suspect is going to be a very Nintendo Land-esque, casual-friendly mash up of various Nintendo properties.
  • Prediction 6: More HD Remasters. Turns out HD development is slow and those third parties aren't around to pick up the slack any more, so I'm expecting to see Nintendo delve into it's back cataloge to pad out the Wii U release list a bit. I'm thinking maybe not Gamecube again, but maybe some stuff from the Wii, or even the 3DS.
  • Prediction 7: 3DS eShop games coming to the Wii U. On a related note, I think we'll see at least one more port or quickly turned around sequel to a 3DS eShop game popping up, and maybe more to come in future directs. I'm thinking the likes of HarmoKnight, Nintendo Football Club, Rusty's Real Deal Baseball et cetra. That release schedule needs to get filled up somehow, and right now I don't think they're going to do it by money-hatting third party titles or splashing out in a bunch of acquisitions. But having said that...
  • Prediction 8: At least one unannounced, major Japanese third party game, published by Nintendo. Maybe this is more a wish than a prediction, but I really hope we see a bit more Japanese support for the Wii U here. At this point I think this is the only way it'll come.
  • Prediction 9: DS Virtual Console is available NOW! But it'll just be Brain Training, so meh.
  • Prediction 10: No Star Fox or F-Zero. At this point I think these two, especially F-Zero have shifted into becoming dormant franchises like Kid Icarus was for a long time. There will be sequels one day, but only when incessant fan demand basically wills them into existance. i can't see Nintendo returning to either on their own volition at this point.
  • Prediction 11: Definitely, definitely no Eternal Darkness sequel, expiring trademarks be damned. :D

3DS? Eh, probably another Layton game. :D

Overall, I'm not expecting a barnstormer from Nintendo this year. I'm expecting a bunch of games that I'll moan about now, but ultimately pick up end enjoy even if I'll really wish I was playing a Treasure-developed Star Fox reboot. Because well, that's what's happened every other year.

Well, I guess I'll find out soon enough:

  • 00:00 - Pegi 16. Bayonetta footage confirmed.
  • 00:15 - Wow, they're really going low budget this year. :D
  • 00:19 - Yeah, Reggie's name is somewhat difficult to pronounce. Topical.
  • 00:28 - "Not my problem". Jeez, what's next? Gangnam Style? Lime Cat? The Hamster Dance?
  • 00:37 - "Another Mario game". Okay, now that's some self-awareness I can get behind. :D Plus, calling it: this is Mario Maker.
  • 00:51 - Fox backstage, Young Link hate. Okay, probably Robot Chicken, okay.
  • 01:14 - Is this an Iwata terminator, because that, I could also get behind.
  • 01:32 - AHHHHH! No, I think this is some kind of bizarre Smash Bros. trailer.
  • 01:39 - Torpedo Ted eat your heart out.
  • 02:07 - Matrix homages. And we're back into the realm of horribly dated references again. If someone pulls out a lightsabre knock-off here, I'm done. :D
  • 02:11 - Yep, Iwata knows what's up.
  • 02:19 - Yes, it's a Smash Bros trailer. Bloody hell, Reggie's expressions are really starting to unnerve me now. :D
  • 02:25 - Still Smash Bros. for Wii U? I guess it makes things pretty clear. But it's such a bad name!
  • 02:42 - Reggie can't believe it; It's like watching an acting master class. Though to be fair, this would be so much worse with the type of actors who usually turn up in these things.
  • 02:58 - What? What the fuck was that expression Reggie just made?!
  • 03:01 - NFC, bitch!
  • 03:08 - So that's what that square under the d-pad is for. Oh man, you don't think the characters are only available through figurenes only, do you? That would be Microsoft in 2013 levels of fucked-up. :D
  • 03:34 - Sakuraaaaaai!
  • 03:58 - I don't want to blow your mind, guys, but you can play as a Mii, in a Nintendo game. 
  • 04:06 - "...but who gives a shit about Miis any more. Right, guys"?
  • 04:49 - Yep, Miis. Got it. Damn it, Sakurai.
  • 05:24 - So the Gunner basically plays like Samus then? 
  • 05:33 - Another three character slots gone. :D I'm never going to see Paper Mario added Smash Bros., am I?
  • 05:40 - The customisation is kind of cool though. Still, I have zero interest in playing as a Mii, in anything.
  • 05:56 - "... and now all you fuckers can make your own damn Geno"!
  • 06:50 - Some 3DS Smash Bros. now. Don't know if it's just the fact that it's always blown up, but I'm not really digging the look of this. It's like the character models don't really blend in with the stages. Reminds me a bit of how Mario Kart 64 looked with the weird pre-rendered sprites as characters.
  • 07:02 - Anyway. Some Smash Bros. 3DS modes now. 
    • 07:17 - Oh, you can turn off the character outlines. That looks way better.
    • 08:11 - Yep, that sure looks like Smash Bros. That might well be the least informative thing I've seen yet during E3, and I sat through the whole EA press conference.
    • 08:15 - The 3DS version is launching in October over here then? That would be a bit close for comfort to the Wii U one even if it's coming out in say, early December. Maybe it's getting pushed to next year.
    • 08:19 - Winter 2014 huh? That a pretty vague date to be giving this late in the game. Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see it slipping into next year.
    • 08:48 - Oh man, here comes the the NFC stuff. Not crazy about the look of this Mario one, but man, am I down to buy some freaking Nintendo figurines.
    • 09:15 - Amiibo? Is it just me or does that sound like a fake pharmaceutical company.
    • 09:34 - What? Are they going to have unlockable amiibo stuff in Skylanders and Disney Infinity?  That'd be a pretty cleaver move actually.
    • 10:17- Yeah, this is really high-level, conceptual stuff, and probably mostly BS. Who wants to bet that nothing exists of Amiibo besides this prototype figurene. No new NFC game here I'd imagine.
    • 11:00 - Mario Galaxy stage woo! Also, this is sounding scarily like my nightmare vision from earlier coming to fruition.
    • 11:18 - The Luigi death stare. Nintendo's gone meme crazy!
    • 11:22 - "... but god knows we don't having any answers, so moving on..."
    • 12:08 - Yeah, Super Mario World!
    • 13:02  - "... or indeed, a little bump n' grind."
    • 13:21 - Yarn Yoshi? Damn it, I really should have made that a prediction!
    • 13:43 -  Yes! Looking forward to this. Kirby's Epic Yarn was rad.
    • 13:49 -  Yoshi's Woolly World! Yes!
    • 14:06 - Yarn eggs!
    • 14:21 - Oh man, that music!. Exclamation marks!
    • 14:35 - This IS going to look great in HD.
    • 16:33 - The egg block is a basket, people. Hnnnnggg.
    • 16:45 - 2-player mode. Still packing in that casual appeal.
    • 17:25 - Man, I really hope there's a a yarn Yoshi as a pre-order bonus. I'm dead serious. 
    • 17:57 - Is that a Yoshi doll in your pocket or...
    • 18:10 - Booo! 2015.
    • 18:24 - Huh? Is this a Captain Toad spin-off game? Liked those levels well enough in 3D World, but I can't say I'm eager for a whole game full of them.
    • 18:56 - Was that a turnip he pulled out of the ground?! How much cooler would a real New Super Mario Bros 2 be?
    • 19:16 - Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Winter 2014. Not a Wii or 3DS game, but that's some quickly turned around schedule filler if I ever saw it. :)
    • 19:54 - Nope, probably Robot Chicken, we're back into stale old video game references again now. No thank you.
    • 19:55 - Ooh, Zelda. Having been messing around with it Dolphin recently, that's totally the title music from Twilight Princess. Oh man, how good would it be if this was just a BS tease that went right into Hyrule Warriors. :D Though a Twilight Princess HD remaster? Sign me up.
    • 20:11 - Whoa. Anouma is talking like they might actually be showing some Zelda today. Damn.
    • 21:03 - I would be all for a massive, seamless overworld. Certainly don't need a repeat of Skyward Sword's weird, broken-up dungeon world.
    • 21:15 - Damn, The Wind Waker HD is pretty. Still haven't picked that up. Urge to go back on all my promises and take advantage of Mario Kart 8's free game rising.
    • 21:24 - "Today, I will talk about the latest Zelda game for Wii U" Tetra's Trackers 2.
    • 21:36 - Damn! Shit just got real. Looks cool. Really like how... organic the the world looks.
    • 22:10 - Plotting your route through the world as a kind of puzzle solving. Sounds intriguing.
    • 22:29 - Maybe I'm getting my hopes up too soon, but this sounds almost Elder Scrolls ish.
    • 23:11 - Looks like we're getting a trailer now. Link's being chased by a giant robot squid thing, causing utter fiery devastation everywhere.
    • 23:15 - Looks like Link's wearing his farmboy get up here. Hope everyone's ready for more yak herding. :D
    • 23:21 - Wh-what? Is Link a girl? 
    • 23:33 - No. I think he just has his hair tied up. Insecure fanboys everywhere breathe a sigh of relief. :D Also, cyber weapons?
    • 24:07 - For a second there I thought we were getting the Miyamoto origin story: exploring caves near his house as a kid. No, looks like a Pokeymans trailer.
    • 25:05 - Still haven't played a Pokemon outside Yellow. Pretty sure I've mentioned that every year I've done this. :D
    • 25:37 - Oh, and speaking of annualised traditions, here's your Bayonetta trailer. :D
    • 26:21 - What is that accent?
    • 26:58 - Remember her? :D Looks like Bayonetta 2's getting some Nintendo costumes and possibly some mini game type stuff thrown in. Cool.
    • 27:05 - Ooh, a special edition of Bayonetta 2 is going to include the first game as well. Really wish I didn't bother getting the (as yet unplayed) 360 version now. Oh well.
    • 27:25 - Hyrule Warriors now.
    • 27:29 - 2003? Oh, they're taking this Zelda 1 footage from the Gamecube compilation. That's weird.
    • 28:04 - Yes! Midna!!
    • 28:37 - Damn, juggling those bosses with that mass of regular enemies looks like no mean feat. Pretty excited to try this; been meaning to check out these games forever.
    • 28:54 - So Zelda's playable? I though she was just being kidnapped again. Hey, Robot Chicken, you should make a skit about that too. What about Bowser and Gannondorf comparing kidnapping notes. My sides are already trembling in anticipation.
    • 29:14 - But the real question: what about Amiibo support? :D
    • 30:17 - September 19th. I think it might be Midna showing up, but I'm strongly considering pre-ordering now.
    • 30:33 - Yoshi Wolly World; Kirby Plasticine Paradise?
    • 30:45 - I can't believe it, a game that actually uses the touch screen.
    • 31:19 - 2015. No name yet though. Clay Country?
    • 31:28 - Whaa? This can't be Metroid, can it? Elma?
    • 31:37 - No, it's X.
    • 23:53 - Xenoblade Chronicles X. That's a good branding move. Is this game an RPG though? It's looks more like a Zone of the Enders type thing here, which I'd totally be okay with.
    • 33:21 - No, THIS is Mario Maker.
    • 33:30 - Liking the Mario Paint-esque interface . Oh, I suppose this is kind of a pseudo sequel. Weird.
    • 33:37 - Looks like you seamlessly switch between design and playing. Neat.
    • 33:45 - Yeah, that logo is straight-up Mario Paint. This thing is super-exciting. Wonder how it's going to be distributed.
    • 33:50 - In the interests of time...
    • 34:16 - Oh, guess you can switch to New Super Mario Bros. graphics too. Yeah, no thanks. How about Super Mario World, Reggie? :D
    • 34:53 - 2015 too. Yeah, no surprise titles for this year by the look of things. Oh, Captain Toad I guess.
    • 34:57 - Please don't be another de Blob sequel. Ah, who am I kidding? Third party support on the Wii U. Hah!
    • 35:41 - Whoa! Is this it? Are the "Nintendo should make an online FPS. It could just be a paintball-type thing?" people finally getting their wish?
    • 35:51 - Okay, it's third person, but close enough. So you spatter paint around an area to claim it for your team. Interesting.
    • 36:59 - Man, this looks really fun. Especially moving around as a squid. Finally, Nintendo, new IP.
    • 37:23 - Oh, and it was all going so well. Don't tell me you need to move the gamepad to look around.
    • 41:12 - Gah, 2015 again! Is it weird that I want to clean up all that paint with FLUDD. Potential DLC idea, Nintendo? :D
    • 42:49 - Social media! Looks like there one last thing coming up. Something else for the 3DS?
    • 43:12 - Nope, another Smash Bros. character. ???? From Kid Icarus? 
    • 43:29 - Whoa, what is this? A Smash Bros. anime? 
    • 44:38 - No, right the first time. Now I'm kind of disappointed. That looked pretty cool, this though: eh.
    • 45:59 - No, not Dark Pit! (Who?) Also, time for one final , final thing. Looks like Miyamoto's here to pretend like like anyone still cares about making use of the gamepad.
    • 46:52 - Whoa. No, it looks like they're making good on those promises and they'll have something playable at E3. But anyway, that's a Nintendo Digital Event.
    (Still need to wrap this up, so consider this an exclusive, early access alpha version. :D Screw you, Destiny. Oh, and no Microsoft this year, guys. Just could not put myself through blogging another one, especially now that I don't even have the Microsoft console de jour any more. Crackdown though, that might be cool. But man, that Conker reveal in Project Spark? There are no words...)

    So, those predictions:
    1. No Zelda WRONG  For me, easily the biggest surprise this year. I was utterly convinced we weren't going to see this. Though I'm very glad to be proven wrong; Really liked the look of the game and I couldn't be more excited about the more open world direction they're taking it in.
    2. Definitely more Mario CORRECT Not just Mario Maker, Mario Party 10 is also on the way.
    3. Mario Maker is real CORRECT
    4. NFC! I'm going to say WRONG here. We did get the Amiibo segment, but NFC was hardly a big focus this year.
    5. A new NFC-based Nintendo title WRONG For the moment it looks like we're just getting Amiibo shoehorned into other stuff. Though I wouldn't be surprised to see this turn up next year. Oh, and bonus prediction: Amiibo is going to be a huge part of Animal Crossing on the Wii U.
    6. More HD Remasters WRONG And it sounds like they might be done with this kind of thing on the Wii U entirely, if some translated Miyamoto comments from the recent investor meeting are to be believed. Which is kind of a shame; a frankenstick-free version of Kid Icarus Uprising or a non-garbage looking Twilight Princess would have been pretty great.
    7. 3DS eShop games coming to the Wii U WRONG Though I do expect to see more Pushmo World style sequels in the future.
    8. At least one unannounced, major Japanese third party game, published by Nintendo. CORRECT It wasn't shown here but Devil's Third was was at E3 and it's been picked up by Nintendo. Haven't gotten around to watching any footage yet, but apparently it's not looking too hot.
    9. DS Virtual Console is available NOW! WRONG Though they could have totally pulled this off, at least on the European stream. Brain Training came out only four days later. Granted, there aren't any more DS games on the horizon, but how would that be different to the launch of any other system on Virtual Console. :D
    10. No Star Fox or F-Zero WRONG Not shown during the stream either (Well, it was kind of, I was just too busy thinking up dumb jokes to notice. :D) but easily the second biggest surprise this year for me, was the appearance of that Star Fox tech demo. I suppose there's every chance that it'll amount to nothing, but Nintendo are apparently looking for a developer, so fingers crossed (that it's Treasure).
    11. Definitely, definitely no Eternal Darkness sequel CORRECT Oh come on, as if this was ever going to happen. Should have backed that Kickstarter when you had the chance. :D

    Four out of eleven. Man, that's... that's not great. I'm almost dropping down into video game analyst territory there. :D

    Overall, I thought Nintendo put on a great show this year - well-presented, nicely paced and showcasing a damn solid line-up. The new Zelda looks great, and they certainly seem to be taking the right steps steps to evolving the series; Splatoon looks super fun and it's very encouraging to see them not just putting out a new IP (they have done that a fair bit on 3DS), but showcasing it in such a major way; Yoshi, given some of the recent series entries I'm still a bit cautious about, but damn, that footage looked incredible; Hell, I'm even excited about Hyrule Warriors and everyone's been shitting on that non-stop since day one. :D

    As far as console sales go, this was a very core Nintendo fan focused show and I think it'll get fair share of them to finally pick up a Wii U. Your average core gamer though, probably not unless they're into Smash Bros.. Actually there wasn't really anything here aimed squarely at the casual crowd either.

    I have a feeling Nintendo thinks Amiibo could well be a hit with both thus driving Wii U sales, but I'm not so sure about Amiibo. Much like the Wii U game pad, it feels like they're rushing these figures out to cash in on a current trend without ever figuring out what purpose they'll serve in the first place. Without some compelling uses for these figures they're not going to sell, much less shift consoles and I not sure they've provided any yet. Real life assist trophies? I don't know. I could maybe see them being used to good effect in the next Animal Crossing though. Much like everything else at E3 this year, I guess we'll have to wait until 2015 to find out.

    (Mmm, so wolly)

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