Nintendo at E3: Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

Before the first autocue mess-up had even happened at this year’s E3 Nintendo had managed to keep everyone’s expectations for their E3 spotlight show well and truly in check.

On multiple occasions in the build-up to their E3 show Nintendo repeatedly confirmed the fact that they would focus their show entirely on games coming out in 2017, couple that with the short 30 minute running length and many assumed the focus would be on games like Arms, Splatoon 2 and Pokken, as well as the upcoming Mario Odyssey – leaving little room for unannounced titles.

But Oh Nintendo, how you played us all like a damned fiddle.

In only 25 minutes, Nintendo managed to provide more surprises than PlayStation and Xbox combined. Yoshi, Kirby, Mario taking people’s souls and, of course, Metroid Prime 4.

With a video the length of the most modest GIF, Nintendo de-railed the internet. Samus’ long-awaited return has been welcomed with open arms and seeing Nintendo’s primary heroine back with a first-person shooter on the Switch is what fans had been dreaming of for years. Sure, it’s only a logo so far, but just that image alone allows fans to think and dream about the adventures that might be capable, and for now, that’s enough. Nintendo has routinely shown off its most-anticipated games with just an image a few years before launching and with the first Zelda and Mario games for the Switch out of the way, Metroid has all of Nintendo’s main focus in the short-term.

The unveiling of Prime 4 also meant that the reveal of a new Pokemon Switch game went under the radar somewhat, although, like Prime 4, that game is more than a year from release. However, it was still nice to get confirmation for both.

What about 2017 though? The year that Nintendo said that they would talk about. Well, most of what we saw had already been announced with Pokken, FIFA 18, Mario + Rabbids and Skyrim taking up part of Nintendo’s time. There were a number of other surprises though, with Rocket League (a personal highlight of mine) and the new Zelda Breath of the Wild DLC being shown. The former is a known quantity from Psyonix, except it’ll now come with Nintendo items when it releases, later on this year. Zelda’s DLC, however, looked like a great addition to an already fantastic game. While we didn’t see much of the second and most content heavy pack, we now know that it’ll centre around Zelda and the four champions. During its tease, we didn’t see any images of Link. So will we be playing as Zelda or the four Champions? It would be a welcome route for Nintendo to go down.

Of the games releasing this year though, Super Mario Odyssey undoubtedly stood out. Mario’s ability to enter people’s bodies thanks to a ghost hat is certainly unusual, but it allows the Italian plumber to explore a gameplay mechanic he’s never used before – and after this, there can’t be too many options Nintendo haven’t yet explored for him. Odyssey will also contain 2D sections akin to the mechanic used in A Link Between Worlds.

Despite Nintendo’s stellar showing, there were some notable absences, namely no update for the OS and no mention of the Virtual Console of any sort. The latter may be due to the delay of Nintendo’s online service, considering that old NES titles will be on offer as part of that membership, the Virtual Console launch may be tied into it. No mention of the Virtual Console at all was certainly a low point.

We also received no update on the Switch’s OS. Much requested features like a web browser, Netflix or even YouTube, as well as minor OS enhancements, would’ve been welcomed, but alas, nothing was forthcoming.

Nintendo expertly gave people a reason to buy the Switch not just in years to come but right now. They’ve positioned their line up for the rest of the year in such a way that the Switch will receive a major title every month for the rest of the year, leaving ample amount of room for 2018 and beyond. Nintendo had to learn what went wrong with the Wii U in order to make the Switch a success but it looks like it’s done that and then some.

Welcome back Nintendo, we missed you.

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