Nintendo’s E3 Presentation Had ‘Zelda’-Sized Hole, Despite Plethora of Game Announcements

Leave it to Nintendo to open with a short featuring muppet versions of its biggest players, Shigero Myamoto, Reggie Fils-Aime and Sotoru Iwata, using that to show off the new Star Fox Zero that looks gorgeous in HD. Based on the trailer, they are making it a point to make sure you never leave the plane, with each one transforming to have legs or wheels depending on the plane.

It also looks like play will use the gamepad screen for looking around and retrieving items from small nooks and crannies. This looks like a game made specifically for the Wii U and it’s welcome to see Nintendo is committed to their console.

Reggiee Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, took time following the Star Fox Zero trailer to preview what to expect from the conference. The most interesting aspect of this short speech was that he spoke of Nintendo as the platform, rather than Wii U or 3DS. He didn’t mention the console or handheld once. He also went into general plans for Amiibo, claiming new figures and more games that support the figures. He also highlighted Bowser and Donkey Kong figures exclusive to the Wii U version of the popular Skylanders series. Most intriguing is that the figures double as Amiibo.

Zelda on 3DS took center stage next in the form of a new top-down game, The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes and Hyrule Warriors: Legends. The former looks like the next full Zelda game where players take control of three characters that can stand on top of each other in order to solve dungeon puzzles. Hyrule Warriors: Legends is a remake of the Hyrule Warriors Wii U game that’s a hack-and-slash action game using Zelda characters. It will include levels and characters inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker that can be added to play.

Most impressively, Nintendo sped through game trailers faster than either of its console counterparts. First up were trailers for new entries in the Fire Emblem and Xenoblade series, with Fire Emblem Fates set for 2016 and Xenoblade Chronicles X to release in December. They look gorgeous, so fans of those series have a lot to which they can look forward.

Also foreign to me is Yo-Kai Watch for 3DS which, based on the new trailer, looks like a creature catch-and-battle RPG similar to Pokemon but with very different mechanics.

Also part of the trailer barrage was a Metroid spinoff for Nintendo’s handheld in the form of Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Despite the title, the trailer doesn’t look like the Metroid game that fans expect or want from the franchise. They also announced Metroid: Blast Ball, a 3v3 sports multiplayer game loosely based on soccer. No release date has been announced for either title.

Nintendo also showed off two Animal Crossing titles, including the previously announced Animal Crossing: Happy Home Builder for the 3DS, which takes the homebuilding aspect of previous entries in the series. They are also bringing a Mario Party clone to the Wii U in the form of Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. The latter will release during the holidays this year.

The final two games in their quick run of trailers was Mario Tennis Ultra Smash for Wii U. There was a Mario Tennis game released early in the 3DS’ life but didn’t make much of a splash. This looks like it will be a much more full title that will release later this year.

Also shown was Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam on the 3DS, which brings characters from the 3D Mario universe into the world of Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG, set to release next spring. This is not the true 3D Mario we all wanted and while it looked interesting, the new game didn’t quite land as the next marquee Mario title, which is disappointing considering it’s the 30th anniversary of the franchise.

Celebrating that anniversary, though, is Super Mario Maker. As I highlighted in the conference preview, the game allows users to build their own Mario levels and share them online. The game will release Sept. 11 of this year and looks like it will be a classic Mario fan’s dream game. Available with the release will be an 8-bit style Mario Amiibo.

Yoshi’s Wooly World also made an appearance and it looks as adorable as ever. There wasn’t much new information from what was shown, but we finally got an Oct. 16th release date for the Wii U platformer.

Missing from the conference was the new Zelda game for the Wii U. Nintendo said before the conference that the game wouldn’t be part of their presentation, but its absence left a major hole. The Star Fox Zero presentation was a fair attempt to take its place, but the franchise doesn’t live up to Link’s adventures.

That sums up the conference as a whole, which had some interesting announcements, but nothing that can live up to the Big N’s top franchises.

About Tyler Lyon

When Tyler isn't thinking about the lack of a Canadian presence in D2: The Mighty Ducks, whether Princess Leia can now be considered a Disney Princess or discovering 8-bit classics on his 3DS, he's cheering on the Cubs, Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, and Hawkeyes.