Short, but sweet.
When word leaked that Nintendo’s pre-recorded E3 presentation was only around 30 minutes in length, fans began to worry.
As it turns out, the Nintendo Spotlight, as it was so named, was even shorter than that, clocking in at almost 25 minutes exactly.
But Nintendo exemplified that old saying “big things come in small packages” with a solid 25 minutes of rapid-fire game demos, trailers, and world reveals that has the future of the Switch not just bright, but positively glowing.
From the get-go, you got the sense that Nintendo wouldn’t be wasting our time with boasts about sales figures, or long-winded exposition on their current plans. They hit us with a montage of Switch games, some familiar, and some new, like Rocket League, which has now been confirmed to be launching on Switch later this year with cross-platform play and exclusive content.
Alongside Rocket League were glimpses at such titles like Arms, Splatoon 2, Pokken Tournament DX, and FIFA 18. There was definitely an emphasis on competitive, multiplayer titles here, which Reggie Fils-Amie openly acknowledged when he came on screen immediately after. With the Switch being such a versatile platform (and selling so well), Nintendo needs to continue pushing the wealth of multiplayer possibilities that the hybrid console offers.
The next game we saw, though, was a single player juggernaut. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 got its time to shine with a near-three minute trailer that showed off much more of the RPG’s gameplay, world, and cinematics. As fans hypothesized during its debut back in January, and has been confirmed, now, this new entry is meant to be a successor to Xenoblade Chronicles from the Wii more so than Xenoblade Chronicles X from the Wii U. Beyond the immediate art direction, which features chibi-inspired character models and a far brighter color pallette than Xenoblade Chronicles X, 2’s environments echo the original title, as your travels take you across the bodies of titanic monsters who roam the world and can often be seen in the distance.
There was some suspicion that the game wouldn’t be ready for a 2017 release, as Nintendo had previously stated, but the trailer here assured a window of Holiday for this year, which is a surprisingly quick turnaround given that Xenoblade Chronicles X released hardly two and a half years ago. So long as the quality holds up–and extensive demos from the Treehouse livestream suggest it will–this will be a huge notch in Switch’s belt later this year.
An even bigger notch is on the horizon, even if we didn’t get a glance at it. President and CEO of the Pokemon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara appeared a few minutes later to announce that a mainline Pokemon RPG was in the works for the Switch. Based on his words, we won’t see the game until next year, most likely, but just the mere mention of Pokemon finally getting HD console treatment is among the most exciting bits of news from Nintendo in a long while.
Unless you count the announcement of Metroid Prime 4, which has deservedly sent Nintendo fans buzzing ever since. It’s quite amazing that two words and a number could instill such hysteria into people, but when there was so much worry that this legendary franchise was close to fading away, entirely, fans have every reason to let loose. Although this fourth entry in the Prime series isn’t being developed by Retro Studios, the base of that trilogy was stupendous, so any competent developer should be able to build a phenomenal sequel utilizing the Switch’s hardware.
It’s been seven years since we got to play a game as Samus, and almost a decade since Metroid Prime 3–it’s about time we jump back into that Gravity Suit and blast some aliens.
The DLC packs for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild justifiably had their moment in the sun. Our first true look at the Trial of the Sword in Pack 1 (now titled The Master Trials) suggests one of the best challenge levels in the history of the series, with each ‘chamber’ like its own unique environment, and your inventory stripped away as you’re forced to forage for weapons and armor.
It’s a shame we didn’t get a deeper look at Pack 2, now known as the Champions’ Ballad, and what will eventually feature that “new story” and “new dungeon” we’re all so excited about, but seeing that it will likely put the Champions and Princess Zelda front and center should hold us over until more is revealed.
Even the lulls in this presentation were easy to sit through. The Kirby and Yoshi sidescrollers, which are scheduled for releases in 2018, definitely just seem like filler titles. At this point, conservative 2D platformers feel a tad underwhelming what with the power that the Switch contains, and the ambitious software that’s being released for it. Yet, at the same time, they both look like competent games that will round out the Switch’s library nicely. No matter how safe they play it, both should be fun budget titles for those looking for some platforming comfort food–no pun intended regarding Kirby.
The same can can be applied to Fire Emblem Warriors, which will a decent, fun hack ‘n’ slash for casual Fire Emblem fans, and an undeniable guilty pleasure for fanatics of the series (like this writer and the Geekiverse’s Sammy B).
Some unnecessary advertising for the various tournaments that Nintendo is hosting at E3 this year likely didn’t resonate with too many viewers, but the finale of the Spotlight undoubtedly did.
Super Mario Odyssey looked promising during its brief clip in the Switch reveal back in October, 2016; it looked great in its debut trailer from January, and now this newest trailer from the Spotlight solidified it as one of the games to watch out for the rest of the year. The level of freedom and interactivity that appears to be at your fingertips is unprecedented for Mario, and perhaps the platforming genre, as a whole. Much like Breath of the Wild did for Zelda, Super Mario Odyssey is pushing the franchise to new heights by making its mechanics deeper than ever.
Likewise, it seems to allow the player to do just about whatever they please. The sprawling, open stages are just asking for you to explore every nook and cranny at your leisure, and a new ability that allows Mario to ‘take control’ of enemies and objects to assume their powers will likely ensure that there are countless different ways to complete a level.
The game launches October 27th–and every last Switch owner should be looking forward to it.
After such a fun and exciting E3, every last Switch owner should be looking forward to the software long beyond it.
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Jeff Pawlak is the Nintendo Expert on the Geekiverse; he’s been exploring dungeons as Link, leaping across obstacles as Mario, and blasting aliens as Samus for the past 23 years. You can find him on Twitter@JeffreyPavs, where he’s never short on words for what’s going in the world of Nintendo.