Nintendo’s digital event at E3 was one of the best “press conferences” in history, not because it was full of particularly great announcements but because it was short, sweet and bullshit-free, setting an example for what an E3 event should be.
Since it was a pre-recorded 45-minute show with lots of gameplay trailers and very few executive speeches, Nintendo’s 2014 digital presentation was almost entirely spot on. They stuck to nearly every claim they made, as we discovered while looking back at last year’s showcase as part of our annual series to check whether the big first-party publishers lived up to their promises. (You can see how Microsoft did right here. Sony’s coming later this week.)
Let’s break it down.
The promise: Nintendo’s digital showcase opened with a fun fake brawl between Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. It was a tie, so they just decided to play Smash Bros. Wii U instead — where they revealed Mii versions of themselves. “By using a Mii Fighter, anyone can join the battle,” said Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai in a segment afterwards.
Did they deliver? Sure did. Mii Fighters are in both versions of the newest Smash.
The promise: Three varieties of Mii Fighters would be en route: Mii Brawler, Mii Swordfigher, and Mii Gunner. Each one would have 12 different special moves, for a total of 36.
Did they deliver? Yes on all counts.
The promise: Smash 3DS will have various modes: Smash Run, albums, trophies, etc.
Did they deliver? Yep.
The promise: Smash 3DS gets a delay from “summer 2014” to October 3, 2014; Smash Wii U is now slated for holiday 2014.
Did they deliver? Yes. Smash Wii U made it to North America on November 21, 2014.
The promise: During the Smash talk, Fils-Aime introduced what would soon become one of Nintendo’s most controversial products: amiibo. “Only on Nintendo systems will you be able to enjoy all the different experiences in this toys-to-life category,” he said, going on to explain how amiibo figures will store and transfer data. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will be the first game to support amiibo, Fils-Aime said.
Did they deliver? Yes. The first wave of amiibo started shipping on November 21, 2014, alongside Smash Wii U. Sadly, customers would go on to run into all sorts of supply and communication issues, but that’s a whole ‘nother story…
The promise: “Along with amiibo, both Disney Infinity and Skylanders Trap Team have unique features and functionality that can only be found on Wii U.”
Did they deliver? Doesn’t seem like it? Neither of those games used amiibos or had any special features, unless you’re counting regular Wii U GamePad stuff like off-TV play.
The promise: Other games, like Mario Kart 8, will also support amiibo.
Did they deliver? Yep. There’s also amiibo support in Hyrule Warriors, Mario Party 10, and a handful of other Nintendo games.
The promise: “There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun,” Fils-Aime added.
Did they deliver? Yes. It is correct that there is nothing wrong with having a little fun.
The promise: Right after Fils-Aime’s segment, the video presentation cut to the developers of Yoshi’s Woolly World, who talked about yarn and showed some gameplay. (It’s pretty much Yoshi’s Island with fantastic animation.) They said it’d be coming in 2015.
Did they deliver? TBD. The game’s now slated for this fall in North America.
The promise: Nintendo then announced Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker with a gameplay trailer that called back to the mini-games in Super Mario 3D World. They said it’d be out “holiday 2014.”
Did they deliver? Yes. Toad’s adorable adventures were available in the US on December 5, 2014.
The promise: Halfway through Nintendo’s presentation, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma came out to show off their big new Zelda for the Wii U, which he described as an open-world game in the style of the original NES game. He showed a brief, gorgeous trailer depicting Link on horseback shooting bows at a monster, which Nintendo would later say was all in-engine footage. The end of the segment declared that this new Zelda would be out in 2015.
Did they deliver? Not quite. We already know the game isn’t coming out in 2015, and Nintendo has said it won’t be at this year’s E3 either, so we might not see Zelda Wii U for quite some time.
The promise: Next up was a live-action trailer for Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, scheduled to be out November 21, 2014.
Did they deliver? Yes. Both games came out then.
The promise: We saw a cool new trailer for the surprise Wii U exclusive Bayonetta 2, which had already been announced a couple years back. The news this time: every copy would come with a newly-developed Wii U port of the original Bayonetta. “October 2014” was the promised release window.
Did they deliver? Sure did. Bayonetta 2 came out on October 24, 2014, and alongside it was a port of the first game.
The promise: Nintendo showed off the Zelda spinoff Hyrule Warriors, which they said would be out September 26, 2014.
Did they deliver? Yes.
The promise: More Kirby! Nintendo announced Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, a sequel to Canvas Curse, to be released in 2015.
Did they deliver? Yep. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse came out in February of 2015.
The promise: JRPG fans would finally have something to look forward to on the Wii U with the newly-retitled Xenoblade Chronicles X, now delayed to 2015.
Did they deliver? TBD. The new Xenoblade is already out in Japan, but we haven’t seen it here yet.
The promise: Three decades after Mario first popped out of a pipe and into the world, Nintendo would finally release an official stage creator called Mario Maker. The concept: anyone can put together their own Mario stages thanks to the Wii U’s tablet controller. After a brief trailer, Nintendo said it’d be out in 2015.
Did they deliver? TBD. We’ll likely see more of Mario Maker — currently slated for September — next week at E3.
The promise: Something brand new! Nintendo announced Splatoon, an inky shooter that would let players transform between squid and kid while squirting coloured paint everywhere. They said the game would be available in 2015.
Did they deliver? Sure did. Though the interface in the final game looks a little different, Splatoon came out last month for Wii U.
The promise: “Right after we sign off, we invite you to stay tuned on Nintendo’s Twitch channel for our post-show recap,” Fils-Aime said.
Did they deliver? Yes! Nintendo successfully recapped their show.
The promise: Fils-Aime added that Nintendo had even more game news coming that “we didn’t have time to squeeze into this video.”
Did they deliver? True. Later during E3, the publisher held a special evening roundtable to announce the strategy game Code Name: STEAM.
The promise: Palutena joins the cast of Smash Bros.; Dark Pit is hinted in the new trailer, too.
Did they deliver? Yep. Both characters wound up in the new Smash.
The promise: Finally, to close off the video, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto made some brief comments about how he’s working on some brand new experiences for Wii U that can be appealing both to people playing and to observers watching.
Did they deliver? Sorta? After the press conference, news came out that Miyamoto had brought a handful of demos to E3. These demos would eventually be turned into a new Star Fox game, Nintendo promised, although we haven’t seen anything about it since then.