E3 2017 Day 4: Nintendo

By Shamus
on Jun 13, 2017
Filed under:
Video Games

I watched the Nintendo E3 press conference. I actually missed the first few minutes because I lost track of time, so if they started with a bombshell announcement then I’m hilariously out of the loop. But assuming they didn’t lead off with anything world-shattering, the show was about what we expected. While the other publishers treat the gaming press to flashy 90-minute extravaganzas with pyrotechnics, dance numbers, celebrity guests, smoke machines, and booming Hollywood-style trailers, Nintendo keeps things simple. Their show is only half an hour. It isn’t even live. It’s just some company officers talking into a camera, followed by some trailers.

The presentation showed us exactly what you’d expect from Nintendo: Some Kirby, a bit of Pokemon, some Fire Emblem, a reminder that Skyrim is coming to the Switch, a portion of Zelda, a dash of Rocket League, a few Amiibos, and a bunch of Mario. There was even a brief acknowledgement that Metroid 4 exists in some theoretical sense and we might see a frame of it someday.

Nintendo is so relentlessly conservative and risk-averse that there’s not much to write about. They usually do exactly what we expect, whether we like it or not. The only surprises they have are things like, “Which of their decades-old properties will get a release this year, and which ones will wait until next year?” Every few years they might shock us with an unconventional bit of hardware and we think, “Wow! Something new!” But then we see the hardware is a bit under-powered, third party developers stay away, and Nintendo doesn’t make nearly enough devices to meet demand and we settle back down into the familiar rut.

It sounds like I’m being negative, but I like that Nintendo is doing their own thing. (Aside from the hardware shortages. Those are inexcusable.) There’s a lot of value in making fun, affordable hardware and not getting into a pissing contest with Microsoft and Sony over who has the biggest FPS. I think it’s smart to aim their products at families instead of fighting over the crowded gritty action shooter / brawler market. There’s a lot of value in using the established Mario formula to make this series of endlessly inventive (in terms of gameplay) series of platformers. (And sometimes RPGs, fighting games, racers, etc.) This Game Maker’s Toolkit video on Mario’s 4-step level design gives a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about when I say “inventive”:


Link (YouTube)

In a lot of ways my relationship with Mario et al. is a lot like my relationship with Dark Souls. I don’t really enjoy playing the games, but I’m glad they exist because they represent such a magnificent technical and artistic achievement.

So that was the Nintendo show. I didn’t see any games that I wanted to play, but I saw lots of stuff that will be fun to watch on YouTubeOr would be, if not for Nintendo’s unforgivable iron-fisted YouTube policies.. I can’t wait to see the clever kids trivialize these games in an upcoming Awesome Games Done Quick.

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Footnotes:

[1] Or would be, if not for Nintendo’s unforgivable iron-fisted YouTube policies.



20201050 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. No One says:

    I’m jazzed for the Metroid 2 remake. Of all the Metroids, that one needed a revisit.

    • Christopher says:

      Except it got a big fan remake just last year, I think, that AM2R(Another Metroid 2 Remake). No wonder Nintendo doesn’t want fan remakes.

      • Echo Tango says:

        I’m happier with new games that are inspired by the old games, rather than re-treading the same ground with reboots, or remakes[1]. Shovel Knight and Axiom Verge are both pretty good games, and both clearly inspired by (Super) Metroid[2]. They are however, new games with new stories, which is refreshing for me to be able to experience. If I just wanted to play the old games…I’d just play the old games.

        [1] Re-releases of games are fine by me, since they’re basically just making the game compatible with modern hardware / OS-es.

        [2] Amoung other inspirations.

      • MKcyborg says:

        Ah, AM2R and Nintendo’s newfound love of DMCAs. One of the reasons* I feel like my relationship with them is so rocky as of late. I say I’m done with them, and they counter with all sorts of fancy stuff, like Odyssey, Prime 4, and their own version of Metroid 2 (which, if I was REALLY cynical, I would say was inspired by AM2R). And that Rabbids crossover with a dash of XCOM, but who in the world wanted that? Overall, Nintendo, just like Lisa, is tearing me apart.

        * The other reasons being Pokémon Uranium/Prism and the rebranding of Mother 4 due to a fear of the dreaded DMCAs.

  2. =David says:

    Nintendo doesn’t always announce all of their stuff during the main presentation. They also announced a Metroid 2 remake in the Treehouse section (which is still ongoing). Big announcements may yet be coming.

  3. Christopher says:

    A main Pokemon RPG on a console is something people have wanted forever, so I’m happy about that. The Kirby game looks about the same as Kirby Return to Dreamland on the Wii, which was an amazing co-op platformer with wonderful animation, so that’s neat. Finally, I’m amazed that the main new mechanic in Mario Odyssey is possessing other creatures and stuff in the environment, the trailer made it look real crazy.

    Are there no Nintendo games you like playing, Shamus? I know they make similar games often, but they’ve still got like 30 different series at the very least, from SRPGs to platformers to shooters.

  4. Darren says:

    Nintendo was pretty underwhelming this time around, though Mario Odyssey looks fantastic. Monster Hunter World on PS4/PC/XBONE really took some wind out of their sails, as far as I’m concerned.

  5. The Rocketeer says:

    There was even a brief acknowledgement that Metroid 4 exists in some theoretical sense and we might see a frame of it someday.

    Metroid 4 exists; Metroid Fusion on the Game Boy Advance is Metroid 4. Check the opening credits if you don’t believe me.

    I also think that Fusion was both the greatest 2D Metroid game and a worrying premonition of Other M’s writing direction. But that’s just me.

    • Cthulhu says:

      Other M was a botched attempt to introduce Metroid 4’s story elements to the new audience the Prime games attracted. Given how badly it went over, I’m guessing Prime 4 will be a midquel that ignores the series story entirely, like the other Prime games. Still, it’s nice to have a new Metroid announced, after seven friggin’ years.

    • Crimson Dragoon says:

      I’ve always felt Fusion was the hidden gem of the series. Such a great game. I actually liked that it gave Samus a voice and some semblance of a personality. Its a shame Other M likely ruined this forever.

      Oh, and this is Metroid Prime 4. The Prime series is it’s own storyline. Or it’s own timeline? I’ve never been too clear on that.

      • Lachlan the Sane says:

        The Metroid Prime series is what the Japanese call a “Gaiden”, which roughly translates to “side-story”. So in theory it’s canon to Samus’s life (falling between Metroid/Zero Mission and Metroid II), but the events aren’t supposed to strongly affect the main story.

        On the other hand, there are events in Metroid: Other M (which is set after Super Metroid) that contradict the Prime games (e.g. Samus says at one point that she hasn’t worked with Galactic Federation troops since she left to become a bounty hunter, even though she does that in Prime 3, and the Space Pirates are referred to as “Zebesians” even though Prime 3 established that the Pirate Homeworld is not Zebes). I’m pretty sure that Nintendo has said that Other M is “main” canon so it overwrites anything in the Gaiden canon.

        But back to the first hand — Other M is a pile of dog shit which can’t keep itself coherent for two minutes, and it sometimes contradicts the “main” Metroid games as well (e.g. making it so the Space Pirates are mindless drones without Ridley’s control, which makes no damn sense considering that Samus kills a rebuilt Ridley every other week). So the vast majority of Metroid fans (myself included) prefer the canon with Prime in it to the canon with Other M in it.

  6. Lee says:

    Hey, Shamus, has there been a noticeable drop in viewers for the last couple articles? I don’t know if it’s a larger problem or just my company’s stupid web filter, but I can’t reach the site from work any more. DNS fails.

  7. Bloodsquirrel says:

    There’s a lot of value in making fun, affordable hardware and not getting into a pissing contest with Microsoft and Sony over who has the biggest FPS

    I’ve yet to be convinced of that. The Xbox and PS aren’t much more expensive after a few years of release than Nintendo’s consoles, and there isn’t much other benefit to having weaker hardware. There’s really nothing about Nintendo’s hardware that I would miss if they went 3rd party.

    • Thomas says:

      If the Switch does well, which it might, there’s value for Nintendo. And the Wii was value for consumers.

      Generally though, Nintendo consoles have been bad for people and not great for Nintendo. You can play amazing Nintendo games for the same price (or very slightly cheaper) than another console _and that’d all you can play_.

      At the moment the Switch is paying £400 to play Zelda or w/e.

      It even leads to a kind of Stockholm syndrome. Nintendo fans think the Wii U has a great indie library because they’ve never seen just how much indie stuff the other consoles have these days (presumably Steam would blow minds)

    • Blake says:

      I pretty much view my Switch as a portable with the option of playing on a tv. The other consoles don’t give me that.

  8. Christopher says:

    Another announcement just made on the treehouse stream: A 3DS remake of the first Mario & Luigi RPG series game, Superstar Saga, which was originally released on the Game Boy Advance in 2003. It’s easily my favorite in the series, so that’s great news. Not necessarily a fan of the new graphics, though. The original was as close to a comicy/manga look as you could get with sprites, with hard outlines and expressive characters. This remake is going for a 3d look.

  9. Off-topic (unless you count game development).
    But OpenAL-Soft v1.18 is now available. http://kcat.strangesoft.net/openal.html

  10. Langis says:

    No Monster Hunter XX localization is really disappointing. It’s coming to the Switch, and Monster Hunter World looks good, but I was really hoping to get one last classic title in english. Guess I’ll just import it.

  11. Da Mage says:

    I dunno, did you miss the Mario / Rabbids crossover with the XCOM style gameplay, if that’s not a risk then I don’t know what is.

    • Retsam says:

      Yeah, he covered that in his post on the Ubisoft conference, where it was announced.

      It’s not a particular risk for Nintendo, though. They’re not making the game, they’re just licensing their characters to it. They’ll make money on it, regardless, since they’ll get royalties for the IP usage, but don’t have to spend money to actually develop the game.

      And if it’s awful, it’s not like it’s really going to tarnish the Mario name. People will just dismiss it as “not a real Mario game, anyway”, like “Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games” or “Mario Teaches Typing 2”.

      (The part of me that’s a bit jaded towards Nintendo fans says that, if the game does well, everyone will credit Nintendo, while if it does poorly, everyone will blame Ubisoft, but I recognize that as being a touch irrational)

      • Dreadjaws says:

        I wouldn’t call it irrational, it’s perfectly normal to think that’s what would happen because, well, that too is perfectly normal. People do that all the time. Companies (or directors, writers or whathaveyou) will garner certain fame, either positive or negative and the reaction to their involvement in future projects will be more shaped by that fame than by the actual level of their involvement.

        This is actually so prevalent that Nintendo’s stock went up for a while after the release of Pokemon GO! when they had nothing to do with the game.

    • Xedo says:

      Nintendo might be risk-averse as a corporation, but creatively they take a lot more chances than people give them credit for. I mean, their last 5 hardware releases were the DS, 3DS, wii, wii u, and switch – these are pretty crazy hardware designs! On the software side of things, they have a rep for being the mario/zelda factory, but they’ve been quietly making weird stuff like pushmo, boxboy, code name steam, star fox guard, captain toad, steel divers, tomodachi life, etc. And funding stuff like wonderful 101, snipperclips, ever oasis. Plus making baffling experiments with existing IP (star fox zero, tri force heroes…).

      Sometimes it works out like splatoon, sometimes not, but they’ve definitely been trying new things – admittedly while overusing their main brands in spinoffs (mario sports and mario tennis and mario jrpg and mario racing and mario adventure game and).

      There’s a good reason armchair ceo’s have spent the last decade complaining that nintendo needs to stop making gimmicks and make a Normal Console with Normal Metroid and Normal Star Fox and Normal you get the idea.

  12. Looking forward to Metroid 4. I might become a Nintendo fan after this years E3.

    • Lachlan the Sane says:

      I adore the Metroid Prime games and would love another one. Or any game similar to it would be fine (there are plenty of Super Metroid lookalikes in the world, of course, but not many Metroid Prime lookalikes). But considering how utterly the Metroid IP got fucked over by Nintendo after Prime 3, I’ll believe in Prime 4 when I actually see more than a title splash.

  13. OriBiggie says:

    I just want to thank Shamus for plugging the GDQ. Summer’s is just around the corner! (starts the 3rd July if I remember correctly – I’m much to lazy to go and follow the link through which will almost certainly have the dates visible).

    I have no real reason to feel happy about it being mentioned, I’m in no way involved with the event, but I do enjoy a good speedrun. And it’s for a good cause to boot, so I’m always happy to see it mentioned.

    But yeah, the Nintendo thing. That’s a thing that they’re doing. Totally on topic.

    • Blastinburn says:

      A speedrunner got to play mario odyssey and went around testing mario’s movement ability. They really liked the game and it was interesting watching them talk about movement tech. My favorite part was when the rep told him he couldn’t get over a wall and the speedrunner did it anyway.

      Look forward to seeing odyssey at a future gdq.

  14. Shoeboxjeddy says:

    Metroid Prime 4 is good news in the direction of “would I ever buy a Switch”. But we’re clearly over a year out from that one, maybe two years, so no rush on that front. Meanwhile, I will get Metroid 2 Remake on day one, glad the 3DS is still getting great games.

  15. Christopher says:

    https://www.giantbomb.com/videos/giant-bomb-at-nite-live-from-e3-2017-nite-1/2300-12106/

    As one more E3 thing, I wanna plug Giant Bomb’s interviews for people who don’t know about them but wanna get some more E3 stuff. They’re doing one every night that the E3 show floor is open, pulling in various people in the industry. The ones that are all business from the biggest companies are kinda boring and the ones from the indie scene can often be grating, but there are always some gems in there. The most interesting guests last night for me were Jens Matthies, the creative director of the new Wolfenstein games, and Janina Gavankar, the actress that plays the main character in Star Wars Battlefront 2. That’s from the third and fifth guest segment, respectively.

  16. TmanEd says:

    At least the new Xcom looks pretty good.

  17. PatPatrick says:

    I with the majority of my comrades from ex-USSR (hipsters excluded, ofc) just can’t understand, how you, “western people”, can play this Mario-Zelda-DonkeyKong-Metroid games. Year after year, decade after decade. Hell, your journalists even put this “games” in every possible “Best game ever” tops. The Internet is crawling with this tops with 2-3 Zelda and 3-4 Mario inside! This is madness! :)

  18. Wow, you just helped me realize even more how vile and stupid Nintendo’s policies are. I mean, they’re illegal and hypocritical, but it’s also so dumb because Nintendo games are great streaming games. They are turning down free advertising while seeming out of touch, draconian and insane, and they do this while they sit on a beloved game library.

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