I will admit it. I am a Nintendo Fan. Not for Nintendo itself, but because I enjoy the types of games that they make. I am not a big FPS fan. I am not a huge sports game fan. I love platforming, RPGs, strategy games. Above all, I love retro games. I feel like this must be stated before my take, Crosstix’s take is here, on Nintendo’s Spotlight at E3.
The first thing I think that needs to be considered when giving Nintendo a grade or feedback on their press conference (if you can call it that) is that they break up the event into two parts. The other press conferences are held in an auditorium with a stage. They must get all their demonstrations, announcements, and trailers out in that one space. Nintendo utilizes the virtual world to talk directly to fans. As a result, the two separate parts have different purposes that encompass what the others do in a condensed space. So what are these separate parts for Nintendo?
The first half is their Spotlight. As I mentioned in a previous article, this is essentially a Nintendo Direct on steroids. The goal of this is to highlight and show off their major games. The second is called Treehouse. Treehouses remind me more of Simpsons than video games, but oh well. The Treehouse show mimics a live stream and shows off the elements and interviews developers for the games just showcased. For example- Spotlight plays a trailer for Super Mario Odyssey. Then Treehouse has a person stream playing through a level to show off the “wood area” and some of the “cappy” mechanics of the game. Treehouse then is essential for the deeper information that a casual observer might not want to dig into.
What it boils down to is that the 20 minute Spotlight (Direct) is designed to be a Youtube sizzle real (highlights) to get the key information to the casual fan. The Treehouse is to give details to the hardcore fans and press to write about later. The only thing that shocks me then is why Nintendo would ever announce new games in their Treehouse presentation. All new announcements and reveals should be in your headline video that will get the most views and publicity. Any time constraint they put on themselves is simply counter productive.
All this is to give background on why I completely understand Crosstix’s grade for Nintendo’s E3 Spotlight. My take is that Nintendo brought down the house with reveals that I thought were only a fantasy.
I wrote an article a week ago trying to temper people’s expectation of what Nintendo would do at E3. True to form they did focus on Mario Odyssey. They also revealed several secondary titles like Kirby and Yoshi. Each year they bring out a few Mario and friends spin off games as filler in the mean time. This year that role was filled with Yoshi and Mario + Rabbids game. I wrote that towards the end that next year would be the time for another big AAA game to take center stage. Boy was I right, and wrong.
It is clear from the reveals that Metroid Prime and Pokemon (Switch) are not ready this year and will likely be two years away at the very minimum. Next year is going to be the natural time to release a trailer for both games and the following year have gameplay take center stage. I was right on the development cycle, but dead wrong about Nintendo sharing that the titles were now in development. I am really happy that they revealed it!
Metroid Prime was one of my favorite games of all time. The sequels were very entertaining. Going back to the Metroid world for a first person adventure is a thrill and I can not wait. All I needed was to know it exists. I trust that Nintendo will make good on the promise to bring this game to fruition. The few times I can remember them announcing a game this early, they have ultimately delivered a quality game (Super Smash Bros. Wii U). Other companies announce games to grab attention and then it dies in development hell. I trust Nintendo to not fail to deliver, but it might take a long time. The only nerve wracking aspect of this reveal is who will be developing it. Had we never had Other M then there would not be a question. No Retro Studios has me nervous, but hopeful that their established formula can be followed. I find it hard to believe they will drastically change the formula and still call it Metroid Prime 4.
The other major reveal was a core Pokemon game for the Switch. After generations and generations of begging for a Pokemon RPG on a home console we are finally going to get it. We know who will be developing this game, the Pokemon Company and Game Freak. Who else? Screw details. Isn’t that reveal exciting enough?! Take Sun and Moon and make it more in depth. Bring an open world to it. So many possibilities. My mind is exploding just thinking about it.
What Nintendo did with these reveals was to communicate they are bringing unique experiences to the Switch. They will support it with AAA titles that are sure to be sought after additions to any gamers collections. They let the cat out of the bag early in hopes that this would convince the second wave of adopters to pick up a Switch. The same motivation was behind revealing Smash Bros beginning development on the Wii U. It did not work out as they hoped then, but maybe these titles will do it.
For me the reveals allow the Nintendo optimist in me to dream. I am salivating at just the mention of these pipe dreams come true (Mario Pun). Some might call that wishful thinking that it will all turn out ok. After trying to temper my expectations last week, Nintendo has me on cloud nine now. And this gamer is not coming down!
Overall Grade: Take my money now Nintendo!