The idea that any gaming company “wins” E3 is rather silly and certainly doesn’t matter. However, we can generally tell which game developer had the most interesting and important presentation. Or to be more direct, who had the most games coming out THIS year (2019). I’m not opposed to previewing games in development, but some developers show the same game for years. I’m looking at you Square Enix (FF7). In the last few years Nintendo had decided to abandon the usually corny or awkward on stage presentation. Instead they opted for the “Nintendo Direct” model.
In addition to Nintendo Directs, they included the Nintendo Treehouse where they actually show the gameplay of games that will be released soon. Initially, many though this was a sign that Nintendo was in trouble in some way. Instead it turned out to be in their favor. While I’m a Nintendo fanboy, I think Nintendo has had the best showing for the last few E3. This year of course was easier than previous E3. Sony was a no show and Microsoft announced a new console with a bunch of specs. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo isn’t focused on making a new console so they can focus on games.
While many of the third party games for the Nintendo Switch are just ports, if you buy a Nintendo console you don’t do so for third party games. Nintendo has been able to carefully schedule the release of their games so there’s something every year. So what did they have to offer:
Animal Crossing has been a huge success for Nintendo. Announced last year, Animal Crossing: New Horizon will take place on a tropical island. The video shows players crafting and building a surrounding environment. The bad news for fans. It’s not coming out this year, but March 20th, 2020.
ZELDA: LINK’S AWAKENING
While we wait for the next 3D Zelda, the adorably styled remake Link’s awakening will be released this September. Players are now able to create dungeons from pre-made sets. In addition to this game is the Cadence of Hyrule, a rhythm adventure game from Crypt of the Necrodancer, which will be released June 13.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD SEQUEL
The MOST important announcement was the sequel of the Breath of the Wild is being worked on. There isn’t too much details on the upcoming game but many are speculating that you might be able to play as Zelda herself. It also seems that we might get a new zombie villain. Regardless, if this game is any where close to the first one then it will be great. Considering Nintendo’s track record it will be.
On June 5th, Nintendo will broadcast a new Nintendo Direct presentation. The direct will provide details on newest Pokemon games, Pokemon Sword and Shield. Slated to air 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT on Nintendo’s YouTube and Twitch channels. With E3 2019 on the horizon the direct will allow Nintendo to give the games more time. This will not replace anything that Nintendo has prepared for E3 itself.
The Nintendo Direct will focus on “on software, and will offer a look at games scheduled to launch in 2019.” Games expected for release this year on the Switch are, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Astral Chain, Animal Crossing, Daemon X Machina, Luigi’s Mansion 3, and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Also a Pokemon Press Conference occurred today that I haven’t seen yet, but it may focus on Pokemon Go.
The Final Fantasy VII remake was originally shown in 2015 much to fans excitement. At E3 it received a standing ovation and Square Enix’s stock prices even rose. Personally, I didn’t really get into the Final Fantasy series until FF10 and was mildly annoyed at all fanfare the game got. Regardless, I am excited to see what all the hype is about. One problem seems to be how slow the development process is for this game.
Instead of simply recreating the game with better graphics, the Square Enix team decided to do a full remake. They decided to rebuild the game from the bottom up, using a new game system. The fighting system will change to a more action based style. They aim to upgrade the battle system, similar to games like Kingdom Heart and Dissidia FF. However, they have every intention to keep the gameplay mechanics that fans loved.
The developers also wanted avoid coming across as “too nostalgic,” also they wanted to make changes that reflected “cultural shifts,” like the scene when Cloud cross-dresses on an infiltration mission. The game will be fully voiced and utilize the Epic Games Unreal Engine 4. The game has been planned as a multi-game release. Square Enix claims that “trying to fit the game onto a single release would entail cutting large parts of the game.”
If they split the games players will be given more access to parts of the game that they couldn’t before. Each game is expected to be similar in size to FF13. The cost of each part isn’t known yet. However, if they are the size of full games there’s no reason to believe that they won’t be full priced.
Like many fans of the Pokemon series I was waiting to see what the next generation of Pokemon games would look like. When the Switch was revealed to be both a home console and a handheld one, it was easy to predict that the next Pokemon game would be on the Switch. Unlike, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee, this game will be the “real” Pokemon RPG’s.
Each Pokemon region is inspired by a real place, this time it’s seems to be Great Britain. The brand new region is called Galar. The three new starter Pokemon were revealed: the Grass-type chimp Grookey, the Fire-type rabbit Scorbunny, and the Water-type lizard Sobble. As always random encounters are back, as are Gym’s (Pokemon Sun and Moon changed that format). The trailer didn’t confirm whether character customization, but I’m hoping.
So far their doesn’t seem to be anything new to the series yet, but details on possible new elements could emerge later. With the introduction of every new generation, we tend to get a lot of new Pokemon. Anyway, I can’t wait. Pokemon Sword & Shield will be released later this year.
Nintendo announced that they have “restarted development” of Metroid Prime 4 slated for the Nintendo Switch. Retro’s Studios is a subsidiary of Nintendo American, they developed the highly successful Metroid Prime Trilogy and Donkey Kong Country series. Nintendo’s senior managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi announced the change in a video:
Nintendo claimed that ” The current development status of the game is very challenged and we have made a very difficult decision as a development team.” Metroid Prime was announced back in June 2017, but not many details were released. Takahashi has stated that “It will be a long road until the next time we will be able to update you on the development progress and development time will be extensive.”
Massive software sales from hits like, Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Marvels Spiderman, God of War and Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Video game revenues reached a new high in the U.S. with $43.4 billion according to ESA and the NPD Group. Hardware sales increased significantly from 2017 to 2018. Hardware was up 15 percent, grossing $7.5 billion.
The Nintendo Switch surpassed the PS4 as the “best-selling console, both in units sold and dollars.” Super Smash Bros. Ultimate became the “best selling game in December.” Sony announced that the PS4 has sold over 91 million units since 2013. Meanwhile, Nintendo had a strong holiday season, seeing the Switch sell 22 million worldwide, with over 8.7 million sold in the U.S. making it ” the fastest-selling console of the current generation.”
The gaming industry has become the “top money-driving entertainment industry in the U.S., as well as globally.” Digital revenue reached $109.8 Billion in 2018. Most of the numbers are attributed to Epic’s Fornite, that made ” $2.4 billion last year.”
A lot of criticism was sent Nintendo’s way for the failure of Wii U. The Switch has turn all that around, on Thursday, Nintendo announced that the “Nintendo Switch has become the fastest-selling home video game system ever in the United States. The system has sold more than 4.8 million units in the United States in the 10 months since it launched on March 3. Nintendo‘s Wii system was the previous record holder, selling more than 4 million units in its first 10 months.”
I’ll admit that I’m pleasantly surprised that the Switch has done this well. What doesn’t surprise me is the high attachment rate of their first party titles, Nintendo stated “that more than 60% of Nintendo Switch owners in the United States have Super Mario Odyssey, and more than 55% own The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo noted that the games are two of the highest-rated games in history. The company also revealed that more than 50% of Nintendo Switch owners have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and more than 20% have Splatoon 2.
Nintendo has often had issues with third party support, this did change with the Nintendo DS, 3DS and Wii. However, during the short Wii U era third party support was scarce. Nintendo said that “more than 300 titles by third-party developers have launched for the Switch, and it has “received strong support from indie developers.” The Nintendo Switch, as of December 10 has sold over 10 million units worldwide. With a new Metroid Prime and Pokemon RPG on the horizon things are looking good for Nintendo’s future.