Square Enix and Nintendo are both prestigious Japanese companies, and both have skipped out on previous E3 presentations. However, Nintendo offered the same digital event that they had last year and provide on a regular basis and Square Enix have performed a full-on press release. It was in a small room with very little seating room, but it was something. Can’t fault them for having a go. Did these companies live up to the expectations set by the rest of the convention?
Nintendo’s show opened in an…interesting manner, with Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-Aime and Shigeru Miyamoto all portrayed as puppets. It was certainly…something. A thing that happened. They opened with Star Fox Zero, and I wet my pants. The game is developed by Platinum Games, and is coming later in the year. Afterwards was a developer story from ol’ Shigsy himself, talking about the inspiration behind Star Fox and the features they implemented in the game. The Wii U gamepad will function as a joystick using its gyroscope controls, and various mechanics from Star Fox 2, which was cancelled back in the 90s.
Next up, the Regginator explained the theme behind Nintendo’s event: transformation. With that, he began a short interview with a developer behind the upcoming Skylanders Overcharged, revealing Donkey Kong and Bowser Skylander figures that will double as Amiibos. I’m sure some children and manchildren are very happy. Next up was The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes, a re-imagining of Four Swords Adventures, for the 3DS. The game will be a three-player co-op title, with powerups tied to outfits being a primary mechanic. There was a totem of Links, some cheerleading Links, and a very cute selection of outfits. On the topic of Zelda, the rumours of Hyrule Warriors coming to the 3DS were confirmed with the reveal of Hyrule Warriors Legends. The game, as we saw in the leaks last month, will feature characters from The Wind Waker and will include all DLC characters. The game arrives in Q1 2016.
The next game was a game that shall live in infamy: Metroid Prime: Federation Force. It is a four-player co-op FPS, features 3v3 sports, is available next year and has already made people very upset because it’s not what they wanted. Nintoddlers, man. Fire Emblem Fates was up next, but only a trailer was given. Shin Migami Tensei X Fire Emblem (titled Genei Ibun Roku) was right on its tail, and featured destiny, Japanese idols, and lots of pretty colours and anime dubbing. The game arrives next year. A trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles X was next, which was a CG trailer setting the stage for the epic conflict to occur in the game.
Next up were two Animal Crossing games! As a fan of all things cute and cuddly, I do love me some Animal Crossing. Happy Home Designer, a game about interior design, and Amiibo Festival, a Mario Party-esque game that will heavily rely on Amiibo to play were also shown. Both games look adorable, and we’ll have more info on both soon. Speaking of cute and cuddly, Yoshi’s Wooly World was next, with a trailer and a developer story from the woman who knitted the yarn Yoshis that inspired the game.
While there wasn’t anything Pokémon related at the event, we did get the next best thing: A Pokémon clone! Yokai Watch is an incredibly popular (in Japan) game about catching small creatures called Yokai and using them to fight the forces of evil. The game arrives in the west this holiday season. Next up was a crossover game: Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam. In it, the worlds of the Mario and Luigi series of RPGs collide with the Paper Mario platforming spin-off. The game’s available next year. Another Mario game was announced: Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash!, which will be coming to the Wii U…sometime.
The digital event was concluded with a look at something Nintendo has been plugging quite fiercely this year: Super Mario Maker. Maker is a tool that allows users to create Super Mario levels and change their aesthetic between four iconic games in the series: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New! Super Mario Bros. The developer story that followed was a look at some old game design documents from the original game, and a reveal of an 8-bit Mario Amiibo to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the franchise. Super Mario Maker will launch on the 11th of September. Reggie then said goodbye, and I instantly went to Facebook to gush.
Square Enix opened their show in the most explosive manner possible (literally), with a gameplay trailer for Just Cause 3. The trailer itself felt like an 80s action movie trailer, with a deep-voiced narration, lots of action, and an evil dictator to topple. The game promises greater control of the grappling hook, new features, and “more explosions”. The game will be single-player only from what we know so far, and will launch on the 1st of December.
Next up was an announcement of a sequel to Nier, co-published by Platinum Games (those guys are really busy lately). The game is very early in development, so only some concept art and a short animation was shown. It should be noted that this E3 will be known as the Costume Party:
More info on the game is coming later in the year.
Tomb Raider was shown next, with the same trailer from the Microsoft conference. Some behind-the-scenes stuff was shown, and the game is apparently sure to put “the tombs back into Tomb Raider”. On that note, obligatory Mobile talk! Hitman Go, their mediocre mobile game, is bought up to lead into Lara Croft getting the same treatment with Lara Croft Go. I think, at this point, publishers talking mobile at a convention aimed at the exact demographic who don’t play those games can Go away. A showcase was next, featuring short snippets of footage from Final Fantasy XIV, Life Is Strange, and Dragon Quest: Heroes.
Coming after of the FFVX footage was the upcoming remake of Final Fantasy VII. The translator was absent for the first speech about the game, presumably because he heard the word “remake” in Japanese. The same trailer from Sony’s conference was shown, and we then learned that the mobile port of the original game was to be delayed. Not the most interesting of things to talk about, but still. The subject was then switched to Kingdom Hearts, to a very happy crowd. That’s right, the game we’d all been waiting for had arrived: A Kingdom Hearts mobile game! Yeah, I was upset too. Kingdom Hearts Unchained will have more information released about it soon. The audience’s defeated applause was an apt metaphor for E3 this year.
Squeenix then promtly showed Kingdom Hearts III, which looks pretty great! A gameplay trailer showed what we can expect from the second direct sequel, and it’s looking pretty fun so far. The only new content announced thus far is a world based upon Tangled, which is a Disney film that I know a lot of people like. However, keeping with what we can expect from the series, there should be more to follow. The game currently has no release date, but we should find out more about the game in the near future. Elongating the Final Fantasy marathon, more information about World of Final Fantasy (previously shown at Sony’s conference) was revealed. The game is intended to draw new people to the franchise, which is something that’s been a long time coming. Also promised was more simplified gameplay (read: boring) and a release window: the entirety of 2016. Very specific, Squeenix.
It’s here that we got information on the new Hitman, called Hitman (why is that a trend?). The game will be constantly updated with new enviroments, missions and hits. The online component is prominent, although the game will not be multiplayer. We also got a trailer featuring scripted gameplay and a release date of December 8th. Speaking of, another showcase was next: Hitman: Sniper, Triad Wars, and Final Fantasy XV were all featured in it and none were elaborated on. Squeenix had set the bar for mediocrity in presentation once again.
Next up was the latest in the Star Ocean series: Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness. The trailer played celebrated the history of the franchise and revealed some gameplay, although it was insisted upon that the UI was “contemporary” and that the game would play much more like “old school” JRPGs. The game will release in 2016.
Next was the new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Set two years after the events of Human Revolution, Adam Jensen is back in a world where augmented people are outcast and placed in ghettos (Eidos representatives called it “mechanical Apartheid”). In the game you will be fighting a group that calls itself the Illuminati, in environments from all over the world. A trailer was shown, and a release window of early 2016 was given.
The final game shown was a new RPG from a new studio titled Tokyo RPG Factory. We were told nothing about it except the concept art shown, the name (Project SETSUNA), and a 2016 release. With that, all the speakers were bought on stage for a round of applause and I finally let myself crumple to sleep.