Nintendo has made some big announcements during their Nintendo Direct broadcast, but Andrew Whipple III isn’t so convinced that the company is moving in the right direction.
*Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Press Play as an organization.
Excitement has been swirling about the gaming community since the Nintendo Direct broadcast and its monstrous reveal process. Unveiling six new games, an HD remake, and several bits on what to expect out of the Wii U this year, gamers have plenty to be cheering about. However, as ecstatic as we all may be, this scenario has happened before. So before you go off the deep end, let’s take an in-depth look at what Nintendo actually announced and why you may need to be concerned.
Travel back to E3 2010, when Nintendo blew the top off the Los Angeles Convention Center. Remember how excited we all were when Donkey Kong Country Returns, Metroid: Other M, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Star Fox 64 3D, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Goldeneye 007 and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn were announced? How about when the 3DS was surprisingly rolled out onto the floor? Penny Arcade shared my feelings on this matter. The event was shocking, unbelievable even, and Nintendo delivered a glorious E3 experience that easily stole the show.
Fast forward to the present, where all of these titles are on store shelves and that same, euphoric feeling present during 2010’s E3 is strangely absent. DKC Returns? Decent, but a far cry from what made the original series great. Other M? A horrific product responsible for possibly killing any hopes of seeing another Metroid entry for some time. Kirby? Actually a pretty good game, but not the ‘true’ mainline entry the series enthusiasts really wanted. Star Fox? It’s great, as expected, but like Ocarina of Time, it’s just another remake. Kid Icarus? After it finally came out, the game was fun (and its community more than a little competitive) but it paled in the shadow of what it could have been, especially since there’s no intention for a sequel. Goldeneye? In a word – terrible. And Golden Sun turned out well, but after its seven year hiatus, left quite a bit to be desired. Oh and remember the 3DS launch and how disastrous it was? Thankfully the system is coming around, but you can’t discount what’s happened.
Alright, so there’s a lot of history in what I’ve just stated and a lot of opinions too. Don’t get me wrong here, I care about what Nintendo does, but I believe you’re kidding yourself if you think all those immensely hyped games fully delivered the experiences they promised. To get back on point, in case you missed the announcement, here’s what Nintendo is bringing to us in the near future:
- A new HD Zelda
- Wind Waker HD remake
- New Mario Kart HD
- New Super Smash Bros.
- A brand new Yoshi game
- Xenoblade Chronicles sequel (or RPG of some sort)
- Fire Emblem x Shin Megami Tensei title
There’s also going to be several updates for the Wii U which will include decreasing load times for the system and bringing back the Wii’s Virtual Console.
Just glancing at this list, you’d have to be pretty happy with Nintendo, right? I say both yes and no. On the ‘yes’ side of things, you always want to see Nintendo releasing new entries for their mainline titles and who really doesn’t want the new Super Smash Bros. game? Constantly rolling out fresh entries in notable franchises (like Mario) strengthens any console lineup dramatically. However, as great as some of these old-school remakes and sequels to known-but-not-universally-embraced franchises are, Nintendo remains steadfast in not delivering what fans really want: original IPs and the resurrection of forgotten material.
Hear me out. Who didn’t see any of these announcements coming? Before the Wii U hit shelves everyone knew a brand new HD Zelda would be in the works. The same can be said for a new Mario, Mario Kart and hell, Super Smash Bros. was announced before anyone even had a Wii U! We knew all this was coming and still when the announcement drops, it’s relative pandemonium. This is nothing new.
Let’s break it down. Great as Wind Waker HD will be, is this what we really want right now? I’ll take a nice HD remake of a great game anytime, but I believe Nintendo’s vision on this matter is impossibly skewed. Bringing back Yoshi in his own game is another nice touch, but does it have to be in the likeness of Kirby’s Epic Yarn? Why can’t Nintendo deliver contemporary mechanics to classic style? Why do they consistently refuse to give what the fans would righteously gobble up and, instead, deliver safe, unimaginative takes on them?
With all the negative vibes emanating from my words, you can at least thank Nintendo for delivering a possible sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles and another Fire Emblem game with a unique spin on the formula. However, it always feels like Fire Emblem is their go-to game when fans require a more mature, advanced title that separates itself from rest. Other games, like Xenoblade, add to the lack of diverse, quality products that Nintendo should be seeking out. The worst part about it? Nintendo had no plans to localize the original Xenoblade in the states. It was only after a huge operation that Nintendo decided to greenlight the project. When it takes this much effort to get something seminal in the hands of fans who universally crave your product, that’s bad news.
Even if everything comes out the way it’s listed now, I doubt this will be anything like what happened in 2010. No matter what, these releases are still something the Wii U still needs. As stated above, a strong first-party lineup only strengthens the experience the system will give out, but it does require more presence than that. None of these games are being portrayed as ‘bad’ or worthless attempts at video games, rather, they’re showcasing the fact that Nintendo still refuses to change – and that shouldn’t be alright.
If Nintendo wants to earn a place in the true hardcore gamer’s heart, they needn’t look further than their own foundation for aid. Here’s a little help:
- Classic 2D Metroid
- Starfox reboot and/or sequel with heavy inspiration from the ’64′ version
- 2D Donkey Kong Country 4 (a real sequel)
- F-Zero (which really should be in the works already)
- A Link to the Past remake
- Full-fledged Pokemon Wii U game (with internet use, please)
- Kirby’s Super Star sequel
All I’m saying is, Nintendo has the power to do whatever they want. If they truly want to recapture the ‘hardcore’ market then scooping up exclusives like Bayonetta 2 is the right way to do it. When all is said and done, these announcements are nothing more than standard procedure to Nintendo and, in my opinion, nothing worth dying over. Much like Xenoblade, as gamers, sometimes we need to come together to show a company what we truly want. Ask yourselves, is this what you’d really like to see from Nintendo? I know what I’d say.
When Andrew Whipple III isn’t writing or arguing about why Final Fantasy VI is the greatest game of all-time, he’s a dedicated New York Giants fan who loves to socialize and die in Gradius.