VideoGamer.com staff share their thoughts on Nintendo's E3 conference.
The most exciting part of E3 is now over. Each of the major players has hosted a conference, giving everyone a look at their gaming line-up over the coming months. Here we look at what we saw and rate each of them out of 10. Did Nintendo dazzle us with its Wii U?
Tom Orry - Editor
I've been thinking about Nintendo's E3 conference a lot. After it's pre-E3 Wii U video presentation I genuinely had high hopes for its conference - it was going to be all about the games. It wasn't all about the games (there was far too much waffle) and the games shown off weren't the games most people wanted to see.
Let's start with Pikmin, as Nintendo did. At the time this was fine - it was a neat way to kick off the conference and injected some fun into what had been a fairly brutal E3 showing in the days leading up to Nintendo's big event. I'm not the biggest Pikmin fan, and have always seen it as a second-tier Nintendo series, but I know it has plenty of fans who will lap it up.
The problem is that this Pikmin 3 demo was the highlight of the conference. Considering the console is out this year I expected to be excited, for Nintendo to convince me that I need to own a Wii U. Nintendo claimed to only give the 3DS a few minutes of show time in order to focus on Wii U, but the cynic in me can't help but think it was worried the handheld's line-up would overshadow the frankly pitiful selection of games coming to the Wii U at launch.
It seems that Nintendo is pinning a lot on NintendoLand, the game it hopes will do for Wii U what Wii Sports did for the Wii. To me it looks more along the quality lines of the Wii Play range than the evergreen brilliance of Wii Sports, and isn't nearly as instantly engaging. Wii Sports encouraged everyone to pick up a controller and have a go - I can't see NintendoLand having the same impact.
Maybe my own expectations are to blame. I wanted something big, something from the Metroid or Zelda franchises, but all we got was Pikmin and another 2D Mario platformer. Even a glimpse of what was to come would have been something to cling on to, but it wasn't to be. LEGO GTA, the ok-looking ZombieU and more dancing and fitness games took up the majority of the show's runtime.
When I think back to the launch window line-ups of previous Nintendo consoles I remember Mario 64, Wave Race 64, and PilotWings 64 on the N64. On the GameCube we had the brilliant Luigi's Mansion, Wave Race Blue Storm and Super Monkey Ball. The Wii dropped the ball a bit in terms of hardcore games, but it still had Wii Sports and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The Wii U appears to have Pikmin 3, NintendoLand, and a string of underwhelming third-party games.
While I'm sure Nintendo thinks it's great to have Batman Arkham City on the Wii U, I played and finished it months ago, as I'm sure a lot of people watching the conference did too. Where were EA and Activision during the conference? We saw Mass Effect 3 and Skylanders in video reels, but where was Battlefield, Call of Duty, FIFA, Dead Space, Need for Speed and the rest?
As far as I can tell, the only big third-party game coming to Xbox 360 and PS3 this holiday that's also arriving on Wii U is Assassin's Creed 3. Unless Nintendo and its third-party partners are holding stuff back, if you want to play the big games this Christmas, you'll need something other than a Wii U.
No doubt some people will claim that the line-up is good and that I either don't get it or that the Wii U isn't made for me. Well, that may be true, but as someone who has been playing games for 25 years and runs a video game website, the fact that I currently don't want to buy a Wii U isn't a good sign for gamers.
Martin Gaston - Reviews Editor
Nintendo was always going to disappoint, mainly because everyone was pinning all their hopes and dreams on them to ignite the battle for the next generation of consoles. Instead we get a port of Batman: Arkham City, some Nintendo Land compilation wotsit thing and a new Pikmin game. What?
Nintendo's focus on Wii U's bizarrely underwhelming software line-up was so extreme that the 3DS found itself bumped to another conference later in the week. But even then excellent first and third-party handheld games, like Paper Mario, Castlevania and Luigi's Mansion managed to eke their way into the limelight - making the Wii U's software landscape look even more barren.
Right now Nintendo can keep their Wii U: the 3DS looks like a much better choice for games.
David Scammell - Staff Writer
I could write hundreds of words about what went wrong with Nintendo's conference, but ultimately, I only need three letters.
What happened, Reggie? My body was ready for this to be Nintendo's year: the year that the Big N could finally lift the lid on its big launch plans, and reveal some core Nintendo classics for further down the line.
But it didn't do any of that. Nintendo's show was a worryingly hollow conference that failed to inspire any form of excitement from those looking ahead to Nintendo's Wii U platform.
None of us ever expected Nintendo to delve into the technical details behind Wii U, of course. As is always the case with the firm's products, it's not about what's under the hood, but how great the ride is. But we expected something more. A launch date. A big game reveal. Just something to get us excited.
It started well enough with Pikmin 3, Shigeru Miyamoto's latest title that could whip core fans into a frenzy on its release - whenever that might be. But after that, Nintendo's press conference nosedived.
It bashed out the predictable slew of casual games: SiNG, Wii Fit U, Nintendo Land, but the absence of first-party titles aimed at people like you and me appeared incredibly disconcerting. If Nintendo expects us to replay Mass Effect 3 or Batman: Arkham City on Wii U, there's clearly a complete lack of understanding somewhere along the line.
I must also question the firm's logic. After going to such extremes of telling everybody quite how tight time is, what on Earth possessed it to discuss a mini-game, and all the rules and mechanics that go with it, in such minute detail? Insanity.
Again, though (and as appears to be the message for E3 2012 in general), Ubisoft came to the rescue. Rayman Legends looks sublime, with its wonderful blend of rhythm-based platforming and superb art direction. Its choice of colour palette means that, at this stage, I'm slightly less taken by it than I was Origins, however.
It wasn't enough, though. The conference's confused closure said everything about Nintendo's performance, rounded off with an obscure in-engine fireworks show, a complete lack of reaction from the audience, and not so much as a goodbye from host Reggie Fils-Aime.
As one astute tweeter so brilliantly put it: "Hey Nintendo, who'd you get to write the ending of your presentation? BIOWARE? Ahahahahahaahahahaha".