The most recent Nintendo Direct had many expectations behind it. First and foremost it was the first Nintendo Direct (Direct from here on out) since the passing Satoru Iwata and as most people know he played a big role in the presentation of the Direct. There was a lot of speculation as to if the Direct were going to continue or if a different delivery method would be employed. Thankfully Nintendo chosen to continue using the Direct as their main source of fan interaction. Reggie has taken over the roles of Iwata in the Nintendo Direct and I couldn't think of any person better for the job.
I am not writing this piece to explain what was said in the Nintendo Direct but rather focus on what I took away from the presentation. In my personal opinion I think this Direct was a very positive sign for Nintendo and a great way for them to regain some ground after E3 this year. E3 was lackluster for Nintendo, partially because the previous year was when they released the majority of their heavy hitting titles and that this year seemed to be reserved for spin-offs and third party games. Pair this with the passing of Iwata and you have the makings of a company that looks like it could be in a bad place shortly. Then this Direct comes out and totally flips my opinion. Nintendo came out swinging showing off a sweet Wolf Link amiibo to pair with Twilight Princess HD was super cool, despite the fact that it was released on two separate consoles back in 2006. I for one am happy that it is coming to Wii U, I barely remember the game and have been wanting to play it again and to have an HD version coming out is quite fantastic.
What I took away from the rest of the Nintendo Direct was that they were about fan service. New content was announced for many of the games they have already released, Mario Maker and Splatoon as prime examples, as well as a slew of new games coming out with in-depth details about each one. While, there are still some lackluster games coming out, in my opinion Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash and Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival, they still have a slew of games coming out this fall and early next year. They are offering an early download for both disc owners and digital download owners for Xenoblade Chronicles X to ensure players will be ready to play day of launch. It also allows for disc owners to have faster load times.
One of the biggest takeaways from this Nintendo Direct was the willingness to look out for the little guys. I don't mean little guys like Indie developers or small time companies. I mean the games that don't sell many copies in the West. Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII are the prime examples here. While being great RPGs and hugely popular in Japan they just don't sell very well state side. Yet, Nintendo chose to bring those and the likes of Final Fantasy Explorers and Bravely Second. While this could be partially Square-Enix wanting them here as well Nintendo is still the platform they are arriving on as they were originally released on PlayStation consoles. It shows Nintendo's dedication to their fans.
A different kind of fan service came from the reveal of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow coming to 3DS virtual console. Nintendo added local wireless functionality to the games for trading and battling since the old link cables won't work on new 3DS handhelds. It is a nice touch that will go along way for these ports.
Then you have Reggie and Bill making bad comedy in the middle of it all. There is a scene staring Bill being taken over by a Youkai and eating all of the donuts Reggie had ordered for a long business meeting. It's pretty bad but it is so bad that it is actually funny to behold. Nintendo shows a lot of character still and as long as they do that and put that into their game development they will continue to be a strong company.
I think that about covers it. I am excited to see what Nintendo is going to bring in December as they announced a Splatoon tournament and a special update for Smash Bros. so we will see what happens.
Stay tuned for more...