After the initial shock following Nintendo’s announcement that they would not be holding the traditional annual pre-E3 conference this year, the Nintendo faithfuls tried to spin this decision in a positive way. Many thought it was a good move, since Nintendo would flood the media with several game announcements spanning multiple Nintendo Directs, a series of online video announcements which so far have been done periodically to announce new games for both the Wii U and the 3DS.
Following yesterday’s main Nintendo Direct though, it is evident why they have renounced going head to head with Sony and Microsoft, both premiering their next-gen offerings for the first time during this year’s E3. Nintendo don’t have much to show and compete with.
Yes, they had new game announcements, but there was nothing ground breaking. Historically, a new entry in the Super Mario franchise is met with great jubilation from both press and pundits, but being a Nintendo enthusiast myself, I can’t say I was overly impressed by the latest game starring our favourite Italian plumber. Super Mario 3D World is very reminiscent of the excellent 3DS game, Super Mario 3D Land albeit, with better graphics and a multiplayer focus. 4 friends can team up to conquer Mario’s new adventure, which although its cool, I can’t stop thinking how this can top Super Mario Galaxy’s brilliance, and I am afraid to hear the answer, because I don’t think it can, and Nintendo’s solution is essentially just the multiplayer component.
Nintendo also premiered new gameplay footage of Bayonetta 2, Platinum Games’ highly anticipated sequel to the 2010 multiplatform best action game, now exclusive to the Wii U. Another game by Platinum Games was shown during the Nintendo Direct, The Wonderful 101, which is looking as excellent and over the top as ever.
Another 3 new games debuted during the broadcast, Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Super Smash Bros. All of them looked fantastic, but again, nothing exciting apart from updated HD graphics essentially. What many expected from Nintendo are fresh new games, something to add to the ever staler list of franchises Nintendo has at its disposal. Something to combat the upcoming onslaught of new IPs from both Microsoft and Sony as they make their debut later this year on the market with their next-gen consoles.
At this point, it is evident Nintendo are struggling, both creatively and technically, with not much to look forward to for the coming months. Months where they should have bombarded the retail shelves with game after game to persuade customers to adopt the Wii U instead of the fast approaching Xbox One and PlayStation 4 which are sure to receive more support both from 1st and 3rd parties right out of the gate.