E3 2016: Nintendo Treehouse Recap

That's a big world.

That’s a big world.

A few weeks ago, Nintendo said they’d be heading to E3 with the prime focus on the latest Zelda title for Wii U. As unbelievable as it is, that was indeed the case for Day 1, and the only way they’d impress anybody is if Zelda hit it out of the park.

As far as we’re concerned, Zelda hit a grand slam.

Day 1

Unlike years prior, not only did Nintendo not do a traditional E3 Press Conference, they didn’t do their generally well-received Digital Event in the form of a Nintendo Direct either.  Instead, after debuting the latest trailer for the new Zelda now titled The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the entire broadcast was done via the Nintendo Treehouse.

The Treehouse broadcasted from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, with a little less than 45 minutes allocated to show off some gameplay footage of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, slated for release this holiday.

Day 2

Nintendo really should’ve done everything they’ve done today yesterday.  Or, at the very least, have everything that was done today done yesterday, while everything yesterday should’ve been done today.  While the games talked about we’re still in the single digits, there was quite a bit of stuff shown.

Day 1 kicked off with more Pokémon discussion, specifically Pokémon Go, which includes the new Pokémon Go Plus accessory that’ll retail for $34.99 when it launches shortly after Go’s launch — which Shigeru Miyamoto announced to be ready by the end of July.

Following that, Nintendo also announced a new IP developed by Grezzo, the guys responsible for the Ocarina of Time 3D and Majora’s Mask 3D, called Ever Oasis.

After some Mario Party, Yo-Kai Watch 2, Monster Hunter, and Dragon Quest, Tokyo Mirage Sessions made its final bow.  That’s something we can’t wait to review in a couple weeks.  The new Rhythm Heaven looks awesome too.

And of course, there was Breath of the Wild.  All in all, while it wasn’t as exciting as a direct, there was a fair amount joy, annoyance, and just straight up comfort out of what Nintendo had to show today, and we’re okay with that.

Here’s the good and the bad of everything from Nintendo overall.

The Good

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U, NX) – Spring 2017
    The game is gorgeous.  Its scope truly is unprecedented.  E3 attendees lucky enough to get their hands on the 15-minute demo won’t even have time to scratch the surface as far as truly exploring the one small part of Hyrule featured in the demo.  And with all the live gameplay we’ve seen out of the Treehouse today, we still hardly know a thing about the game’s story, and there was never any tutorial.  It looks like we’re finally getting the Zelda that stays true to its origin while also pleasing those that appreciate the spectacle it has become.
  • Pokémon Sun & Moon (3DS) – November 18, 2016
    It looks like another great Pokémon game, and this time, the dirt is in the details.  Call it handholding, but now trainers will immediately know what attacks are and aren’t affective thanks to footnotes on the touch screen, and it’s awesome seeing trainers stand behind their Pokémon in battle.  Not only does it add a sense of authenticity to the experience, but players can also appreciate the difference in size between humans and their colorful pals.
  • amiibo
    I’m a sucker for these, and all the new amiibo featured on the showfloor today look awesome.  To go along with the release of Zelda next year, Nintendo has made amiibo depicting Link with his bow, Link on his horse, and the guardian he fought in the game’s original teaser trailer–it’ll be the first amiibo with movable parts.  Nintendo is also adding to the Super Mario line of amiibo with Rosalina, Wario, DK, Diddy, Daisy, Waluigi, and Boo to go along with the release of a new Mario Party game for the 3DS.
  • Ever Oasis (3DS) – 2017
    The new IP from Grezzo, Ever Oasis is coined as an Action-Adventure RPG that comes equipped with world building, puzzle solving, dungeon crawling, and customized teams.  Looks like another solid and original 3DS RPG.
  • Pokémon Go (Mobile) – July 2016
    Since none of us got invited to the beta, a lot of the information shared on us was rather interesting.  Like the flagship Pokémon games, some Pokémon will only be found in certain places, whether to be bodies of water or heavily populated areas.  You also can evolve Pokémon and use the different PokéBalls to give yourself an advantage.  The optional accessory, however, might be bad news.  More on that later.
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE – June 24, 2016
    The game took its final bow.  It looks trippy and awesome, and we can’t wait to review it.
  • Mario Party: Star Rush – November 4, 2016
    Mario Party has certainly seen better days, but this one looks really promising.  Players are constantly doing something, which is a far cry than waiting for friends to roll the dice.
  • Rhythm Heaven Megamix – Available Now via Nintendo 3DS eShop
    This game looks like a lot of fun, and it’s available today.

The Bad

  • There’s no girl Link.
    But is that really a bad thing?  Heck, I’m all for a female Link.  But these rumors stemmed from the debut of Linkle in Hyrule Warriors Legends who isn’t even a part of Zelda canon.  This is hardly worth complaining about, but I thought I’d just put it here out of respect for femininity.
  • No NX.
    We knew we weren’t going to see it, and anything can happen between today and tomorrow.  Even still, this is bound to leave at least some people disappointed.
  • Lack of a presser or Digital Event hiding otherwise public information.
    As mentioned earlier, a new Mario Party was announced for the 3DS.  While it’s a tired series, it’s still an exclusive game worth mentioning.  Tomorrow, there’s word that we’ll be getting some new bits of information for Pokémon Go, the new Monster Hunter, the new Paper Mario, the Dragon Quest VII remake, and a few other surprises, so it shows that Nintendo isn’t exactly here empty-handed.
  • Pokémon Go Plus – After Pokémon Go in July
    Pokémon Go itself is free.  This optional accessory is not.  It’s $34.99, and it’s just a dongle that vibrates when there’s a Pokémon nearby and you can’t access your phone thanks to bluetooth technology.  I only want one because it looks cool.  I’ll just look like an idiot if I wear it during my day job.
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash – October 7, 2016
    Good news.  The new Paper Mario comes out before the holidays.  The bad news… as nice as the game looks, it might be annoying to play.  Based on what we saw at the Treehouse, it doesn’t look like the partner system comes back, and even worse… the battle system itself is card-based.  This is exactly what made Sticker Star suck.  One of the developers even said the idea of this game started at a party when he was telling the team that his kid got into painting.  If that was the case, they should’ve just remade Mario Paint.  This is ridiculous.  I’m really hoping the game is good and Nintendo makes me eat my words, but I don’t know.
  • The Dragon Quest VII release date
    We’re excited about Dragon Quest VII.  Especially Leigh.  But that release date (September 16, 2016) hardly does any gamers any favors.  It’s 10 days after the release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II and a few weeks before Final Fantasy XV.  Crowded RPG schedule aside, that release date is after summer, and it’s typically best to release a game of that kind of scope during a time where school or work shouldn’t be an issue.  Not only that, but t
    hat means we probably won’t get Dragon Quest VIII‘s remake until next year.
  • This meme.
    She probably knows about the attention she got too, as she wore more looser fitting clothes on Day 2.

Staff Impressions

“I can’t really define Nintendo’s presence at E3 thus far one way or the other based only on two games, but I did have an extremely positive impression of what they were up to throughout. Short of moving to console, Pokémon Sun and Moon looks to be the evolution the series has been looking for since the launch of the Nintendo DS in 2004, and if a Zelda game has to be cut from Ocarina of Time‘s cloth, Breath of the Wild at least takes an equal portion of influence from its 8- and 16-bit forebears. Overall, there was an overwhelming comfortable feeling of “being at home” watching Nintendo’s presentation that had eluded me at the other shows, which is a really bizarre (but wonderful) sensation for me to be getting from them in 2016.” — Patrick Mifflin, Senior Editor

“There really isn’t much to say about Nintendo’s presence considering we already knew that they were showing Zelda, and even at that — Pokémon Sun and Moon was a recent announcement, so it feels like Nintendo is just freelancing its way through the expo, and that’s absolutely fine.  Both games look excellent, we have some awesome new amiibo to look forward to, and tomorrow we’re actually going to see a handful of games we haven’t seen in a while.  Instead of “bringing out the big guns,” Nintendo is making us find these guns for ourselves.” — Danreb Victorio, Managing Editor


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – amiibo Trailer

Pokémon Go Demonstration

Ever Oasis (3DS)

Mario Party: Star Rush (3DS)

Yo-Kai Watch 2 (3DS)

Monster Hunter Generations (3DS)

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (3DS)

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Wii U)

Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)

Rhythm Heaven Megamix (3DS)