Wow. Just… wow.
Most of us knew that with the whole Cease and Desist letter-lobbing at prominent E3 Leakers, that Nintendo’s show was going to be something special. And for old hands like me… oh man, this wasn’t just special. It was mind-blowing.
Let’s get my niche thing out of the way; The Dark Crystal is back as a Netflix series, and the Switch is getting a tie-in game. Without question, this had me screaming to the heavens. So much yes was spoken that I may have destroyed its meaning. A tactics-style RPG set in The Dark Crystal universe is something I never knew I wanted or needed, but now it’s a thing… I want it. I need it. And I crave it.
But the hits kept coming.
Banjo-Kazooie in Smash. Alien: Isolation coming to the Switch, and the same with The Witcher 3. Cadence of Hyrule got a release date. Astral Chain looks amazing. Daemon X Machina also got a release date. Seiken Densetsu 3, or now Trials of Mana, is getting a full-on remake. The return of the almighty Panzer Dragoon! Animal Crossing got a subtitle and a slightly delayed release date, a bunch of third-party games coming to the Switch including, it appears, the remaster of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch… oh, and No More Heroes 3. Which was nice to see. This is me just scratching the surface too.
Frankly, Nintendo could have ended it on Banjo-Kazooie and no-one, anywhere, could have been in any doubt that they walked away with this E3. It was 40+ minutes of games, gameplay and just all-round gaming goodness, with the only fluff being the introduction of Doug Bowser through a charming little skit with a CG Bowser. Hey, it was good and sweet and funny and I liked it.
And then The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2.
That’s a BIG pair of boots to fill. Breath of the Wild is the biggest game in the series history and is still selling like crazy each and every week as more people join the Switch World. A game which was universally showered with praise, plaudits and awards back in 2017. There was no question, no doubt, no contest in what the best game of the year was; for all the accusations of it being a glorified tech demo… I mean, yeah, I see it, but how many tech demos are 150 hours long and let you mess around with physics in-game?
So Breath of the Wild 2. Or whatever they end up calling it – I do think it’ll be Breath of the Wild 2, because it clearly looks like a direct sequel. It looks darker than the original. There’s something far more sinister afoot, with what looked like the corpse of actual Ganon lying dormant before being possessed by… well, something. And a heavy focus that Zelda herself is there, perhaps… dare we even say this… a playable character? We can only hope, but for really reals here… what a bombshell to end on.
Yeah, the bar wasn’t especially high for Nintendo this year; E3 has been bloated, long-winded and prone to lingering too long on stuff that wasn’t really necessary. But in this E3 Direct, Nintendo belted through the games, lingered just long enough on a few things, and spat us all out the other side dazed and confused and just happy. It wasn’t a PERFECT direct; for me, there are still so many Nintendo IPs lying dormant that really could have made things even better. And if I was to be picky… I really do want to see something on Bayonetta 3.
Of course, that’s being somewhat greedy. What we got from Nintendo this E3 was a very clear sign; the Switch isn’t going away. Third parties are now all over this thing. And Nintendo is absolutely going to do more Zelda (Link’s Awakening has a dungeon creator oh yes). The reports of the Switch’s demise in the face of a generational shift are very much exaggerated, and the Switch is just going to get more and more stuff from hereon out.
It was a lovely note to end an otherwise underwhelming E3 on. I’ll do a full breakdown once I’ve caught up on all this sleep deprivation, but I think we all now the word for this E3 was “bloat”.
It’s just nice Nintendo brought the alka-seltzer.