N-Eaction: E3 2019

E3 may be done and dusted, but the memory of it still lingers in the back of our heads. In this Roundtable we look back at the media circus that is E3, recalling the good and great while trying to bury the bad forever in E3 limbo. So, how did E3 2019 and Nintendo do? Let's-a-go!

Dennis Tummers - Staff Writer

I know I write for a Nintendo site and I have a slight bias for everything that comes from them, but I’m just going to say it. Nintendo won E3 2019. And without the use of dogs or Keanu Reeves! Okay, they scored some points with that Bowser gag in the Direct. But from all of the press conferences (including EA’s Play), I think Nintendo had the best presentation. They showed lots of games, some even with real gameplay instead of CGI trailers. Not all games had guns or looked the same moody brown/greyish. It had the right amount of humour (I loved the whispered bit before Breath of the Wild 2, as if he was involving us all in a little scheme). And talking of Breath of the Wild 2, the Direct had a couple of much-needed bombshells. 

Was it all rainbows and unicorns? Nope, there were some downers. Nothing on Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime 4 is a bit of a bummer. We knew the latter is still far away, but I was expecting a little bit of a trailer. Bayonetta should be making progress as well. Luckily Platinum showed that they are not hanging back, with Astral Chain looking incredibly promising. The Treehouse sections of it convinced me that this is not a quick inbetweener, but a deep and complex game, but still with great fighting mechanics. It may be my most anticipated game of this year.

pssst

Psssst, wanna buy some games?

I was also expecting some older Nintendo IPs to make a comeback. There is a trend going with reviving old IPs and remaking classics, as we also saw in other presentations. Nintendo showed Panzer Dragoon, Contra and No More Heroes. But where is Star Fox, F-Zero, Pikmin? Golden Sun???

But Nintendo had a great showing, and it is still a smart move to just blast game after game in the Direct and save the elaboration for the Treehouse. But maybe another reason Nintendo stood out so much because, well, the competition was a lot smaller. I was genuinely shocked to see how barren the West Hall was. But we have seen a decline in E3 for a couple of years now, and it only makes sense to not spill all your ammo there. I have a hunch a lot of parties are saving up for their own parties, or choose other moments like Gamescom for big announcements as well. But still, the end of the year looks packed for Switch owners (RIP Nintendo 3DS), and here’s to E3 2020!

Glen O'Brien - Staff Writer

When it comes to E3, I tend to get really excited about one thing that gets revealed, and that's normally enough for me to declare it a success. My threshold is pretty low, to be honest. This year, that one thing was easily the reveal of Banjo and Kazooie in Smash Ultimate.

banjo

Prepare for trouble, and make it double!

I was born right at the beginning of the 90's, so all of my childhood gaming was from that century, and let's face it, if you owned an N64 like I did, Banjo-Kazooie was probably one of the games you had on it. I loved the two Banjo games and once Melee rolled out, I was starting to think how awesome it would be if the Bear and Bird were in it. It was pretty much a sure thing that they would be in the third Smash game. But then the Microsoft buy-out happened, which put that hope down for good.That E3 reveal is a massive thing for Smash. It's a character that's owned by a direct competitor. I'm liking this partnership that Nintendo has with Microsoft and I hope that Banjo in Smash is only one of many cool things we'll see in the future.Apart from that, the other things that got me hyped was the news of Collection of Mana getting a localisation and the 3D remake of the third Mana game, Trials of Mana being revealed. Animal Crossing also seems to be coming along nicely.

Ashley Jones - Head Honcho

Since E3 moved to June a few years ago it feels like it is has changed from something I can’t miss to something I can barely catch. Part of it is because of work, which is busy at that time of year and usually ends with me needing a break which tends to overlap with E3. This year was exasperated by the fact that a few people I know are leaving London so it’s been social. 

Which is a rather long way of saying “I’ve only seen bits of E3”. I’ve not actually seen the whole Direct! Thankfully it’s easier than ever to catch up on things, although there’s still a few bits I haven’t seen still.

The biggest surprise of the show for me was Banjo & Kazooie in Smash. I obviously knew there was a vocal fanbase that wanted it, but it just seemed too impossible to actually happen. I was checking my phone while queuing at a bar and saw the news and immediately text Josh as he is a huge fan. That communal “OMG!” (or sometimes “what the hell is this?”) aspect of E3 is what I miss when I can’t watch along. There’s just something about the communal feel.

Aside from that it was good to see Pokémon. It’s a franchise I always love and while I seldom complete the games anymore I’m always keen to see what they’re doing. Plus Yamper is my new favourite so what’s not to love?

yamper

Dear Yamper, today I was once again thinking about you... Don't tell that yellow mouse but he's out and you're in. (image credits: Serebii.net)

Animal Crossing is a franchise similar to Pokémon; I like the franchise and I love the sense of community and fandom that builds around it but I don’t necessarily engage. I’ll probably pick it up but I know I will find myself slipping in taking care of my town (I can barely take care of myself some days!) but it’s nice to see a franchise that has such a big fanbase getting a release, particularly one that looks as fantastic as New Horizons. 

I was fortunate to play some of these games recently and as I mentioned in my hands on impressions there’s a good range of titles; Luigi’s Mansion 3 will keep you entertained for a while and has great gameplay, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is the definition of adorable (and stuffed with nostalgic nougat) and there’s a nice variety of games coming out that while they may not necessarily personally appeal to me it’s great to see a whole breadth of gamers catered for.

Manuel Gonzalez - Graphics Guru

E3 2019 got off to a good start for Nintendo with the Super Mario Maker 2 Invitational and Splatoon 2/Super Smash Bros. Ultimate World Championship events, the Direct that followed was also fantastic, and while there weren't perhaps quite as many surprises as I’d hoped for, it was still a very good showing overall.

The highlight for me has to be the gameplay reveal of Animal Crossing New Horizons, which looks absolutely stunning! The announcement of a delay until March 2020 was of course disappointing news, but understandable given all of the enhancement this version of the game is receiving.

The Smash Bros. newcomer reveals were an entertaining aspect of the Direct, especially Banjo-Kazooie. I’m still hoping that a character I really like will make the cut in the remaining DLC slots though… Had better not hold my breath.

It was nice to see more of Astral Chain too. This game is looking better all the time, and the revelation that you can search for hidden cats within its levels has me all the more excited to play it! The well-established action gameplay of PlatinumGames + cats = probably the best game ever.

suddenlycats

Astral Chain is instant GOTY due to its killer feature: Cats in all kinds of places!

Link’s Awakening is another game that I cannot wait to get my hands on. The new Chamber Dungeons feature looks brilliant and is a step closer to a Zelda Maker that I hope we will eventually see from Nintendo at some point in the future.

Another highly anticipated title is Luigi’s Mansion 3, I have to admit though, it’s not one that I’m particularly looking forward to so much. The game does indeed look beautiful and is apparently a lot of fun to play, but there’s just something about it (I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly) which is preventing me from boarding the hype train at the moment.

And finally we have what was no doubt the biggest surprise of the entire event, that “just one more thing” Detective Columbo moment of the Direct, an announcement and teaser trailer for Zelda Breath of the Wild 2! This one took me completely by surprise, but as a humongous fan of the first BotW it was a very nice surprise indeed. Hopefully it won't be too long before we get to see more of it.

Sam C Gittins - Staff Writer

Nintendo at E3 is known for weaponising its game announcements, unleashing them on game fans who know that something is coming but for the most part they don't know what to expect, so here are my reactions to what were for me, some of the best announcements at E3 2019, shot for shot in bullet point form.

  • Dragon Quest Hero in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?!? Wait... all of them? And they can use spells, plus that Final Smash! Now that's how you open a Direct!
  • Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age... is a strong contender for the longest title of an RPG on the Switch but more than that, it's the definitve version so Day One!
  • Luigi's Mansion 3 is quite possibly all I've ever wanted from a Luigi's Mansion sequel, that I didn't even know I wanted but now I do and I can't wait for it.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening looks adorable, sounds incredible and plays... reasonably well? Plenty of time to improve the framerate but that aside? Perfection.
  • Collection of Mana finally released in Europe?!? A physical version! AND a remake of Trials of Mana... what is going on? Square-Enix finally noticed money on the table.
  • The Witcher 3 is coming to the Switch, in glorious downgraded form but it doesn't matter because it will be great and they're cramming the entire game onto a 32GB card!
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses... because we all need another school simulation title, right... r-right? Oh and the classic Fire Emblem stuff is in there too... somewhere.
  • Resident Evil 5 & 6 are available on the Switch, buy them now for £29.99 a piece, digital only releases because Capcom commands you... nice try but it's not good enough.
  • No More Heroes III is coming out on the Nintendo Switch, because of course it is! We never doubted Suda 51 for a second, I might play that mini-game collection now.
  • Contra Rogue Corps because everybody loves Contra right? Well yes but... I really think this one just blasted through the usual quality control measures with abandon.
  • Contra Collection though? Yes please... now just make all your collections physical Konami and then we'll talk.
  • Daemon X Machina, what the heck is this? I don't even know what's happening, just that there's mechs and that it looks amazing and that I want it on my Switch.
  • Panzer Dragoon! A remake of the original game, finally! I have no shame in admiting that I had a big smile on my face and tears of joy were shed for this one... magical.

panzerdragoon

It took 14 years, and a few gallons of Sam's happy tears to make it happen but here it is: Panzer Dragoon coming to Switch!

  • Astral Chain, the anime influence is real! Aside from that though, Platinum games looks set to deliver another sure-fire smash hit once again.
  • Cadence of Hyrule... available in two days? OK, nice... but where's my physical version Nintendo? You know, the one which comes with the original game as well... Nintendo?
  • Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics... of course I haven't played the series in years but that doesn't stop me from wanting it just for the Skateboarding!
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons... looks good, but it seems like it will be all at sea for a while as the release date has drifted, but Animal Crossing in 2020? Yes please.
  • Banjo-Kazooie are in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! I mean... what else can I... there are no words to convey such emotions aside from a Guh-huh! and a Bree!
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild... 2! In development and well that happened! I need more but I'm happy to wait.

And that's how Nintendo won E3 2019! See you all for E3 2020 with any luck as I can't wait to see how this year will be topped but this just goes to show, never count Nintendo out.


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