The Nintendo conference promised to be one full of anticipation with all the Directs hinting at big things in the previous months. With all that it's had to live up to with every conference before it, Nintendo faced pressure to completely demolish expectations and leave jaws agape. For some, this was done remarkably, though at a certain price.
Nintendo's conferences have been known to be a little bizarre in the past, featuring puppet shows and executives duking it out in bombast. Last year their conference was more down to Earth and featured less on theatrics and more on games and what the future holds. This year's had a similar vibe, with only a few presenters being shown with the bare minimum of excitement. They allowed the games to exude the excitement.
It began with an action-packed and tone-setting trailer for a new game called Daemon x Machina, diving right into the spirit of video games that hold no spare words. It was wild, violent, and sported the sort of mecha-fighting that fans of the genre would drool over. It's an intriguing decision to feature a game very few were expecting, much less knew about, to start the conference. The focus would shift back to recognized Nintendo IPs with a trailer for a new DLC expansion to the recently-released Xenoblade Chronicles 2 called Torna – The Golden Country. It would be another intriguing decision to start off with a straightforward action game and follow it up with a more narrative-driven adventure packed with drama and character.
Reggie Fils-Aimé makes his first appearance by recapping information provided by a news conference a couple weeks prior about Pokémon Let's Go Eevee and Pikachu editions while announcing that every Pokéball Plus, a tie-in gadget with the game, comes with a free Mew pokémon. Following this was a trailer for a new Mario Party game titled Super Mario Party (available October 5th), a trailer for the Switch-bound Fire Emblem promised last year called Fire Emblem: Three Houses (available Spring of 2019), and a quick announcement about Fortnite becoming available for the Switch today! A collection of indie titles were promoted as well as a release date for Octopath Traveler (July 13th) and a giant collection of incoming titles including Mario Tennis Aces, Mega Man 11, Wolfenstein II, and more.
But the star of the show, taking up nearly half of the entire presentation, was the reveal of the newly-dubbed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, featuring a number of juicy details that are sure to make Nintendo fans melt into their seats. First of all, every character ever cast in a game in its history is available to play. Snake, Wolf, Ice Climbers, Young Link; they are all here. Everyone is here! New characters were also presented in the already announced Inkling, Daisy, and the long-awaited Ridley from the Metroid franchise. Further insight into the changes presented in the game was documented for basically every character, whether in terms of fighting style, appearance, or otherwise. For fans of Smash Bros. everywhere, this likely won the entire conference in their minds.
However, with all the excitement around Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, what became very apparent was what wasn't shown during the conference, including more info on the Switch's virtual console, Metroid Prime 4, the untitled Yoshi game, or the untitled core Pokémon title coming next year. This large gap looms large for those wishing to have a more diverse experience of Nintendo first-party announcements and teasers. While the number of games announced for the Switch, whether previously known or not, was fairly expansive, many didn't come close to the excitement that something such as Smash Bros. commands just from the title. To some degree, it almost feels as though Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was the thing they wanted to showcase and everything else was a side attraction. E3 is a place to lay everything on the table, and I don't think Nintendo did a great job of doing that. For those excited about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, your desires have likely been satiated. To all others, hopefully, you enjoy less-recognized franchises getting the spotlight. Many games were included, but very few had that "wow factor."