We’re trying a new format out here at Expansive; our Completely Unnecessary Guides are massive, serialised articles intended as a off-beat and irreverent source of all the information you to need about a subject to pass off as being vaguely knowledgeable. Yesterday we looked at the Sony Press Conference, and continued to feel the gaping hole in our hearts where The Last Guardian is supposed to be.
The Nintendo E3 Broadcast
When and where?
Tuesday 10th June, 9am Pacific Time (5pm UK time) on e3.nintendo.com
The State of Play
The first draft of this article was all up and ready to state that Nintendo are on the ropes; that whilst the company could pretty much keep losing money for decades without going out of business the shareholders wouldn’t continue to put up with it for much longer, and that if Iwata didn’t have anything particularly astonishing to announce for us then he’d soon be ousted from the head of the company. And then Mario Kart 8 happened and suddenly everyone on my twitter feed apparently owned a Wii U. The console that most have been willing to proclaim as being dead in the water for the past year has suddenly announced that it actually has a lifejacket, and said lifejacket turned out to be a jetpack.
Despite Nintendo having finally put its white elephant to work, it’s still got a long way to go before it’s back in a comfortable position. Whilst a killer app can make a system, it needs a good stream of quality, well-targeted software in order for it to stay relevant, a task made more difficult considering the Wii U’s extremely low power and expensively lavish controller. If Nintendo can capitalise on the buzz surrounding Mario Kart 8 and the brilliantly masterminded free game deal they currently have running with a series of massive industry-shaking announcements then they could still turn this generation around and hopefully re-ignite some third-party goodwill for their awkward system.
What to expect
Nintendo have never really gotten the hang of E3 presentations and so, after a series of costly and embarrassing failures that were ignored by the general press and hated by gamers, they opted to give up live E3 briefings in favour of super special extended Nintendo Direct videos. These occasionally tend to turn out like some sort of Dadaist nightmare but are, at the very least, devoid of utter boredom of their equivalent live presentations. CEO Satoru Iwata addresses gamers directly to talk to them about Nintendo’s values and how they relate to the way the company is currently operating, and then introduces a series of game trailers and showreels, explaining their features to the audience. Occasionally members of a roster of talking heads turn up, but for the most part it’s just Iwata talking, awkwardly, directly to camera.
Nintendo seem to be piling all the biggest enthusiasm this year into their two Smash Bros. games; Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, so expect to find out a lot more about who’s in the new updated roster and what new features we can expect from this fourth entry into the series. There’s also a new Pokémon remake, which is generally what Nintendo rolls out any time it needs a cash injection and will be well recieved by those who think that things just got a little too stupid after the first 386 species of Pokémon. Aside from that, Nintendo claim to be showing off a number of games only made possible by the touchscreen-enabled Wii-U controller and, whilst I’ll believe it only when I see it, it’s always interesting to see what crazy new ideas Nintendo can try to sell us.
Pictures from the convention floor alert us to the existence of something called Mario Maker, which I predict will be a 3DS game about creating custom classic mario levels and then swapping them with people over streetpass (which means it’s probably a Wii U game, knowing my accuracy in these matters). It seems likely that we’ll be seeing the first original Wii U Zelda game this year, although whether or not this will be The Legend of Zelda for Wii U or just the teased Zelda/Dynasty Warriors mashup currently known as Hyrule Warriors that we saw back in December I have no idea; certainly the latter is confirmed to be being shown at the show. Shigeru Miyamoto is also supposed to announce a brand new IP this year, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin predicting what that one is.
There’s apparently a supposed full list of Nintendo games at E3 floating around over the internet, but I doubt it’s authenticity as it doesn’t have Mario Maker (a banner for which has already been spotted on the conference floor), so less of a pinch and more of an entire cellar of salt with that one. other gullible areas of the internet are also convinced that Nintendo will announce new hardware to replace the Wii U this year; These people are fools and you should stop listening to them immediately.
Perhaps thanks to the fact that Nintendo has barely changed in the last thirty years, Nintendo’s familiar faces are the most iconic and (for the most part) stable.
- Satoru Iwata: Assuming that Nintendo’s video this year hasn’t gone on some crazy Mega64-led tangent, you would normally be seeing lots of Iwata; he’s the middle-aged Japanese gentleman in the suit and spectacles standing awkwardly and speaking directly at the camera. However, it has been confirmed that he will not be attending E3 this year due to health-related reasons. Aside from having been Nintendo’s president for 12 years, Iwata is also a former programmer and producer at the firm, having been a producer on many of the early Kirby games, the original Smash Bros., and the Pokémon Stadium games. Iwata is sadly not going to be in E3 in person this order thanks to doctor’s orders, but he should still be giving his briefing in his inimitable style.
During the presentation he may or may not hand over to any of these individuals
- Reggie Fils-Aime: The giant American feller is Nintendo of America’s COO, Reggie. He first struck a chord with the gaming community during Nintendo’s 2014 E3 conference, and seems to have been popular with the hardcore Nintendo set ever since. He has humble man-of-the-people origins worthy of an American Presidential candidate; his grandparents were immigrants who fled Haiti due to their conflicting political views, his father was a mechanic and his mother still sells jewllery at retail. He himself has worked at gradually more senior positions for Proctor and Gamble, Pizza Hut, Guinness, Derby Cycle, Raleigh, Panda Express and finally VH1 before being appointed Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Nintendo back in 2003.
- Shigeru Miyamoto: The grinning Japanese guy in his sixties but who still dresses like he’s in his twenties is Shigeru Miyamoto, and if that name sounds familiar it’s because he’s the creator of Mario and Zelda, and therefore the single biggest reason for Nintendo’s monumental success over the last three decades. He’s basically the father of modern gaming and you should show him some goddamned respect, okay?
- Eiji Aonuma: The chap with the unkempt hair and the glasses. Eiji has basically been in charge of the Zelda IP since Ocarina of time, and is slated to be the director of The Legend of Zelda for Wii U and a producer on Hyrule Warriors. He started off as a sprite artist for the Nintendo back in the NES era before directing Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima for the Super Famicom. His work on this game directly led to Shigeru Miyamoto picking him to work on Nintendo’s Zelda team, where he has remained ever since.
Things to Tweet
“My body is Reggie”, “The Year of Luigi never ends!”, “Where’s F-Zero?”
Tomorrow: Bloody hell, it’s E3 tomorrow!