Nintendo's Best E3 Moments
Nintendo dropped some major bombs during this year’s E3 Direct. As well as the stuff we were expecting - Luigi’s Mansion 3, Link’s Awakening and so on - we had some surprise new entries to Smash Bros Ultimate and a first look at the follow up to a little known game called Breath of the Wild. Needless to say, there was plenty in there to get us lot ridiculously excited. Here’s everyone’s top 5 picks from Nintendo’s E3 2019 Direct.
5. Doug Bowser
Ok, so this isn’t exactly a game, but this was the first E3 without Reggie man! Whilst it may not have been a ‘kicking ass and playing games’ kind of introduction, I loved the little skit they put together with NOA’s new president, Koizumi-san, and King Koopa himself. Nintendo’s E3 conferences are always at their best when they’re a bit daft and a bit goofy, it was great to see that Mr Bowser is game for continuing in that vein.
There was also some cool stuff over on Nintendo’s Instagram account of Bowser just walking around the show floor and chatting to fans. It was quite a nice touch and although we all unquestionably miss The Regginator, the new President’s first public outing was definitely a successful one.
4. No More Heroes III
I’m chuffed with this announcement. Sure, Travis Strikes Again may not have set the world alight, but I still love the No More Heroes franchise. The first instalment was one of my favourite games on the Wii, and I can’t wait to take Travis Touchdown through a full-on adventure once again. Hopefully another great exclusive for the Switch!
3. Animal Crossing New Horizons
Ok, so I’m a little gutted at the delay, but I kinda had a feeling it was gonna get pushed to next year anyway. On the plus side, March isn’t quite as late as I thought it might be so I’m happy with that. The game itself looks gorgeous and I love how much they’ve leaned into the customisation. It looks like you’ll be able to truly build an entire town - well, island in this game - from scratch, exactly how you want it. I put several hundred hours into New Leaf, so can’t wait to get stuck into this.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel
This was the second most surprising thing in that Direct (more on what took the top spot momentarily). It amazes me that they just casually dropped a trailer for a Breath of the Wild follow up at the end of the Direct. Absolutely nobody was expecting another mainline Zelda game this soon, especially one that looks so dark! It definitely looks like they’re reusing the engine and assets from the first game - a similar trick to the one used for Majora’s Mask - so this could well be the holiday game for 2020 if we’re lucky. Bring on that zombie Ganondorf!
1. Banjo-Kazooie in Smash
I can’t believe they’ve done it. This made E3 for me, and by a considerable margin. Zelda is my favourite franchise of all time, containing some of my favourite games of all time too. But I never expected Banjo to actually show up in Smash. This reveal meant that what would ordinarily be a gobsmacking moment (the aforementioned Breath of the Wild sequel) got entirely overshadowed. The N64 was the system where my love for Nintendo truly began, and Banjo-Kazooie was one of the best games on that system. It stood shoulder to shoulder with Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time. As a result, Banjo has always felt as much of a Nintendo character as the portly plumber or the boy without a fairy to me. I’m so happy about this. I love you Sakurai.
5. Dragon Quest Hero in Smash
Whilst it never truly hit it’s stride in the UK (despite Dragon Quest IX having a HEFTY advertising push from British pop twins Jedward), the cultural impact of Dragon Quest in Japan is undeniable. It influenced Final Fantasy, the Mana series and introduced tropes like job systems to the RPG genre as a whole. I was one of the people who jumped on with Dragon Quest IX for DS, and it very quickly became one of my favourite RPGs I’ve ever played.
Thanks to this I dove into the back catalogue of the series with re-releases on 3DS as well as others, and as an RPG fan I’m so happy I did. A truly phenomenal series that seems to be bringing some great content to Switch this year. I’m happy to not only see the games being pushed worldwide, but the Heroes from several titles staking a claim in Smash Bros to help bolster the series. Plus the RPG mechanics shown in the trailer look brilliant, any character with a truly different moveset is always a welcome addition!
4. The Witcher 3
Well even though this cat was truly out of the bag, I was still pleasantly surprised by this reveal. A title I’ve had recommended numerous times to me since it’s release is now coming to my favourite system - and doesn’t seem to be running slower than a sloth in treacle either (I’m looking at you Assassins Creed 3)! I’m really excited to dive into this one, as it’s always looked like everything I enjoy in a big open world game, plus seeing something so seemingly ‘undoable’ being brought to Switch gives other developers less excuses to not put their popular games on Nintendo’s beautiful device.
3. Banjo-Kazooie in Smash
WOW. What a reveal, Nintendo really pulled this one off in an astonishing way. The fake-out trailer working just like the King K Rool reveal was pure genius, and simply seeing that golden Jiggy bounce across the screen was enough to make me scream in delight (my girlfriend now has an embarrassing video of me crying from this point of the Direct onwards). Having such a beloved but currently neglected - not to mention mainly Western - franchise acknowledged in this way was not only unexpected, but also honestly a truly beautiful moment for fans.
Banjo is one of my favourite childhood memories of my N64 and his absence over the years has dug a deeper pit of despair in my heart with each additional rotation around the sun. This reveal was a once in a lifetime moment that I can only hope leads to great things for the franchise moving forward.
2. Breath of the Wild sequel
So here’s one that was less unexpected, given Breath Of The Wild is the highest selling Zelda game in existence, not to mention the highest rated. A sequel with the engine and Hyrule Nintendo spent 6 years making was inevitable. But the real surprise here was just how dark this was. The trailer played out like a horror movie, with ominous swirling malice enveloping the space around our heroes while the dried corpse of what seems to be Ganondorf was bent disturbingly backwards before it’s neck jolted towards us and the eyes lit ablaze with red hatred.
This is absolutely the game I wanted next from the franchise, to use the tools we fell in love with in Breath Of The Wild, but expand the things we can do and to get real weird with the story. I’ve watched this trailer at least 20 times trying to figure out what is going on, and that’s exactly how I want to feel about this game. Mystery, horror and dread. Yes please Aonuma-San.
1. Animal Crossing New Horizons
I know we knew it was coming. I know we even saw some of the announced features coming. But that didn’t make this reveal any less satisfying. Starting out on a desert island, with control over every single inch, every nook and cranny, is exactly what the series needed moving forward. Materials we’re familiar with from established mechanics, now form the stock we must use to build our new town. Taking cues from games such as Stardew Valley or Minecraft, this new title seems to want to give us an idyllic island getaway whilst also letting us live out our designer fantasies through every single aspect of our little virtual world.
The game seems to be overhauling everything we thought we knew about the series, and if this approach from Nintendo is what gave us Breath of The Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, then I am positively frothing at the bells to see what we have in store. Animal Crossing is not just one of my favourite franchises, but as a person who deals with mental health issues these games are an escape. They’re incremental improvements in a serene world. They’re a whole village of happy critters constantly ecstatic to see your face even if it’s been two years and the place is full of weeds. Animal Crossing has bookmarked phases of my life so well I can almost group certain houses with my favourite albums over my growing years, and I can’t wait to return to this world to let it define another part.
5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition
We’ve basically known for a while (unofficially) that this game was in the works, but that doesn’t make the announcement any less exciting! This was a game that I never did find the time to purchase or play on my Xbox One. I’ve personally heard nothing but good things about this title, and being able to take it on the go might be just what it takes to get me to pull the trigger! For Nintendo fans this could be the open world adventure game that tides us over until the next Breath of the Wild game releases. But more on that later…
4. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
This was a pretty small announcement, only thrown into the montage of other 3rd party software coming to Switch. That didn’t stop me from being any less excited though! I knew it was only a matter of time before this remastered trilogy hit the Switch. I considered grabbing it for the Xbox earlier this year, but having already owned the Crash Bandicoot trilogy on Nintendo’s platform, I decided to wait. So glad I did!
3. Animal Crossing New Horizons
I totally called before the Direct that Animal Crossing would get pushed to 2020. Turns out I was correct! Now while this may be disappointing to some, it actually seemed like the right decision in my head. The time between us first hearing about this game, to us seeing gameplay footage at E3 just doesn’t feel like enough time. While I will admit that this first reveal trailer was a bit underwhelming, I did really enjoy the quality and graphics the Switch is bringing to this beloved property. I honestly believe and hope, that Nintendo is really holding back some key features to this game. And that the final product will be worth the wait - and additional development time.
2. Banjo-Kazooie for Smash
I was in such denial. Denial that it would ever happen. I was jaded and annoyed at any person who ever said the three words “Banjo for Smash”. The complicated and muddled history with Rare and Nintendo seemed so irreparable, something even Saint Phil Spencer couldn’t even mend. Yet as we all know, the fan demand was high and the people’s voices were heard. It actually happened! Somehow in a single game, King K Rool and Banjo-Kazooie made it into the roster! I loved everything about this trailer, especially DK and Diddy. It was essentially the same reveal trailer as K Rool, and yet it still worked so perfectly. The first two DLC characters announced for Smash Ultimate were so incredibly underwhelming for me, but this one here is some next level stuff!
1. Breath of the Wild sequel
This one hasn’t even fully sunk in for me yet, it just doesn’t even feel real. Yet despite that, it just makes perfect sense. Many speculated if Nintendo would pull a Majora’s Mask and just reuse the previous engine for another amazing game. And here we seem to have just that! This game has huge potential. Even this small snippet already eludes to the possibility of a much darker and scarier Zelda sequel. I loved the evil character this trailer shows, and the ominous heart beat alluding to an evilness that’s still alive. I’m curious as to how they plan to alter the post apocalyptic overworld of Breath of the Wild. Perhaps with fully populated towns, or maybe just more death and destruction! Whatever the case, its my hope that with an already nearly flawless engine in their hands, we won’t have to wait too long for this highly anticipated sequel!
5. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
This was an unexpected but welcome announcement. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch follows the story of Oliver who journeys to another world to save his mother. Developed by Level-5, the original Ni No Kuni received positive reviews that praised the art style, story, characters and gameplay mechanics.
The game was originally released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2013 and although I owned a copy at the time, I never got the opportunity to get deep into the game. I also ended up trading it in towards my Nintendo Switch! Unlike the PS4 and PC, the Switch version will not be a remaster and will remain a port of the original game. Fingers crossed for a welcome reception to this game and that Level-5 brings Ni No Kuni 2 to the Switch sometime in the near future.
4. Animal Crossing New Horizons
As crazy as this sounds, I have yet to play an Animal Crossing game! I never owned a Gamecube and never picked up any of the portable Animal Crossing titles. I‘ve always just been on the fence about whether the franchise is the right one for me. But after watching Nintendo’s Treehouse Live, I’m keen to give Animal Crossing: New Horizons a chance. The deserted island and crafting mechanics look interesting, but I’ll have to spend more time investigating whether I’ll enjoy it long term. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until early 2020 to get our hands on it but hopefully Nintendo will be sharing more details and in-depth gameplay later this year.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
This is a game we’ve known about for a little while now and more in-depth gameplay was expected, which we received. Originally a Game Boy release back in 1993, Link’s Awakening tells the story of Link being stranded on an island and having to obtain musical instruments through dungeons and puzzles to awaken the interestingly-named wind fish to escape the island. I have to say, although I was originally on the fence about the game, seeing it again at E3 the art style really caught my eye and I’m actually excited for this game’s release this September. An interesting element that was shown during the Treehouse Live gameplay was the dungeon creator. This looks similar to the Super Mario Maker concept and I wonder whether this new feature is a testing ground for a possible Legend of Zelda maker in the future?
2. Breath of the Wild sequel
It’s been a safe assumption that Nintendo’s development team had been working to some degree on the next iteration of the Zelda franchise. Eiji Aonuma had previously mentioned that the next entry in the franchise would be likely to follow the open-world concept that was brilliantly executed in Breath of the Wild and leverage the same art style. This makes sense and also reduces the time needed to develop a sequel, with the team reusing assets in a similar manner to the way Majora’s Mask borrowed from Ocarina of Time back on the Nintendo 64.
When I first saw the trailer, I instinctively thought this was new DLC, but was pleasantly surprised to learn this is a new entry in the series. The tone of the game definitely looks darker and it will be interesting to see what aspects of Breath of the Wild remain; cooking, weapons breaking etc, and whether we see a return to traditional dungeons which was among the chief complaints amongst fans regarding the original game. Fingers crossed that we see more details about this game before next year’s E3!
1. Banjo-Kazooie in Smash
You might be thinking how can I put Banjo-Kazooie over a new Zelda game? Simply because Banjo-Kazooie is amazing! Fans of the Smash Bros. franchise have been clamouring for this dynamic duo to return to their true home on a Nintendo console for years now, but it was far from a guarantee. Seeing it finally happen is truly surreal. Even Microsoft’s Phil Spencer had gone on record saying he would be open to Banjo-Kazooie being a Smash character. Watching the opening sequence of Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong an King K. Rool (not sure why he is hanging out with them [it’s because he’s another Rare creation! - Ed]) sleeping in their treehouse, only to be trolled by the Duck Hunt Duo before the full reveal was epic! Hearing the music from the original game and seeing Spiral Mountain brought back many fond childhood memories from my time with the bear and bird back on the N64. Day one purchase for this DLC guaranteed. Now let’s get Microsoft on board for a Banjo-Kazooie Switch remaster!
5. The Witcher 3
Following the success of this game on PS4 and looking at how well Skyrim and Doom did on Switch, I think this is a huge move for both Nintendo and the CD Projekt Red teams to make such an excellent game available on the hybrid platform. One to look out for certainly! We’ll have to get the Nord to play through it for the Village!
4. Resident Evil
Now five, no six Resident Evil games on the Switch! It’s quickly becoming the must have console to have classic games both at home and on the go. I will probably be giving a few of these classics a go. I’ve only really played the first game before, so I’m looking forward to getting scared to bits! Fortunately you can play the Switch on the loo for the scarier moments.
3. Animal Crossing New Horizons
The delay was annoying but given the worries around crunch culture lately - something a lot of other Japanese and American developers have been accused of abusing - it’s good to see Nintendo acknowledge that they’d rather make sure their staff are ok before rushing a game out of the door. The game itself looks amazing in high def, the first time we’ve had a proper Animal Crossing in such a format. Sure we had that stupid Wii U board game, but let’s not mention that.
The multiplayer options look great too, with both local co-op and up to 8 players online. It should make visiting friends’ islands a lot more fun if there’s a bunch of you. Tom Nook is still the worst.
2. Luigi’s Mansion 3
The sequel to the Gamecube and 3DS title is coming this year, though we still didn’t get a hard and fast release date. Some story was revealed with Mario, Peach, Luigi and loads of toads staying in a hotel that’s actually haunted. Naturally they all go missing apart from the lanky green one, so it’s up to him to find out what happened.
Biggest part for me? Gooigi adding to the Switch’s impressive lineup of single player games with optional co-op, following the likes of Pokémon Let’s Go. Plus, an 8 player Toad hide and seek mode is equally as impressive.
I may need to play Luigi’s Mansion 2 before this drops.
1. Banjo-Kazooie in Smash
Banjo in Smash is everything I wanted it to be and more! They’ve done an amazing job recreating his moveset and applying it to Smash. I think we all knew that the bear and bird would always be a great fit. It was so cool to see the likes of Bottles and Grunty crop up in the stage as well.
Praying to the Jiggy gods worked! They both look wonderful!
So there’s a bunch of our top picks from the Direct, but what were your favourite parts? Did you lose your mind at Banjo? Did Breath of the Wild 2 leave you gobsmacked? Let us know in the comments below!