Article by Samantha Lienhard
Nintendo’s 2014 E3 digital event was one of E3’s strongest shows. To say 2015’s digital event was as step down would be an understatement.
Nintendo started strong at E3, with a surprise announcement during the Nintendo World Championships that the original Mother game would be localized at last as EarthBound Beginnings. Following that, its digital press conference featured the Nintendo leaders in puppet form, which was quite entertaining.
It began with a promising look at the much-anticipated Star Fox game, reminded fans about Super Mario Maker, and delved into Nintendo’s special partnership with Activision for Amiibo integration in the Skylanders series.
Then it was time for the Legend of Zelda—not the new Wii U game, which Nintendo had already said wouldn’t appear at E3, but two new 3DS titles. One was a co-op game called Triforce Heroes and the other was Hyrule Warriors Legends, a version of the Wii U game Hyrule Warriors with new features and characters.
After that, it started to fall apart, as Nintendo announced the Metroid game no one asked for. Metroid Prime: Federation Force is a cooperative multiplayer game, and it includes the first-person soccer game Metroid Prime: Blast Ball. While Federation Force will expand the series lore, it doesn’t star Samus, and it certainly isn’t the Metroid game fans have been begging for all these years.
The next game shown was Fire Emblem Fates, which features two storylines contained in two different versions of the game. Trailers for Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE (formerly known as Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem) and Xenoblade Chronicles X were also shown, the latter of which included a release date.
After a brief look at the Animal Crossing spin-off, Happy Home Designer, Nintendo announced its first Animal Crossing game for the Wii U… Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. Far from the Animal Crossing game fans of the series have been hoping to see on the console, this appears to be a Mario Party-style game powered by Amiibo.
With that disappointment on the table, Nintendo showed more of the adorable platformer Yoshi’s Woolley World and then moved on to one of my most-anticipated titles, Yokai Watch. Yokai Watch is a monster-collecting series from Level-5 that has taken Japan by storm. While on the surface it sounds like a Pokémon clone, it’s actually quite different and should be an interesting experience.
The next surprise was a welcome one: a crossover between the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. While the last Paper Mario game was an utter disaster, this unexpected crossover has potential.
Nintendo showed Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash next and then closed with… not a thrilling surprise, but more Super Mario Maker and its 8-Bit Mario Amiibo.
Overall, the digital show was a letdown. Its best moments mainly dealt with games already announced (Star Fox, Yoshi’s Woolley World, Yokai Watch, etc.), while its surprises included two of the biggest disappointments of E3. There are good games in Nintendo’s future, but their E3 2015 showing was a far cry from last year’s.