What would you have said if someone told you pre-E3 that Microsoft would do its best to mimic Nintendo, whereas Nintendo would act like Microsoft? It certainly seemed like the companies flip-flopped at their respective E3 press conferences. Though the 360 spent a great deal of focus on motion control and the Kinect, Nintendo didn't breathe a word about health, motion, or the Wii Fit at its E3 briefing on Tuesday.
Instead, the company's games were the real focus, especially retro franchises: those folks hoping for years for a taste of old Nintendo games certainly had a field day. StarFox, F-Zero, and Pikmin remain undisclosed (Update: Though not discussed at the press briefing, StarFox 64 3D was announced for the 3DS), but Nintendo did unveil new Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Kid Icarus titles, along with detailed gameplay from the next Wii Zelda.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Demonstrated for nearly half an hour, the Nintendo flagship sequel will feature Wii MotionPlus support for more-accurate weapon and item actions. The rest of the story remains a mystery, but the game has a more cel-shaded look than Twilight Princess. It arrives in 2011.
Wii Sports Mix: In a very smart move, Nintendo is creating a Mario compilation sports game with what appear to be soccer, hockey, dodgeball, basketball, and volleyball. This could be a real surprise hit, and it's a nicer idea than infinite "Mario X" sports games.
Wii Party: Nintendo's "bridge" game, the next in the "Wii" series, features Miis in a game that looks a lot like an updated Mario Party. Board games, minigames, and group casual play seem like the focus.
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn: Just what the Nintendo DS needs: another RPG. Whereas Golden Sun was one of the most well-reviewed Game Boy Advance role-playing games, it looks like yet another impressive but lengthy game to slot among Zelda and Square's numerous DS releases.
Goldeneye: The Wii is getting a sequel/update to one of the most successful and well-reviewed shooters of all time, complete with online multiplayer and split-screen play. N64 fans may be having fits, but do we really need to recreate the 007 setting as well in this update?
Kirby: Epic Yarn: A new surprise release announcement coming this fall, the new Kirby game is a 2D title with clever 3D-style graphics that resemble Super Paper Mario. This looks like it's following right along in New Super Mario Bros. Wii's shoes--not a shock, since that game sold 14 million and counting.
Donkey Kong Country Returns: Another 2D game with 3D graphics teased at the show, it has a great classic look to it. Audience members cheered. The visuals walk a wonderful line between retro and 3D.
Kid Icarus Uprising: The Nintendo 3DS was demonstrated along with a shocking number of development partners, but Nintendo's launch property it showed off was a reboot of the Kid Icarus classic, in full 3D with shockingly good graphics for a handheld.
Epic Mickey: An exclusive third-party game created by Deux Ex's Warren Spector, this Disney title focuses on older animated characters and a mix of 3D and side-scrolling in living cartoon worlds. The production quality seemed fantastic.
PilotWings, Nintendogs, StarFox: Amid all the Nintendo 3DS excitement, three big games were quietly announced for the upcoming system: PilotWings Resort looks like it will be a fusion of the classic SNES/N64 game with Wii Sports Resort's Wuhu Island as a setting; Nintendogs will be updated with cats and, we imagine, motion/camera functionality. StarFox 64 3D sounds like a port/update of the N64 title.
Yes, there was a lot shown. An impressive amount, actually, considering Dragon Quest IX and Metroid Prime: Other M haven't even been released yet. What games are you most excited about? Is bringing back Goldeneye a good idea? Has Nintendo answered back to all those who wanted the company to focus on games? With a whole press conference dedicated to nothing but game releases and the 3DS, it certainly seems that way.