This is going to be a roundup of a couple key games that Nintendo featured during E3.
I love Nintendo! Unfortunately, I didn’t love their E3. They focused mainly on long gameplay demonstrations rather than short trailers, including almost a whole day dedicated to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. (More on that soon, of course.) I was disappointed because I don’t enjoy watching extended gameplay of games I already know I’m going to play. Therefore, their focus on BotW and Pokémon Sun and Moon (coming out 11/18/16) was not useful to me.
This may be controversial, but for games like those, I actually prefer the developer/producer/artist/whoever interviews! Tons of people on social media were complaining about them and saying they were the boring part, but that’s the sort of thing I like from a franchise I’m already fully into.
Okay, now that I’ve complained about the format, let’s get on to the fun stuff and check out some games!
**All images are taken from the E3 demonstrations mentioned. See bottom for list of links to all of the videos.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
There were some great reveals for the newest chapter in the Legend of Zelda legacy! The title has been officially announced – Breath of the Wild. This name seems super appropriate considering the obvious love and care that has been put into the vast, expansive Hyrule that we’re seeing in this game. The full, seamless game map is huge – beyond comprehension; it’s vast and alive, teeming with creatures, resources, and possibilities. Nintendo featured hours of live gameplay, and had special guest Eiji Aonuma along for the ride.
I’m going to be honest: I purposefully did not watch much of the gameplay they showed. I (like many readers, I’m sure) already know I’ll be playing this! Watching gameplay for BotW would be like seeing an overly detailed movie trailer–I’d rather not see too much material from something I’ve already decided to buy into.
However, it was really cool to see some details about features that will be available in the game. For example, Link has an… iPad?
It’s a tablet that hangs from his belt and delivers notifications. Speaking of belts, Link’s costumes will be customizable, upgradeable, and must be weather appropriate!
We also got to see some harvesting and cooking – tasks that will be all too familiar to Skyrim enthusiasts.
Overall, BotW appears to be a departure from classic LoZ games, but I don’t think longtime LoZ fans have to worry. The series has explored different styles of games, but the beautiful lore, storytelling, and world-building always remain.
BotW will be released for WiiU as well as the TBA NX, and will be launching some time in 2017.
Pokémon Sun & Moon
Not many new things were announced during the E3 – instead, the focus was on gameplay for a game which already has many details and a release date out. The next chapter in the Pokémon saga will be available on 11/18/16. The game takes place in the Alola region, a new location in the series. It’s a group of islands (4 natural and 1 manmade) unconnected to the cities previously featured in the games. Due to this isolation, there will be plenty of new Pokémon for players to discover.
The art design for this new region is amazing, and it brings an exotic feel to a game that should seem familiar. They also have a day-night system which will allow the player to feel immersed, and will have different effects on encounters.
We got a good look at the legendary Pokémon Solgaleo (psychic-steel, based on the sun) and Lunala (psychic-ghost, based on the moon). They will have “phases” that affect their attacks, though full details about these phases are unknown. They are the “emissaries of the sun and the moon,” and they provide the sources of life for all of the creatures in the islands.
The new starter Pokémon are Rowlet (grass-flying), Popplio (water), and Litten (fire).
I already know that I’ll definitely be choosing Rowlet. I think it’s so cute! Also, I have a nostalgic connection to grass types. My first ever Pokémon starter was Chespin! (X&Y was my first Pokémon game!)
They’re painfully adorable, and at E3, we got to see a bit of them in action. This also let us see some of the updates to the battle system. Now, this is a Pokémon game, so it’s no surprise that there are no huge differences. However, you will notice that the battle interface screen is less boxy. Also, the island aesthetic of Alola has influenced the art design of the battle screens.
You, as the trainer, will now appear behind your Pokémon in the on-screen battle graphics. This serves to emphasize the connection between you and your Pokémon. Another really useful update is the ability to see current status effects on your Pokémon.
The Rotom Pokédex is going to be your cute little buddy on your adventure. He won’t just be a tool, he’ll be your friend! It will be more than the traditional Pokédex because it will tell you your next location and suggested next actions. Some people are upset because they think this will “dumb down” the game in favor of younger players at the expense of serious players. I, on the other hand, would appreciate a feature to let me know where I am and what I’m doing since I often find myself lost when picking Pokémon back up after a long hiatus.
Big crowd onstage for the Pokémon Go demonstration! The group includes Bill Trinen from Nintendo of America, two field testers, Ishihara from the Pokémon Company, Masuda from Game Freak, Nomura from Niantic, Miyamoto from Nintendo, and of course, the indispensable translators. With all these brains on stage, we got some great insights into the upcoming app, as well as some gameplay footage!
In addition to Pokémon Go, they discussed the Pokémon Go Plus, the wearable accessory that will sync with the app. The developers wanted to create a system that would allow players to interact with the app on the go, but wouldn’t limit their enjoyment of the outside world. The PGP connects via Bluetooth to the player’s mobile device, and it will flash, vibrate, and change colors to allow players to detect and attempt to capture the Pokémon they encounter, all without having to open their mobile devices.
Speaking of enjoying the world around you, there will be a new leveling up system that uses candies which you get when you catch Pokémon. You use the candies to power up or evolve your Pokémon, rather than XP and battling which might stop you from moving around and walking in real life. It’s really nice how much thought the developers have put into making this a game designed to let you enjoy life.
The device itself is pretty small, fairly subtle, and has a cool design. I would love to see it even smaller at some point – perhaps the technology kept it larger, or maybe they wanted to keep it suitable for a young child’s stubby little fingers. It’s hard for me to picture myself incorporating this model into my wardrobe. At $34.99, the price point is not terribly steep (especially considering that the game itself will be free), but I think I’ll stick to trying out the free app before I drop the money on the device.
During the discussion about Pokémon Go Plus, they mentioned that it will be available sometime in late July, which means they accidentally let slip that Pokémon Go will also be available then!
Unfortunately, there will be some features missing from the app when it is released. For example, trading is not being implemented at this point. Also, there will not be group activities, like the interaction pictured in the original trailer where people got together in public to try to capture Mewtwo. In general, there does not seem to be any emphasis on cooperative play, which is a shame. However, they did suggest some eventual connectivity between Pokémon Go and the main games, though it does not sound like this will be available at launch.
Ever Oasis was the surprise, brand new, unannounced IP by Grezzo from Nintendo! I was so freaking excited when they started showing this. It looks amazing, and I wasn’t expecting it at all.
You play as Tethu, a young boy who has to make his own oasis in the desert, protect it, and help it grow. You have a water spirit partner named Isuna. Tethu has to go out into the desert to find resources for his oasis, and he can also go adventuring to defeat the evil that threatens his paradise. The challenges include enemies and puzzles in colorful, challenging dungeons.
The game’s aesthetics borrow inspiration from ancient Egyptian culture. I thought it was really cool to see a dark skinned protagonist, some much needed diversity! The other, less human characters have cute, unique designs. You can actively switch between characters in your party during battle, and each character has different abilities and attacks. You’ll need to fully utilize your party in order to solve the dungeons.
Ever Oasis has an amazing little world. The focus on building your town gives you a different perspective, as you stock up the shops rather than buying items from them. You’re not just an adventurer — you have to keep in mind the safety and happiness of your people!
The director of Ever Oasis, Ishii, has an impressive game history: he directed Final Fantasy I, II, and III, and he designed chocobos and moogles!
I’m super excited for this one, and I will be getting it as soon as it comes out! It should be out some time in 2017.