[E3 2015] Nintendo Digital Event Synopsis and Reflections

Miss out on Nintendo’s Digital Event? Well, it was considerably shorter than all the other ones, so you can watch it here.  Otherwise, we’ll go over it for you.

By now, all gamers should be used to Nintendo no longer doing the formal press conferences that Sony, Microsoft, and bigger third party companies present their new products in.  In fact, ever since they’ve gone with this format, they’ve really found themselves better off.  There’s no worrying about annoying and miniscule things such as sound checks or random heckling.  It’s just about Nintendo giving the fans what they want.

Unfortunately for Nintendo, they didn’t do much of that with this year’s Digital Event.

The Games

After Nintendo found their inner Robot Chicken last year, the company again went the comedic route and started things off with puppet versions of Reggie Fils-Aime, Satoru Iwata, and Shigeru Miyamoto who all transformed into Peppy, Fox, and Falco to reveal the premiere trailer of Star Fox Zero.

Because "transformation."

Because “transformation.”

The game is the one that many coin to be the marquee Wii U game of 2015, and it features the same gameplay featured in the first three games.  In fact, upon looking at the first trailer, a few of the levels looked completely identical to those found in Star Fox 64.  During the developer piece, Miyamoto mentioned that the game is neither a sequel nor prequel to any of the Star Fox games, as it featured the Arwing transforming into a walker like it did in Star Fox 2 while also bringing back other vehicles like the Landmaster.  The game is coming out this holiday.

After the trailer, Fils-Aime addressed the audience to talk about this year’s theme, transformation.  He cited the fact that many of their franchises, especially the Mario series have transformed throughout the years, and with this, Nintendo is also transforming as he formally announced new commitments such as the partnership with Universal Studios and the ongoing development of the NX, which Nintendo says will shed more light on next year.

Switching gears, Fils-Aime sat with a representative from Activision to talk a partnership to have Bowser and Donkey Kong in Skylanders SuperChargers.  Not surprisingly, the Activision rep showed a dial on both the Bowser and DK Skylanders figures that would also give them Amiibo functionality.  So yes, we’ll be having figures that are both Skylanders and Amiibo.


Cool, Bowser! Cool, Donkey Kong! Oh no… Skylanders!

Amazingly, Fils-Aime didn’t spend hours talking about Amiibo.  In fact, despite the fact that over 17 new figures were shown, it was really only in the Skylanders bit where they were even formally mentioned.

Then came the announcement of a new Zelda game–for the 3DS.  The game is called The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes.  It resembles the multiplayer gameplay of Four Swords, except it’s only three players, hence “Tri Force” instead of triforce. Puns aside, unlike Four Swords, Tri Force Heroes is setting itself up as a true cooperative multiplayer Zelda game, rather than the trolling competition the Four Swords games tend to be.  No word on whether the game is canon and fits in the timeline, though.

Aonuma also confirmed the existence of Hyrule Warriors Legends, a “reimagining” of the Wii U version which will also feature characters from The Wind Waker.  The game is coming out in 2016.

This game looked fun at the Nintendo World Championships, but it's pissing a lot of Nintendo fans off.

This game looked fun at the Nintendo World Championships, but it’s pissing a lot of Nintendo fans off.

The Digital Event proceeded showing puppet Iwata deeply breathing, and then breathing at Fils-Aime causing Fils-Aime to collapse, which led to the announcement of Metroid Prime: Federation Force which includes Blast Ball for the 3DS, the game that was unveiled during a round in Sunday afternoon’s Nintendo World Championships, but it didn’t look like Samus appeared to be in them.  No release window was mentioned.

Another trailer for the new Fire Emblem was shown, now officially titled Fire Emblem Fates.  Then they showed a random Japanese game by the name of Genei Ibun Roku #FE, and nobody knew what the hell it was until a representative confirmed that this is what was once Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem.  Both these titles are due out next year.

Cut to puppet Iwata looking at a bunch of bananas, only to feature a new trailer of Xenoblade Chronicles X (out on Wii U December 4, 2015), Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (out on 3DS September 25, 2015) and a premiere trailer for Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival for the Wii U with a Holiday 2015 release window.  Amiibo Festival will make use of a bunch of new Animal Crossing Amiibo in this game that appears to be an Animal Crossing version of Mario Party, while Happy Home Designer will use the new Amiibo cards.  There’s no confirmation on whether they can be used on either game, but hey, who doesn’t like having an extra Isabelle around?

The Digital Event then spent some time talking about how the design for Yoshi’s Woolly World came about.  The game comes out on the 25th, next Saturday.

Yo-Kai Watch, a game based on the popular anime was then unveiled for the 3DS due out this holiday season.  Yes, it looks like Nintendo is hoping this thing takes off the same way Pokémon did, but if it’s of any saving grace, the game is being developed by Level 5.

Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker was initially made to make these level graphs less annoying to edit.

A new Mario RPG game that brings together ideas from Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi was then shown, and it looks awesome.  Titled Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, the game is due out in second quarter of 2016.  They also announced Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for the Wii U out this holiday season.

Not straying away from Mario, the last game shown was Super Mario Maker, a title that Nintendo is really proud of and pushing due to the fact that it is Mario’s 30th anniversary.

The Peripherals

Nothing, unless you consider amiibo to be peripherals.  If you do, Skylanders SuperChargers will feature special Donkey Kong and Bowser Skylanders figures that also double as amiibo.  There are also eight Animal Crossing amiibo to use with Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival on top of the cards they’ll use.  Then there’s also two giant 8-bit Mario amiibo to use for Super Mario Maker. Can’t forget the three Yoshi plush amiibo either!

Service Offerings

Well, Nintendo is teaming up with Universal Studios so they can have attractions at their theme parks, and they’re working with DeNA to work on their online ecosystem.  But these we already knew.

Personal Reflection

Editor’s Note: Will be updated as we get more responses from staff.

I’m gonna be honest here.  Nintendo didn’t do much, and they really paled in comparison to the press conferences put together by both Microsoft and Sony.  Both of them, in my opinion, may have even had the best E3 Press Conferences they ever had in E3 history while Nintendo has obviously put together better shows.

All that being said, Nintendo’s wasn’t bad by any means.  Many people fail to realize that none of these press conferences are knee-jerk reactions to the competition, especially Nintendo’s, as obviously a lot of preparation and organization is done to put these together.  Nintendo isn’t going to spill their coffee and announce a Golden Sun game just because Sony showed off Final Fantasy VII Remake–which I’ll remind everybody is NOT a PS4 exclusive.

Not only was Nintendo’s Digital Event last year wildly entertaining, they did exactly what they wanted and needed to do.

This year, it’s harder to say.  I actually didn’t find it to be very entertaining at all.  It was pretty cool to see the three head honchoes of Nintendo play around as puppets, but it got old really quick.  At least last year, claymation Fils-Aime made fun of themselves and their fans in a playful fashion.  This one tended to be more randomly serious.

But if it’s any consolation, what about the stuff Nintendo did on the Sunday prior to E3 Day 0?  All the DLC for Super Smash Bros. is significant, and you can’t say any of that won’t be a success… and the Nintendo World Championships?  They surpassed everybody’s expectations and ended up pretty damn interesting.  I was watching the #NWC2015 and Game 5 of the NBA Finals at the same time, and although I’m a Warriors fan, I ended up paying more attention to John Numbers kicking Cosmo’s ass.  If you didn’t watch it, watch it.  It was awesome.  Here it is below:

Nintendo is even doing this awesome program called Nindies@Home, which brings a bunch of cool indie demos to Wii U owners this week for download.  It’s an awesome initiative, and nobody is talking about it.  It doesn’t seem like Nintendo is either.

The nature of the show aside, two things jumped out to me the most with Nintendo’s presentation.

The first of which is the fact that Reggie came out and said that they’re in a transition period.  Okay, he didn’t come right out and say that, but he did if you read between the lines.  Nintendo is in the middle of a transformation, and they’re transforming in a multitude of different aspects.  He admitted it.  What more could you want as a fan and consumer?

As a brand, Nintendo has enlisted the help of DeNA to make their online ecosystem more robust, because we all know they need a lot of help in that area.  This will result in a better Club Nintendo, and this will probably end up resulting in the NX.  Light was shed on neither of these things, and while we don’t expect much in regards to the NX until next year, I did expect to hear a little bit about Club Nintendo, especially since I was a dedicated member before its cancellation.

Why the hell did Nintendo not mention the fact that Fatal Frame is coming out this year?  That's a key exclusive.

Why the hell did Nintendo not mention the fact that Fatal Frame is coming out in North America this year? That’s a key exclusive.

What was the second thing that stuck out?  The games coming out this year.  Yeah, it sucks that the Wii U Zelda got delayed, but we’re getting Star Fox Zero.  We’re even getting Xenoblade Chronicles X.  Yoshi’s Woolly World is out next week, and we can’t forget Super Mario Maker.  I wouldn’t call Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash a killer app, but anybody who’s played a game in that series knows that it isn’t shovelware either.  Hell, we’re even getting Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water in November, and I have no idea why in God’s green earth that this game was not mentioned.  It’s definitely not a game for kids–that’s for sure.

That’s at least three exclusives that all look great coming this year.  Both Sony and Microsoft had awesome press conferences, but they didn’t talk about much as far as this year goes.  I think the PS4’s best game coming is Persona 5, which got no love at their press conference, while I think Microsoft’s best is Rise of the Tomb Raider, which Square Enix can easily decide to not make it exclusive.

There’s a reason why Nintendo chooses to forego press conferences to do their Digital Events, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  As we’ve seen, they can do Nintendo Directs for a single game whenever they want to, and when they’re ready, they’ll show Zelda.  They’ll show what Retro Studios is working on.

“But Nintendo didn’t give us what we want! WAAAH!”  Ask yourself if you really know what you want.  Nintendo didn’t go out of their way to lie to anybody.  They already said Zelda was delayed to 2016, so why bother showing it off?  Nobody liked The Wind Waker‘s art style, and now it’s considered one of the most timeless game in the series.  You don’t know what it is you want, and Nintendo will make you want something.

…Except I know I want F-Zero on Wii U, but that’s another story entirely.