E3 has gone by and as usual people emotions where all over the place. For some, there was uncontainable excitement for a definitive update on “The Last Guardian”. For others, the “Shenmue 3” Kickstarter was a shameless way for Sony to promote a game without funding them. Either way, it was an E3 with a lot of variety and surprises around every corner, both great and others just confusing. One of the E3 presentations that seemed to generate the most confusion seemed to be Nintendo’s.
Nintendo did a good job presentation wise, they kept the ball rolling from previous years of attempting to deliver a light hearted but fun presentation in their own quirky way. But the “transformation” theme seemed to confuse fans and newcomers alike. At first, the overall presentation read more as a heavy focus on multiplayer and experimenting with their franchises in ways that would be appealing to the idea of “fun” rather than an intricate and complex experience. But as the presentation went along I started to see a pattern in most of the key games they announced, and it seemed that their goal was not only to make the games “fun”, but to really put the player in these environments. Not as the main lead, but as a passerby in these fictional universes. So, is Nintendo’s “transformation” theme a new focus on celebration rather than creation? Dare I say, a Nintendo Land celebration?
Nintendo has recently partnered with Universal Parks & Resorts in their attempt of broadening the demographic their franchises can reach and fans response seems to be largely positive. The ideas of riding on Kirby’s Air Ride or bashing green shells against someone else’s kart may actually become a reality. Visiting the Metroid universe with friends to partake in a special mission as members of the Galactic Federation to shoot the baddies Samus doesn’t have the time to fight sounds like a ride that could totally work in a theme park.
Then, why is there a backlash against “Metroid Prime: Federation Force” so big? Why is there such dislike for this game that would prompt a group of people to create a petition to cancel it? It probably stems from the fact that a new Metroid game hasn’t been released in five years, or that Samus’s latest outing was met by a fractured fanbase. It makes sense for people to be confused the reveal of Federation Force, I know I was, but in the end this could be the Metroid franchise take on a slightly robust multiplayer focused experience. The Legend of Zelda already started that trend in the year 2002 with the “Four Swords” featurette in the Gameboy Advance port of “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” and continued refining that multiplayer Zelda experience to this day with its latest outing “The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes”
Both Triforce Heroes and Federation Force do not put you in the shoes of a single main character in their respective franchises, but a small group that traverses their own adventure in these elaborate and well know universes to fans. Therefore, it makes sense for Nintendo to take this approach that is even more causal than usual in order to test the waters on the fans response towards being invited to these fantasy settings knowing that they may not see Link or Samus all the time. That being said; just like Disney or Universal, Nintendo would not stop producing their “main feature films”, a proper Legend of Zelda is already in development for the WiiU, and “Starfox Zero” just got revealed in this E3. So in the meantime, let’s give these small ideas a shot because who knows, maybe the end product may actually be fun.