Once again, the unquenchable appetites of Nintendo fans have been fed by the most recent Nintendo Direct broadcast. Question is, have we been satisfied or left wanting even more?With the announcements of these long-anticipated broadcasts from Nintendo come a lot of high expectations and predictions, which are further fueled with supposed leaks and rumors about the future plans of Nintendo that include the still-unknown NX console on the way, as well as future mobile apps for Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing. Unfortunately for those wishing to hear more about those ventures, Nintendo said straight from the announcement that this Direct would be solely focused on 3DS software. Even then, people’s minds were still reeling with more predictions and expectations than I can describe. Whichever way people were thinking, there was only one way to know for sure what would be or wouldn’t be, and that was to watch the Direct.
In short, this Nintendo Direct delivered on some expectations and predictions, but still had quite a few surprises for everyone. How did those surprises pan out? As most would expect, some were entertaining, some were met with less-than-stellar reception, and everyone leaves with new questions to be answered–someday. I’ll be focusing on a few of the things that stood out most to me and those that have popped up a lot in discussions after the Direct was broadcast that I hope to put my two cents in.
While this may not be the talking point of the Direct, I certainly liked the small change in presenters this time around. Since the first Nintendo Direct presentation years ago, we’re very used to people like Nintendo of America’s President Reggie Fils-Amie and Product Marketing Director Bill Trinen being the main presenters of these broadcasts. This time, however, two of Nintendo’s localization producers temporarily took over the role. Not only did I like this short and silly sketch, but I thought that the presence of Samantha Robertson and JC Rodrigo, who have previously been mainstays of the Treehouse Live events at E3, was a nice change of pace and highlighted a part of Nintendo’s team not often thought about and I hope to see that more in future Directs.
Now moving onto the game announcements themselves; one of the games featured came as a genuine surprise to many: a 3DS port of the acclaimed Wii U game, Super Mario Maker. While still maintaining the wide selection of tools for making unique and challenging Mario levels, the 3DS version lacks the features of sharing courses via online course IDs and the Mystery Mushroom costumes in the Wii U version. In exchange for those dropped features, players can instead share their completed levels locally and even share incomplete levels for other players to pick up and collaborate on to make a level together. Super Mario Maker for 3DS would not be the only port of a Wii U title announced in this Direct, as the Wii U game, Yoshi’s Woolly World, was also announced to have a 3DS port on the way with every level from the Wii U version and a few exclusive levels and features.
While the idea of having these well-received titles from the Wii U to the 3DS is promising at face value, many have come to the resignation that the trend of these 3DS ports and this 3DS-focused Nintendo Direct is drawing attention away from the home console Wii U. On one hand, this can be seen as Nintendo wanting to get these popular games in the hands of as many people as possible, as the 3DS is one of the leading gaming systems in the world, at least surpassing the Wii U, which has admittedly had a rocky life cycle in terms of system sales over the past years. On the other hand, rumors spreading of the NX being a home console/handheld hybrid may lead some to believe that these ports are experimenting with that idea, possibly to be perfected on the release of the NX in 2017. Still, the idea that those rumors could turn out to be true may lead to curbing any excitement and expectation for the console, as well as lead to conclusions that the Wii U is no longer worth purchasing for anyone. At the moment, there is no official word to substantiate these rumors or other speculations people may have, so all we can do until then is wait…and speculate even more, for better or for worse.
Another highlight of the Direct was a segment focused on the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series, celebrated not only with the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game for Wii U and NX, but also with a newly-announced set of Zelda series amiibo, three upcoming artbooks by Dark Horse Comics, the still-touring concert of Symphony of the Goddesses, and Skyward Sword being released on the Wii U Virtual Console. At this point, there is no denying that Nintendo is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the Zelda series’ 30th anniversary, much like Pokémon is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. However, amidst all this celebration are shreds of doubt, confusion, and disappointment as another Nintendo series has its 30th anniversary this year, but has not had the level of celebration, or even acknowledgement by Nintendo; and that is the Metroid series.
While the Metroid series arguably may not have as many games as Pokémon or Zelda, the lack of acknowledgment of the series’ 30th anniversary has upset many fans of the series; not to mention other recent Metroid-related events like A2MR, a fanmade game based on Metroid II, apparently taken down due to legal conflicts with Nintendo, and the only new Metroid game in six years being Metroid Prime Federation Force, a decent multiplayer shooter based on the past Prime games that has been met with backlash and hate by many since its announcement last year. Whatever people may think of either of these events, there is no denying that people want more Metroid representation in Nintendo’s games and the lack of it is leaving a bad taste in their mouths.
The announcement of 3DS ports of Wii U games and lack of Metroid love are among many other factors that add fuel to the fire that is people’s dislike for Nintendo as of late, but I’ll not go further on them. Instead, I want to offer my two cents in this situation and encourage some discussion on the matter. Generally, I try to be optimistic in the face of negativity and snark, so if I come off like an apologist or naïve in these thoughts, please keep that in mind.
I’ve been playing 3DS and Wii U games for the better part of 3 years; and in those years, I’ve played a lot of games on both systems. I’ve greatly enjoyed all of them, even ones that aren’t the most popular games on the market. In fact, one of my favorite titles on 3DS is Code Name S.T.E.A.M., a game that hadn’t sold well to the point where you can get it new for $10 online, to which I still got and enjoyed since the day it came out. What I’m trying to say with this anecdote is that I’m open to all kinds of games and I try to keep my thoughts and opinions my own, even when 90% of people all say the same general thing, and as far as how Nintendo’s been and how it’s been received by people as of late, I don’t see myself getting off the hype train anytime soon.
It’s no secret that the next Nintendo console is on the way, so it’s only natural for the company to pool resources toward making that console as great as it can be at launch. Even with that said, the Wii U has no shortage of fun games now; for the fighters, the shooters, the platformers, the adventurers, and even the casual crowd that likes to just dance! Even now I have some friends that own a 3DS but not a Wii U, since they too are waiting on news of the NX, so I consider the 3DS ports of Mario Maker and Woolly World to be good opportunities for them to enjoy these great games themselves.
While I have been interested in the Metroid series since I first saw Samus in Smash Bros., I’ve only played the Metroid Prime Trilogy, so my familiarity with the series is not as strong as most. However, I can understand the disappointment of many fans who ask for more of the iconic bounty hunter. All I can say is that it would be nice to see more Metroid, but I appreciate that there’s still many opportunities for people like me who haven’t fully experienced the series to play the past games on 3DS and Wii U Virtual console.
So I’ve pretty much said positive things about this Direct, but does that mean I’m going to pick up every game that was announced? Not at all! Even if they all garner at least a small interest to me, I certainly don’t have the money to get them all. I’m not a big-time gaming Youtuber, a reviewer, or a market analyst by any stretch; I’m just someone who likes playing games and tries to find good in everything, even the worst games around. Of course I’ll be disappointed when some of my expectations fall short, but then not every game is meant for me, and someone else in the world will enjoy it more than I did.
I hope that this article has helped get my thoughts across to you, and I would also like to hear your own thoughts on this matter! We all have our own preferences, opinions, and expectations, so feel free to leave a comment below (remember to be respectful too) and maybe even get some discussions started! Thanks for reading!