Nintendo were fully aware that this E3 was their opportunity to redeem themselves, save the Wii U and restore themselves to their former glory. And boy did they deliver. Here’s what went down at Nintendo’s 2014 E3 conference.
- We started on a typically strange Nintendo note: a live-action fight between Reggies Fils-Aime and Satoru Iwata that quickly morphed into a demo for Super Smash Bros U. You can now use Miis in the game, with a wealth of character customisation available. Picking from multiple class choices and special attacks allows you to make a truly unique fighter to bring to the brawl. How exciting. The 3DS version of the game got a brief mention: it’s been delayed slightly until October 3rd. No date for the Wii U version as of yet but this was a strong start to the conference.
- It was immediately followed by Nintendo’s big money-maker for this Christmas: amiibo. This is a suite of NFC-enabled characters that talk to the Wii U in a Skylanders/Disney Infinity-like fashion, and they’ll first be shown off in Smash Bros U: you can buy figurines and then use them as fighters in-game. The toys will also be making their way to other titles soon, including Mario Kart 8.
- Moving swiftly on, the team behind Kirby’s Epic Yarn are working on a new fabric-y title: Yoshi’s Wooly World. The game has a gorgeous, playful aesthetic and features two-player co-op, and will be coming to the Wii U in 2015.
- Next up was a very short trailer for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, a game all about Toad. It seems to have a bit of platforming, a bit of puzzle solving and a bit of random fun involved: it has amiibo support, and is coming Holiday 2014.
- This mid-point of the conference is when Nintendo truly shone. After a brief look at the long, extensive history of the Zelda franchise, we finally got a look at the new Wii U entrant. The game looks gorgeous: beautiful HD graphics with a superb artstyle. Wind blowing through the grass hasn’t looked this good since Flower. What’s more, the game is open-world: you can decide where to go at any point while playing. The teaser was very short, but we’ll be seeing more soon: the game is out in 2015.
- A whistle stop tour of previously announced games followed, with short looks at Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors and Xenoblade Chronicles: X. We then got a new Kirby game for Wii U: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, coming in 2015. It looks gorgeous and very touch-friendly, which is exactly what you want from a Wii U gamepad title. We’re feeling hopeful about this one.
- The next few announcements were rather unexpected: Mario Maker will be coming to Wii U next year, with an easy-to-use interface that will let you design the next great platformer. There’s a neat tool that lets you switch between the classic and “New” graphics style as well at the touch of a button – a nice addition.
- Finally, Nintendo closed out with a new IP: Splatoon. This is an 8 player, 4v4 online multiplayer action game, where your character switches between a person and a squid. The aim is to cover the map in your team’s paint colour: whilst in human mode you can shoot the paint, and when you switch to a squid you can swim through the paint really quickly, and even slide up walls. Splatoon will be out in 2015 on Wii U, and it looks like we’ll finally get to see what a Nintendo-developed shooter will be like.
- That was all for the main show, but the post-show debrief was hiding a few announcements. Star Fox U was teased (more will be revealed soon), Mario Party 10 was announced, and we also got a brilliant showreel of upcoming eShop titles, including Teslagrad and Guacamelee. This was the closer to a stellar conference, jam packed with games from beginning to end.
Nintendo knew how important this E3 was for them, and they delivered appropriately. With a whole host of new Wii U games announced, they’re clearly putting their all into the system. Most of the titles will be out in 2015, so they’re not out of the water just yet, but the future is finally looking bright for Nintendo.