Though E3 may no longer serve a grand purpose for Nintendo, the company entered into E3 2017 with a clear intent to demonstrate that they plan to support the Nintendo Switch with high-quality software. To achieve this simple goal, Nintendo opted to bypass the use of a live conference in favor of a concise video presentation. Totaling just 25 minutes in length, the Nintendo Spotlight video was succinct and, yet, powerful in terms of delivery thanks to its rapid pace and focus on showcasing upcoming Switch games for 2017 and beyond.
Every Nintendo fan had a general idea of what to expect from Nintendo’s Spotlight video – i.e. Super Mario Odyssey and release dates for previously announced 2017 Switch software. Much like the presentation format itself, it appeared that Nintendo had a simple plan in mind for E3. Expectations weren’t high and people weren’t expecting much in terms of surprises, as Nintendo informed fans that the purpose of the Spotlight was to highlight releases for 2017.
Then the presentation began; and Nintendo managed to exceed expectation and deliver one of their best E3 showings in recent memory. In less than half an hour of time, Nintendo was able to illustrate why the Nintendo Switch is going to have a strong 2017 and provided gamers with ample reason to believe that the Switch has a long and bright future.
Since the Switch presentation in January of 2017, we have had an outline of what Nintendo planned to bring to Switch for the calendar year. As the months have advanced, additional announcements have been made – like Pokkén Tournament Deluxe releasing in September. However, the E3 Spotlight gave us a better look at the direction Nintendo plans to take Switch, as we were given release dates (and release windows) for their holiday lineup for 2017 and a look into what the company has planned for 2018.
After a short montage which highlighted the local multiplayer strength of the Switch, Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime shared a poetic dialogue explaining how games have the power to take us on journeys and to new worlds.
And then the E3 Spotlight transported us to a world of excitement and of unanswered questions.
The main questions the Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017 left us with were: when are these titles releasing and where are the third-party games?
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was announced for the Switch earlier this year, but E3 2017 gave us our first real look at the game’s characters and setting. It is clear that Nintendo is looking to position this title as one of their prime holiday releases for 2017, but the company only managed to provide us with a release window of ‘Holiday 2017’. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that left us wondering about a release date. We also left the presentation without release dates for the following planned 2017 releases: Fire Emblem: Warriors and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
In terms of third-party releases, just two games from third-party partners were announced and showcased during the E3 Spotlight – Rocket League and Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. Now, to their credit, one of these games is a Switch exclusive and the other is one of the best multiplayer games to ever release.
Psyonix is bringing Rocket League to Switch with exclusive content – in the form of customization options and battle-cars, but that isn’t the most exciting part of this announcement. Rocket League for Switch will support cross-network play; meaning you can hop online with Rocket League on Switch and play against friends that are playing on Xbox or PC platforms.
Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle sounds weird in concept, but looks incredible. Scheduled to release on Aug. 29, this third-party collaboration is exactly what we want to see from third-party developers; a unique and fresh take on an existing genre that caters to the Switch audience. Even though it was announced at Ubisoft’s press conference the day before Nintendo’s Spotlight, it is obvious that Nintendo views this title as a major Switch release and they have confidence in its quality.
Beyond the lack of release dates and an economical third-party display, the Nintendo E3 Spotlight was able to generate hype on a future filled with promise. Nintendo has been quite conservative when it comes to announcing games, as they don’t want to announce a game too early. Nevertheless, the company seemed to part ways with that approach at E3 2017 and presented their fans with a glimpse of what is to come in 2018 and beyond.
Now, there were a couple of safe announcements made – a new Yoshi title and Kirby game are slated for Switch in 2018. As a counterweight, Nintendo took a risk and announced two projects that are at least a year off from release.
In a surprise move, Nintendo went ahead and announced that Metroid Prime 4 is currently in development for Switch. Little is known about the game, but we do know that Retro Studios – the developers of the Metroid Prime trilogy, will not be developing this new installment. Beyond that tidbit of information, all we know is that a new team has been assembled for Metroid Prime 4.
Furthermore, The Pokémon Company announced that Game Freak has begun development of a core RPG Pokémon title for Nintendo Switch. They were wise to warn fans that it may not release for more than a year – as a means to temper expectations, but this move demonstrates that the future of the Pokémon franchise will be on Switch and that is a significant move.
The talk of Pokémon and Metroid Prime 4 for Switch is certainly thrilling, but the real excitement comes from Super Mario Odyssey. When a trailer opens with a Tyrannosaurus Rex roaming a field, and you then realize it is possessed by Mario, you know things are about to get crazy awesome. With a release date set for Oct. 27, Nintendo has positioned Super Mario Odyssey to be the Switch’s major 2017 holiday release, and the game looks like ready to shoulder that responsibility. The game appears to be more experimental than recent 3D Mario games, and perhaps Nintendo is looking to shake up the conventions of the franchise a bit. One thing is for certain: Super Mario Odyssey looks amazing.
Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017’s purpose was to provide fans with a look at what the Switch has to offer, and it succeeded in doing so. Even with a lack of release dates, it showed that Nintendo has a number of major releases planned for the remainder of 2017, and that they are looking to bring their major franchises to Switch in 2018. It’s an exciting time to be a Nintendo fan. Stay tuned to We Write Things for more on Nintendo.