A reader explains his grievances with Nintendos E3 line-up and worries that the Switchs third year wont be any better than its second.
I know GC felt Nintendos E3 show was adequate but if you dont care about Smash Bros. I really thought it was pretty dire. I spent a lot of time playing Melee on GameCube and it was never anything more than decent in my experience. Starting on decent and building incrementally on it (if even that) isnt ever going to be something I can get very excited about.
We were made aware in advance of course, but as soon as I knew the majority of the years biggest gaming event was going to be dedicated to something like that I severely slashed my expectations. Even if the likes of Sony dedicated their E3 to a game like Tekken, there would at least be a significant jump in graphics to get some folk buzzing and we wont be getting that with Smash on Switch.
Since I knew what to expect going in, disappointment isnt exactly the word. For me, there was only maybe a 25% chance Metroid Prime 4 would be shown so I wasnt massively let down by that or anything else not expected in 2018. What surprised me most about their show, though, is the stuff I thought would be guaranteed.
Yoshi not turning up at all was a shock, although Im not very invested in that anyway as I felt one of the Wii Us biggest mistakes was thinking it could keep up momentum with 2D platformers or other small-scope games.
No Pikmin, while so many fans and journalists seem to insist Miyamoto confirmed a sequel was in development years ago. I wonder if something has been lost in translation and they were really just talking about that 2D game on the 3DS…
No Super Mario Odyssey DLC, whereas the game feels custom made to accommodate a few more worlds being slotted in there and it really wouldve been a real winner for those of us who dont care for Smash Bros.
No release date for Dark Souls Remastered. Admittedly not exactly an E3 bombshell but summer is starting to sound more like 30th September or later. The game is now guaranteed to be the non-indie highlight of 2018 for my Switch, and I really want that amiibo.
Nothing to elaborate on online plans or common console media apps. Again, a bit dry for E3 but also surprising is that online now seems likely to launch without any new tentpole game so theyll essentially just be asking us to start paying to play online for games that weve been playing that way for months.
Im fine with the pricing (assuming UK is as reasonable as elsewhere) and the issue isnt out of over-entitlement: I just think its a stupid business decision. Smash Bros. was at least a shoe-in for simultaneous launch with online.
Nothing from Retro Studios. Again, I knew it was relatively unlikely that anything after 2018 would be an item of focus but after so many years, Im now pretty confident that Retro has lost its best talent and will be stuck on unambitious projects like more Donkey Kong Country. To the extent that anything thats finally announced from them might just come off as a trolling attempt to some who still have that Metroid level of anticipation.
So while my expectations were low, Nintendo managed to deliver even less. One thing Id say about E3 – and this goes for Sony and Microsoft too – is that you have to distinguish between the quality of a publishers showing and their actual line-up. For me, Microsoft won on the former and Sony the latter, especially as most of what interested me in Microsofts presentation will be on PlayStation 4 anyway. With that in mind, and discounting subjective interests, Nintendos schedule isnt bad at all for 2018, and certainly competes with year two of other current gen machines.
But aside from personally just not being excited for much of the bigger imminent stuff we know about, the fact that the likes of Yoshi and Fire Emblem seem to have been moved into 2019 makes me wonder if they think 2018 is covered and 2019 wouldnt have been. I know they never had official dates but Im certain Nintendo were planning both for 2018 when they were announced.
So given all the talk about a dry second year for the Switch, is the third year going to be worse? Even if its not, if Smash is out right at the very end of the year, how likely are they to even acknowledge whats coming beyond that now their best opportunity has been and gone? Instead of a 2019 special this October, I fully expect a Smash Direct dwelling on what pages 5 to 15 of the manual say about the game. It might just be me but since the Wii U version they just seem obsessed about going on and on and on about that game while we know next to nothing about anything else.
With the Switch, I was genuinely encouraged by the prospect of Nintendo being able to finally focus on supporting a single platform that catered to its entire demographic rather than spinning plates – and frequently breaking them – with two or more. Also having the business sense to reveal Metroid Prime 4 so early and give people some much needed reassurance about the distant horizon as well as the more imminent really struck a chord with me and it finally felt they were getting wise to how they should operate.
Revealing games too far in advance attracts criticism against Sony but if any publisher ever needs to give that sort of reassurance its Nintendo, who dont have the luxury of that big third party cushion.
It now seems the early Metroid Prime 4 news was a one-off, though, and they insist on continuing to invest resources into dragging the seven-year-old 3DS on for even longer (with games that would be very welcome on Switch like Luigis Mansion). The result is theyre still left with fans like me expressing concerns about whats lined up for both the next six months and beyond when this just seems completely unnecessary.
Do I think the Switch is somehow condemned? Not at all, but the likelihood that well now have to wait till January 19 at the earliest to know whats coming, beyond an incremental and relatively quick follow up to a game I didnt care about in the first place, is always going to be a hard pill to swallow.
Youll never know, maybe Smash will win me over if it continues to be ceaselessly hammered into my skull. But when youre neck deep in God Of War and you have Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption II lined up, youll need to put on a slightly better show than Nintendo currently seems capable of.
By reader Panda
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