Well. That was quite a reaction. From disbelief at the quantity of developer interviews to declarations that “there is no recovering from a conference that bad”, it was almost as if Jon Snow had been killed all over again.
I am, of course, talking about the Nintendo Digital Event this morning/afternoon (or, if you’re particularly unlucky in your longitudinal whereabouts, this middle of the night). With a disproportionate focus on titles like Yarn Yoshi and only passing trailers for the big(ger) new reveals like Mario and Luigi, the broadcast didn’t really do justice to its already slightly lacking line-up. To be positive, the reaction was mixed; to be realistic, it was disastrous. At least it was if we count E3 as the be all and end all. But is it?
Following a post conference chat between myself and our esteemed editor-in-chief, Leon, we both noted that – for Nintendo at least – this is not the case. E3 is not where their efforts to share announcement, details and trailers starts and ends.
Take one of the most requested titles of the last five years – Majora’s Mask 3D. Link’s second auto-stereoscopic remake was announced, hyped up and released all between November 2014 and February 2015 – not an E3 in sight. Even A Link Between Worlds wasn’t actually announced at E3, that came in a direct a month before.
Make no mistake, both Leon and I felt underwhelmed – and for want of a less entitled phrase, let down – by the Digital Event this year along with many big N followers. E3 is often the greatest week of the year for all gamers, with Nintendo fans no exception (see: 2009, 2010, 2014). As a result, all three big game companies have their work cut out to live up to expectations – and when they fail to make the grade, the gaming community doesn’t tend to hold back (as Microsoft also found out in 2012).
But Nintendo have steadily proven two things over the last few years. Firstly, that they aren’t constrained by E3 itself. Frequent direct presentations with properly big announcements have pervaded the last 24 months, so who knows what more of these broadcasts could hold later in the year?
And secondly, they don’t leave their loyal fans in the lurch. I could spend an entire article musing over the differing responses of Sony and Nintendo to the ‘failing’ Vita and Wii U but will merely say this – Nintendo have consistently provided quality first party experiences for their loyal fans (3D World, Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8, Pikmin 3, Wind Waker and so on) no matter the commercial situation, and there is no real reason to see this changing. We’re certainly in for an interesting and potentially turbulent few years but I think it’s a safe bet to trust that, Paper Mario aside, Nintendo will always (at least try to) stick by their customers.
A presentation that fails to live up to hype of E3 week is crushing, yes. It’s 100% reasonable for fans to feel disappointed – I personally still wish that Reggie and co. would just go back to doing a big shiny press conference. But while many might say Nintendo ‘lost’ E3 2015, we can rest in the knowledge that it isn’t an entire year until we get some more Ninty Buzz. Whether it’s a month, two months, or even ten – there’s a good chance of some exciting announcements before we return to LA in 2016 for an NX and DeNA frenzy.
Or failing that, at least we’re still getting Zelda U.