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E3 2017: The Nintendo Showcase
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 03:07pm 14/06/17 | Comments
Nintendo's E3 Spotlight this years was brisk 25 minute affair. But even so it managed to fit in a new look at Super Mario Odyssey and even a few surprise announcements.

Nintendo’s E3 presentation this year clocked in at under 25 minutes, but that’s not to say that it didn’t deliver. After all, we got announcements for both Metroid Prime 4 and a traditional Pokémon RPG coming to Nintendo Switch. Huge! Even though we didn’t see any footage or get any real info in either. But, these announcements helped cement the fact that Nintendo are seemingly doing things a little differently with the Switch – and that even though by now we understand how different it is to both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the console will still be home to some big releases.

With the Nintendo Switch only being on the market for about three months or so, the buzz is still very much with Nintendo. Thanks to the success of the Switch and the brilliance of The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild. And in kicking off its Spotlight this year we got the sort of real-world people playing the Switch montage that made up quite a bit of the Switch pre-release marketing. With ARMS, Rocket League, FIFA 18, Pokkén Tournament DX and Splatoon 2 shown the theme was competitive multiplayer -- both and online and offline. Where offline means playing Switch: with a gang of illegal street racers, under a bridge, or in a dimly lit gym filled with UFC wannabes.

Okay so that was very much a marketing trailer to sell the concept and overall vibe of the Switch, which is fine. But, it also happened to showcase some of the first footage of Rocket League and FIFA 18 running on the console.

And then Reggie Fils-Aimé, Nintendo of America CEO, appears -- in a setting that feels a little like Goodfellas meets an insurance company advertisement, crossed with a dystopian sci-fi future where everyday life is lived in a very digital looking virtual world. In other words, pure awesome.

After a quick intro talking about fun and the allure of the Switch and the one time he had to whack Joe Pesci, Reggie introduced the first game of the showcase – Xenoblade Chronicles 2. A sequel to the popular JRPG that looks like a great fit for the Switch. In fact, like with anything on the console once you remember how small it is and how easy it is to just pick up off the dock and play, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 looks even better. And with a release date of Holiday 2017, it won’t be long before the Switch gets another epic RPG.

Next came the first announcement of the presentation with Kirby coming in 2018. Based on the trailer it very much looks like the style of Kirby game that we’ve been playing since the NES era. But, with what looks like the ability for Kirby to recruit other, err, Kirbys. With up to four shown on-screen, it’s probably safe to assume that this will feature some form of co-op. Because 4 is the magic co-op number.

Next up came a bit of Pokémon news, with the most interesting thing being the confirmation of a traditional Pokémon RPG coming to Nintendo Switch. It’s worth noting that this is a thing that people have been asking for since the days of the Nintendo 64. Traditional Pokémon games -- your Reds, Blues, Golds, Moons, and so forth -- have always been released for Nintendo’s handheld systems. So why now? Well take one look at the Nintendo Switch and you’ll find your answer. It’s portable. This could be huge. But, with no footage shown we probably won’t get to play this until late 2018 at the earliest.

Okay, so the next name-only announcement is a special one. Metroid Prime 4! Coming to Nintendo Switch! Yeah, this is something that we’ve wanted to see for quite a few years now – so as a wishlist-type dream come true it took a few moments for this to sink in. Metroid? Prime? 4? Back? Switch? These are the sorts of things that you want going through your head during a Nintendo E3 presentation. But with no footage ready, and word that the game is being developed by a new team and not Retro Studios, why announce it so early? Well, to me this feels like a clear move on Nintendo’s part to quell the hardcore complaints that each new piece of hardware it releases should have its own Mario, Zelda, and Metroid.

Because they should. And on that note, we can’t wait to see it in action.

Like Kirby, Yoshi for Nintendo Switch will be called just that – Yoshi. A new platformer in the style of Yoshi’s Woolly World that was given a trailer debut. But this time in a world made from paper, cardboard, and clay. It looks great, and the sort of game perfect for Nintendo’s younger audience.

Next up came a cinematic story trailer for Fire Emblem Warriors, the Dynasty Warriors’ style off-shoot to the classic turn-based strategy game. Because we know a proper Fire Emblem game is also in the works, it was hard to get excited about this. Doubly so when you add in some woeful voice acting. Fire Emblem Warriors is launching on Nintendo Switch, Late 2017.

After another look at Skyrim Switch, where a Link outfit and Master Sword will be making its way to The Elder Scroll V, we got a look at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Expansion Pass. With the first expansion due June 30, led by a new mode called ‘Trial of the Sword’ that starts Link off with nothing as he fights through several dungeon levels to survive. It looks cool, and with the second expansion ‘The Champions’ Ballad’ focusing on story, there’s still a lot more Zelda to look forward to.

Making its debut at the Ubisoft conference, next was another look at Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle -- which is a rather excellent looking Mario tactics game coming in August. Yeah, this was one of the best surprises from the entire E3 show this year – and something that we can’t wait to play on Switch.

After that came the formal announcement of Rocket League for Nintendo Switch. A version of the classic multiplayer game that will feature cross-platform play with both Xbox One and PC, in addition to exclusive car hats and vehicles. Fingers crossed for a Nintendo-themed stadium.

Finally, we get to Nintendo’s centrepiece for the second-half of the year -- with Super Mario Odyssey coming October 27.

And boy, does it look weird. Which, in the world of Super Mario games, is a good thing. From the first time a strange plumber called Mario ate a mushroom to get fireball powers to that time he took to the stars and visited any number of celestial bodies to collect crystals, a new Super Mario game should look weird. And cool. And fun. So, using a sentient hat to possess a giant T-Rex? Yes please.

And with that Nintendo’s E3 presentation came to a close, switching to its Treehouse Team to showcase a number of gameplay demos for the stuff coming in 2017. Overall, it’s hard to call what we saw, in under 25 minutes mind you, anything but a home run. With the Nintendo Switch still a relatively new thing, knowing that Zelda, Mario, and Metroid are either already here, coming soon, or on the horizon – means that we’re now fully on board. Spoiler Alert! We kind of were already thanks to Zelda, but Mario and now Metroid Prime remove any doubt that we made the wrong decision in getting a Switch so early.

You can watch the entire Nintendo E3 Spotlight below