Nintendo played things a little differently this year at E3, choosing to focus on traditional core-oriented titles rather than the expanded audience software that made them the market leader.
We had expected to hear about Nintendo’s plans for their Wii Vitality Sensor, announced last year, and a selection of casual-oriented titles. Instead, we were inundated with announcements of new games from Nintendo’s most beloved franchises, along with an introduction to the company’s latest piece of portable hardware, the Nintendo 3DS.
The show began with a demonstration of the latest game in the Legend of Zelda series, entitled Skyward Sword. Shigeru Miyamoto appeared on stage to show how the game works with the Wii Motion Plus accessory, lthough the demonstration did suffer from some technical difficulties (wireless interference, apparently).
Next, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime announce a number of what they called “bridging titles,” designed to introduce the newfound casual audience to classic video gaming fun. These included Wii Party, essentially Mario Party without the Mushroom Kingdom gang, and Mario Sports Mix, a collection of half a dozen sports slightly too obscure to be made into standalone titles.
Nintendo was also keen to embrace projects being developed by third parties – a departure from their usual show. Trailers from Just Dance 2 and a GoldenEye remake (with Daniel Craig in place of Pierce Brosnan) were shown. Warren Spector from Junction Point took the stage to demonstrate Disney’s Epic Mickey, the media giant’s biggest game project to date.
That seemingly wasn’t enough for Nintendo as they then opened the floodgates on trailers for their own upcoming games – Dragon Quest IX, Kirby: Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Metroid: Other M. Not all of the games Nintendo had lined up for the Wii and DS were shown either – another dozen, including the third Professor Layton game, a new Mario vs. Donkey Kong and a Pokemon Ranger sequel were revealed via a press release issued after the show’s conclusion.
Nintendo concluded their presentation with the first public showing of the Nintendo 3DS. The reveal of the new 3D handheld was a dream for fans; the machine is powerful, and games from some of the most popular series around are in development for it. A new Kid Icarus game was revealed, nintendogs + cats was discussed and names like Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil and Dead or Alive were dropped on stage, while a list on Nintendo’s press site revealed even more big name titles, like a remake of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Street Fighter IV 3D, Pilotwings Resort, Animal Crossing, Star Fox and many more. Unfortunately, Nintendo did not reveal any details of the handheld’s release date or retail price.
Fans will have lapped this Nintendo conference up with great enthusiasm due to the sheer number of big name titles announced across the three platforms, and the absence of awkward demonstrations. The Wii Vitality Sensor was a notable omission, but Nintendo says they have more announcements to come, so we’ll probably hear about that sometime soon. A number of expected game announcements were also withheld so as to not be overshadowed in the avalanche of titles revealed today.