WATCH THE FULL BROADCAST HERE

Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo notably decided not to have a conference at E3 2013, leading to accusations that they still hadn’t learned from Wii U’s poor launch, and still didn’t have enough to show off. Instead, they decided to stage an independent online broadcast, hosted by Nintendo CEO and President, Satoru Iwata.

While Microsoft and Sony’s conferences were both over an hour-and-a-half long, the Nintendo Direct broadcast was just 38 minutes long. But considering that they has two consoles, the Wii U and 3DS, was there really less to discuss?

Right at the very beginning, the ‘PEGI 18’ logo came up, suggesting the inclusion of some more adult material. Unfortunately, the only game to fall under that category to get significant coverage was Bayonetta 2. I am looking forward to this game, but this segment was probably the best example of the biggest flaw of the broadcast – there was very little in the way of gameplay, showing either cutscenes, or montages of very moments within the game, impossible to take in.

Shocking.

Mario Kart 8, coming up on the Wii U also fell foul to this. There were five-second long moments showing new tracks, but aside from that, it didn’t add any more to the announcement than just saying ‘Mario Kart 8 will be released on the Wii U in Spring 2014. OK, next game…’.

On the subject of release dates, it is somewhat respectable that Iwata was honest when discussing delays in game production, being straight when admitting Wii Party U and Wii Fit U, had been postponed until unspecified dates this winter. While the original Wii Party and Wii Fit games were massive successes, hardcore gamers probably weren’t with Nintendo for sticking with ‘safe’ games.

That is the defining term for Nintendo’s conferences and direct broadcasts, as they shy away from B-Level franchises and new IPs – ‘safe’. Not only were Mario and Donkey Kong games inevitable, but they also took no risks. Super Mario 3D World for 3DS, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for Wii U. These could not be any more conventional had they tried. Pokemon X & Y faced similar troubles, although were able to hide that slightly, discussing extra features such as a new Pokemon type (Fairy), and a digital pet feature entitled ‘Pokemon-amie’.

The HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is sure to be brilliant, but everybody knows exactly what to expect already. On the other hand there was The Wonderful 101, a name that has been thrown around a lot in Nintendo press, but not explained very well. At the moment, it’s still a difficult to assess how good this will be, though it’s easier to understand now, something that can be best described as looking like a futuristic Pikmin game.

Hello again.

Returning to the montage conundrum, the coverage of upcoming eShop and 3rd party was very poor, reminiscent of last year’s conference – several boasts of just how there were so many games to cover in too little time, only the crush most of them into a montage of very short clips. Some we already knew about, as they are not exclusives, such as Assassin’s Creed 4, Watch Dogs, Batman: Arkham Origins, Oddworld: New & Tasty (which I am very excited for) and Rayman Legends. Short mentions were understandable here, as there was no need to discuss it anymore. Then there were clips of exclusive games and new games yet to be discussed that are next to impossible to judge. These montages contained a total of 23 games, just shoved out of the way.

The show closed with the revelation of a Super Smash Bros. game for the Wii U, although this was no surprise. Again, gameplay is the same as always, although with the addition of two more characters, Mega Man, and curiously the Animal Crossing Villager. How the latter will attack, I can barely begin to imagine. Will he club his foes with a rake, and soak them with his watering can? It was the big announcement, but to be honest, it was like the Mario Kart 8 trailer – everything we expected. The fact that the only hint of a release date was 2014. From this it is apparent that SSB4 will be plugged for what will seem forever. Without even a season, it probably won’t see release by next year’s E3. It will probably be next year’s central focus, with a surprise announcement of a new Zelda.

While I didn’t expect any more from Nintendo, I was still slightly disappointed. They definitely have a lot of games in the pipeline, and it didn’t hurt for them to announce release dates.

PROS

– Super Smash Bros. 4 will probably be great as always…

– … as will the other big franchise games.

CONS

– While it’s not Nintendo’s fault, due to scheduling, a lot of the games shown had already been covered.

– It’s to be expected of Nintendo, but their reliance on ‘safe’ games is clearer than ever.

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