Nintendo Direct

Nintendo Direct E3 2018 Summary

Nintendo’s presentation focused mainly on Super Smash Bros Ultimate, but there was a lot of other information to digest. With many fast-paced trailers, release dates for known games were revealed, including lots of games that were available to download today. The presentation started with a trailer for the new robot action game Daemon X Machina, which will be available at some point in 2019. Next up was a trailer for the new DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and an announcement that it will be released in September this year.

Reggie was then introduced, and he talked a little more about the already announced Pokémon: Lets Go Pikachu and Pokémon: Lets Go Eevee, which will be available on November 16th this year. Reggie presented the Pokeball Plus, a new type of controller for the game that will come exclusively with Mew and will be compatible with the popular mobile game Pokémon Go. Super Mario Party was the next game to be showcased, with an announcement that it will be available on October 5thFire Emblems: Three Houses was then shown, with a release date of sometime next year. The big news was revealed that not only is Fortnite coming to Switch, but that it will also be available to download today.

Reggie appeared again to talk about the importance of indie games to Nintendo, including a trailer for Overcooked 2 (available August 7th), a Killer Queen Black remake (available later this year), and a game called Hollow Knight that is another game available today. Reggie continued by giving us a release date and a little more information on Octopath Traveler, by Square Enix, which is exclusive to Switch July 13th.  Next up were lots of very short, fast paced trailers and release date reveals. Some of the games were brand new exclusives to the Switch, whilst others included ports of older games that were previously available elsewhere. The extensive list included:

Starlink (available October 16th), Arena of Valor (coming this Autumn), Minecraft (available June 21st), Sushi Striker (available now), Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle: Donkey Kong Adventure (available June 26th), Pixark (coming this fall), Just Dance 2019 (available October 23rd), Dragon Ball Fighter Z (available later this year), Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion (available this summer), Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (available July 13th), Crash Bandicoot N Sane Triology (available on the Switch June 29th),  Ninjala (available spring next year), Carcassonne (available holiday 2018), FIFA 18 (available now), FIFA 19 (available September 28th), ARK: Survival Evolved (available on the Switch in the fall), Wasteland 2: Directors Cut (available on the Switch in the fall), Paladins: Champions of the Realm (free to download today), Fallout Shelter (free to download today), Dark Souls Remastered (available on the Switch in the summer this year), SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy (available September 7th), Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (ported to the Switch for August 28th), Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (available on the Switch June 29th), The World Ends With You: Final Remix (available on the Switch this fall), Megaman II (available October 2nd), and finally Mario Tennis Aces (available June 22nd).

Shinya Takahashi and Masahiro Sakurai then arrived to present the main event of the Nintendo Direct, which was more information on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Sakurai announced that every single character that has ever been a part of the Smash Bros. franchise will be included in the new games, including Snake, who hasn’t been in a Smash game for ten years. Inklings, Princess Daisy and Ridley have also been added to the game to complete the roster. As well as new additions, you can now play as a female version of Pokémon Trainer or Pikachu. Sakurai mentioned how there would be a lot of new animations for the fighters and showed an expressive Donkey Kong as an example.

Although all the characters are returning, many of them have been tweaked or changed to fit in with the new game. Link and Mario have been redesigned to appeal to fans of Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Zelda has also been given a different look for the game. Instead of going for the Twilight Princess variation of Zelda, designers chose her costume from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds to tie in with her Triforce of Wisdom ability.

There will be more than 50 assist characters in the game, including the addition of the Squid Sisters to help out the Inklings. The multiple stages of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will include:
Green Greens, Spear Pilar, Midgar, Kongo Falls, Lylat Cruise, Princess Peach’s Castle, Spirit Train, Frigate Orpheon, Green Hill Zone, New Pork City, Wrecking Crew, Tortimer Island, Moray Towers, and the introduction of Great Plateau Tower from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

News that delighted fans was that the game will be compatible with GameCube controllers and all previous amiibos. Player data from amiibos from the older Smash Bros. Wii U and 3DS games will carry over, as well as there being some yet to be announced new amiibos.

The Nintendo Direct then ended after the release date for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was announced as December 7th this year, and the stream then went straight to Treehouse on the Show floor. Fans were disappointed that they didn’t get a glimpse Metroid Prime 4 or of more exclusive games, but that will have to wait until the next Nintendo Direct.

Nintendo Direct delivers once again

The November Nintendo Direct was the first since Satoru Iwata’s passing. It opened with Reggie paying tribute to him before they moved onto Bill and the news that Nintendo had to share. For the European broadcast there was also a tribute to Satoru Iwata from Satoru Shibata. They announced games to be released for both the Wii U and 3DS in 2016, as well as plans they had for the rest of the year. Below is a summary of the massive amount of announcements that Nintendo Direct had to offer us.

For the Wii U:

  • Twilight Princess HD remake and Wolf Link Amiibo – Out March 2016
  • New Zelda for the Wii U confirmed for next year, where it will mark 30 years of Zelda games
  • Continuing updates for Splatoon including new levels and content
  • Videos showcasing upcoming games Animal crossing Amiibo Festival, Mario Tennis Ultra Smash, and Xenoblade Chronicles X
  • Starfox Zero – A new trailer and April release date announced
  • Pokken Tournament – A Pokemon fighting game already popular in Japanese arcades will be coming to the Wii U in 2016

For the 3DS:

  • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam trailer – Released January in America and December elsewhere
  • Tri-Force Heroes getting new free content, including a new area ‘Den of Trials’
  • Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow are coming to the Virtual Console, with trading available via WiFi and available on February 27th
  • Fire Emblems Fate – Comes in various packages and will be out in February
  • Megaman Legacy Collection – Includes all 6 games, original art and sketches, challenges and special Megaman Amiibos
  • Hyrule Warriors Legends – Includes some extra Windwaker characters, Skull Kid and a new character known as Linkle aka female Link. Her specialties are having a dual crossbow and spinning kick. The game will be release march 25th
  • Dragon Quest VII and VIII both coming out in 2016 in the West

A big announcement available for both consoles:

  • Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud is coming to both the 3DS and Wii U Smash Brothers game as a playable character. There will be a Smash Bros specific Nintendo Direct in December.

The full video can be seen on their YouTube channel here

My Tribute to Satoru Iwata

On my  business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer. – Satoru Iwata, GDC 2005


File:Satoru Iwata - Game Developers Conference 2011 - Day 2 (1).jpg

Satoru Iwata at GDC 2011

The famous words by the Nintendo legend Satoru Iwata. These words reflected exactly the kind of man who Iwata was; a man who put the games and the company he was CEO of before himself. He was well-known for taking a 50% pay-cut rather than make employees redundant when Nintendo saw their profits drop dramatically, with it happening more than once. Although Nintendo sales are fine for now, he took a wage cut after both the initial launch of the 3DS and in 2014 after Wii U sales weren’t doing as well as predicted.

He was the first president of Nintendo that wasn’t a relative of the Yamauchi family, and only the fourth there ever had been. He took over as CEO of Nintendo when Hiroshi Yamauchi retired, who had turned Nintendo from a small Hanafudu playing cards company to the video games giant it is today. 

Born in Sapporo Japan, he had an interest in video games from a young age. Starting out by making games on a simple school calculator, he later went on to study computer science at the Tokyo School of Technology whilst doing freelance work for HAL Laboratory; even whilst at HAL he had a big hand to play in Nintendo, having worked on the Kirby and various Pokemon games. Iwata was eventually made a full-time employee of Nintendo in 2000 when he was appointed as the head of the corporate planning division, before becoming the president of Nintendo in 2002.

With Nintendo Directs and ‘Iwata Asks’, Satoru Iwata made Nintendo a much more personable company to its fans. Through Nintendo Direct press events, we got to see the side of Iwata that the public came to love. Ever humorous in his approach to the creation of everyone’s favourite Nintendo titles, he showed us all the fun side of games development.

‘Video games are meant to be for just one thing: fun. Fun for everyone!’ – Satoru Iwata, GDC 2006

As a girl who grew up on Nintendo, I have been a part of the Nintendo community for over 20 years. My first console was the NES, shortly followed by the original Game Boy, and I have been a fan-girl ever since. Iwata played a  crucial role in the development of many of the games I played as a child, such as Kirby and Super Smash Bros. During Iwata’s time as president, the now much loved Nintendo DS and the revolutionary Wii were launched.
An open, electric blue original Nintendo DS system.
Games studios across the world have been paying tribute to Iwata today with fan art.

Even rival company Sony paid tribute on their PlayStation twitter account.

After having to miss E3 last year due to his battles with cancer, he sadly passed away on July 11th 2015 at the age of only 55. With his passing, people are left wondering who will be able to replace such an icon of the industry, but for now the world is in mourning for such a wonderful man. RIP Satoru Iwata, you will sorely be missed by many gamers around the world.
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Summary of ‘The Big 3’ press conferences

When E3 comes round in June every year, talk turns to who will give the best presentation and win fans over. This year however, there was no clear winner or loser, with each company smashing their presentations. All 3 companies made their presentations mainly about the games. They finally listened to gaming fans that were fed up of having companies going on about things you could do aside from play games on your console, instead of talk about new upcoming titles. Whilst most gamers have welcomed additions such as Netflix, E3 has been lacking behind in impressive announcements; this year was different.

The first of the big 3 to show off their stuff was Microsoft. Opening their presentation with a 15 minute trailer for the new Halo game was enough to get any Microsoft fan boy hooked. A couple of game announcements later and Microsoft then revealed some good news; backwards compatibility with your Xbox 360 games! Although backwards compatibility is a great move forwards, some will say it’s too little too late as the Xbox One has been out since 2013. A snazzy new controller was also revealed, before Bethesda turned up and talked about the already announced Fallout 4. A few EA games later and a pretty looking Dark Souls 3 trailer was shown, as well as a game called Ion that not much is yet known about. Some ‘coming to Xbox first’ games were next, including Tacoma and the new Tomb Raider, demonstrating that Xbox was lacking in exclusive only titles. Towards the end, however, a handful of exclusives were announced, including the expected Gears of War and Fable Legends, a new game from Rare, as well as ‘Rare Replay’, a collection of 30 remastered games by the company from times gone by. Another Microsoft gem that stole the show was the augmented reality device named Microsoft Hololens. Minecraft was used to demonstrate how you could incorporate holograms into your game, creating the Minecraft world on any surface; more details on this are to be announced, but what was shown so far was definitely impressive.

Sony’s conference was up next and it blew everyone away by starting with a game that people thought had been long-lost; The Last Guardian. The Last Guardian is a game that has been in development since 2007, so fans had lost faith that it was ever going to come out. One stunning trailer later, and it has been confirmed for a 2016 release date. Another game that looked very interesting was Horizon. There is more to be confirmed about the game, but with dinosaurs and robots, it seems to have a winning combination. A few more games such as Hitman and Street Fighter V were shown off, before Sony pulled out the big guns; a Final Fantasy VII remake and Shenmue III. The prospect of a Final Fantasy remake had the crowd and the gamers at home going mental with excitement. Just when Sony fans thought they couldn’t top that, Yu Suzuki stepped on stage to announce a Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue III; the idea of this was so popular, it raised $2 million in 9 hours! Project Morpheus was mentioned briefly, but Sony were still not giving too much away.

Finally Nintendo, who instead of doing a press conference, once again opted for a Nintendo Direct presentation. It has long been thought that Nintendo can’t compete against the other big names anymore, but they don’t intend to; their games target a different demographic and they have always had a big focus on their hand-held consoles. The ever humorous Nintendo announced their 1st title by transforming puppets of the Nintendo directors into characters from the new Starfox game for the Wii U. A release date for Yoshi’s Wooly World was announced, and the story behind it described. A new Paper Mario game was also presented. There was a big focus on 3DS games, with Hyrule Warriors getting re-released on the 3DS, and the new Metroid and Zelda games also coming out on the 3DS; the emphasis of these seemed to be Nintendo trying to push the multiplayer options on the 3DS. The Zelda Triforce Heroes game looked like a lot of fun, and had a similar style to the popular Link Between Worlds. The main highlight of the Nintendo presentation (apart from the dancing puppets) was the multiple clips of Super Mario Maker. The game allows you to make your own levels from the Mario series; this is an exciting prospect for anyone that grew up with Mario and the rest of the Nintendo games. A lot of Nintendo fans were disappointed by the Nintendo Direct presentation due to a lack of content, but nowadays Nintendo announce things throughout the year rather than leaving it all to E3, so I am sure there will be much more to come from Nintendo soon. The lack of the new Wii U Zelda game was a big upset, but at the same time I understand that they want to make it as great as possible for Nintendo fans before showcasing it, and if there is one thing Nintendo does right it is a Zelda game.

All in all, this year’s E3 has been a lot better than expected, and has left a lot of gamers happy and content that console gaming is still going strong! There were lots of exciting new prospects to look forward to, with a mixture of some brand new great looking games as well as fans being pleased by the prospects of older games getting remade; 2016 is definitely a year that console gamers should look forward to.