Microsoft and Sony may have taken to the stage and the audience’s approval, but now it’s time for Nintendo to do their own thing. Taking place via video, it gives the chance for Nintendo to present their press conference in a very different way to the usual stage show.
You can’t accuse Nintendo of towing any sort of line, really. They’re both a very unique company that knows its own history and arguably one that seems to be less in touch with gamers over the last few years.
That said, they know that their Wii U offerings are slim pickings over the next 2 years and it’s clear that their gearing up for next year’s new console reveal, codenamed the NX. Despite this, their 2015 line up for the rest of the year isn’t really that bad and has more first party titles than Sony. But E3 is more about looking forward to 2016 and Nintendo felt bereft of exciting new material for its home console, mostly focusing on the 3DS.
Starfox was undoubtedly the focus of the day, hammered home with a short sketch where Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-Aimé and Shigeru Miyamoto appear as puppets and turn into Starfox characters. I’m not making this up! The new game uses the Wii U Gamepad to great effect and even has the transformation sequence from Airwing to robot that would have appeared in Starfox 2 if it had ever been released.
One thing was clear, though, and that was the highlight that most of these games are due out this year. While Sony and Microsoft kept showing 2016 in big letters after each big game announcement, Nintendo quietly dropped release dates that all ended in 2015. StarFox Zero, Yoshi’s Wooly World, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, Super Mario Maker, Mario Tennis, Xenoblade all out this year on Wii U.
Meanwhile, most of 2016’s titles (yes, there were some) were for 3DS. A new Metroid,Federation Force, that isn’t a Metroid as such (no Samus) but a multiplayer shooter with a sports element. A new 3DS Zelda with Triforce Heroes and Fire Emblem too, alongside a brand new Paper Mario and 3DS version of Hyrule Warriors. It’s looking pretty good for the handheld but not so much for next year’s Wii U releases.
However, Nintendo do, perhaps, hold their cards closer to their chest at E3 than other companies and they tend to prefer announcing titles during their regular Nintendo Direct video announcements. Whether this is a good idea, considering E3 builds more hype and therefore sales for consoles, can be debated, but they certainly do tend to do things their own special way.