Back in 2013 Nintendo made the outlandish, and one of the most controversial, decisions in E3 history by not being part of the front lining conference holders. Opting to utilize smaller digital presentations that we now know as ‘Nintendo Direct’. This year, in 2016, Nintendo chose to forgo any semblance of a presentation and put all their focus and attention on the Nintendo Treehouse: Live. Treehouse: Live features staff from the Nintendo company(and in the case of Pokemon GO, who they’ve partnered with to create the project), ranging from the localization team to executive producer. Together they sit down and discuss the chosen games for Nintendo Treehouse: Live. The decision to not have an official presentation was in part due to the company’s desire to place major focus on one of their biggest games, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Fortunately, while focus was primarily on the new Legend of Zelda during the first day, there were more games being showcased such as Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon, Pokemon Go, Paper Mario: Color Splash and much more. Unfortunately, the information came through slowly and drawn out over two days. The first day showed about 45 minutes of Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon while the rest was an extraordinary amount of Breath of the Wild gameplay. While interesting, it was tough sitting still for over 6 hours combing the fine details that may or may not be mentioned. The second day was when the Treehouse featured many of the games coming to the Wii U and 3DS, most of which was already announced – except for one brand new IP. On Day 0 of E3, Nintendo also snuck in some indie game announcements including Severed, Axiom Verge and Runbow Pocket.

So here’s a roundup of all of the news presented by  Nintendo; if you’d rather sit through about 15+ hours of gameplay, you can check out the VODs on Nintendo’s YouTube page right here and here.

Best Presentation

I mean, an entire E3 event was to showcase this game for Nintendo. And boy does it deserve it. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild segment of the stream kicked it all off with the beautiful trailer you can see above. From then, countless people showed off the many aspects of the game, people from the development team, Nintendo Treehouse employees, and even Jirard ‘The Completionist’ Khalil. It was breathtaking finally seeing the game in action, and Nintendo knows it. As soon as they took Link out of the starting cave, the world opened up to a beautiful vista for the viewers to take in.

There was so much about the game being shown including the abilities you received from trials, the dynamic looting system where you can take enemy weaponry and use them, the ability to manually jump and sprint around the world, it is baffling. To be a bit more thorough, the previously mentioned ‘trials’ is a mini-dungeon which revolves around puzzle solving. Some trials will introduce new ‘runes’ for Link to use, which are in essence his new equipment loadout. Due to design, trials can be completed in almost any order, the exception is the necessity to have at least one rune to complete the basic dungeons. The notion of having the ability to play how ever the player chooses is a key theme for this game. Eiji Aonuma even mentioned to Polygon that the game could be played to completion without accessing the full story:

“Anybody who can go straight to the goal without doing anything else — there’s two possibilities… Either they’re a really good gamer, or they could be somebody that’s a little bit crazy. But it’s not impossible. I created the game like that.”

The notion that you could beat such a vast, open-world game like Breath of the Wild so soon after starting the game is outrageous to hear. Yet, I absolutely adore the fact that the option is there to play everything how ever you like, and that’s the most important aspect of the game that both Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto tried to express throughout the stream.

Worst Presentation

Nah. I didn’t make a mistake. As much as I loved the game and what it represents, I hated how it was presented. It was explicitly stated that Nintendo would be focusing a lot on the new Legend of Zelda game and unfortunately, I still disliked how it was presented. But here’s the kicker, it’s good that I disliked it. It meant what they did show me was incredible and I wanted more, and I wanted more quick. Desperate for more information on the game, I wanted to keep watching to see some more content and to have more time to stare at the gorgeous world. But I didn’t want to do so at the expense of watching different people come in over 12 sessions repeat the same features and show similar locations. While the game promotes going anywhere you want, it’s not surprising that things start to repeat when you play a demo of a game. For instance, seeing Bokoblins for the hundredth time does tax the sense of intrigue.

Much of the content could be condensed quite easily, but videos speak louder than words, and that is the reason Nintendo made this choice. I respect it but as an Australian staying up past 2 a.m. to watch 7+ hours of footage? Nah, that’s okay. For people who are in the same boat and wants to know the briefest details on what was shown, here’s a quick list:

  • Amiibo functionality to allow Wolf Link to assist in game
  • 3 new Amiibo including Link on a horse and Guardian enemy
  • Over 120 Shrines of Trials to beat and discover around the world
  • There are towns and an even bigger place to explore outside the demo area
  • You can gather and hunt food for health and buffs
  • Weapons have durability and the game encourages picking weapons off dead enemies
  • A slight slip of the tongue revealing ‘Ganon’ returning as boss
  • The world is ridiculously big

Most Surprising Presentation

It’s one thing to finally show off some more news on Rhythm Heaven Megamix, it’s another to completely blindside everyone by saying it’s out right now. I simply could not fathom that fact when the news dropped. Naturally, I scoured the Nintendo 3DS eShop for it so that I could purchase the game and get right back into the rhythm beating hell. Imagine my dismay when it turns out it is currently only available to purchase for the US eShop. Australians and Europeans will have to go without for hopefully only a little while longer. Please Nintendo.

Rhythm Heaven Megamix is the fourth game in a franchise that focuses solely on the beauty of rhythm keeping and unyieldingly charming mini games. It’s a game that was introduced to me by a dear musically gifted friend of mine who fell in love with the game back on the Nintendo DS. Fortunately, Megamix will feature some mini games from that exact game including Lock Step and the Choir Boys. Not only that, but the game will feature mini games that originated from the old Game Boy Advance and the latest Wii entries.

With that, the presentation comes to a close- Oh wait, there were more than just these! Well, here’s some more good looking games and trailers shown during the event:

Yo-Kai Watch 2

The team are back together as the Yo-Kai return in the sequel to the Japanese cult classic series. Taking a page from the Pokemon series, Yo-Kai 2 will be available in two flavors: Yo-Kai watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls. The sequel promises an even bigger adventure with a bigger world and all new set of Yo-Kai to find and scour the world for. This time around, the game will show players the origin to the strange and powerful Yo-Kai watch by allowing players the ability to play 60 years in the past and uncover the truth.

Both versions of Yo-Kai Watch 2 were released in Japan back in 2014. The states will be receiving this game on the 30th of September, 2016 on the Nintendo 3DS.

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of Forgotten Past

Dragon Quest VII was originally released on the PlayStation and thankfully, it will be added to the list of Dragon Quest games being remade on Nintendo handheld devices. Fragments of the Forgotten Past seeks to retell the story in a fresher way that will allow both veterans to enjoy the story and newcomers to immerse themselves into the world. With over 30 different classes to play and a plethora of customization options, this Dragon Quest VII is touted as the definitive way to play the classic Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of Forgotten Past.

There are some new features included within the 3DS game including the ability to transfer ‘travel tablets’ that allow players to play brand new dungeons. This game celebrates the 30th anniversary of the series as more Dragon Quest games continue to make the jump over stateside. Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of Forgotten Past will be available on the Nintendo 3DS on September 16th.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Tensions were high over at the Atlus and Intelligent Systems offices as they try to work on this collaboration project together. I’m extremely pleased that the team have managed to break through and create this gorgeous game. The vibrant world of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE lends itself to create an interesting setting where young ‘pop idols’ come together to invoke ‘Mirages’, souls of legendary warriors of the past. While the gameplay is very much akin to a Shin Megami Tensei game, there are many features from the Fire Emblem game including the souls of famous characters from the series such as Chrom and Cain and the weapon triangles.

It might seem visually over stimulating at times, but I’m still very drawn in at the notion of the product between Atlus and Intelligent Systems. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE will be available from June 24th, 2016 for the Wii U.

Mario Party Star Rush

A new entry into the Mario Party series, a series where many veteran players have felt the series dip in quality due to questionable design choices made by Nintendo. Fans will be excited to see that this 3DS entry into the series will no longer feature ‘Cars’ that made every player on the board move together towards a goal destination. Instead, all players start as basic colored Toads where they move around the board to collect Stars, coins and even familiar members of the Mushroom universe. Mini games are plenty and the competition looks fierce as you play in either single player or local multi-player through local wireless connection or the Download Play feature. The biggest change in this game, as the name would suggest, is that players can now move at the same time instead of waiting for other players to make their move. Allowing for more reactionary methods of sabotage and streamlined gaming experiences that do not take long.

I spied Rosalina running around on the board and I’m immediately sold. It looks like a bucket of fun and seems to be a much more enjoyable experience with several core features returning to the Mario Party series. Mario Party Star Rush will be available as of November 4th, 2016.

Monster Hunter Generations

Great terrifying ‘Deviant Monsters’ are on the prowl according to the newest Monster Hunter Generations trailer shown during E3. Work as a hunter is never done and it can only get cooler with new moves and abilities to get the leg up on these monsters. This is yet another title I’ve been so keenly interested in for a long time. Fortunately, the demo for the game is available right now and purchasable from the E3 digital ticket on Humble Bundle. Monster Hunter Generations changes the formula by having four unique ‘styles’ that allow for a variety of gameplay experiences. If that’s not enough, you can play as a Prowler, cat creatures that work just as hard as human hunters to fulfill requests and take down big bad monsters.

Monster Hunter Generations will be available on July 15th, 2016 for the Nintendo 3DS. The demo will be released in the coming days if you choose not to buy the E3 digital ticket.

Paper Mario: Color Splash!

It’s tough rolling off of the amount of negative reception it received at last year’s E3, but Nintendo is doing the right thing by shrugging it off and trying to keep pushing this game. Paper Mario returns in a new adventure where he tries to bring color back to the world after some crafty villains have sucked up the world’s color. Taking place on the Prism Island, Paper Mario will have to find and use cards to beat enemies, to make some new allies and have an adventure of a life time.

Paper Mario: Color Splash will be available on the Nintendo 3DS from the 10th of July, 2016. You can watch some in game footage from the demonstration here and judge whether or not this game should still be on your radar!

Pokemon GO

The mind blowing Pokemon Go finally makes its debut entrance to the public eye after weeks of closed beta. A forum of people including developers and beta testers sat together and talked about the Pokemon Go and its peripheral device, the Pokemon Go Plus. Pokemon Go is a mobile app that allows players to roam around the world, find and capture Pokemon in Augmented Reality thanks to Niantic and Google’s assistance in creating this giant project. Some of the key points of discussion that was mentioned regarding Pokemon Go was that the main focus of the game in its current build was to capture Pokemon. Future updates will eventually come out which will open up the game further to trade, battle and a variety of other little features.

Later on, the Pokemon Go Plus was shown. A device that would make capturing and handling the app a much more faster and streamlined experience. It notifies you when there’s a Pokemon nearby or even the state of capture the Pokemon is in after throwing a Pokeball. Pokemon Go is slated for a worldwide release sometime this July for iOS and Android. Meanwhile, the Pokemon Go Plus will be available after Pokemon Go is released by at least the end of July and will cost $34.99 USD. Furthermore, it was hinted that the Pokemon Go Plus will have connectivity with Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. Speaking of:

Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon

Being only a fraction of the first day’s Treehouse stream, there was still a fair bit of news surrounding the new game. The highlights include three new never before seen Pokemon from the Alola region; the newest region in the ever-expanding world of Pokemon. These include Pikipek the woodpecker, Gruppin the worm, Don- I mean Yungoos the beaver-like creature and the mythical Magearna who has been seen before. On top of these additions, the team showcased the “Battle Royal” mode where 4 players can fight against each other to take down a person’s team of three Pokemon. The loser is the player who loses all their Pokemon while the winner is dictated by how many survived and how many were taken down by them.

The team were very descriptive on the theme of ‘life’ and how the Sun and the Moon helped to represent this, especially in a setting like Alola. You can catch the demonstration here if you’d like to see some more footage first hand. Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon are slated for release on November 18th, 2016.

Ever Oasis

A strange new IP that hasn’t been heard about before, Ever Oasis. As much as that may be a surprise and therefore should have taken the spot for ‘Most Surprising Presentation’, it wasn’t exactly a surprise due to the leak that there was a new RPG being showcased during the stream. That said, Ever Oasis is a charming addition to the lineup of content during the stream. As a young boy named Tethu, the player will have to build up their oasis with the help of allies like Isuna the water spirit and by completing dungeons, puzzles or finding resources to create new structures and items in the oasis. The team behind this game are Grezzo, who are known for their work on the Ocarina of Time 3D.

Ever Oasis will be available for purchase and play on the Nintendo 3DS, however the reveal date for the game has yet to be decided.

There are even more games that were shown. But for the sake of tying things up for Nintendo’s E3 experience, they are as follows:

Phew! Despite the apparent lack of conference or formal presentation, there have been a plethora of games coming out in the coming months for the game, and many of them have been shown in great depth. All of which can be found at the Nintendo YouTube channel.

Nintendo may not have ‘won’ E3, but they still managed to pull out some quality content that was enjoyable to watch, albeit in smaller bite size doses. What games Nintendo show appeal to you? Let us know in the comments below!

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