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Opinion: The Vooks team on Nintendo’s E3 2015 showing

With E3 done for another year its time to take a look back at Nintendo’s showing, the Digital Event and just the games in general. We got a few of the team together and Mark from Kotaku AU lends his view as well. Let us know what you think in the comments – remember Iwata is listening!

Josh Whittington (@mario_bones) News Reporter

Nintendo’s presentations are always… different. I didn’t get hyped for anything specific before the conference because they always pull the unexpected and I didn’t want to get my hopes up for something that wasn’t there. I was expecting some massive curveball we didn’t see coming like they usually pull. I kept my expectations tame, just hoping for a single major Wii U game that we didn’t know about yet… and somehow the presentation still managed to disappoint. If this was just another out of the blue Direct it would have been pretty decent, but this is E3- Sony’s helping revive Shenmue, while we get a long talk about a game coming out next week.

It seems that Nintendo’s focusing on the NX in order to give it a big launch, but that really doesn’t help us Wii U owners. We get an occasional big release like Splatoon and Yoshi, and then go for months without a clear vision of the console’s future, and it gets worrying. The console has practically no third party support, which means it falls purely on Nintendo’s shoulders to keep releases coming (which is understandably difficult) but it still makes you feel a bit ambivalent towards the platform when releases get sparse.

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The presentation put a big on the 3DS, but even then the games are either not overly major or releasing next year (or both!) and it made the presentation fall flat. A new Mario RPG is cool, but we’ve been there and done that multiple times already. The Animal Crossing spinoff is cute, but doesn’t seem justified as a full retail release, especially when a big part of it is built on blind bag Amiibo cards. And the less said about the Metroid spinoff the better.

It wasn’t a bad presentation by any means, it was just disappointing. I mean, obviously the people crying for F-Zero or a Pokemon MMO were just setting themselves up for disappointment, but I don’t think it’s fair to tell people to not expect anything. Last year we got to look at the likes of Splatoon, Zelda U, Yoshi’s Woolly World, and Mario Maker for the first time, which is a HEAP of things. It would be reasonable to assume there’d be something big this year.

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The biggest reveal was that Platinum will be working on StarFox, and it wasn’t even brought up in the presentation! That’s something people had been hoping would happen for a while now, and the news arrived rather anticlimactically after we were already feeling bummed about the presentation. There was just nothing that left me feeling excited. Almost every other conference had something with a WOW factor, but Nintendo had told us about pretty much everything slightly major in the presentation already.

But even then, I don’t think StarFox is a big enough reveal to carry an entire E3 presentation. I’ll probably buy and enjoy a fair amount of the games shown last night, but for a presentation at what’s normally the biggest time of the year for game announcements, it just fell really flat.
But whatever, they’re going to bankrupt me with Amiibo anyway, so they’re probably not too worried.

Mark Serrels (@Serrels) Editor of Kotaku Australia

There’s a point worth making here.

It’s not that Nintendo isn’t working on interesting games, or innovative hardware. They are. We know they are. It’s simply that Nintendo chose not to show what they are working on. What did they show us? Spin-offs. Nintendo’s E3 presentation was breezy, light and fun.

But it was light on video games I personally care about. It was heavy on video games I will most likely never play. Heavy on video games that feel like massive missteps. Metroid Prime: Federation Force represents, I think, everything wrong with Nintendo’s E3 presentation. A cheaply made game, guilty of re-using existing assets and a brand name for easily made dollars.

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It’s a shame. And comes at the expense of the Metroid brand itself.

Why not a new 2D Metroid for 3DS? Anything but this. And why put The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes on the 3DS instead of the Wii U? A console designed for the multiplayer same screen experience; a console sorely in need of exclusive Nintendo developed titles. Honestly, I feel like Nintendo is long past caring about E3. This is a company that’s learned the value of striking out on their own, by-passing the middle-man, with Nintendo Direct.

They’ll announce things on their own timetable. ‘Winning’ E3 is not on Nintendo’s to-do list. And it showed.

Wayne (@WayneGio) News Reporter

I know a lot of people where disappointed or even let down by Nintendo’s showing during this year’s Digital Event. I’m gonna say straight off the bat, yes, it was not the greatest E3 presentation Nintendo have ever done. It certainly wasn’t the worst either. Do you remember 2008 where the big announcement was Wii Music? Not to mention I can only watch Cammie Dunaway on a Wii Fit balance Board for so long…

Yes, this year was a little weak, but Nintendo made it quite clear they were only showing and discussing games for the near future. The puppets were a nice touch but were under utilised. I feel like they could have done a bit more with that and had the show go on a bit longer, but then again they were following a strong 2014 Digital event filled with extra segments that were hillarious.

As for the games, I’m not one to complain about what we are being given. Sure a lot of them were titles we already knew exist and others weren’t what some of us hoped for. I for one got quite a lot out of it.

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Starfox looks great, as to be expected. I’m glad it’s a real Starfox too. Yoshi’s Wooly World just screams nostalgia to me, harkening back to the N64 era. Animal Crossing: Happy Home maker is rekindling my love for the series after not playing New Leaf in over a year.

As for the newly announced titles, Metroid Prime: Fedration Force is coping more flack than I think it deserves. I think the biggest problem that game faced was that It’s basically a new IP with a Metroid skin. I think it’s a good thing though because the game looks fun and might not sell as well as it would without the Metroid name.

Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival, to me, doesn’t look that interesting. I’m also not sad that the Wii U isn’t getting a fully fledged AC title. I have a 3DS for that. Then there were the Japanese games that I don’t even have a literal clue about what is going on. Geni Ibum Roke #FE. No idea at all what’s happening in that game. Yo-kai Watch also confuses me a bit.

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My excitement for Triforce Heroes and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is pretty big and were some of the highlights for me. Paper Mario is one of my favourite Mario styles and I’m glad to see it kind of come back without the whole stickers mechanic. The standout game for me was Super Mario Maker. It is seriously the game I want the most this year, and that’s across all platforms. I also really enjoyed all of the Developer Story segments but Miyamoto talking about Mario Maker was the best. That’s probably because I’m of the age where Super Mario was my entry to gaming.

All in all I wasn’t crying with joy at everything Nintendo had to show but I wasn’t creaming at the TV in rage either. I’m looking forward to the next few Nintendo Directs.

Daniel Vuckovic (@VOOK64) Editor of Vooks

I think the Digital Event needs to be broken down into two parts, how the actual presentation was as opposed to what was actually shown.

The presentation itself was strong, to start with at least. The muppet style, then eventually turning into Star Fox characters amazing and that kind of was it. Last year’s Robot Chicken style theme lasted the whole show and was better for it. This year it became a bunch of talking heads with small interludes. Go the whole way or don’t go at all. You’re Nintendo you can get away with it.

Now to the actual games. First up, I was honestly disappointed there wasn’t something more to wow me. Star Fox we knew about, everything we knew was great and the stuff we didn’t was presented poorly or just looks weird. Yes, I’m talking about Metroid Prime whatever it is. But its Next Level Games people, it’s going to be a good game most likely, no its not the Metroid you were looking for it doesn’t mean its not being worked on. Was Retro there? Nope.

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There are still a ton of games on the way folks…

The genuine shock factor was the problem for me, nothing stood out and make me fist pump and get excited. On the other hand all of the stuff shown will likely be out within a year, Sony might have wowed everyone with Final Fantasy this, Last Guardian than and Shenmue but they’re all 2016 or later – most of the stuff we saw last night this time next year you will be enjoying it. They are still going to be pretty good games.

Which brings me to another point, exactly – next year after Zelda what is there? What are all Nintendo’s teams working on that were announced today? What is Monolith Soft on now, Retro and others. They won’t be working on Wii U games – that’s pretty much a given.

We’re seeing spin off titles here with recycled assets (which sounds really nasty but its smart in a way) to fill gaps. NX is coming, smartphone games are coming these spin off titles will fill the gaps.

A whole presentation of it was a bit much.

Cover Photo: Luke Henderson

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About The Author
Daniel Vuckovic
The Owner and Creator of this fair website. I also do news, reviews, programming, art and social media here. It is named after me after all. Please understand.
  • Zidapi
    June 19, 2015 at 9:27 am

    “Where are Retro”? Microsoft are billing the new franchise ReCore as being produced by the “the makers of Metroid Prime”. Is that not Retro, or is it a splinter group made up of former Metroid Prime devs?

  • Oliver Winfree
    June 19, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I hear you guys, while Nintendo don’t need to win E3, they really missed an opportunity to convince people to buy a Wii U/hang on to their Wii U’s. After Splatoon, they really had a chance to roll on some momentum. Coming off E3 2014, I had bright hopes for the Wii U for 2016 and beyond, now I think it’s going to be like how Nintendo dropped off from the Wii…a NX release may be closer than we think…

  • David
    June 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Recore is made by Armature Studio, basically some of the core Metroid Prime devs left Retro in 2008 and started up Armature:

    “In April 2008, after completing Metroid Prime 3: Corruption in 2007 for Nintendo, former game director Mark Pacini, art director Todd Keller, and principal technology engineer Jack Matthews left Retro Studios to start Armature, which was founded in September 2008.”

    They spent the past few years working on remakes like Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Borderlands Handsome Collection and PS Vita spin-offs like Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate, but now they’re finally working on a completely new IP.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armature_Studio

  • ShayNeary
    June 19, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    That was a fantastic read, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Cool to hear from Serrels too.

  • June 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Really well written article, and thoughtful conclusions. Great to have a range of commentators too!

    I share the same thoughts, a little disappointment at not seeing at least one game which would astounded me. I did feel that the Star Fox art style could do with some refinements, especially after seeing the Arwing so amazingly represented in Bayonetta 2. I admire Nintendo’s family friendly image, and Splatoon has totally blown my mind, but I’m surprise that they did not show Fatal Frame on the presentation. I suppose E3 is for new announcements and in regards to that – its been quite a dry one for me personally.

    Having been following Vooks for about 6 months now. Great website guys!

  • Nor
    June 22, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Nintendo fan since the NES here. The bad conference is just another step in the wrong direction for this company. They continually strive to innovate and play to the beat of a different Drum but it is beginning to come at a cost to the company. It is costing them fans and customers.
    They have not had a strong selling console since the n64 with the exception of the wii, which had the worst attach rate of any of their consoles. These problems go back a long way and this conference just reeked of what is wrong with the direction of nintendo…. They do it their way just to be different…. Even though not all stakeholders want that.
    They don’t want to compete with Sony and Microsoft, so they go for the wii, then wii U. Underpowered boxes that offer something different. Result, no third party will deal with them.
    They continually fall behind in the online space. Result, no third party will deal them.
    They won’t negotiate terms with third parties. Result, no third party will deal with them.
    Now at E3, the conference where the whole world is waiting they go with the digital event, which is fine in theory, but so lacking in substance and shock value that it infuriates fans. Then, president of NOA comes out and says we only use E3 to show games coming in the next 6-12 months, despite the fact we just watched a conference full of games revealed at last years conference that still aren’t out.
    Bottom line is, developing in HD takes longer and is more expensive than they thought. They have alienated themselves from the international gaming scene by continually making choices that prevent 3rd parties from dealing with them. They are now starting to make choices that are alienating their fans.
    Not only the fact that there is nothing for us to look forward too beyond Xmas except zelda, which we know nothing about, but the way they have not listened to their customers. U have to listen to your customers eventually, u can’t keep making decisions to alienate them. No business will last doing that.

    As a long term fan, it saddens me that the wii U is clearly on the way out. It has been ditched. I have a PS 4, that I am a lot more excited about owning even though it has no games out at the moment. IMO The Nintendo console may now become that little box in the corner that I play one or two nintendo games on and otherwise ignore. If that is the case, it will be sad, as a lot of the creativity, charm and innovation will be lost to the industry.

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