By Andrew Mathieu / June 20th, 2014
Last year at E3, Nintendo ditched the traditional press conference for an E3 specific Nintendo Direct. While the Direct wasn’t bad by any means, it didn’t dispel the notion that the Wii U wasn’t quite ready to take on the PS4 and Xbox One, both of which got tons of exposure at last year’s show. This year, however, Nintendo stole the show with the E3 Digital Event, along with the first Nintendo-sanctioned Super Smash Bros. Invitational tournament, and the in-depth Treehouse Livestream that brought gameplay demos directly to fans and media worldwide. More than anything else though, Nintendo brought out new software that help bring a renewed excitement towards the struggling Wii U.
What helped Nintendo stand out this year was the content shown off by its competitors. While there are plenty of games to be excited for on PS4 and Xbox One, including Sunset Overdrive, Batman: Arkham Knight and Dragon Age 3, there was an undeniable sense that the software at this year’s show seemed to be “more of the same.” The genres and franchises that seemed to define the best of what PS3 and Xbox 360 had to offer seems to be in full effect at this year’s show. The downside is that this seems to be at the expense of more original titles and different game genres. Even some new IP like Bloodborne and Scalebound seem to follow too closely in the footsteps of games from the previous generation. That, and the overabundance of re-releases of older games, some of which aren’t even a year old.
While Nintendo had its fair share of sequels and spin-offs, like Mario Party 10, Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS, and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, they were backed up by some new and novel software. Splatoon takes a genre that Nintendo has not dabbled in before, the competitive third-person shooter, and transforms it into a colorful and combative experience in which squid kids try to cover the arenas with ink in order to claim victory. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker combines platforming and puzzle-solving with cute visuals and unique level design. Xenoblade Chronicles X brings open-world exploration and Japanese role-playing gameplay to form one of the most anticipated JRPGs of 2015. Meanwhile games like Bayonetta 2 and Hyrule Warriors bring high-octane action to the Gamepad later this year. There ‘s still more to come, including Yoshi’s Wooly World, Mario Maker, Sonic Boom, Devil’s Third, and The Legend of Zelda, all coming to exclusively Wii U.
While a lot of these games by themselves may not mean much to some, together, they mean a lot to this generation. With the Wii U struggling as much as it is, it would be easy for Nintendo to either play it safe until things turn around, or completely scrap the system and try again. Instead, they’re focusing on a wide range of software and exclusive content. Only time will tell if this will help turn Nintendo’s first HD console around, but the important thing to emphasize is that more games are coming. Out of all the other platforms, Wii U has the content I’m most excited about. While it may not be enough to turn the Wii U’s fortunes around, it’s more than enough to get me excited for the system this and next year. Nintendo really stood out at this year’s E3, and hopefully more gamers of this generation take notice.
E3 2014NintendoSplatoonWii UXenoblade Chronicles X