If brevity is the soul of wit, Nintendo was the Rick and Morty of this year’s E3, clocking in at just over 20 minutes. Like in past years, Nintendo opted for a pre-recorded, Nintendo Direct-style of conference quickly briefing us on upcoming projects and there were a few bombshells this time around.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Holiday 2017
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was announced last year, prior to the release of the Switch so this isn’t new. While everyone knew the game was coming, I doubt anybody expected we’d get a release so soon, especially in the states! The trailer was fully voiced in the franchise’s traditional British English and it looks gorgeous.
The story looks to be traditional JRPG fare with a lot of masked anime villains talking about showing your true power and asking if you to prove you are the chosen one with your might. While the story didn’t seem unique, the game looks to be bringing back the series’ strengths of having massive open-worlds to explore and fast-paced action-oriented combat.
The two previous entries were both worth buying their respective consoles for and this looks to be no different. Hopefully it’ll get the recognition it has deserved since it’ll be coming out so early in the console’s life cycle this time around.
Kirby – 2018
We got a brief look at a new Kirby game simply titled Kirby… I guess? No word on if this is just a working title or not but all it showed was Kirby so your guess is as good as mine. It looks to be in the same vein as Return to Dreamland back on the Wii with a multiplayer sidescroller where you will need to absorb enemy powers to progress.
Kirby is one of those odd franchises that seems to be all over the place and I’m not opposed to the idea of finally getting another traditional entry in the series. It’ll be fun to see what they have up their sleeves after all this time away.
Nintendo spent a brief minute recapping the Pokken Tournament DX announcement from last month (notably, they didn’t reference UltraSun/UltraMoon or the Gen 2 eShop releases). They also confirmed the rumors that have been swirling forever that they are also working on a core RPG entry for the Nintendo Switch.
No word on if it’ll be Pokemon Stars (I’m guessing after UltraSun and UltraMoon, Stars will probably never be a thing) but it does look like the next entry will be on the Switch! Good news for everyone who has always hoped for a Pokemon game taking advantage of the home console power! No trailers or details were given and they admitted this will not be happening anytime soon but it will happen eventually.
Metroid Prime 4
Hey Metroid fans, you still out there? Haven’t felt completely spurned yet? Well good news, Metroid Prime 4 is in development for the Switch! TB and I were actually talking shortly before E3 started and I specifically said, I don’t think we’ll be getting another Metroid anytime soon. Glad to be proven wrong!
The odd part about this news is that more information has since surfaced and it seems that this sequel will NOT be developed by Retro Studios, the team behind the first three Metroid Prime games. That means two things: one, this team will be brand new and that could be worrisome considering Japan’s attitudes towards Metroid in general, and two, we still don’t know what Retro Studios has been working on for the past three years. Both good things to keep in mind moving forward.
Yoshi – 2018
Apparently, Nintendo has now been around long enough that they don’t need to actually title their games anymore. 2018 will be the year of Kirby and Yoshi!
Yoshi looks to be a follow-up to the charming Wii U game, Yoshi’s Wooly World and it’s 3DS port. While it will be keeping the same aesthetic and the basic gameplay from Yoshi’s Island, it looks to be taking some inspiration from the Wii title, Super Paper Mario, in that players will travel through levels by changing the camera perspective. The trailer showed Yoshi traveling through stages like they were dioramas and he could change the camera from the front to the back. This will apparently open up new paths similar to how Super Paper Mario had you change from 2D to 3D on the fly.
Fire Emblem Warriors
Many people probably are long since over the Warriors crossover titles that seem to be popping up everywhere. Hyrule Warriors, Dragon Quest Heroes and now Fire Emblem Warriors? They’re constant!
Well you can just pass this one up then but me, I’m still a sucker for Koei Tecmo’s Musou games and Fire Emblem Warriors sounds like exactly what I’ve been hoping to see for years. Each crossover title has been primarily a musou game but they have each implemented elements from the original franchise. Hyrule Warriors had various items and bosses that functioned like self-contained puzzles, Dragon Quest Heroes had RPG elements and a wide open-world, well I’m hoping to see Fire Emblem Warriors add a level of battlefield tactics to the musou formula.
Getting to give movement orders to the various leaders on your team is something I’d always hoped Dynasty Warriors would do in order to add some tactical depth to the games beyond hacking up thousands of mindless pikemen. The Wii U would have been perfect for this but hey, I’ll take it on the Switch too!
This is, of course, all speculation on my part, all we know for sure is that you will get to play a musou game with plenty of Fire Emblem characters and that it will release this Fall.
Breath of the Wild DLC Pack 2 – 2017
So, I guess that the new Legend of Zelda game was kind of popular? I feel like I heard some folks talking about it and they seemed to think it was okay, right? Well apparently the mild critical approval was enough to justify a second wave of DLC packs. Combined, they’ll be titled The Champion’s Ballad and they include a series of Master Trials and an individual one known as The Champion’s Ballad. Bought together, they’ll run folks $20. The first pack will be out June 30th and the second will be out this holiday season. Those will also be accompanied by four new Zelda amiibos based on the masters from Breath of the Wild. No release dates were give on those but they will interact with the DLC somehow.
There isn’t really a whole lot to say here other than the ultra-popular soccer-with-cars game Rocket League will be coming to the Nintendo Switch featuring some new customization options and cross-network play (details are still unknown but you will at least be able to play with some other platforms). The second bit of news there is the best thing though as it may help to open some doors to future ports getting the cross-network treatment as well. That can only be good for the industry but hey, that’s an article for another time.
Super Mario Odyssey – October 27th, 2017
Finally, the conference culminated in a look at Super Mario Odyssey and I must say, the game looks spectacular. The trailer started up and I wondered what it was, specifically thinking, “it can’t be Super Mario Odyssey because Mario games don’t look this good.” No joke, I honestly thought exactly that. I was wrong.
One of the biggest details we got from the trailer was that a core mechanic will apparently be Mario using his devil-possessed hat to take control of enemies. Okay, I made that first bit up but seriously, that thing looks demonic and now it possesses things? I can’t be the only one seeing this!
Anyway, it looks like you’ll be able to take over Goombas, Hammer Bros, even some robots to traverse in different ways across the world tour that is Super Mario Odyssey. It even looks like Pauline will be making her first appearance in a core Mario game as the trailer showed her singing in a concert at the very end.
Mario fans, I’m a skeptic at heart but this looks to be like the game we’ve been waiting for since Super Mario Galaxy. A new 3D Mario adventure taking advantage of a whole new creative environment. Personally, I can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with.
Metroid Prime 4 is huge but we didn’t get any details about it at all, not even the name of the team working on the project or cinematic footage. Yoshi and Kirby were cool reveals but nothing looked new enough to get terribly excited over and neither will release this year. While I’m ecstatic for Fire Emblem Warriors and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 coming out much sooner than I had hoped, I realize those are probably more exciting to me than to most (although if you aren’t excited for XC2, you are wrong and are probably a bad person). It would have been nice to have some more details and/or gameplay footage from some of these games but more and more, that just isn’t the Nintendo we have.
It’s also very telling to see what they didn’t talk about and that’s the Nintendo 3DS. Despite Nintendo’s claims that they will continue to support the 3DS, I think we all saw that the portable’s days were numbered and the huge success of the Switch has just brought that day closer. Not a single game was mentioned for the 3DS nor did they even reference the New Nintendo 2DS which is coming out July 28th.
Finally, many of the games talked about will not be coming out this year and most don’t even have a release date. Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Fire Emblem Warriors and Super Mario Odyssey are the only new games coming out this year. Kirby and Yoshi won’t hit until 2018 and who knows when we’ll get Metroid Prime 4 or the Pokemon Switch title.
Despite the flaws in their presentation, there are definitely some things for Switch owners to get excited about. If you don’t hate the Rabbids with every fiber of your being, they reiterated that Mario + Rabbids will be coming out this year and the gameplay honestly does look pretty good (check out my Ubisoft scorecard for details). Super Mario Odyssey looks incredible and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will likely provide another 100+ hour RPG adventure that should satisfy any crunchy RPG fan.