Nintendo's E3 2018 Direct: The Liveblog

Pokemon. Smash. Fortnite. Talk about Star Fox. A core Pokemon RPG next year. Nintendo's got lots to talk about, so let's unpack it all.

First off: the time. If you want to get up and watch the Direct live, you'll need to set your alarms early. 0200 AEST / 0130 ACST / 0000 AWST / 0400 NZST is the scheduled kick-off time.

If you want to catch the stream live, or just have the audio playing in the background, here's what you need:

Watch Nintendo's E3 2018 Direct Here

Need more Chain Chomp in your life? Or maybe you'd like to know what Nintendo have got planned for Smash this year. Then you'll probably want to watch their E3 2018 Direct, which you can do here.

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2145: So, the last conference - or presentation - for E3 this year.

The show will go on, of course. Rae from Gizmodo is there on the ground for the local team, and my compatriots in the US have been hitting up previews since the weekend. Rae's had an interview with Xbox's Phil Spencer, which we'll have for you sometime this week, and there's hands on with all sorts of games as the week unfolds.

And there's still new and recent games to work through: Jurassic World Evolution comes to mind, as does Vampyr, and indies like Unravel 2 dropped this week too.

But this final presentation is all about Nintendo. And I have some very clear questions.

One: Nintendo's online service.

It's almost unconscionable to a degree that a console can be released in this generation, with no organised online service, and that we still have unanswered questions about what it'll look like in 2018.

We know it's relatively cheap at $29.95/year. You'll get a bunch of classic games too, 20 to be precise.

We also know that the Virtual Console program isn't on the cards, as Nintendo confirmed to Kotaku earlier this year.

"Nintendo Switch Online will provide a fun new way to experience classic NES games that will be different from the Virtual Console service, thanks to enhancements such as added online play, voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online app and the various play modes of Nintendo Switch," Nintendo said.

2150: Another question: Nintendo's plans for esports.

Part of the pitch with the Switch was its potential for tournaments, which was shown with Splatoon 2. But Splatoon is not on the same level as the fanbase for Smash.

The Smash community has had such an interesting relationship with their primary publisher. In some aspects, the fans have kept the game and scene going despite Nintendo's efforts: one year, Nintendo didn't want EVO to broadcast Smash Bros at all.

That relationship has since improved, but players have still been calling for Nintendo to be less hands-off. Nintendo responded by saying they wanted the scene to remain a grassroots affair, a disappointment to a community that's watching other esports vault into televised leagues, franchises and new heights of fame and fortune.

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Smash represents a community that sustains itself. The biggest pot of gold for a publisher with esports is a scene that's thriving on its own merit, one that's supported by tournaments, stars and organisations that don't require publisher input or drive.

If Nintendo wants to accelerate the growth of esports, the release of Smash on the Switch is the perfect opportunity. It's a console that's popular, paired with a cult classic.

2200: But outside of that, there's plenty of games to enjoy.

I'll be keen to see how all this Star Fox chatter pans out. The Switch could use another cracking racer to go with Mario Kart and Fast RMX.

A Mario Party would be nice. A proper Mario Party. The console is literally tailor made for that kind of experience. And I have a low key gut feeling we might see a Jackbox Party Pack: the studio has mentioned one is coming later this year, and that fits the console to a tee too.

It's about time for Mario Odyssey to get more content, too.

2205: As for the rest of our questions, I'm going to park them for a bit. We've got just under four hours until Nintendo's Direct airs, which means I've got about three hours of sleep to lock in.

If you're staying awake throughout the night, here's some soothing music to get you through:

For everyone else, I'll see you around 0100 AEST.

0115: Bloody hell, it's cold. *grabs blanket*

Nick a juice or what else you have to, and let's start this thing.

0123: Still no YouTube embed available, unfortunately. That might not pop up until just before. I'll update the livestream post when it appears, though.

0130: That YouTube link has now been added. 24 minutes to go, by YT's estimation.

Twitch just began airing as well. Now, two games I didn't mention earlier in the blog: Animal Crossing, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

The latter made for good mobile fodder for Nintendo earlier in the year, but it's about time the Switch got some news about a proper sequel. As for XC2, now's about the time to talk DLC or at least future content.

0140: Oh and we should probably talk about this:

Will we see more of MP4 at this Direct - and will it be released this year?

0143: Something a bit different - the stats from the stream that Nintendo are putting out on YouTube:

I've just swapped back over to YT and bumped it up to 1080p. YT's live bitrate recommendations are 4500kbps - 9000kbps, while I think the most Twitch will pump out (from memory) are 6000kbps at 1080p. Someone correct me on that, though.

0148: A colleague from the US points out that Mario Maker hasn't been brought over from the Wii U, and is probably the last major game to not get ported or at least confirmation of being ported.

Without a proper online service, Mario Maker won't work. I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being Nintendo's major release in December or something, since Smash is going to be the flagship release (probably September or October at this point, depending on whether they launch it with Switch Online).

Worth noting that there's a good case for Smash to launch in July/August too: gives people a taste of free online, encourages them to subscribe in September when the online subscription launches.

0154: Very little faith on a Metroid appearance at this stage, almost overwhelmingly so.

0158: Two minutes.

Quiet hope: give me another F-Zero. Please.

0200: And we're off.

This looks like a PlatinumGames affair. Christ it's vibrant.

So much metal for a Nintendo Direct.

Daemon x Machina, due out 2019.

0203: then we've got someone trying to subdue Malos.

It's DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

0205: Talking about Pokemon! Let's Go and how you can put a Pokemon into the Poke Ball Plus - Mew comes exclusive with every Poke Ball Plus.


0209: And it's a new Fire Emblem game:

0211: Fortnite confirmed on the Switch.

Oh and it's out ... today.

0212: Overcooked 2 gets announced: you can throw ingredients now, and you can play wireless, local and online co-op. Excellent. Drops August 7.

Hollow Knight gets a proper announce from Nintendo. We already know it supports 60fps, too, thanks to the Kickstarter update. With all DLC, Hollow Knight is available from today.

From June 15 Australian time, there'll be a new demo for Octopath Traveller - get it and you'll be able to port your progress over.

0216: Quick montage, screenshots incoming.

0218: Super Smash Bros time.

A montage plays showing off the fighter roster.

So, every Super Smash Bros fighter is included in the game. The conditions for unlocking fighters, however, has been "streamlined". 8 player battles are back, it's confirmed.

Individual fighters are getting highlighted for their changes. Mario's got Cappy now, and he has that all-white wedding outfit.

Link's got a different look, and he now uses the remote bomb rune from Breath of the Wild.

Falco's final smash has been changed up; Ryu always faces his opponent in 1v1 fights that stops accidental command inputs. Samus's can power up her charge shot in mid-air, and you can jump or dodge to cancel.

Marth's Dancing Blade has gotten a speed boost; Roy and Lucina also get a speed boost on attacks.

King Dedede has a neat final smash which looks like a cage fight; Pichu still takes damage from its own electric shocks.

As for Zelda, she gets the Triforce of Wisdom as the final smash. For Sonic, his final smash has been sped up, as did Pac-Man. No penalty for sticking with one Pokemon using Pokemon Trainer; female trainer is a choice now, too.

Game & Watch's transformations look pretty sick. Three different Links to play as. As for Wolf, he's gotten a bunch of buffs. Character design is on Star Fox Zero.

Kirby has a copy ability for every player; Shulk can choose monado arts with directional tilts instead of repeated button presses.

I feel like most people don't need this amount of granular detail on the fighters; maybe it should have been done in a separate video? Blimey.

Possible mention that not all fighters might not be ready for online play, however? This is just for Mii Fighter, though.

Still covering changes to individual fighters. Lots of changes to final smashes. Wii Fit developers asked that the Wii Fit Trainer's face was changed, interestingly enough.

0233: Brand new Echo Fighter appears: Daisy. Slightly different characteristics on her moves, which the community will no doubt find out quickly. "Could be tens of thousands."

Now talking about Inkling, although everyone knew this one was coming.

Press B while shielding to recharge your ink. Also the Squid Sisters can come in as an assist trophy; the screen shrinks when they're on-screen, making it easier to get KO'd.

Not all assist trophies are beatable, but the ones that are will award points if you knock them out.

More than 50 characters will show up to help, and more Pokemon and items are getting added.

Psyduck does not appear to be one of those. I'm disappointed, Nintendo.

Almost 20 minutes of discussion on every granular detail in Smash. Blimey.

The Breath of the Wild Great Plateau Tower level looks ... nightmarish. The tower crumbles and then rebuilds mid-fight.

0238: You get more vulnerable the more you dodge; A+jump lets you launch short range attacks. The timing window on a perfect shield is much tighter; timed battles will highlight the player in the lead.

GameCube controllers work with Super Smash Bros Ultimate; all previous Amiibo are compatible too, and amiibo from other series also work.

"Your FP data from previous titles can be transferred."

0241: Final announcement - "not actual gameplay footage", the video notes.

I'd have preferred a release date, but sure.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate hits the Switch on December 7.

0244: So, that's the Nintendo Direct for E3 2018. A lot of Smash. But plenty of stuff for non-Smash fans. Overcooked 2 will be great; Fortnite is obviously a huge deal, and that'll be available from 0300 AEST.

No Metroid, though, and not a great deal more info on Pokemon Let's Go! that we didn't have already. The Super Mario Party combining of Switches looks ... interesting though. And Daemon x Machina had some style to it.

So that's it for Nintendo this year, and the last live blog I'll do for E3 2018. Thanks to everyone who checked in!


    I keep refreshing the Youtube page just waiting for the link to popup. I seem to get crazy lag most of the time on Twitch so glad all the conferences have Youtube streams this year.

      Yeah, I've heard others prefer Twitch because they think it has less compression. But I've gotten better results from YouTube almost all the time, with less hitching to boot.

        So will there be anything else for E3 this year or is that all?

          Now it's hands on time with stuff on the show floor, the closed demos and chats with developers.

    I love Nintendo, but the white splash screen is not great for my eyes at this hour

      My internet dropped out at 2:06 -_-

    Well shit... I'm not the biggest Smash fan around but that was a pretty impressive info dump. Can't say I was honestly expecting either Ridley or a 2018 release.

    Man, Mario Party was literally all I wanted out of that and I got it. Hollow Knight being available today was the cherry on top. I figure they'll have more stuff coming in the Treehouse events of the next few days, and anything else big will be covered in future directs.

    Really feels like Nintendo seems to get a bit of a free pass from the media compared to others for some reason, maybe nostalgia? I'm not sure.

    But Microsoft and Square Enix both got relatively negative reviews for their showings yet Nintendo comes out with 3 or so existing IP's being brought to their next gen console (always going to happen), a few ports of games that have been elsewhere for years and one or two average looking new ideas and it doesn't cop anything? If anything seen as overall a positive.

    People need to stop treating Nintendo like some indie studio without any money, or on the other side just fanboying something and ignoring the actual pros/cons.

    As a Switch owner I thought today was pretty disappointing.

      I gotta agree mate.
      Massive Nintendo fanboi and that was so underwhelming. Hopefully this Treehouse presentation has something for me.

      I didn't think either Microsoft or Square-Enix were really that bad. I think a lot of people came out of the Square-Enix show disappointed though because the end in particular was a massive letdown. They specifically said at the start 'watch to the very end for surprises' but then they ended with a Kingdom Hearts trailer that we'd mostly seen the day before - and then the whole thing just ended, no real surprises to be seen.

      Nintendo on the other hand ended with a 10-20 minute talk on a very popular series, with a bunch of surprises - including a release date.

      Microsoft seemed to get pretty good reviews from what I saw. They showed a lot of games and even though the majority were not necessarily Xbox exclusives, they did show a lot.

      Nintendo also showed a lot of games.

      Sony was the one I was most disappointed in honestly. They showed one game in the first 25 minutes of their presentation and I think maybe 9 in total, and I think we already knew about all of them except the RE2 remake and the PSVR game From Software are doing.

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