This is the big one. The moment at least 90% of the people at E3 have been waiting for; Nintendo’s real chance to own E3.
And fuck me, did they take it.
This is going to be split in two entries, not that anybody cares as I doubt anyone is reading. This first entry is going to be about Zelda and both Nintendo and third party 3DS titles. Then we’ll move on to Wii U.
Oh, before we start, all images are taken by me on my crappy laptop using Ctrl and PrtSc so they in no way do justice to the games. Just so you know.
So, ten minutes late, the show opens with an orchestra playing Zelda tunes over footage of games in the series past - all Ocarina footage is the 3DS remakeand, typically, looks stunning - and also Ganon breaking free of his chains in Twilight Princess which, in my opinion, is best cutscene of any game. It really does its job of reminding you what an incredible series Zelda is. It ends, of course, with Skyward Sword. We see all new footage of Link riding a giant red bird with a blonde girl on a blue bird; a weird man in a red cape who was in the GDC trailer, various fighting bits, a giant face in green fire and then Link falling. Following a slowly blackening screen the Zelda 25th anniversary logo fades in. Huge cheers come from the audience, all journalists remember, which are then quadrupled as Shigeru Miyamoto-san, looking dapper, walks out. I would have him.
With a bow he begins. A translator arrives and Miyamoto talks about the Zelda series and how exhilarating it is to hear the orchestra play the Skyward Sword music. He says how music is hugely important to the series, which is true. A full orchestra soundtrack in this game will be sensational, even more so than the Super Mario Galaxy games. The orchestra then plays various titbits from the game (finding a secret, getting an item, the Fairies Fountain theme).
“A Zelda for each of our systems,” Miyamoto-san says after the music ends. He goes on to explain that each of their current systems will be joining in the anniversary celebrations. The GameBoy classic Link’s Awakening is on the 3DS eShop today; Ocarina Of Time 3D on the 3DS is out next week (improved framerate, improved graphics, hint movies for beginners, Master Quest and a boss challenge); the DSi will have four player Four Swords in September as a free download; and, of course, Skyward Sword for Wii, which will be out this Christmas. “It’s finally complete,” smiles Miyamoto-san. Wii MotionPlus is integral, he reminds us, which is why a special gold Wii remote will be out too. I want. Now. He ends the game talk by saying that this Wii title it will be the most satisfying of any Zelda games.
A last bit of Zelda news is then revealed: a series of Zelda concerts will be held all over the world in Autumn. Two music CDs will also be released, the Ocarina Of Time soundtrack - which will be free when you connect to Club Nintendo - and the other will be a live concert recording. Other events and activities are to be announced later in the year.
Almost done with Zelda now. Miyamoto-san says it’s only right that the other important members of the Zelda family take their share of the applause so invites Takashi Tezuka (series co-creator), Ika Musume and current series head Eiji Aonuma on stage. Aonuma looks cool as always. Everybody then leaves the stage as the orchestra play some more Zelda tunes.
Global president Satoru Iwata then comes out, speaking in English, talking about how Wii and DS have expanded the gaming population. “Who plays. Where they play. How they play,” he says. He goes on, saying what the industry hasn’t achieved yet is a machine for both casual gamers and the hardcore. Yet. They plan to change it with their new platform, he smiles. “Deeper game experiences than the most passionate have imagined, and wider appeal to all gamers completely. See games in a different way. Details will follow a little later,” he teases. Nintendo’s aim is to “serve every player” he says. This new platform presents a way to do that. And he confirms it will be out next year.
Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo USA president, then takes centre stage. He gets more cheers than Iwata-san, which is odd. He says he’s heard what everyone wants. Something that is comfortable yet also a surprise. “Is it possible to deliver something for everyone?” he asks before answering his question with a , “Yes.” Not just with the new console (more teasing) but 3DS and these following Nintendo franchises.
Mario Kart 3D is shown first and looks like it will carry on the outstanding handheld tradition the series has. It will feature fully customable karts, which are now able to fly using gliders and also go underwater as some sort of cool submarine kart. All this is demonstrated with heavy guitar soundtrack. It will be out this Christmas, Reggie confirms.
Next is Starfox 64 3D. Turning and tilting the 3DS makes the Arwing turn too, which we already knew and expected but still looks cool. Online group play will include boxes over each Arwing showing every reaction from the person controlling it thanks to the inwards camera. Another cool feature. It will be out in September.
Super Mario 3D. Wow. Just wow. This year. I want it. It’s my highlight of the show. Only my much-wanted Luigi’s Mansion sequel could top it, but that will never happen, sadly.
Project Sora’s Kid Icarus: Uprising looks even more amazing every time I see it. New features announced including being able to create your own characters for three against three online multiplayer. A new knight character is shown on a couple of occasions, as is the awesome looking Medusa. It finishes with AR cards showing Pit fighting Medusa on a desk. These AR cards, although gimmicky, get better and better, don’t they? Reggie confirms it’ll be out before Christmas.
Four enough reasons to get a Nintendo 3DS, surely? Although the console may have stalled a little it’s these key Nintendo titles that will get the fanboys (guilty!) buying it.
And then I came for the first time during the show. Luigi’s Mansion 2. Words can do no justice to how much I have longed for a sequel to this charming Mario-meets-Ghostbusters-with-a-vacuum-cleaner game. It’s one of my favourite ever games and this sequel looks like it could even surpass it. “It’s not a revision,” Reggie states, “It’s an entirely new game, making extraordinary use of the 3D as Luigi explores several new mansions.” The video is quirky, funny and exciting, everything you want from Nintendo. It’s my clear game of the show and the reason I will be buying a 3DS when it is released. Although I doubt I’ll be able to wait to buy one until Autumn next year.
Third party support has been a stumbling block for both the GameCube and, to a lesser extent, the Wii. Nintendo know this and are working to change it. Resident Evil: Mercenaries, Mario and Sonic At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Ace Combat 3D, a new Cave Story (yay!), Resident Evil: Revelations, Driver: Renegade, a new Tekken (huge laughs when Jin is given rosy cheeks, all charactes are completely customisable) and Metal Gear Solid: 3D Snake Eater are all shown, all for the 3DS. “The library of upcoming titles is unprecedented,” Reggie states, smugly.
He goes on to reveal 3D trailers and 3D game demos are on the way for the handheld. The Virtual Console is then mentioned, making classic portable games from the GameBoy and GameBoy Color, available for new gamers. He then confirms reports from earlier today that classic console titles before the NES will be given new leases of lives with 3D makeover. He says a free 3D version of Excitebike (27 years old! Good God) is available now for download.
The biggest download news is one involving one of the biggest franchises ever; Pokémon. Pokédex 3DS is a free download which lets you receive new Pokémon by Street Pass, AR cards and/or scanning certain areas/things. Each Pokémon as an AR marker which lets you take photos with your Pokémon. “3DS means social, connection, redefining action, delivering it all in full 3D display,” he booms. No sign of a new Pokémon game outright though. Surely it’s in the works? When that comes out there is ten million 3DS’ sold in a heartbeat, at least.
And that was it. No, obviously I’m joking. Project Cafe was about to be revealed at last…