By Chris Zuver, A & E Editor
From June 13 through 15, the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) took place in Los Angeles Convention Center in California. Since 1995, the convention has been a meetup for the top hardware and software developers to show off new products for the video game world.
Nintendo is one of many companies who regularly hold open-floor events and give press-releases. This year, they had plenty to say about their newest console, the Switch. New announcements were made for long- established franchises including characters Mario and Kirby, as well as new IP’s like Arms, and even the return of a particular series that has not seen a release for quite some time.
RPG fans were treated to announcements of “Xenoblade Chronicles 2” and “Fire Emblem Warriors,” both being new entries in long-established franchises. “Xenoblade Chronicles 2” is a massive open-world sci-fi/fantasy adventure with a release date of holidays 2017, according to the trailer. “Fire Emblem Warriors,” meanwhile, is more of a tactical role-playing game and will feature characters from other games throughout the series. The projected release date will be fall 2017.
Meanwhile, new titles for long-running Nintendo characters were announced, including eponymous titles “Yoshi” and “Kirby.” Both games appear in trailers as 2D platform adventure games and appear to borrow elements from past installments.
One of the most mysterious announcements was simply a short video of a title screen that old Nintendo fans will certainly be familiar with. The brief trailer revealed the title: “Metroid Prime 4” followed by, “Now in development for Nintendo Switch.”
Another highlight was a broadcasted message from Tsunekazu Ishihara – CEO/President of the Pokémon Company. He discussed “Pokkén Tournament Deluxe,” an upgraded version of the recently released Pokémon fighting game hybrid. He also announced that developer GameFreak “has begun developing a core Pokémon RPG title on the Nintendo Switch.” This would be the first main-series Pokémon title to come to a home console.
Still, it seems that fans must wait a little longer, because Ishihara added that “it may not release for more than a year.”
Another announcement came from the Zelda series manager/developer Eiji Aonuma, who said that there will be new DLC for “Breath of the Wild,” including new quests and challenges. He added that there will be Zelda items that can be downloaded for the Switch version of “Skyrim.”
But the biggest announcement of the company’s E3 show was the newest Mario game. No, not the Ubisoft crossover, “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle,” but the game that everyone had been wondering about since the Big N’s last press release: “Super Mario Odyssey.”
The trailer opens with a T-Rex running through a field. At this point, no one would suspect this to be a Mario title. But then, when the dinosaur turns around and roars, we see Mario’s signature hat on its head. The hat also seems to be alive, as it sprouts a set of eyes.
In order to explain the T-Rex sequence, we see that Mario can now throw his hat onto the heads of other enemies and objects to take control of them. Throughout the trailer, we see Mario running through several environments including a city, a desert, a ghost town, a flying ship, and ancient ruins.
The trailer is well-designed and we see the return of some longtime characters like Princess Peach, who has obviously been kidnapped again by longtime villain Bowser. Some things never change, except, perhaps for Bowser’s ridiculous-looking white suit and top-hat that he chose this time around.
“Super Mario Odyssey” will be released October 27–just in time for Halloween.
Nintendo revealed some serious titles for this year’s annual E3 summit. Yet, they still have very little to show for third party developers. This is what has driven people to choose Xbox or PlayStation over Nintendo’s consoles for the last few generations. Hopefully, these strong titles are enough to keep the Switch going.
Regardless, it seems that Nintendo has confidence. As their American CEO, Reggie Fils-Aime said in their E3 introduction video, “The game is fun. The game is a battle. If it’s not fun, why bother? If it’s not a battle, where’s the fun?”