Yesterday, my buddy Jon took an extended lunch off of his work so he could come home to be with his wife so they could watch the Nintendo Digital Direct presentation together. He had specifically requested to get this extra time off so he could see what Nintendo had up its sleeves.
He went back to work FUMING! He was furious! He requested time off work for this!
Me, I was still on the clock, but was checking every now and then to see what was going on as the presentation went on. And given what I’ve seen and heard, I could easily see why he was so upset. We chatted about it later and determined that once our heads cleared, it really wasn’t as bad as we made it out to be when we took a step back to really look at it. Here are a few things that came from our chat.
1) Nintendo wasn’t the one who necessarily disappointed us. It was Sony.
WAIT! HOLD UP! HEAR ME OUT! PUT THE PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES DOWN!
If E3 was a contest and we had to pick a “winner” of the big 3’s press conferences, it’s no contest that Sony won. They won BIG. They won all the Internets, all the cookies, all the whatever. They had three megaton bomb announcements that made people literally freak out in excitement.
Between the Last Guardian, FFVII remake, and Shenmue 3, the way I put it was that Sony didn’t just raise the bar for expectations, they loaded the bar into a cannon and launched it into orbit. This led everyone to start looking to Nintendo next. What would Nintendo do to blow Sony away? What bombshells did Nintendo have?
With a bar set so high it could share the moon’s orbit, there was no way Nintendo could have revealed anything so mind blowing as this. Not like that. Especially considering...
2) Nintendo had prepared and made their E3 video quite some time in advance.
Since Nintendo has been putting some serious entertainment value into their E3 shows lately, there was no way Nintendo could scrap what they had made already to counter Sony. There simply was not enough time to do that. Unlike the others, Nintendo was presenting via a digital video presentation that everyone could enjoy without having to have live people present.
Going with puppets this year made sense since they were leading with StarFox Zero. Ever since StarFox’s inception, the idea was that Fox McCloud and everyone else were actually puppets with flappy mouths that worked like Super Marionation.
The redesigned look Rare gave the series in the games they made on GameCube went away from that, but clearly, the original roots and inspirations for StarFox are not lost on Nintendo who obviously remembers them clearly. And for anyone who watches the above “Did You Know” video will also see that Miyamoto went back to the scrapped StarFox 2 to bring back many things that never appeared in the games before, but were originally planned, with StarFox Zero.
Given the amount of production time and work needed to prepare a puppet presentation like they did, scrapping that because of Sony would make no sense at all.
Besides, you gotta admit, those puppets were highly entertaining!
3) Sony’s Bombshell News came with a price attached to each of them.
There’s a very good reason why the announcements Sony made on Monday hit home and elicited so much joy. Fans have been waiting for these games.
Waiting a very...
...VERY long time.
Let’s start with the youngest: The Last Guardian.
The Last Guardian was originally announced at E3 2009.
It has been SIX YEARS since then. SIX YEARS! And any news that came out during those six years was NOT GOOD NEWS! To see it still being worked on and set to launch on the PS4 has given hope to the Fumito Ueda fans.
Next we have Shenmue 3.
People in North America might not realize it, but Shenmue 2 is NOT an original Xbox game. The Xbox version is a PORT of Shenmue 2 for Dreamcast. Features from the Dreamcast Shenmue 2 didn’t make it over, such as importing items and inventory obtained in the first game over to the 2nd game. North America never saw the Dreamcast version because Microsoft paid big money for the rights to make it an Xbox exclusive when it came out.
The original Shenmue 2 is from 2001, one of the final stands of the defeated Dreamcast. It ended on a cliffhanger. It has been 14 years.
And finally, Final Fantasy VII...
This trailer was released in one of the earliest E3s ever (Either the first E3 in 1995, or the 2nd in 1996). It was a trailer that made people hype as all get out, and probably is responsible for the expectations people have for blockbuster announcements at E3.
The game was released on January 31st, 1997. People have clamored for a remake for a long time. People have seen other Final Fantasy games get remakes (FF3, FF4...), but never 7. It seemed like it would never happen until it was finally announced this week.
Point: ANNOUNCED! The game is still in development and the expectation is that it will be finished for release in 2017. When you do the math it hits you.
So these are really, REALLY long droughts of people dreaming, hoping, wishing for these games to get made. They have been longing to see this happen for so long, that to see these announcements is like someone lost in a desert seeing an oasis, running towards it, and when they arrive, it’s NOT a mirage! There are still people looking at all this and still think “this can’t be real”. These games aren’t finished or released so they might be right, but that oasis right now is looking pretty real.
Nintendo, on the other hand, hasn’t really had any titles that would be considered having long droughts like that. (AH! I know what you’re going to say, but I’ll get to that later.)
Sony really had to do this to apologize for what they did LAST E3! Let’s not forget...
Last year, Sony and Square Enix trolled us all with what, AT FIRST, appeared to be a Final Fantasy VII remake. Only for it to turn out to be an announcement that the PC version of the game, released almost two decades ago, would be getting a release on PS4. Kotaku had the perfect GIF for that.
After that stunt they pulled off, Sony pretty much OWED every single Final Fantasy fan and Playstation owner on Earth. This was a DICK MOVE! And this is just ONE YEAR ago!
If these bombshells were Sony’s way of apologizing, then they can consider this an apology accepted. News this big that generates this much hype with feelings so grand, I’d have to have a heart of Zero Degree Kelvin Ice to not forgive them.
But don’t you pull that sort of crap on us again Sony. Seriously! Don’t do it! You did so well in thrashing MS in 2013 w/ the PS4 release & pricing that the disappointment in 2014 with this... STUNT... just not cool, man. Not cool. Don’t do it again. You hear?
5) We haven’t heard the last from Nintendo this E3.
While the main conference is over, there’s still a lot that Nintendo has going for it that they just DID NOT MENTION during their presentation. Over on Nintendo’s YouTube channel, they have quietly been slipping in announcements that have flown COMPLETELY under the radar which people and news outlets aren’t catching (or deciding is worth mentioning). Like people have known about Fatal Frame for Wii U in Japan for quite some time, and were praying for Nintendo or somebody to bring it to English speaking audiences.
People have wondered when Nintendo will start be more welcoming to Indie games on their platforms. When will Nintendo do something cool with them?
You have Nindies @ Home going on right now, and has not been brought up at the Nintendo Treehouse Live until TODAY, but was actually started on MONDAY!
And remember how earlier I said that Nintendo is not a company to starve fans hungry for IPs and franchises that fans clamor for? You’re right. That’s not completely true. They do have a few IPs that just do not get the love they should have. Nintendo even poked fun at it in their Robot Chicken Sketch at the last E3, so CLEARLY they were aware of what people wanted.
Then this happens.
Probably THE best kept secret Nintendo had hid from EVERYONE up until Sunday night during the Nintendo World Championships (which were pretty awesome in and of themselves). Like I said before, this has to have made everyone at Starman.net lose their minds as their heads explode from the sheer excitement. NINTENDO?! ACKNOWLEDGING THE MOTHER/EARTHBOUND SERIES?! WHOA!
These are all things that if Nintendo had saved them for the main presentation would have made it worlds better. But they didn’t! And fans are wondering Why?! Why would Nintendo leave out news that would thrill people from their main press conference? These are all good things from Nintendo that, if they were known prior to the Sony press conference, made people EXTREMELY giddy. So why omit them?
I’m still not sure what the answer is. It almost makes me think the main digital direct presentation was a red herring, and the most impressive stuff has yet to come. But the most depressing thing was definitely covered in the presentation and it can pretty much be singled out single handedly.
6) Metroid Prime: Federation Force.... WHAT?!
When BlastBall showed up in the World Championships, I thought “Oh this looks like a cute Indie game. Nice to see Nintendo giving Indie representation in their championships.”
Then I started seeing the interface and thought...
“...That kind of looks like Metroid Prime right there... That kind of REALLY looks a lot like Metroid Prime there...”
Tuesday confirmed that I wasn’t just imagining things, and neither was anyone else who thought the same thing when they saw it on Sunday night. We began to ask ourselves...
“Is this where they’re taking the Metroid franchise?! No! PLEASE GOD NO!””
Ever since the original game on the NES, the Metroid series has always had an eerie vibe to it. It felt like a lone space warrior traveling a strange land, where anything could jump out at you and kill you. It was like the original Alien movie where you knew something was there, but you weren’t sure what.
But from what I’ve seen of BlastBall and the trailer, the characters all kind of look... Super Deformed. Like SD Gundam-ish. It doesn’t capture the same feeling of walking through eerily silent corridors or searching a labyrinthine alien planet in search of evil aliens and power ups.
This is not the Metroid we were looking for. This is not the Metroid we wanted.
Is it going to be any good? Maybe. Hell, it’s probably pretty damn fun. But the irony here is that making it a Metroid title actually HURTS this game. It would have been better, if you ask me, as a separate and original IP. A handheld space shooter w/ various game modes and even a fun BlastBall competitive game.
To me, it feels like the game came first, and was then shoehorned in to be a Metroid title. It feels like the whole “Metroid” aspect was tacked on much later in production. Especially when SAMUS ARAN is NOWHERE to be found!
How can a game even call itself a Metroid game if Samus isn’t in it?
It just doesn’t feel right!
Nintendo should be able to see that new IP isn’t a bad thing. Splatoon is doing Gang-Busters and people love it! It’s not connected to any existing Nintendo property (although it does like to allude to Bloopers and Octorocks for obvious reasons) and really stands on its own. Federation Force could have stood on its own without being tied to Metroid.
Granted, Nintendo did say they were working on a 3D AND a 2D Metroid game. Nintendo’s saving grace would be if the 2D Metroid game was a proper Metroid game that continued to carry on the feel, atmosphere, and game play of the original games (especially Super Metroid).
It’s this announcement in particular that I think ruffled the most feathers. I know it did for my friend, Jon. Even the Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival didn’t bother people as much as Federation Force did. I mean who the hell doesn’t want an Isabelle Amiibo? If it’s an excuse to get a little Isabelle figurine to put on my desk, then hell yeah I’m in!
Wow... this ran MUCH longer than I intended it to. Oh well. Hope reading this gives you all some more insight into what just happened in the last 3-4 days. Maybe it will clear some heads. Could the presentation of been better? Sure it could. But it’s not enough for me to hate Nintendo or get fuming mad at them. Once my friend calmed down, he came to agree with me on most of this. He, like a lot of other Nintendo fans (I’m sure), just need to cool off, take a step back, take a deep breath, think this through a bit, and continue to enjoy E3.
Don’t let this sour the rest of the week.