The dust has settled on the E3 2021 Nintendo Direct; the big N stuck to its usual approach ever since the ‘Digital Event’ days, of approximately 40 minutes and plenty of announcements.
On this occasion, no individual game hogged the limelight to excess, as even the biggest hitters only had an assigned couple of minutes for their pitch. Considering the circumstances for game developers and publishers over the past 12-16 months, Nintendo also outlined an impressive slate of first-party titles that’ll take us to the New Year, with almost one big-hitter for every month.
Nintendo and its partners on these big games — the likes of MercurySteam and WayForward — deserve credit for lining up a batch of big-time titles
As you can see in our Nintendo Direct round-up, a lot emerged from Nintendo’s efforts at E3, and the reaction has seemingly been largely positive. In our own poll that was posed just a few hours after the event, out of over 5,500 responses (at the time of writing), 57% awarded the show either an A or B grade (39% a B), with just under a quarter opting for a C (average) and 19% opting for either a D or dreaded F, though only 4% opted for the lowest grade.
A quick glance at the ratio on the Nintendo of America YouTube video upload also shows around 43,000 upvotes to just 3,300 downvotes. While the show won’t have pleased everyone — which is impossible, ultimately — it did generally earn a good reception.
The general sense within our team is that it was a very good show, and arguably Nintendo’s finest Direct for a long time (especially with the dramatic reduction in frequency of the main showcases). After a relatively quiet time for major and exciting software, it also lines up a tantalising set of games for the coming months. Nintendo and its partners on these big games — the likes of MercurySteam and WayForward — deserve credit for lining up a batch of big-time titles under the past year’s difficult working circumstances.
Below are the big first-party games for each month coming up, and this doesn’t even include a number of much anticipated third-party games; it gives a sense of how well stacked the rest of 2021 truly is:
This was also a broadcast that delivered a few notable long-demanded fan favourites – but yes, the wait does go on for F-Zero.
After a long break since its last ‘proper’ entry (if you disregard the spin-off Game & Wario on Wii U), we finally get a return to the classic formula with WarioWare: Get It Together!, which adds co-op for good measure. Mario Party Superstars delivers shiny HD recreations of classic N64-era boards and minigames, though it’s hard to argue with those suggesting it could have been fairly priced DLC for Super Mario Party. Then there’s the WayForward-developed remaster of the two original Advance Wars GBA releases, a smart way for Nintendo to pitch the IP to new audiences while delighting older fans and longtime followers who had to watch this treasured series take a backseat when the Fire Emblem franchise — Intelligent Systems’ other turn-based tactical gem — finally attracted a mainstream audience in the West.
Metroid Dread was arguably the key announcement, though, one which topped our community poll in terms of the most exciting reveals. For newer fans there’s the buzz of a shiny 2D Metroid title on Switch, and it’s good news that MercurySteam — which developed the excellent Metroid II remake, Metroid: Samus Returns, on 3DS — is at the helm but on far more capable hardware. For older fans, however, it’s a slice of Nintendo history.
Following Metroid Fusion on GBA, the sequel Metroid Dread was well known to be in the works, going back over 15 years ago. Its cancellation and all of the intrigue and rumours at the time were a staple of the DS / Wii era, and the assumption had been made in the many years since that it’d never see the light of day (the video, above, in which Yoshio Sakamoto gives intriguing insight into the project is well worth a watch). Notably, Nintendo has given Dread ‘Metroid 5’ status, with Team Ninja-developed Metroid: Other M standing more than ever as a ‘side-project’, while the Prime series occupies its own space in the lore.
For many in our team, it’s the game that draws the most anticipation. When you combine the fact it’s a mainline 2D Metroid game with the ‘Dread’ name and all of that history, it was a huge project for Nintendo to unveil.
All of this has focused on imminent games, and of course we shouldn’t forget that the show dropped huge moments for The Legend of Zelda, too. The celebratory Game & Watch is sure to be a must have collectable, but it was the fascinating trailer for Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 that stole the show.
It’s pleasing that the sequel seemingly has plenty of new ideas to offer. There’ll be action in the skies, portals, and sections where Link will have some pretty wild hair. Fan speculation and deconstruction of the trailer is downright fascinating and fun in itself; we’ve indulged in some theories already! The vague 2022 date is the only disappointment there, especially as it could mean ‘Holiday 2022’, but it was great to see footage and progress.
When you throw in some reveals and 2022 titles from this year’s previous Nintendo Direct and other events, such as Splatoon 3 and Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope (which was touched upon briefly here, too), the future is looking bright for major Switch releases into next year. With the hardware in its fifth year, and regardless of the neverending speculation around its successor or iteration, what Nintendo has achieved to date gives it excellent momentum. With the system still flying off shelves in impressive numbers, the E3 Direct only strengthened Nintendo’s hand in the short-to-medium term future.
E3: Mission Accomplished, we’d say.
This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Latest News