Nintendo E3 2015: Perception and Reality

It is the morning after. The morning after a seemly dismal Nintendo E3 performance. You would think that Nintendo’s showcase from their Digital Event was worse than that of their press conference in 2008. You would think that Nintendo showed nothing new, nothing exciting, nothing cute, nothing worth playing, but that is simply not true.

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To be completely fair to Nintendo, you must take into consideration that they hold mini-e3’s throughout the year with their Nintendo Directs. These small videos, released every few months or so, have a huge impact on the internet and the gamer community. They are a quirky, unique, informational, and an intimate look into workings of a large, global corporation, brought directly to their fans. The Nintendo Direct platform has been disruptive, something Nintendo loves to do, and it has even influenced other companies and how they communicate with their user base.

The downside, as it appears, is that come E3 time there is less BANG when compared to Nintendo’s counterparts that spend less of their time throughout the year sharing information and progress. The other problem with the perception of Nintendo’s E3 showing is that people claiming to be Nintendo fans are needy, spoiled, unrealistic viruses looking to be outraged by any and everything.

This is why I chose to make this post. I don’t write much about video games any more; which is sad because I think I am good at it and provide a unique perspective that is not very prevalent in video game writing, but this outrage is something I can’t ignore. I felt like I had to make my point of view known. I would like to highlight the idiocy of the outrage over Nintendo’s E3 showing so far, and in particular show why the deep salty vitriol over one specific game is foolish.

Almost everything shown in the Nintendo Digital Event is being heavily scrutinized and here are some plain examples of what I have seen.

StarFox Zero: I just want to play a regular Star Fox game without motion controls.
Good news, you CAN play without motion control but is sounds like it will in turn be more difficult to play. I guess that is a good thing since the people complaining are so hardcore. Also, the game is being partially developed by Platinum Games so just how can you be that mad?

Skylanders: Nobody cares about this kids game.
Lots of people care about the Skylanders series and including Donkey Kong and Bowser into the new Skylanders looks like loads of fun and I kind of want to play these characters. I think Nintendo’s plan with this collaboration is to bring more people into Activision’s game and I hope it works out for them.

The Legend of Zelda Tri Force Heroes: Somehow people are complaining about this!
I don’t know what is wrong with people. After years of people begging for a new Four Swords with online play we essentially get just that and there are people mad about it.

Hyrule Warriors Legends: People are mad about the price, in that it includes all the DLC plus additional new characters.
Admittedly, some of the hype around this title was destroyed because Koei Temco preemptively uploaded the trailer to YouTube. That was unfortunate for the overall impact of this game for E3. As far as the pricing, GOTY editions, Ultimate Editions and the like happen often with games after about a year. Also something to keep in mind is that this is a down scaled version of the Wii U game so it is not that surprising that it will be cheaper.

Genei Ibun Roku #FE (FExSMT): Too anime, weeaboo, waifu trash. Not dark enough for a Shin Megami Tensei game.
I am not into idols really but I think this game looks fun. I trust Nintendo and Altus to make a great game. As far as the themes of the game go; I don’t think the colorful pallet means the game won’t have deep and dark experiences. I will admit that the trailer should have had subtitles.

Xenoblade Chronicles X: Nothing new.
There really is hardly anything new here, the game is already out in Japan, but we got a release date. The trailer is intense, especially for not having any voice overs.

Animal Crossing: We want a real Wii U game not this spin-off garbage.
You are getting not one but two games, both of which look really fun and capture the adorable world of Animal Crossing in new ways; which I might add is refreshing for a series that has hardly changed since the first game on the N64.

Mario Tennis Ultra Smash: Another Mario Tennis game?
Okay, even I would rather see a different sport than the already crowded Mario Tennis series. The trailer has quite a few views so there must be people excited about it. It will be fun and does look better that the 3DS game.

Yokai Watch: We want Pokemon!
If this, and Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, doesn’t scratch your Pokemon itch; go play more ORAS or play the card game. I have been patiently waiting for Yokai Watch for a long time and I am excited to finally seen it in English. Knowing that Nintendo Treehouse is behind the translation is music to my ears. So far the English Yokai names are so good.

I wanted to save Metroid Prime Federation Force for last since it is getting the most undeserved hate. There are multiple points of contention and I want to seriously address each one individually.

This is not the Metroid game fans want.
This is exactly true. This is not the game existing Metroid fans want, and I contend that is one of the reasons why Nintendo is making this game in the first place. The fan base of Metroid as it exists now is divided into two major groups. The first group grew up on the original side-scrolling games. These are mostly older Millennials. They look back fondly to the old days of Metroid games and want a return to the isolated exploration roots for Samus and the series. The other group is the younger Millennials that grew up with the Prime series. They want expansive 3D worlds with more emphasis on narrative and combat.

Since this divide was created, Nintendo has struggled with what to do with the Metroid series. Other M was the realization of that struggle. It was a poorly received game that looked to bridge many of the gaps within the exiting community of fans. I found it to be a solid entry into the series. I thought the combat was really enjoyable and a great transition from the 2D games that didn’t put such a huge emphasis on aiming; which is something I don’t like about Prime games. I actually enjoyed the story, the voice acting, and the illusions it makes towards Metroid Fusion.  But rather than pleasing everyone it infuriated everyone. Again many people claiming to be fans of Nintendo are looking to be outraged. They haven’t even liked Nintendo since the 90’s but they desperately want to relive their childhood and can’t get over the fact that the company that has existed long before them, hasn’t changed with them.

What I think this game, in part, is trying to do is expand the Metroid audience once again to a third group of people. Children today do not have a Metroid to love and to bring them into this world. Federation Force will provided a multiplayer, shooter experience in the Metroid universe and give a new generation a taste of some of the elements that we all know and love. It will prepare them for the future of the series. Even I was hesitant about the game at first but after watching the Nintendo Treehouse recklessly stumble though some missions of the game I can see the potential of the game.

This is not even a Metroid game.
It is a Metroid game. It looks to be building the universe beyond just the story of one amazing character. This will help bring life to world and give meaning to events not seen, but often referenced in other Metroid games. The Federation is a huge part of the Metroid series and of Samus Aran’s life. They are both a force for good and evil, and fleshing out some of the happenings within the Federation is welcomed by me.

Perhaps the base of the gameplay is dissimilar enough that it could be part of a completely different or new series, but this would not be the first time Nintendo has taken some small idea around a theme or gameplay and applied it to an existing series to fully realize said idea. Kirby’s Epic Yarn is one such example. Maybe not a great example since that game also has much undeserved hate but I adore Epic Yarn. I have played through it twice, once by myself and once with a friend. It is a great experience but it didn’t start out as a Kirby game. I even point out in my review of Epic Yarn that it felt more like a Yoshi game at it’s core. There is no copy ability, the transformations are more akin to Yoshi’s Island, and the feel of it is more like Yoshi’s Story. Nintendo now has made Yoshi his own yarn game. In the end, Epic Yarn comes together very well as a Kirby game. It has all the trimmings of a Kirby game: the music, the enemies, and the light plot are all very much in line with other Kirby games like Canvas Curse and Adventure.

Other examples of Nintendo appropriating existing franchises into unique gameplay are in StarFox Adventures; which was originally a completely different game called Dinosaur Planet starring Krystal the fox, Kirby Air Ride, Four Swords, Pokemon Trozei, Mario Kart, Dr. Mario, Luigi’s Mansion, Mario Paint, and even Donkey Kong Country.

This isn’t even the first time Nintendo has taken a franchise and expanded upon it; using its name but without the main character being present. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is not a Mario game. Mario does make an appearance but he is in Wario Land less than he is in Punch-Out!! or in Tennis.

Nintendo doesn’t care about Metroid or its fans.
I believe the very existence of this game proves the contrary. This is likely a renewed effort to expand the Metroid universe and expand the player base of Metroid games. After the massive failure that was Other M it would have been easy for Nintendo to give up on Metroid and leave it behind like Ice Climbers, Game & Watch or Ultra Machine, and it would have honestly been understandable. Federation Force looks to be part of a starting point for the next set of Metroid games will be.

Yesterday, according to IGN.com, Metroid Prime Producer Kensuke Tanabe said, “I’m also thinking that, in that eventual game between Sylux and Samus that might get made, that I want to involve the Federation as well. So it would be a good idea to release a game like Federation Force to flesh out its role in the galaxy before moving on to that.” Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America COO, has perviously mentioned Nintendo’s struggle with the identity of the Metroid series but has alluded to them not giving up it. He appeared on the VGX award show in 2013 with someone from Retro Studios wearing a Samus pin. It should also be mentioned that whatever Retro is working on currently is still unknown. There are many reasons to believe there is more Metroid coming.

Nintendo_E3_Roadmap

Finally, I would like to point out just one more thing. In the official press kit from Nintendo for E3 was the above image showing the games covered by Nintendo at this E3. In the 2016 section for both the Wii U and 3DS are the words, “AND MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED!” Last year at E3 Nintendo savee some rather big announcement for later in the week, and there was also the closed to the public meeting Nintendo had where StarFox Zero was first shown. I think this week is still set for some surprises.

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Filed under 3DS, GameCube, Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Pokemon, Wii U

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