Sam Nason dissects and summarises the Nintendo E3 2018 press conference
Nintendo’s E3 has been and gone, and with it came a myriad of exciting announcements and an incredible focus on the much-anticipated Super Smash Bros Ultimate. For those of you keeping up with @RedbrickGames on Twitter, you may have noticed my slight meltdown throughout the Smash portion of the Direct – but first let’s take a look at what happened before!
The presentation began with a look at Daemon X Machina, a dynamic and flashy mech-action game which see players take over a fully-customisable power suit to defeat the enemy in a number of missions. While a rather bizarre choice to open the Direct, the title looks to capture a more mature audience on the console and features incredible cell-shaded graphics to complement the fast-paced action and destruction. Essentially the game is mechs fighting bigger mechs, which is about as awesome as it sounds. This will definitely be one to watch, with Daemon X Machina looking to launch 2019.
Next came a look at the new Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC, Torna – The Golden Country. Hypnotic music, beautiful graphics and sprawling landscapes showcase the Xenoblade universe as this expansion takes players back in time to delve into the events that lead into the main game. The DLC looks to answer fan hopes, with prospects of a new story being met with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Despite the fact I’ve never played a Xenoblade title, the quality looks immense and I’m sure it will appease any fans anxiously awaiting more content when it releases on September 14th.
Following this, Reggie saunters in and introduces the new Pokemon games (Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee!) with his beautifully soothing voice. Though nothing more is revealed about the games themselves (though I would implore everyone to look over the Nintendo Treehouse footage of the game as it showcases Viridian Forest and Pewter Gym, revealing lots of new information), the Pokeball Plus is given a more in-depth look. While we knew previously the device could be used as a Joy-Con, one thing we didn’t know was that any Pokemon could be transferred to it and that it is not limited to your starting Pikachu or Eevee. Another revelation was that the mythical Pokemon Mew comes packaged in with every single one, available to bring along on your journey. The two titles, along with the Pokeball Plus, launch November 16th.
Super Mario Party comes next, the next instalment in the frantic party game series. From the brief look we got at it it’s clear to see the game returns to its roots with each player traversing the board separately as opposed to together, like the previous two instalments. Minigames also look incredibly creative and the trailer showcases a new mode whereby multiple Switches can be used to create dynamic and ever-changing challenges that require more strategy than your average Mario Party skirmishes. Again, this is a title I’d recommend watching the Nintendo Treehouse coverage of, to see the game in action and get a feel for the changes made. Either way, I’m very excited, especially to bring it to university with me. Super Mario Party launches October 5th.
The much-anticipated Switch Fire Emblem game was revealed next, Fire Emblem: Three Houses! The trailer showcased the title’s deep lore as well as the combat and strategy the series is renowned for. The trailer seems to indicate instead of individual characters, players now control entire armies, if nothing else increasing the stakes of a clash even more. If the name is any indication there may also be some remnants of an allegiance system a-la Fates, another interesting concept. We’ll undoubtedly learn more about the title soon enough but the game has a tentative Spring 2019 release date.
Some bite-sized looks at other Switch-bound games followed; Fortnite, Overcooked 2 (August 7th), Killer Queen Black (2018) and Hollow Knight all epitomise the diversity of the Switch and some games – particularly Fortnite– were a welcome sight, especially those who didn’t believe the game could thrive on the system. A showcase of many other confirmed titles followed, along with a few surprises, including ARK, Dragonball Fighter Z, Paladins, and Monster Hunter Generations. Evidently, there’s lots to look forward to throughout the next year of the Switch!
The rest of the presentation – about 20 minutes – focused on Super Smash Bros Ultimate, as the man himself Masahiro Sakurai debuted the game with a showcase of fighters. Among all the expected faces, Ice Climbers, Snake, Ryu, Cloud, Pichu, Mewtwo and Roy return – the tagline ‘EVERYONE IS HERE’ couldn’t be more true (apart from Waluigi of course, which myself and fellow Gaming writer James have lamented heavily over). Indeed every fighter from previous games is back for Ultimate, much to the delight of pretty much everyone. A common concern for the 3DS/Wii U titles was that the former was stifling the latter, evident by the cutting of Ice Climbers and the development of other characters – Ultimate looks to completely subvert this.
What follows is, essentially, patch notes. Despite previous speculation, I am confident in saying Ultimate is an all-new game, yet the Direct went much more in-depth with the smaller changes to each individual character or the mechanics as opposed to any massive new additions (apart from one right at the very end). Important changes include the fact that Assist Trophies can now be killed, ‘clone’ characters are now known as ‘Echo’ characters (among them Dark Pit, Lucina and DAISY FROM SUPER MARIO), the ‘massive list’ of returning stages and all previous amiibo being compatible with the game. Once more, I cannot recommend the Nintendo Treehouse streams enough for seeing this game in motion – it is absolutely incredible, and I am so excited for it.
Finally, Sakurai leaves us with one final announcement – the meme himself, Ridley joins the fight! He looks to be an extremely destructive character and many early testers have noted he seems remarkably more powerful than the others. Time will tell how he will fare in the final release, but it is nevertheless absolutely surreal to see Ridley finally make it into Smash! Super Smash Bros Ultimate releases worldwide December 7th.
With that Nintendo’s E3 presentation comes to an end. My personal belief is that it was a remarkably strong showing; Super Smash Bros continues to be the greatest celebration of the video game industry around and we were treated to a number of titles to look forward to within the coming months. While it was cool hearing them at the time, I wasn’t such a massive fan of combing through the changes of each Smash character for about ten minutes. That time could have been better spent giving some kind of update on any of the fan favourite 2019 releases – Metroid Prime 4 and Yoshi spring to mind. Despite that, this E3 certainly gave Nintendo fans a whole lot to chew on and has ignited the hype train to full blast.
We’ll see what Nintendo reveal in the coming weeks or months but for now, I am ultimately excited for what comes next.