Nintendo may have just "won" E3 2021
Updated: Jun 18, 2021
Even with a vague and faraway release window (2022) for Breath of the Wild 2, Nintendo arguably brought enough to frighten its rivals at E3 - with the likes of Shin Megami Tensei V, Metroid Dread, and Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. Here's a recap and our initial impressions for Nintendo Direct at E3 2021.
Kazuya Gets Ready for the Next Battle!
With a dash of cheekiness, Nintendo opened its first trailer with Kazuya Mishima from Tekken throwing a lifeless Ganondorf off a cliff, a moment Tekken fans would find deeply familiar. While the presentation also showed off Kazuya's moves and skills (it was also succeeded by a gameplay deep-dive), it also gave off an air of awareness that fans around the world were tuning in precisely for Breath of the Wild 2 news.
With its almost-customary Smash fighter reveal out of the way, Nintendo pushed out an array of game trailers for IPs which were either expected, releasing soon, or have had significant coverage during the rest of E3. They clearly knew how to use the fact that they were on the final day of E3 to their advantage. These were the titles shown in order of appearance:
Life is Strange Remastered Collection (Late 2021)
Life is Strange True Colours (10 September 2021)
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (26 October 2021)
Worms Rumble (23 June 2021)
Astria Ascending (30 September 2021)
Two Point Campus (2022)
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania (5 October 2021)
Mario Party Superstars goes online
Releasing on 29 October 2021 and just in time for the holidays, Mario Party Superstars will collect 100 minigames from previous Mario Party's boards and minigames, which have been remastered, including a refresh which will allow the games to be playable with button controls. In the event that we continue to be stuck at home, Mario Party Superstars also features fully online, local wireless, and same-system play for ALL game modes. For online play, it will even include random matchmaking and will allow players to communicate via cute stickers.
After the Direct, Nintendo went on to showcase some gameplay from Mario Party Superstar through the Nintendo Treehouse event - check it out!
Metroid Dread is back from the dead
On top of providing a quick confirmation that Nintendo is continuing to work on Metroid Prime 4, Nintendo dropped the first of a few huge announcements they had lined up in this Direct with Metroid Dread - a Nintendo DS title previously thought to have been cancelled. This will be the first 2D Metroid series game in more than 19 years, and will be released on 8 October 2021.
The core gameplay mechanics of Metroid Dread was also showcased at Nintendo Treehouse. While the combat and movement looked incredibly sleek, we were particularly impressed by the overall artistic style, including the shifting perspectives from 2D side-scrolling to over the shoulder, to first-person helmet view - all of which seemed to be executed flawlessly. Another thing of note would be the E.M.M.I. robots, whose near-impregnable outershells and relentless pursuit of Samus gives this Metroid game its Dread namesake.
Nintendo also announced amiibo figures for Samus and the E.M.M.I. robot.
Return of Familiar Franchises
With a finger on the pulse of gamers around the world, who may have collectively had a cardiac arrest on the Metroid news, Nintendo opted to have the next segment be dedicated to "returning franchises". The titles presented in order of appearance were:
Just Dance 2022 (4 November 2021)
Cruis'n Blast (Autumn 2021)
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot + A New Power Awakens Set (24 September 2021)
Mario Golf Super Rush (25 June 2021)
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin (9 July 2021)
The most noteworthy points from this segment were the game modes for Mario Golf Super Rush, including Speed and Battle Golf, as well as a commitment to provide free updates for the game after release. On top of that. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin will be releasing a demo on 25 June 2021, with save-game progress carrying over into the main game.
They actually got it together - a Wario Ware game!
If even the minigames in Mario Party aren't short enough for our shortening attention spans, fret not because Wario Ware is back with even more microgames - this time with the option for solo gameplay or 2-player co-op! The style of some of the games reminded us of Part-Time UFO, and we enjoyed that thoroughly so we will definitely be picking this up for our stream. Wario Ware Get It Together! will be released 10 September 2021.
Shin Megami Tensei V
Fans of Shin Megami Tensei, the mainline series from which Persona is actually the spin-off of, should be having an absolutely smashing summer. Between having the remastered Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD releasing last month, they now have even more reason to rejoice as Shin Megami Tensei V receives a new gameplay trailer alongside a release date - 12 November 2021.
Nintendo also showcased gameplay from Shin Megami Tensei V in its Nintendo Treehouse livestream event, including core gameplay mechanics such as navigating the overworld, negotiations, combat system, and more.
Danganronpa arrives in decadent style
The cult-favourite visual novel/mystery/adventure/dating sim/shooter (how does one even begin to describe Danganronpa?) series finally arrives on the Nintendo Switch with a collection of four games named Danganronpa: Decadence. The first three games in the collection are the series' mainline games:
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, and
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony.
The fourth, and final, game of the collection is actually a standalone version of the board game from Danganronpa V3... So it's technically the game within a game, being made into an actual game, to be placed alongside three other games which includes the game in which it was first featured. Just another day in gaming and Danganronpa.
All four games for Danganronpa: Decadence will be available separately on the Nintendo eShop, while the collection bundle itself will be a physical exclusive. There will also be a collector's edition which includes peripherals such as a collector's box, soundtrack, and posters. There is no confirmed release date, though it should be out within the year.
Also, yes, Danganronpa and Shin Megami Tensei being announced back-to-back is some kind of mad hype. Wait till you see what comes next...
Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water (Fatal Frame)
Originally released on the Wii U using the console's unique capabilities, Maiden of Black Water will be released for current generation consoles (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation & Xbox) and it looks scary AF. Hardcore fans of the series will be heartened to know that the series has not been forgotten, and will be anxiously hoping that this is a sign that the series may finally see a new title. The game is slated to release later this year.
More... games and DLC
Nintendo's marketing team knew we'd need a breather after seeing SMT, Danganronpa, and Fatal Frame one after another so... they threw us a bone and gave us a few more trailers for DLCs and games already announced. So, in order of appearance once again:
Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One (16 June 2021)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 (25 June 2021)
Strange Brigade (16 June 201)
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope (2022)
Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp (3 December 2021)
Legend of Zelda Segment
They were NOT kidding when they said that this would be the last segment of the Direct - although many of us paid more attention to "last" than "segment", causing collective groans to sound out when the first trailer to appear was for an expansion pass for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. As Eiji Aonuma (producer of Legend of Zelda) appeared on screen, the excitement was palpable - however, he then proceeded to deliver two relatively dull items. (We've linked the starting point of the entire segment below.)
First was a presentation on motion controls using the Joy-Con for the upcoming Skyward Sword HD remaster, and a quick primer on the game's place in Zelda canon. Though it did make the gameplay for Skyward Sword look fun, it was not the kind of information to end a Direct with. (Incidentally, Skyward Sword HD will be releasing on 16 July 2021.)
Next, the madlad proceeded to reach into his shirt pocket to pull out a Game & Watch system which will include The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and the GBA version of Link's Awakening. As the name suggests, it will include a playtime clock and playtime timer. While it is a cute piece of memorabilia, merchandise and rehashes doth not a happy E3 audience make. The Legend of Zelda Game & Watch will be released on 12th November 2021.
Though the announcement was in full seriousness, as it is marketed to be Nintendo's way of celebrating the Zelda series' 35th Anniversary, consider all of us well and truly trolled, because up next was a new trailer for Breath of the Wild 2. Featuring new powers for Link, as well as expanding the world of BotW to the skies above, this trailer will likely be scrutinised - at least until the next one releases - which could be as early as the upcoming Tokyo Games Show. The game has been slated for a 2022 release. For now, we'll just live in denial and pretend that this means 1st January... RIGHT? RIGHT?!?!
While Nintendo did not share any new details about Pokemon or Animal Crossing, it was nice to see franchises like Shin Megami Tensei and Metroid return to the frontlines. Nintendo's success for this particular E3 Direct was a combination of excellent existing-IP announcements, appropriate pacing (notice how they buffered big announcements with nice, short reminders), and an understanding of how to structure their digital conference.
At the same time, the presentation of long gameplay demos within the Nintendo Treehouse format as a post-show (it is still ongoing at the point of writing) suggests that the company's experience in hosting digital showcases (essentially what its regular Directs are anyway) has given them an advantage this E3. Their rivals could probably do well to take notes.
The opinions in this article are the author's own. Do let us know if we've missed anything, or if we made mistakes in representing some of your favourite series! Let us know what you think in the comments Also, did you know we stream on Twitch? Come and watch us Tuesdays (1pm GMT), Fridays (1pm GMT) and Sundays (12.30pm GMT) and have a chat with us about what you found exciting at this year's E3!