E3 2014: Nintendo Digital Event Wrap Up
Just as last year, Nintendo decided not to hold a full blown press conference at this years E3, deciding to deliver another “Nintendo Direct” style online presentation, which they called the “Nintendo Digital Event.” This event contained a number of announcements, some expected, some unexpected, but altogether made for an amazing presentation from Nintendo. Let’s take a look at what Nintendo showed us just a few hours ago.
- The Legend of Zelda for Wii U made its debut! It’ll be out in 2015 and it’ll be a massive, open world game. The gameplay trailer didn’t quite deliver on the Zelda HD tech demo we saw back in 2011, with the graphical style appearing to be a cross between Skyward Sword and the cel-shaded graphics of Wind Waker HD, but it still looks absolutely incredible. Needless to say, I can’t wait!
- Hyrule Warriors got a release window (sometime in September 2014) and a new trailer that looks suitably epic. Zelda and Midna are playable characters, and there will be a progression system which allows players to upgrade their skills by using rupees. It may not be the full Zelda experience but with that not coming until next year, Hyrule Warriors looks set to be good enough to tide us over.
- Starfox is coming for the Wii U! We didn’t really see a lot of this game, with Miyamoto telling us that the game started development back on the original Wii and has only seen more development on the Wii U in “the last six to 10 months.” It doesn’t even matter that there’s not a trailer. The fact that there’s a new Starfox coming, and it’ll be in HD on the Wii U is enough to get me excited!
- Bayonetta 2 got another new trailer and, at last, a release window! No specific date, sadly, but we now know it’ll be dropping sometime during October 2014. We also know that purchasing the game will give you a free copy of the original Bayonetta, and you can also wear costumes such as Link or Samus!
- Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was announced for Wii U, coming sometime in 2015. Based on the incredibly fun Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World, this should please many of those people who left comments on Miiverse that they would buy a game based on this. It’s a clear sign of Nintendo giving the consumer what they want, and you can’t begrudge them for listening. No trailer, but the screenshots look good!
- Super Smash Brothers for both Wii U and 3DS got more information. we now know the 3DS version has been pushed back to October 3rd. The Wii U version still doesn’t have a release date, but we’re assured it’ll be in 2014 (so expect it around Christmas, I’m guessing). We also learned your own Mii will be able to join the fight, so if you’ve ever wondered what it would look like for Samus to punch you in the face, now you’ll be able to see!
- Devils Third is a new game by ex-Team Ninja boss Tomonobu Itagaki. The trailer shows a very adult orientated game, with lots of violence, swearing and sex. Not a bad thing, but what’s most surprising about it is the game is being published by Nintendo themselves, making this a Wii U exclusive. This seems to suggest Nintendo wants to start taking steps towards removing the “Nintendo is for kids” stereotype they’re often burdened with. It uses the Darksiders 2 engine, and seems to be a cross between a third person action game and a first person shooter. The trailer didn’t exactly wow me, but time will tell if this ends up being a winner or a stinker.
- The game by Monolith Soft previously known only as X is now known as Xenoblade Chronicles X, confirming what we all suspected; that this is indeed a sequel to the Wii’s Xenoblade. That’s a good thing, as the original Xenoblade was an incredible game that received nowhere near the attention it deserved, coming as it did right near the end of the Wii’s lifecycle. So why is this news only “OK”, you ask? because the new trailer seems to be a bit of a downgrade to the stunning original trailer revealed at last years E3. That trailer had me pumped for this game, but this new trailer appears to have sacrificed some of the realism and visual quality for more cartoony art. Ultimately what will matter is if the game is any good, and being a sequel to Xenoblade it probably will be, but the new trailer has dampened my enthusiasm for this game a little. It’s also been pushed back to 2015, and that’s also disappointing.
- Mario Party 10 was announced. The Mario Party games have been hit or miss since the end of the Gamecube era, so while I hope this will be good, it’s a case of “bitten multiple times so now I’m super shy.” The trailer looks just about like what you’d expect, although it did seem to drop some frames of animation here and there. It’s coming in 2015, so probably some more work to do…
- Mario Maker, also coming in 2015, is a new app coming for Wii U that let’s you build your own 2D Mario courses. As the trailer demonstrates, it uses art assets from the original Super Mario Brothers on NES and also New Super Mario brothers U. It looks like fun, but it’s not exactly an earth shattering announcement.
- We now know the Nintendo figurine system that will take advantage of the Wii U Gamepad’s NFC capabilities is called “Amiibo.” It’ll be used in conjunction with games like Super Smash Brothers U, Mario Party 10 and, most interestingly of all, Mario Kart 8. There’ll also be a peripheral released for 3DS next year that will allow Amiibo to work with the handheld. I’m not a huge fan of this NFC figurine business (because I’m not 10), but Bill Trinen explains it well enough in this video to make me interested just enough to not dismiss the idea entirely.
- The Gamecube controller adaptor for the Wii U got a price! It’ll be $20US, and one of the new Super Smash Brothers themed GC controllers will set you back around $30US. Both the adaptor and the controller can be bought in a bundle with Super Smash Brothers for $100US, which makes me suspect that this won’t be released until the Wii U version of Super Smash Brothers releases. This is disappointing because while it’ll be nice to use the Wavebird again (Nintendo’s best ever controller, in my opinion), there was no announcement of a Gamecube virtual console, which I pretty much expected was a shoe in for E3. Oh well. Hopefully sometime in 2014…
- A new IP named Splatoon was announced for Wii U. A 4v4 paintball arena team based shooter, the trailer shows that it features a nice visual style and some interesting gameplay elements, like being able to transform into a squid. It appears that it’ll be a smaller, downloadable title released on the eShop.
- Yarn Yoshi is now called Yoshi’s Wooly World. The video we saw shows it has similar gameplay elements to Yoshi’s Island and that it features some highly realistic, beautiful textures, but also looks like it’ll be a very kiddy orientated game. It’s coming for Wii U sometime in 2015.
- Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is another kiddy friendly game. Based on the trailer, it looks like it’s going to be a sequel of sorts to the DS’ Canvas Curse. That game was great, but this trailer looks very underwhelming. It’s also due out in 2015.
- Mario vs Donkey Kong is coming to Wii U sometime in 2015. Not the world’s most amazing series, but still, more Wii U games is a good thing.
If you’re sick of reading about what’s coming out for Wii U, that’s probably because virtually every announcement this year had something to do with the Wii U. The 3DS got very little love at this years E3. Apart from some info on the 3DS version of Super Smash Brothers and some Pokemon news, there was very little love for the handheld that is, by all accounts, keeping Nintendo’s gaming business alive while the wII u flounders. One assumes Nintendo is hoping that third parties and indies will keep the 3DS release stream flowing while Nintendo themselves focus their finite resources on saving the Wii U, but still, this is very disappointing. And worrying… is the 3DS on its last legs?
This was one of Nintendo’s strongest ever E3 presentations, if only because of the fact we saw not one but TWO Zelda games and got confirmation of a new Starfox game. There was a lot of other good stuff that helped bolster the overall presentation, but the fact that most of it is coming out in 2015 is a disappointment. Beyond Hyrule Warriors in September, Bayonetta 2 in October and Super Smash Brothers sometime around November/December, we’re looking at a fairly quiet schedule for the next few months. It would also have been nice to see some kind of announcement on a Gamecube virtual console service and, as always a new F-Zero game. The lack of much in the way of 3DS gaming announcements was also a worry. One thing is for certain, though; 2015 will be a spectacular time to be a Wii U owner.
What were your thoughts on the Nintendo digital event? Did it deliver the goods, or were you left wanting more? Let me know in the comments below!