Yep, it is that time of year again. E3 2008 is officially over and now comes the weeks and months of dealing with the fallout. Microsoft started things off in true M3G4T0N fashion with a shocker, announcing that Final Fantasy XIII will be coming to the Xbox 360 (in the West,) leading legions of PS3 fans to contemplate slitting their wrists and ending it all. But they got over it soon enough; a truly massive online game called MAG from Zipper and a God of War 3 teaser at the PS3 conference stopped diehard fans on the razor's edge and gave them a second chance at life, not to mention confirmation that Eternal Sonata is finally coming to the US for PS3. Not quite a Final Fantasy XIII level steal, but enough to at least make it seem like a back and forth battle. Both sides still argue that they “won” E3, and both seem pretty content.
Not so much for Nintendo fans.
It wouldn't be E3 without the hype and inevitable letdown cycle that leads masses of Nintendo fans to swear that this year Nintendo has finally given up on them and they are throwing their consoles on Ebay and never looking back. Of course most of those consoles never end up on Ebay (what a shame, there are people out there who really want them!) but nonetheless, the message is clear; Disappointment. Anger. Rejection. Shame. Burning sensations in the crotchal region. Countless posts are made on countless forums, often starting like this:
Years ago I was a strapping young lad when my parents brought home my very first game console, the Nintendo NES, and I instantly fell in love. I have been absolutely the most diehard Nintendo fan ever since. I grew up wanting and needing every new Nintendo release. I actually bought the Virtual Boy. I once built a scale model of Hyrule out of legos wearing nothing but Mario underoos while my girlfriend (whom I had just lost my virginity to listening to the F-Zero soundtrack) watched on in amazement. It utterly pains me to say it, but today I finally threw out my last box of Nintendo cereal. Nintendo has abandoned me. It is over. Never, ever, EVER again will I buy a single Nintendo product. I'm through with Nintendo.
And on and on. I've never quite understood exactly what it means to be “through” with a game publisher/developer... aren't we just buying games we like and not buying ones we don't like? This isn't a marriage here, you're allowed to sleep around all you want. Find a new bed every night, and come back to Nintendo's on rare occasions just to reminisce if that is all Nintendo does for you anymore. You're not morally obligated to pledge allegiance to one company or another, you can take a dip in any pool whenever you want. But I'm getting way off topic here, and I can't even follow my own metaphors anymore. So moving on...
It was bad. No way around that fact. It wasn't nearly as bad as some are making it out to be, especially in context of the new toned down E3 and the fact that none of the 3 console makers really had any truly huge announcements (it seems some Xbox fans care more about Sony losing Final Fantasy XIII exclusivity than about gaining a potentially awesome new game on their console of choice... oh yeah, and you can download movies on your game consoles now, oh boy!) But man, to be a Nintendo fan and sit through that conference was definitely painful. You kept waiting for Reggie to drop the bomb... or Shiggy to drop the bomb... or that MILF whose name I can only remember because it is a Street Fighter character to drop the bomb; but alas, no bombs were dropped. Not many missiles were dropped either. I did drop my keys, but luckily I found them again, so no problems there.
Let's start with the Wii. What all was announced?
We all knew Animal Crossing was coming, and it was finally debuted under the moniker Animal Crossing City Folk. I'm going to withhold judgment until we get more details, but at the moment it seems a lot like the previous versions, which isn't the worst thing in the world, though I was hoping Nintendo would have been a bit more ambitious. One new feature, however, is voice chat through a microphone. Yes, Nintendo finally has voice chat! Another new feature seems to be the ability to travel to a centralized city and do some shopping and other things there. I'm unclear on whether this city will act as a hub to interact with people online; if so, awesome. And that's about it, if you have played previous Animal Crossing games a lot of the graphics and sounds and gameplay will look awfully darn familiar.
Wii Sports yada yada whatever it is called, I'm just calling it Wii Sports 2. This one seemed like a no-brainer. It comes with the new “Wii MotionPlus” add-on packed in, allowing (supposedly) complete 1:1 controls. What is strange, however, is that it seems to have moved away from actual sports. Frisbee, moto jet, and sword fighting gameplay was shown off, with more to come. It actually looks sweet to me, though the first Wii Sports was pretty much made in my eyes on the bowling, which I still play to this day; so this one better have something equally as addicting.
And finally, Wii Music. I was pretty hyped for this in advance, and I'm trying to remain hyped, but it definitely seems like a very basic non-game. I say non-game because Nintendo seems to be stressing with this one that there will be no goals and no scoring, just getting together and playing to your heart's content. An odd choice, in my eyes, as part of what makes stuff like Wii Sports and Wii Play so fun is the competitive nature of it. Anyway a variety of instruments were shown, including drums using the nunchuck + wiimote for sticks and the Wii balance board for the bass, which is pretty neat. It's still unclear to me if you need to make specific motions at specific times or if you just waggle away and hope for the best. Hopefully Nintendo throws some actual gameplay into this one, otherwise it could be a bit of wasted potential.
On the DS front there wasn't much going on either from Nintendo, outside an announcement that they're finally bringing Rhythm Tengoku over to the US as Rhythm Heaven. I don't know much about that game, but it looks sweet and the Japanese seem to love it. (On a side note the GTA DS announcement was definitely a surprise.)
And that was it. No Zelda, no Mario, no Pikmin, no Punch-Out! And definitely no MATURE ICARUZ or Oni Link's M-rated action game to rival Devil May Cry and God of War where Link finally gets to see Zelda's boobies. The disappointment was palpable.
But this wasn't meant to be another bitching rant. Because the truth is, I'm still very happy with Nintendo. I think they have done an excellent job with their software on the Wii, and will continue to do so. And there are “core” games coming from Nintendo. Wario Land Shake, Disaster Day of Crisis, and Fatal Frame 4 (developed by Tecmo/Suda, published by Nintendo) to name a few. Logically Retro Studios have to be working on something, as well as EAD Tokyo, HAL Laboratories, Intelligent Systems (we know about their Fire Emblem DS but not much else) and NST. IGN still swears Factor 5 is working on a Kid Icarus game that will be shown off sometime soon. And Miyamoto pretty much came out and confirmed without exactly confirming that new Mario, Zelda, and Pikmin projects are in the works. So no, I'm not worried about the future. It seems pretty bright to me.
This brings up a question though. Why, when Nintendo has “core” games it can show off, do they continue to ignore them as a focus at their E3 conference? The future of Disaster seems up in the air, but we know Fatal Frame 4 is pretty far along so why not show that off? Why not show off some Wario Land (argue with me all you want, but a 2D platformer nowadays is hardcore in my eyes by definition) or Kid Icarus if it is indeed in development? And on the 3rd party side, why not show off some promising software such as MadWorld, Tales of Symphonia 2, Little King Story or Megaman 9? I understand the focus on the more casual stuff, but these games didn't appear in the conference at all. At least a minute long montage would be nice. But I don't really have the answers to these questions. It is very clear Nintendo is using E3 as their “casual” focus, but they still mentioned Call of Duty on the Wii and Grand Theft Auto on the DS, so hardcore game mentions in the conference aren't totally taboo. Some people are acting like they have nothing for hardcore gamers, but that clearly isn't true. They have a few bones, they just decided not to throw them out; an odd choice to me.
What I don't fully understand, however, is why so many forum users overreact to such a large degree based on a single conference. I would think anyone who is a regular on a game forum would know by now that E3 is a mere shell of what it used to be. It isn't the place for tons of massive game announcements one after the other for any console anymore. All 3 publishers had a fairly low key conference this year (when it comes to actual games, anyway) but I didn't see fans of the other consoles ready to sell their systems (ok a few PS3 owners freaked out over losing Final Fantasy XIII exclusivity, but they got over that fast.) And if you actually follow the Wii you have to know that stuff like MadWorld, Fatal Frame 4, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, the Conduit, Tales of Symphonia 2, Fragile, and the awesome looking VanillaWare RPG with the goofy name are in the works, not to mention one of my personal favorite games of the show; Megaman 9 (I am seriously hyped to play a new old school Megaman game.) It should be a decent year regardless of Nintendo's crazy conference, to people actually interested in looking at what games are out there.
All this really shows is something we already knew; that Nintendo “fans” are a fickle bunch. A few days from now most will decide that while they are unhappy at the moment, they might want to hang onto the Wii after all just in case a new Zelda is coming somewhere down the line. It's already happening. A couple post-conference announcements, such as the new Romance of the Three Kingdoms Wii exclusive and the port of Dead Rising have pulled a few back from the brink. Miyamoto's comments about more core games in the works have also made an impact, albeit a minor one. And next thing you know, these people will own most or all of the above mentioned “casual” games which got them foaming at the mouth to begin with. And the love / hate cycle will go on and on and on. Maybe it is time to update the Wii coaster...
I agree here, pretty much. It's funny because I just posted a thread about my frustration with online forums in general (excluding this one) in regards to gaming, and the frustration with that roller coaster is very apparent.
I don't even know how to accurately describe some of the things people post. The backlash is always horrifi on the Nintendo fan side, and finally, for the first time I can see it. I do not recall Sony fans or Microsoft fans having this reaction at equally bad E3s - no, they went in chin-up, took it in stride, and still found ways to console themselves (which sadly also includes system bashing).
But Nintendo fans are a very quirky bunch, indeed. Get uber-duper hyped, and then come crashing down in a blaze of glory blaming a video game company.
All I know is that in the end, I'm not selling a $250+tax console I bought just because some games I'm 90% positive are coming weren't shown at E3.
Otherwise Id be doing that like, every year.
Anyhow, that's all I got. It's stupid to me, really.
But they learned their lesson. Nintendo knew then and there they needed to give gamers the games they wanted. 2009 and 2010 ended up being great years for Nintendo software, and they had good E3 showings those two years as well.
Ugh, Nintendo really pissed me off here. I remember all too well how people were declaring the Wii doomed for hardcore gaming, and I told them "No it's not; you have Disaster and Fatal Frame and Captain Rainbow/etc. to look forward to!"
Now two of those games at least are still playable depending on which region you're in/if you're willing to use homebrew, but the average person isn't going to bother with those. For awhile at least, the Wii's future game lineup looked really grim. Then 2009/2010 came and had a bunch of cool games, while 2011 came and was boring all over again. Nintendo, and third-party companies in general, really need to space out their releases better. Plus it helps to release more of your games in as many regions as possible, and consistently through those regions. I hate when a game comes out in one place, then it takes months/years before it finally comes out elsewhere.