Friday, June 22, 2018

Nintendo Direct: E3 2018 - Not-so-live Impressions

So, back to just Nintendo this year - as much as I had fun going over the last couple of Microfoft conferences (No, really!), man, what do you say about Halo, Forza, Gears, Crackdown, We Happy Few etc. for the third year running, especially having not played a single second of any of them in the meantime? Maybe some of the acquisitions they announced this year will throw up some excitement in the future. For now though we've got Gears Pops! and a Battletoads logo. "Exceptional creativity in gaming" indeed, Phil. :)

But hey, Nintendo! So, obviously, Smash is going to be the big game of their E3 this year. Metroid Prime 4 probably going to feature pretty prominently here too; possibly a Bayonetta 3 teaser in there somewhere. But, there's no need for speculation. I'm here to lay down exactly what's about to go down. Oh you know it, it's time for..


1.) Ridley in Smash - *sigh* As lame as Ridley will undoubtedly be in Smash. - Fight me, fanboys! - I suspect this is inevitable this time. The demand has been deafening since freakin' Melee, and with Metroid Prime 4 on the horizon, it'd make for a nice tie-in - possibly even an amiibo with cross-game functionality. Yeah, it's happening.
2.) Simon Belmont in Smash - With Konami making a couple of moves Castlevania-wise lately, and long-standing fan demand here too, I think he has a pretty good shot at getting in this time.
3.) Metroid Prime 4 is a giant monkey's paw! - I really don't want this to come true, but man, when I think of Star Fox Zero and the unnecessary touch screen stuff, I can't help but fear that Nintendo will, in the interests of innovation, and not wanting to repeat themselves, make some bizarre decision with MP4, probably control-wise, swearing up and down until release date that 'no, when you play it like this, it's actually so much better'. And it wont be! It'll be the absolute biggest bummer imaginable.
4.) Final Fantasy...something - Sure, Square has been doing it's old school RPG thing on the Switch, but with it's current level of success I think they'll feel confident to anoint it with some kind of Final Fantasy announcement - maybe even a new Switch exclusive. I'm envisioning a very brief CG trailer, precious few details and absolutely no further updates for at least two years. So, you know, every S-E announcement.
5.) Star Fox Racing isn't a thing - The appearance of Star Fox in Starlink at the Ubi conference has made me slightly iffy about this. After Star Fox Zero, I kind of expected the Star Fox crew to be put into hiding for a while for a while, but, hey, maybe Nintendo isn't done with them quite yet. I don't know though, like Pokemon Stars before it - also confirmed by 'insider' sources I'm pretty sure (certainly not Googling it) - this kind of reeks of BS. And if not, I'm going to be super, super bummed because this just sounds like the worst thing in the world. Basically "eff you F-Zero, Star Fox and Retro fans. Check out this trash fire!"
6.) Fire Emblem - Quite a big franchise now for Nintendo, and it fees like about the time to announce the first Switch installment.
7.) A Project Zero/Fatal Frame collection - Kind of reaching with this one, and this may not be the venue, and it might not be a collection, but I think there's a decent chance we'll see the PJ games made under Nintendo's tenure at least given a second shake on the Switch.
8.) Soul Calibur 6 - It won't be as pretty, but with the Switch doing well, I think they'll find a way. Maybe even Tekken 6 too.
9.) At least one new Ubisoft announcement - I'm tempted to say a Switch-tailored Assassin's Creed, but that series has become such a monster in terms of dev talent needed, I can't really see it happening. Nintendo and Ubi have had a pretty good relationship for the last few generations. We've had Mario + Rabbids, which, with the Mario brand to help it along, I think was a tentative step onto the Switch for Ubi after the Wii U failed to deliver. With the Switch doing pretty well now, I suspect they'll be confident enough to announce a project or two outside of Just Dance and Rabbids.
10.) N64 Classic - It mightn't be shown during this, but with Nintendo renewing the N64 trademarks recently just like they did with the SNES ones last year, there's a very good chance this is on the way. Expecting a mostly first-party dominated line-up though. I'm sure Microsoft would take a slice of the profits in exchange for Rare's catalog, if Nintendo was interested, but you know they won't be.

So, let's get to it!

00:22 - Okay? Looks like some kind of mech fighting game, maybe.

00:24 - Guessing this is based on some, at least, semi-famous license give how this guy's being framed here. There are probably like, anime fans screaming in delight at what they're witnessing here. I've got nothing.

00:37 - Ooh, I like the look of this. There's a slight flat-shaded Suda-y vibe to it.
00:55 - Wow, this music! :D It's like I've been whisked back to that magical pop culture high point that was the early 00's.

01:33 - Yeah, this looks quite promising - kind of Zone of the Enders-ish combat; cool look. Hopefully you're not listing to this for the duration though, 'cause holy crap!

01:48 - Daemon X Machina. Sure.

02:10 - Looks we're setting up for another Tokyo RPG Factory joint now.
02:26 - Or not. I may still not have played any of them but 'Aegis' is definitely a Xenoblade thing. (In my defense, I am working my way through Tokyo Mirage Sessions at the moment though. - Eh, what can I say, j-pop teens > dead-god-based land masses.)

02:46 - Yep, definitely Xenoblade. DLC maybe? They're hardly cranking out another sequel already.

02:56 - Gorgeous-looking landscapes as ever. Maybe someday, I'll stop find excuses not to pay these.

03:51 - Ah, okay. It is DLC.

04:07 - Reggie time. Drink! Hey, no, wait, we're not doing that this year. Put it down!

04:18 - Whoa, I'd legitimately forgotten that you can use the joycons turned on their sides as controllers. :D Maybe I'm just not attending enough rooftop parties. Also: what's going on with that Game Boy shrine at the side of the TV? There's like, an original Game Boy box, a giant, fake Game Boy Color, and an actual Game Boy Color, on a pedestal??
04:38 - Oh, Pokémon mention. I'm sure they'll show at least a bit of a tease for the mainline Pokémon Switch game during this.

04:43 - Reggie wasting no time getting to that Pokémon segment. Looks like this is just those Let's Go games though.
04:53 - "A grand, new Pokémon adventure, by which I mean of course a pseudo-remake of Pokémon Yellow"

05:08 - "Play as you like, anywhere you like. As long as you don't want to play without motion controls, in which case, you can eat a dick, straight-up ."

05:21 - A a lover of really dumb peripherals I feel like I should be excited for this Pokéball controller, but it's just so... basic. You throw; you press the button; it fits in your hand. I feel like half the fun with peripherals is the fiddliness, the needless complication they bring. It's no Lego Dimensions portal, that's for sure.

06:13 - Wow, these people have the smallest bowl of popcorn I've ever seen! Oh no, is this Mario Party?

06:25 - It is! Bleah.

06:29 - Ooh, 'Super' Mario Party. Well obviously this installment was such a leap forward for the series that they had no choice but to attach 'Super' to the title.

07:29 - Or not.

08:04 - Hmm, Fire Emblem now maybe?

08:22 - Looking distinctly Fire Emblem-y.

08:26 - Boom, nailed it! Read that as 'Fire Emblem Treehouses' at first, which would certainly be a bold new direction for the series.

10:06 - Seems to be broadly in line with the last few 3DS outings, as far as I can see. Not that I've played them, of course, but, I might be more inclined to check this one out now that it's finally been unshackled from handheld jail. :D (Actually though, I have been playing a decent amount of 3DS over the last hew months. Finding myself in some situations that were suited to playing on a handheld for once, I've beaten Mario 3D Land, and, I'm well into Lorule in Link Between Worlds now. Mastering Fire Emblem by playing for half an hour here and there, maybe putting my 3DS to sleep several times during that: that's a different matter entirely though.)

10:08 - Viva Pinata Switch! It's happening, you guys!!

10:11 - No, sadly not. I see an Epic Games logo in the back of the bus there. It's Fortnite.

10:42 - It's really bothering me that every time we see a Switch dock in this, it's parallel with the TV, taking up the biggest amount of space it possibly can. Jam it in sideways between your Wii U and your RetroPie, like a normal, cool person, Nintendo.

10:46 - Oh right, Fortnte! Hey, it's cool that everyone seems to be enjoying it, but I... just don't care. I'm holding out for the Life is Strange battle royale mode.

12:02 - Speaking of Switch reveals that were leaked well beforehand: Overcooked 2. Another one for the 'eh' pile. :p

12:35 - Wow, three for three on Switch leaks: Killer Queen Black. Looks kind of like multiplayer Joust.

13:02 - Hollow Knight. Only figured out very recently that this wasn't actually a Shovel Knight game. More astonishing indie game facts later!

14:23 - Octopath Traveler. Oh right, now that my internet's fixed, I should finally download that demo.
14:29 - Oh, there's a new demo. Saved data carried over to the full game. Nice!

14:44 - Curse you, Ubisoft!! Not that I wouldn't have ended up getting Starlink at some point anyway - again. finicky, dumb peripherals - but the Star Fox toys really sealed the deal.

14:57 - Minecraft isn't out for Switch yet? News to me! INDIE GAME FACTS!

15:01 - Man, people really liking Sushi Striker. That €60 price tag is a bit rich for my taste, but I'll at least check out that demo at some point.
15:18 - Dragon Ball FighterZ - another leaked title. I wish I was any good at 2D fighters. This looks like it could be kind of neat.

14:41 - Hmm, Ninjala. Kind of a Splatoon-inspired arena combat type deal by the looks of it. (So I'll absolutely never play it then. :D).

16:24 - Ah, The World Ends With You. Coming out in Autumn. Cool.

16:26 - Mega Man 11 I haven't really been following at all. I hope it's good, but there are still so many other Mega Man games that I need to tackle first. Not even really hankering for that amiibo. Still very happy with my Smash Bros. Mega Man.

16:40 - Ooh, Nintendo HQ. Well, I guess we're done with Pokémon. Could be some sort of Mario, possibly Zelda, announcement...

17:10 - New and unique games to surprise people, like Super Mario Party.
17:29 - Turning us over to someone we know? It's got to be Aonuma, right?

17:33 - Nope! It's Smash Bros. time.

17:47 - Glad that we're establishing the basics first.

17:54 - Oh my god, how great would it be if that was literally all they showed?! :D Taking trolling to an unprecedented new level. Our children's children would speak of the forum meltdowns!

17:56 - Boooo! Nintendo, you cowards!

18:16 - Holy shit! Mario's in this?!

18:26 - Okay, looks like this is probably in-game. I think this is stage from the Wii U/3DS one. Don't quote me on that, I haven't played either version since around the time Bayonetta got added. (Edit: Yeah, that's totally Battlefield, isn't it? :D I'll admit it: I'm a fake gamer boy.)

18:48 - Link in this BotW outfit. Oh, I wonder if they're going to change up his move set any bit. You could definitely see them adding some variations of his slate powers in this.

19:07 - That's definitely the Bridge of Eldin. Looks like there are going to be a lot of returning ones. Which was kind of my big problem with Smash 4 - It recycled so much stuff it barley felt like a new game to me. Only after all the new DLC characters and stages did it feel sort of.. complete. And man, much as I love Twilight Princess, does The Bridge of Eldin need to keep returning? It's a bad stage, people! Don't @ me!

19:09 - Zelda getting a pretty big redesign, finally moving away from her TP look. But not adopting her BotW look? Weird.

19:19 - Sonic back for another round. Along with the same Green Hill Zone stage yet again. Damn it, Sakurai!

19:30 - Ice Climbers, back from the dead. Cool! (Sorry.)

19:57 - Ryu back as well. Damn, I'm not sure I used him more than once after paying for him in Smash 4. Might need to boot that up again sometime soon. Then again, my internet sucks; I'm terrible at multiplayer anyway; and the single player content in Smash 4 is barley existent. Maybe not. :D

20:00 - Gannondorf gone from his Twilight Princess incarnation too. While that definitely makes sense at this point, still a bit of a bummer. Those designs were cool, and, it was kind of satisfying to see Nintendo continuing to acknowledge that game, in spite of the prevailing view that it was this giant misstep for the series *slash* outright abomination.

20:13 - Oh Fuck!! The last character I expected to be returning in this was Snake. While current Konami doesn't seem to mind leveraging the IP they own for a quick buck, I was sure that bringing Snake back would be too much like acknowledging Kojima's contribution to the company. I wonder if David Hayter will be back though. Will that be a step too far for them?

20:19 - Huh, so they're bringing everyone back. Well, yeah, I guess if they've locked down Snake, why not?
20:34 - Oh! I wonder if we'll get a Snake amiibo now? YES, gimme!

21:31 - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Certainly a huge improvement over 'for Wii U/for 3DS'.

22:26 - Uh! Suck it, Marvel!

23:16 - It's nice to see the Mario Maker outfit keep popping up in stuff, but damn it, Nintendo, Where's Mario Maker on Switch?

23:24 - Well, at least that's one new stage: the top of one of the towers, though I can't imagine that'd make for a terribly exciting one.

23:26 - Tablet powers confirmed. Damn, I'm good! (Edit: To be fair, that is just an updated bomb. No evidence of any others. And, they already even showed this a couple of minutes ago! Thought you were supposed to be paying attention to this thing, past JiliK. Yeah, you take that shade!)

23:35 - Oh eww! The Tunic of the Wild is so ugly. Thanks for nothing, monks!

24:42 - Nooooooooooo!!! :D
25:43 - Now Shadow Moses: that was a cool stage. Not hearing any VO for Snake here though. They can't just have him be silent, can they?
26:13 - Wait, what? BOTW Zelda isn't into fighting, but Link Between Worlds Zelda is? I just finished my fourth Lorule dungeon today; Zelda not really kicking that much ass so far, I've got to say. :D That's a pretty lame cop-out there, Sakurai. Meanwhile, Ike gets two sets of VO? Come on. (Oh, I wonder if one of her colour variations is based on Hilda though? That'd be something, at least.)

29:42 - Oh that's cool. Seem to be a lot of pretty solid tweaks so far.

32:03 - There are still Wii Fit developers? Interesting.

33:08 - Heck yeah, Daisy!

33:31 - "Now, let's detail every single one of them in excruciating detail."
33:41 - Okay then, finally a fully new fighter!

33:44 - Oh, right! I forgot about the Inkling. I wonder if we're even going to get any new character announcements here. The roster's pretty packed as is.
35:07 - Waluigi still not an actual character. Dan Ryckert will not be happy.

35:25 - Aw man, Bomberman is in, but just as an assist trophy. Boo!

35:35 - Speaking of characters who should be actual fighters, Midna should have totally been in by now!

37:05 - So many old stages, but at least they're adding in some of the 3DS exclusive ones. Having those locked to that version while the Wii U was laden with old ones was a bummer.

37:25 - Yep, the Great Plateau Tower seems to be exactly what I was expecting: a totally flat, boring stage with a nice view.
37:36 - But the top of the tower breaks, and then reforms! Damn it, Sakurai, you just made a vertical Bridge of Eldin!!
38:37 - Fighting game mechanic minutia: my favourite. Yikes, with four minutes left doesn't look like there's much time for any more of my predictions to come true. I wonder if we're even getting a sneak peak at Metroid Prime 4 at this rate.

39:24 - "Introducing the Smash Bros. Ultimate Trance Vibrator"

39:31 - No, sadly not. The persistence of the Gamecube pad always makes me happy though. Hopefully they'll make use of it to do some HD re-releases this time around. Mario Sunshine HD, hopefully with a way to track the blue coins you've collected this time: I'd be way into it.

39:50 - Wait, did I ever use any of the Smash Bros. amiibo I bought in the game?...... Maybe once. :D I regret nothing!

40:48 - Yes! Finally a new challenger. Can't make out where this is. It looks a bit Metroid-y, but my money would be on Simon Belmont. With Snake in, and Bomberman as an assist trophy, Konami seem willing to play ball.

40:59 - *sigh* Looking at this makes me really wish for a good single-player mode with a ton of cool Subspace Emissary-like cut scenes. Not going to happen I fear.

41:02 - Ugggggggghhhhh! It's freakin' Ridley. I totally called it, but it still sucks. :D

41:32 - Smash Bros. fanbase, you're the worst.
42:32 - Yep, Ridley pretty much handles as I always imagined he would, and I want no part of it. :D So I'm watching the Nintendo UK upload of this Direct. Not totally sure if that Smash Bros. date is July or December. Guessing the latter though.

And that's it. Well, that was slightly underwhelming. But, I'm sure they announced a few things cool things afterwards. N64 Mini, right?

Let me just take a quick look here...


Yeah, wow, I think I really whiffed on those predictions. :D

1.) Ridley in Smash CORRECT - Well, of course.
2.) Simon Belmont in Smash WRONG - Still possible, though I was basing this on Konami wanting to make a quick buck with Snake coming back being an absolute no-no. Now that that's not the case, and with Sakurai pouring some water on everyone's new character wishlists here, I think this is far less likely.
3.) Metroid Prime 4 is a giant monkey's paw! ...WRONG,... I GUESS A disappointing, and surprising no-show. It could be a patchislot machine now for all we know.
4.) Final Fantasy...something WRONG
5.) Star Fox Racing isn't a thing CORRECT - Well, for now anyway. Retro have to be working on something, and it doesn't look like they're helping out with Metroid Prime 4.
6.) Fire Emblem CORRECT
7.) A Project Zero/Fatal Frame collection WRONG
8.) Soul Calibur 6 WRONG - I bet this is still going to happen though, and, I'm going to go even further than that. Link is going to be back in the Switch version.
9.) At least one new Ubisoft announcement WRONG - Ubisoft, I'm guessing, much more gun shy after their run on Wii U than I had assumed.
10.) N64 Classic WRONG - The one thing I was certain I'd see when I looked up what was announced after the Direct. Donkey Kong Arcade and Sky Skipper are pretty neat and all, but how cool would an N64 Classic Mini be, if only for the N64 classic controller?

Well, on the upside, at least I didn't fall into the trap of predicting Animal Crossing for the umpteenth time again this year!

Overall, like I said, this Direct was underwhelming. With the Switch doing so well, I really thought we'd see stronger third party support on show here. Not that there was nothing - Fortnite coming to the Switch is definitely a big deal; Indie support is still strong - but, unless Nintendo was holding a bunch of stuff back here, for no discernible reason, it looks like the bigger publishers are still relatively uninterested in the Switch. I suppose that's not unsurprising with the Switch being perceived as more of handheld than a console, given the crumbs that most of them threw the 3DS and the Vita post-launch, but still, it's disappointing.

Having said that, Nintendo is certainly no stranger to having a lack of big third-party content to show. Even so, they put on a pretty lackluster display here. I think they expected Smash, and especially the announcement that all the previous fighters were coming back to steal the show - so much so, that they wouldn't need anything else. Unless you were seriously into Smash though, I don't think that extensive look at the game would have done a whole lot for you. I mean, Snake returning is cool; I'm sure some weirdos are excited about Ridley :D; but does your casual Smash player care that Pichu is back, or about tens of thousands of gameplay changes - most of which I think they got through during that segment? No. (Hey, but I like Pichu! Shut up!)

Besides Smash all they showed was, what, Fire Emblem, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC and, for reasons unknown, yet another Mario Party? If your not a Smash fan, there really wasn't a whole lot for you here. But, meanwhile, Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3, and a fully-fledged new Pokémon are no-shows? As compelling as they might have thought that Smash segment was, how much more exciting would this Direct have been if they'd dropped only just short teaser trailers for that trio here? Ugh, I'm so desperate to see anything from Prime 4 right now! I don't care if you have to play exclusively with the balance board! But no - Nintendo continuing to surprise, as always. Their new president would be proud, maybe. :D

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