Nintendo Wii U E3 2014 Event Verdict: The Search For Starfox

Nintendo Wii U E3 2014 Event Verdict: The Search For Starfox

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This will likely be a shorter analysis than my past two pieces discussing Sony and Microsoft’s events, given that those were 110 and 90 minutes respectively and Nintendo’s “Digital Event” turned out to be barely 45.

It’s a shame, too, because what was shown was fun and impressive, but in the end the abruptness of the conclusion and the relative lack of new announcements likely left many wanting more, myself included.

The obvious highlight was the official reveal of a 2015 Zelda game that boasted about having a gorgeous, open world with a story and quests that don’t conform to a linear format. In short, it looks to be The Elder Scrolls: Hyrule, or at least some version about what that might look like. The brief teaser showed Link out of his traditional costume, assaulting a laser-spewing monster with explosive arrows. Very cool, and this is obviously going to be a huge game for the Wii U.

As for other huge games? There was some Smash Bros. news including some new characters including Nintendo’s Miis, which are customizable with different movesets and fighting styles. But for the game itself, the 3DS version has been delayed from “summer” to October, and the Wii U version is still “holiday” which makes me a bit anxious that we actually will see it out in 2015.

We saw more info on Hyrule Warriors, a Kirby Epic Yarn spiritual sequel in the form of Yoshi’s Wooly World, Bayonetta 2, a Toad-starring platformer, Xenoblade Chronicles and two new handheld Pokemon (which debuted with a sadly misleading console graphics-level trailer). The most interesting game shown was “Splatoon,” a 4v4 multiplayer title where players use ink guns to creatively navigate a map and take out a rival team.

It’s more notable what wasn’t discussed. Like Microsoft, Nintendo had almost nothing to say about hardware, outside of its new figurine line that hooks into the Gamepad. No hints at future devices, no discussion at all about Iwata’s mysterious “quality of life” tech.

And so far, other rumors haven’t come to fruition yet either. Ahead of the show, we were told that Nintendo would have new projects from Miyamoto, one of them being a Wii U Starfox game. The very end of the presentation teased Miyamoto playing what looked like blurry Starfox footage, but that was all. It’s possible that Nintendo is saving a big game announcement or two for their “Treehouse,” their live presence at E3. It would seem strange to debut a game that highly anticipated outside of the video presentation that was supposed to be the focus of your E3, but now Nintendo is counting down to the Treehouse like it’s their “part two” of what we saw this morning. Perhaps we’ll find Starfox before the day is out after all.

Nintendo seems to like to spread out their announcements however they feel like, which is why we constantly hear news from the at random times throughout the year with periodic Nintendo Direct presentations. They don’t seem like they want to be crammed into the traditional E3 bubble, even if that means appearing to be on unequal footing by showing up with a 45 minute recorded video instead of a 90 minute live event.

It just seems like Nintendo merely tolerates E3 these days, and would simply rather work on their own schedule. That’s well within their right, but it always make their competition feel like they have a stronger presence and more to say. And that’s not really what Nintendo wants given their slipping market position.

What they did show was great, but as always, I just wish there was more of it. Perhaps there will be by the time the day is out.

Press Conference Metacritic Score: Undefined/100

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