Find out what Analog Addiction Editors Michael Troina and Rob Gisbey thought about Nintendo’s controversial E3 presentation…
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E3, has always been the biggest annual event in the game industry; where companies show off new systems, future plans, and of course new games. Nintendo, however, announced this year they would not have a traditional live press conference and instead present fans with their announcements via a Wii U-focused Nintendo Direct livestream.
While this move was certainly a surprise to many, some longterm Nintendo fans saw this more personal presentation as an extension of Nintendo’s Space World events and as yet another example of the idiosyncratic company forging its own path.
Now that the dust has settled and everyone’s had time to digest the events of E3, Michael Troina and Rob Gisbey discuss the contents of Nintendo’s unorthodox showcase, detailing their likes, dislikes and overall opinions on what the much-loved, often polarising gaming powerhouse brought to the table.
Rob Gisbey: I think we can all agree that the Wii U’s first six months have been disappointing. Very few worthwhile titles have been released and even the best among them can hardly be considered ‘system sellers’.
I don’t know what your thoughts were going into this year’s “press conference” but I was certainly deflated that Nintendo weren’t having a full-blown live event at E3. I felt like all the next gen excitement surrounding Sony and Microsoft could’ve easily obscured what ‘The Big N’ had to offer, and if anything a bigger presence than usual was required to compensate.
Michael Troina: It’s true, the Wii U has been disappointing, not only in sales but to the consumers. In fact, when I think of Wii U titles out there I can only think of a handful, and those aren’t enough to sway me to buy the system.
Like all Nintendo consoles the Wii U is full of potential, but the fact that Microsoft and Sony were announcing their next gen systems this E3 may have taken some of their hype away. However, that “bigger presence” you were looking for, I believe Nintendo built up with rumours of the new Super Smash Bros. That game alone can be the “system seller” that the company needs.
Rob Gisbey: Absolutely. In February’s Nintendo Direct we were informed that several exciting titles were to be shown during this year’s E3, including a new 3D Mario game, a new Mario Kart and as you said, a new Smash Bros. As always these are some of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, but they are also somewhat of a given. While I was of course looking forward to seeing updated versions of Nintendo’s famous karting and brawling series, I was also resigned in the knowledge that their formulas are mostly quite ridged and predictable. Really I was far more interested in the innovations that EAD Tokyo would bring in their console follow up to the Super Mario Galaxy titles.
Michael Troina: While they may be predictable with similar formulas, the games are nonetheless fun and still push each respective series in a unique Nintendo-like way. The idea of a new 3D Mario game is always the first thing that pops into ANY gamers head once they hear about a new Nintendo system and why should the Wii U be different? From Super Mario World on the SNES all the way to Super Mario Galaxy, many were interested in seeing what Nintendo and EAD Tokyo would bring to the new 3D Mario game.
Rob Gisbey: Indeed. Like I said, I’m all for a new Mario Kart and Smash Bros, but I had my real hopes pinned on the new Mario game, which was revealed to be a spiritual successor to Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS. This Wii U instalment entitled Super Mario 3D World breaks the mould in that it introduces 4-player co-op for the first time in a three-dimensional Mario title. The game features all four playable characters from Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES, allowing us to take on the adventure playing as Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach.
While the implementation of multiplayer will no doubt make for a chaotic, off-the-wall cooperative experience, I don’t think it was ever something fans were clamouring for. Undoubtedly we were all hoping for something on a larger, more epic scale akin to the Super Mario Galaxy titles, and I’m not sure any of us were blown away by what was shown… although admittedly Cat Mario is a stroke of adorable genius!
Michael Troina: When Super Mario 3D World was announced I didn’t know how I felt to be honest. I was excited there was a new Mario game coming but at the same time I felt tricked because this isn’t a “3D” Mario game. 3D Mario games are Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy and to be told that we were getting one before this Nintendo Direct really hurt. Not that I haven’t liked what I’ve seen so far from Super Mario 3D World but 3D Mario games are different, they have a certain allure and stature that make people want to play them. All in all I am not counting out a true 3D Mario for the Wii U; remember Galaxy did come out in 2007 a whole year after the Wii was announced.
Rob Gisbey: Yeah, here’s hoping. At the very least it will tide Wii U owners over for the holiday season and I’m sure it’ll still be an excellent game in its own right.
Another thing I was particularly excited about was the mystery project from Retro Studios, the team responsible for the stellar Metroid Prime Trilogy. Many of us were expecting them to be working on a Samus-based followup or even a new Star Fox title for Wii U. Instead what we were presented with was another instalment in the Donkey Kong Country series. While this is no means a bad thing admittedly it was fairly anticlimactic considering the possibilities. Having said that I thoroughly enjoyed their last DK effort on the Wii and was nonetheless thrilled to see that Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze would be barrelling onto the Wii U this Autumn.
Michael Troina: The fact that Retro Studios was working on a new Donkey Kong Country game didn’t surprise me at all. I feel everyone wanted a new Metroid or Star Fox game and put the idea of a new DK out of their minds, so in turn they felt shocked when Tropical Freeze was announced. Let’s not forget DKCR is a critically acclaimed game that many were not only glad to see, but had fun playing. The good news like you said is the game is coming this holiday season, maybe enticing more Wii U sales along with Sonic: Lost World and The Wonderful 101 this summer.
Other great games were shown during Nintendo Direct although we already knew about them like Monolith Soft’s ‘X’, footage of Wind Waker HD, and of course 3DS games like Yoshi New Island, Mario and Luigi Dream Team, and the much anticipated sequel to Link to the Past: A Link Between Worlds.
Rob Gisbey: Totally. The long-awaited Pikmin 3 also comes very soon, in fact there’s a big first-party release every month leading up to Xmas, which is certainly heartening. Monolith’s new game did absolutely nothing for me, and as much as I love the Wind Waker – (it’s my second favourite Zelda of all time) – the game is ten years old and basically feels like Nintendo stalling for time. I don’t have a 3DS myself so I didn’t take a huge amount of notice of the portable titles, but they do look like a lot of fun, especially A Link Between Worlds. What’re your thoughts on the 3Ds and third-party showing?
Michael Troina: I thought the 3DS continued to show that it’s a powerhouse. The third party games that are coming for it just boost its quality even more (with games like Shovel Knight etc). Look, let’s face the reality that many people want Nintendo for AAA/First Party titles, but with their third-party showing at E3, I think, opened up a whole area for 3DS owners and developers.
One last game we almost missed was Bayonetta 2! This game is an exclusive for the Wii U and I can’t tell if the internet is excited for the game or nervous. The game looked pretty good during its display at E3 and adds co-op to its already hectic battle gameplay style, so it’s going to be cool to see how the GamePad plays out with that game.
Rob Gisbey: Definitely. The 3DS certainly seems the better option over the Wii U at the moment and the third party/indie selection did look fairly decent, although it still pales in comparison to what other platforms have to offer. As for Bayonetta 2, the hack n’ slash sequel looks as crazy as ever and I was pleased to see that the graphics actually hold up pretty well. I’m definitely going to make sure I play the original, ready for the sequel to be released next year.
I don’t know about you but my overall impressions of the conference were that the offerings were good, but simply not good enough. Mario Kart and Smash Bros are a given, the 3D Mario wasn’t the one we wanted, Retro’s reveal was anticlimactic and the Wind Waker HD looks pretty but its a decade old. I’m sure I’ll buy and enjoy all of these games, but honestly I just don’t think they’re enough to start shifting consoles. What do you think?
Michael Troina: In my personal opinion I thought we got what they said we were going to get at the Nintendo Direct. Nintendo showed a bunch of games for the Wii U and some great AAA 3DS games that are coming soon, and right now I feel that is all they can do. While I do feel we were tricked with the new 3D Mario, I still think their showing of games was strong, but we wanted something else; more than what we already knew was coming.
One last downfall about their conference was that most of their titles also had the 2014 label on them with no specific launch date. While this hurts and may put people off, I’ve heard many people say they are waiting to pick up a Wii U until the release of a new Mario Kart or Smash Bros…that’s just the kind of power these huge franchises have for Nintendo.
This is what we thought about Nintendo’s press conference, but we’re just a couple of gamers. We want to know what YOU guys have to say about it!
Give us your opinion in the comments down below and for everything Nintendo, keep it dialed to Analog Addiction… or we’ll put on our Mario catsuits and hunt you down!
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Rob Gisbey is a games journalist and music production graduate from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. To listen to his acoustic demo, read his articles and listen to the VxM Videogames Podcast head to his blog.