Monday, June 26, 2017

Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017 - Not-so-live Impressions

So after an all Zelda E3 last year, Nintendo seem to be back to doing a more Nintendo Direct type thing this year. It looks like it's going to be around a thirty minute presentation this time, which I think we can reasonably expect to focus pretty heavily on Mario Odyssey. That probably doesn't leave much scope for too many new announcements, but hey, where's the fun in that?


1. Super Smash Bros. 4 DX: Now, unlike a lot of people, I don't really expect every Wii U game of any worth to get ported over to the Switch. We've already had Splatoon 2 get announced when everyone was just expecting a port of the first game, and if you look at the number of re-releases and remasters that Nintendo have put out in the past, it's actually pretty low. Everyone's gotten used to this kind of thing being an inevitability from the gigantic pile of remasters we've seen this gen., but I just don't think it's Nintendo's style

Smash though, reportedly takes quite a toll on Sakurai every installment, so I think they'll give him a few more years at least to come up with the next one, if they don't end up passing the torch to someone else entirely, which might take even more time to figure out. Plus, with the boatload of DLC they've released for Smash 4, an all-in-one package would make really attractive proposition. I think this is lock here.

2. Some kind of Resident Evil announcement: If there's one thing Capcom love to do, it's port Street Fighter and Resident Evil to new platforms. We've already had the former, and with the Switch doing pretty well now, its only a matter of time until the latter pops up in some form. Maybe a Revelations collection, but my money would be on 4, because of course.

3. Animal Crossing: I know I've predicted this every year since time immemorial :D, but this year, for sure, its 100% super duper actually happening. For real.

4. No Mario Maker: I don't think a follow-up/port of Mario Maker is far off. I'm going to say that it'll be out before E3 next year, and I expect it'll be a sequel rather than a straight port, but with Odyssey and that Rabbids game coming out this year, I don't think they'll want to flood the market with too much Mario.

5, A new Platinum IP: There's been scuttlebutt before this that Platinum had something in the works for the Switch. Some people were expecting Bayonetta 3. I kind of suspect that 2 didn't sell well enough to immediately get a sequel greenlit, so I'm expecting something new if they have anything to show here.

6. A new Nintendo multi-sports IP: Kind of pulling this one out of my butt, but bare with me here. So, I think Wii Sports is basically done for the moment; Wii Sports Club didn't exactly set the world on fire. And, after quite tepid receptions, I think the last few Mario sports games may have soured the well on those for a few years too. So, there's a gap on the Switch for some fun, casual-ish sports games now. With Nintendo's new-found love of online games and Dreamcast-like character designs, I think they're going to launch a new, colourful, arcadey IP, featuring multiple sports here; maybe extreme sports; maybe even combining some of their old sports franchises into one game. Wave Race x 1080 x Pilotwings: it's going to happen, people! :D

7. Arms amiibos: Of course they're going to unveil some amiibos at this thing. My heart says Tetra, but my head says Arms; so many Arms amiibos.

New Donk City, here we come!

  • 00:13 - Boom! Yes! And here's the sports game. :D Nah, it's probably Arms.
  • 00:19 - Yep!
  • 00:31 - And Rocket League. That's not a bad get, and hey, certainly a game that fills that casual sports gap I was babbling on about before.
  • 00:38 - Ah, there's nothing I enjoy more than a quick Switch session before throwing down with the Drift King.
  • 00:47 - There he is!
  • 00:58 - Hey, from that, to school. This is Tokyo Drift! Looks like we've got some Pokkén action here. Hopefully the games in this trailer aren't getting extended segments later though. Holy crap, that'd be disappointing. :D
  • 01:03 - FIFA. Oh, yeah. That's happening.
  • 02:16 - "The Game is fun". I don't know, Reggie; Michael Douglas didn't seem to be having that much fun.
  • 02:48 - Oh! An odyssey, you say, Reggie (in amongst all that other interchangeable bibble :D).
  • 03:00 - Why are you still talking, Reggie. Why am I not seeing Mario!?
  • 03:13 - I was kind of expecting that living room to give way to to New Donk City, but the Windows XP desktop is cool too I guess. :D
  • 03:22 - Okay, so that whole segment went nowhere. :D Is this Mario? Those clouds do look a bit too realistic though.
  • 03:27 - No, it's Xenoblade 2. Still feel so bad that I haven't even touched the original game yet.
  • 04:05 - And the environments look so good! 
  • 04:44 - I can't even see myself getting around to that first game this year though, let alone the sequel. I have a bunch of half-finished stuff I want to complete at the moment, and after that, I'm determined to finally tackle MGS3. And RPGs take so long!
  • 05:54 - Whoah, I'm pretty sure that was Peter Capaldi talking about the Ageis (or whatever. JRPG stuff. :D).
  • 06:15 - Winter 2017. Pretty soon.
  • 06:33 - A first look now at a new Switch Kirby game by the look of it. Damn it! That would have been a smart prediction, with the 25th anniversary this year.
  • 06:52 - 4 player co-op, but otherwise, this looks like very traditional Kirby. It's pretty early for a Kirby game on the Switch though, anniversary or not. I suspect this was a Wii U game that got moved over. Just like Animal Crossing. Oh, you know it's going to happen; I'm so right it hurts! :D
  • 07:23 - Whispy Woods? Wow, really breaking the mold there, Nintendo. :D
  • 07:30 - Kirby.......?
  • 07:34 - Nope, no subtitle. 2018 though. Yeah, sure, I'll play a HD Kirby game.
  • 07:39 - I have to admit, I'm really not paying attention here. I can't take my eyes off those mini wind turbines with solar panels outside Nintendo HQ. Man, those are awesome.
  • 08:42 - I'm not sure I buy that the Switch is being used all over the place for local multiplayer, but okay.
  • 08:43 - Man, their special friend here better not be Todd Howard, or some guy from EA. :D
  • 08:51 - No, it's, I think, the head of the Pokémon Company. Is Pokémon Stars going to get announced. Not that it'll actually be called that, because that's obviously the most made up by a fanboy, fake name in the world.
  • 09:03 - Never did get around to picking up Pokkén, and that Wii U version never came down in price. Might end up getting this one.
  • 09:34 - Oh snap! There it is. The way he's phrasing this though, I suspect that this will be a whole new game and not a third version of an existing one. Pokemon Stars confirmed fake. (Spoiler: it was always fake.)
  • 10:03 - I was going to ask where Koizumi was this time, but it's probably working on Mario Odyssey.
  • 10:16 - You hear that, guys: they're working on many forms of entertainment. The Vitality Sensor dream is alive!
  • 10:29 - This looks like space. Introducing Mass Effect 3: Switch Edition. It's never been a better time to jump into the series. Oh, and somehow we've also broken all the animation here too. Whoops!
  • 10:37 - Oh shit! It looks like the screw attack/Metroid Prime logo is forming here. The hairs are standing up on the back of my neck. It can't be. Can it?
  • 10:45 - Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuk yes!!!!!!!!!! I am 1000% down for another Metroid Prime.
  • 10:58 - Speaking of Mass Effect though, there's even less here than there was at the EA conference where they announced Andromeda. It's literally a logo. :D I'll take it though!! I wonder if Retro are still developing? Hopefully they haven't given it to Team Ninja. :D
  • 11:20 - What's this? Looks very indie game-ish.
  • 11:28 - No, it's Yoshi. Doesn't look like Woolly World though; maybe a Captain Toad-like spin-off? The levels look very diorama-ish.
  • 12:11 - Not really a fan of the art style here. It's kind of Pikmin, but done on the cheap. You know what: I bet some spin-off of Artoon are making this, and it's probably going to suck. :D
  • 12:34 - No subtitle for this either. Strange.
  • 12:38 - It's Koei Tecmo time. Fire Emblem Warriors, I'd imagine.
  • 13:20 - Yeah, I still don't know enough about Fire Emblem to know if this is it or not. :D
  • 13:30 - Finally! A character I recognize from Smash Bros.. Fire Emblem: confirmed.
  • 14:11 - Fall 2017. Soon, again. Man, they really crank those Musou games out. When they only had a logo to show in January, I would have expected next year at least.
  • 14:16 - Zelda DLC time. Proud to say that I'm still holding strong not buying that season pass. I guess it helps that that the details of the first pack didn't really do much for me. I was mildly looking forward to the Cave of Trials type mode, but having all your gear taken away for it? Eff that noise.
  • 14:26 - Yeah, that BoTW outfit in Skyrim looks kind of bad.
  • 14:33 - Not as bad as that dude's face though. Woof! :D
  • 15:14 - Damn, hearing those BoTW sounds again make me want to jump back in, but I still have no interest in this mode. I spent enough time surviving at the beginning of the game, and while it was fun, I've been through that. I have all this cool gear now; let me dominate all these fools with it.
  • 15:43 - The Hero's Path though, I'd really like to see on my map just to know what it looks like. That time I tried to go in a straight line to discover Rito Village, like, six hours into the game. Who could have foreseen that many mountains?!
  • 16:08 - And a hard mode? Similarly, no thanks. :D
  • 16:28 - Really hope that this is available as a wallpaper. I've had that Link scaling a cliffside concept art on my desktop for a year now. This is the only thing I'll change it for. :D
  • 16:41 - Kass! Can someone who's that obsessed with ancient riddles really be that bad at figuring them out. You'd think he'd have given up by now. :D
  • 17:28 - The Champion's Ballad, eh? I suppose they're going back to Link's previous adventure from 100 years ago in this pack. That trailer wasn't much to go on though.
  • 17:55 - More Breath of the Wild amiibos!! You're breaking me here, Nintendo! :D Mipha looks great though.
  • 17:58 - Daruk looks dope!!
  • 18:00 - Revali, I'm not sure I'd bother with though. It's an okay amiibo, but he was just kind of off-brand Falco in the game, wasn't he?
  • 18:05 - Oh wow, Urbosa 's pose is a bit racey for a Nintendo product. Man, she looks awesome!
  • 18:22 - I'd like to imagine Reggie's just been babbling to himself about "the game" on this green screen this whole time. Is he going to Delaware next? "Hi, I'm in Delaware... The game."
  • 18:39 - Wait. Tropical Freeze? Pikmin 3? They've been sitting on this b-roll for a while.
  • 18:58 - Oh good, e-sports.
  • 20:03 - I thought it'd finally be finally Odyssey time here, but no, it's Mario + Rabbids, which actually looked kind of intriguing at the Ubisoft conference, despite how terrible it sounded as an idea. Not as exciting as BG&E 2 though. Maaan, I don't even have that much love for the original game, but holy crap, I'm excited for that. That world looks amazing.
  • 20:11 - It's Yves himself, in front of shelves laden with Ubisoft figurines. They really seem to be going hard on those this year. Not to shill more for them, but I picked up the three pack of Fractured But Whole figures last year, and they're really quite nice.
  • 20:59 - Yep, I'm sure those rabbid Peach selfie jokes will never get old. :D
  • 21:22 - Damn! I thought I might have had a shot at my sports prediction there. No, it's Rocket League again.
  • 21:35 - There are Nintendo custom items in this version, because of course there are.
  • 21:42 - Phew, they're just devs. I was sure we were about to get the lowdown from a couple of Rocket league pros *slash* shoutcasters *slash* who-could-care here. :D
  • 21:54 - Cross platform play. Not something you'd expect to see on a Nintendo platform. Still rare enough in general, I guess.
  • 22:16 - Hmm, I was thinking Mario, but that stomping sounds very Donkey Kong here.
  • 22:22 - Uh, what? Dino Crisis 4 has certainly taken a different direction.
  • 22:37 - Oh! This is Mario. What?!
  • 22:42 - New Donk Orchestra!
  • 22:45 - Don't know how I feel about Mario on a scooter. A kart sure.
  • 22:47 - Oh, that looks interesting. That's oddly minimalist for a Mario game, and dare I say it: kind of indie game-ish.
  • 22:54 - Prehistoric world: confirmed. What's this music though? Oof, this is some real Sonic R type business here. :D
  • 23:01 - Ghost hat!
  • 23:11 - Oh, looks like Mario's going to have some costume changes here. I approve.
  • 23:13 - Those birds have hats!
  • 23:27 - Whoa, Mario's tripping balls!!
  • 23:38 - Oh! So it looks like you can fire your hat at enemies to control them. Neat! And what's up with this song? "I'll be your one-off girl"? I swear if Mario has a one night stand with a real human... (Edit: On repeat listens it's clearly "1-up girl". The more I think about it, the more I'm not sure if that's better, or worse. :D )
  • 23:44 - Man, this and Metro: Exodus. #YearoftheZipline
  • 23:57 - Wait, maybe the song's from Peach's perspective. Even so, those lyrics are still... questionable.
  • 24:25 - No, of course! It's the New Donk Orchestra that are performing this, with a real human woman on vocals. Yep, back to being super gross again. :D (Hold on, is that Pauline?)
  • 24:34 - October 27! I'm there.
  • 24:41 - And that's it. Mercifully no EA segment. Hooray! :D

Now how did I do on those predictions? Not so hot, I'd imagine.

1. Super Smash Bros. 4 DX WRONG - Huh. I'm kind of surprised on this one. I suppose it's possible they want to avoid competition with Arms and Pokkén DX by announcing this now, and we'll see it in, maybe, November for an early 2018 release. Then again, maybe they're moving ahead with the next installment in the series now.

2. Some kind of Resident Evil announcement WRONG -  Not this time, but this is still pretty much an inevitability.

3. Animal Crossing WRONG - Pretty surprised by this too. I've long held the theory that the Wii U Animal Crossing - the one that the tidal wave of cards and amiibo was probably intended for - had been cancelled and moved to the Switch. If that was the case, a somewhat early release would make sense. Maybe they've gone back to the drawing board on this one though, or maybe they've decided to give the franchise a rest for a while. Maybe I was wrong about that Wii U version ever existing. No, that can't be it. :D

4. No Mario Maker CORRECT

5, A new Platinum IP WRONG

6. A new Nintendo multi-sports IP WRONG - Well, this was never going to happen, was it? :D I did hear on one of Giant Bomb's E3 streams that someone else had been talking about a very similar concept on Twitter though. It's in the air, people; it's going to happen. :D

7. Arms amiibos WRONG - Weird. I was positive we'd see some by now. Maybe they've been waiting and seeing how Arms sells first. They certainly don't want another Animal Crossing situation on their hands. Last I head at least one US retailer was running a buy one get two free offer on them. Yikes!

One out of seven. Wow, I'm bad at this! :D

Final thoughts? At twenty four minutes, is there that much to say? :D Short as it was though, I think Nintendo managed to pack enough in there to come out with a pretty solid showing this year. Mario is looking fantastic. That new Kirby games looks good; Yoshi: less so, though it is apparently being developed by Good Feel again, so who knows? Together with Xenoblade 2, Fire Emblem Warriors and Mario + Rabbids, I think those form a pretty decent first party line-up for the time being. 

Third party support I didn't expect to see too much of here. The success of the Switch will have caught most of them by surprise I think, much like what happened with the Wii. In the Wii's case, it was around 2008 when you finally saw the fruits of third parties getting started with development late with the likes of Boom Blox, Klonoa, Okami etc. -  a year and change after the system's launch. I think we'll see the same sort of thing happen on the Switch. Will the Switch still be a big success then? Who can say? I am a little surprised that we didn't see at least a couple of logo-only announcements though. I really thought Resident Evil had a good shot of being one; maybe a second Ubisoft property too, but no: nothing. Again though, it's early days. I'm also a bit surprised to see none of the smaller Japanese games announced back in January pop up here, or any indies outside of Rocket League. Perhaps they didn't feel that E3 was the venue for them? Sony certainly seem to feel that way these days.

Of course, we got two major announcements dropped in here too: a new Switch Pokémon, and, probably the biggest bombshell Nintendo could have deployed here - a brand new Metroid game in development. A new Prime no less: a series that couldn't have seemed more dead right up until this very moment (No, Federation Force absolutely does not count. :D). I think those announcements represent a real change in approach by Nintendo to announcing games early. It's something they seemed to have been avoiding like the plague throughout the Wii and Wii U eras; to very little benefit, as far as I could see. Finally though, with these announcements, as well as Breath of the Wild before them, it looks like those days might be coming to an end. Sure, that'll result in a lot more waiting and, potentially, ever-building hype for announced games that only leads to disappointment in the end, but I'll take those. I'll take exciting announcements and a rough idea of what the future has in store over being left totally in the dark any day.

Overall then, a good showing, even if the the lack of third party offerings was somewhat disappointing, though not unexpected.

Having said all that though, I think Nintendo were crazy to leave the announcements that followed in the wake of that Spotlight video out. Sure they managed just fine without them, but holy shit, this was megaton grade stuff they were sitting on: announcements that would have made that video all the more impressive; that would have blown people's minds. I know they did mine.

I feel like I wouldn't be exercising due diligence here without briefly getting into them, so let's do that:

First up, during the Treehouse Stream that immediately followed the Spotlight was Metroid: Return of Samus: a 3DS remake of Metroid II.  Like, holy crap!! How do you leave this out of your main E3 presentation? And don't tell me that everyone was watching the Treehouse Live stream! I very much wasn't. I only found out about this days later when I had the Super Best Friends stream of the conference on in the background. I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. I mean, sure, I guess this might have taken some of the impact out of the Metroid Prime 4 announcement, with this being nearly finished and with Prime 4 having nothing to show at all. Still, I think it this trailer would have made a perfect stinger, right after the copyright notices. Prime 4 would still have had it's time to shine (or at least it's logo would :D), and what a drop the mic moment this would have been.

As for the game itself, I have to say that I am a little disappointed that they went with this 2.5D, 3D model-based look for it, and I am slightly worried with this being developed by Mercury Steam instead of Nintendo internally. (Man, how great would an official Metroid II remake that looked and played like a HD Metroid: Zero Mission be?) Still, I have faith that with Nintendo at the helm this will turn out pretty well, and that collector's edition....


Next, well I'm cheating here; no one would care about these apart from lunatics like me and Dan Rykert, but hot damn these Mario Odyssey amiibos are incredible! :D

Those weren't the only amiibo to not appear in the Spotlight either. Samus Returns is getting a couple of it's own. First, this Samus amiibo in her pose from the Metroid II cover art. Pretty cool.

And this freakin' squishy Metroid, breaking out of it's tank! Nintendo, you magnificent bastards! :D

Seriously though, the other actual megaton was this, of course: the Super NES Classic, which, again, looks super cute; has a pretty great line-up of games; and includes, for the first time ever, an official release of Star Fox 2!! Needless to say, my pre-order is already in. No guarantee I'll be able to get my hands on one, but it's worth a shot at least. :D I did get lucky with the NES Classic though *cough* and then spent like an hour playing it in total. *cough*.

I'm not exactly thrilled however that they're charging an extra twenty euros for this one. I suspect it's mostly Square-Enix tax with Final Fantasy VI (not III. Suck it, USA. :D), Secret of Mana and Super Mario RPG all appearing in the line-up, but they could have at least thrown a few more first party games on there to make up for it. And no DKC 2? For shame, Nintendo.

In the end, I suppose it doesn't matter that they left this stuff out of their E3 video. And goodness knows, "winning" E3 doesn't matter, but had they had that one-two punch of 2D Metroid and the SNES Classic with Star Fox 2 in there, I really think they would have stolen the show, and would have ended up, in the most unorthodox fashion possible, dominating a lot more of the mind share and conversation around E3 this year. Still, I think that they're learning: both how to satisfy their fans, and the right kind of note to hit for an E3 presentation. Next step: maybe loose the bizarre Reggie monologues.

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