Nintendo at E3 2017: Mario, Kirby, and all your pals are coming to Switch

This year will be a make or break one for the big N. With the release of the Switch, Nintendo has just had one of the most successful console launches in history. However, the Switch’s sparse library gives very little impetus to pick one up if you aren’t part of the early adopter crowd. So Nintendo had one duty in this year's E3 presentation: show us the killer app that makes the Switch go mainstream. Maybe it’s Super Mario Odyssey? Maybe it’s the new Fire Emblem? Maybe Reggie Fils-Aime will finally give us Mother 3 on the virtual console.

HAH! Unlikely.

Whatever Nintendo’s plans are, they needed to present us with a software line-up that blows their competitors out of the water, and with Sony focusing on VR and Microsoft pushing the Xbox One X, now is the perfect time to reclaim their throne as king of all video-games.

Did they do it? Read on and decide for yourself. 

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

The new trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 focused on the story. In this universe, long ago we lived in a paradise called Elysium. Now, we live in the shadow of the world tree. We focus on a strange girl with odd magical powers who seeks to reach the long lost world of Elysium. Her powers generate a magical blade for the main character to use in his journey, although she might also be the sword. It’s sufficiently a wonky JRPG plot, complete with an evil guy looking over his shoulder amidst a backdrop of fire.

Xenoblade Chronicles will release holiday 2017.

Kirby

Kirby is back, with brand new mechanics. Now he can toss hearts into enemies to create a four person party of followers, all of which can be controlled by your friends. These allies can then combine their powers with Kirby’s normal copy abilities. We saw a water bomb, a fire sword, a water hammer, and much much more. This is the first time Kirby has been able to combine powers and recruit enemies since Kirby 64 and Kirby Super Star respectively.

Kirby (yes, the game is just called Kirby) will release in 2018.

Pokemon Switch

It turns out the rumors about Pokemon heading to the Switch are true. Though we didn’t get any information about the upcoming title, we were assured that it will be a main-line entry in the series.

Metroid Prime 4

No gameplay, no trailer, nothing but a title screen, but I don’t care! Metroid Prime 4 is back and in development for the Nintendo Switch! Samus is finally returning! This is bound to be exciting news for fans of one of Nintendo's most action-focused and mature franchises. 

Yoshi

We get to see a continuation of the Yoshi series, this time themed around arts and crafts. Yoshi can wander through papercraft themed worlds, and even flip those worlds around to wander their backgrounds. In fact, the third dimension plays a huge role in the game, as Yoshi (and his party of other Yoshis) can fire eggs into the foreground and background. Overall it looks a lot like the Yoshi’s Story series, and should be a solid 2D platformer.

Yoshi (yes, we are just doing the one name thing now) will release in 2018.

Fire Emblem Warriors

The Fire Emblem Warriors trailer was mostly story focused this year. It’s pretty much the Fire Emblem story you are used to if you are familiar with the series. Knights, dragons, a brother and sister protagonist duo, and lots of traveling heroes form other dimensions. Unfortunately, no gameplay was shown. The game will release in late 2017.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Breath of the Wild trailers this year focused on upcoming DLC packs. The first DLC pack, The Master Trials, will be available June 30. It will include new weapons, new Shiekah Slate upgrades, and a “master mode” difficulty. The second DLC pack, which will allow you to take control of Hyrule’s four champions, will be available during the Holiday 2017 period.  In addition, each champion will get an amiibo fashioned after them, and each will grant you a new bonus in the new DLC packs.

Super Mario Odyssey

Mario was definitely the main event, and we got to see a full blown Super Mario Odyssey gameplay trailer. Mario has a ton of new tricks this time around as he visits new locales such as a ghost city, a prehistoric land of dinosaurs, Aztec ruins, and more.

Mario’s weirdest new power is the ability to possess other creatures with his hat. Over the course of the trailer we see Mario inhabit the body of: a frog, a goombah, a koopa, a bullet bill, a rocket ship, a lava ball, a pair of binoculars, a spark ball, a cheep cheep, a stone fist, a chain chomp, a taxi, a stone statue, a traffic cone, a tank, a human being, and even a T-Rex.

It’s the powers that he gets in these forms that serve as his major tools for problem solving. Frogs and cheep cheeps can swim, goombas can sneak around enemies without getting attacks, koopas can throw hammers, bullet bills, binoculars, and rocket ships can fly, lava balls can get launched out of canons, spark balls travel through wires, stone fists and statues have combat abilities, chain chomps and taxis open up new methods of travel, even traffic cones can fling Mario across the level.

Also, the fact that Mario can possess normal size humans brings up distributing questions about Mario lore...but we'll leave those for another time.

Super Mario Odyssey will release October 27, 2017.

Instant Reaction

Nintendo suffered from some of the same problems that Sony did in their presentation. There was very little gameplay shown and few designers were present to even speak about their games. Granted Nintendo saved a lot of news this year for their ongoing E3 Treehouse event, but it did take a bit of bite out of their reveals. In addition, Nintendo’s press conference was by far the shortest of the bunch, running less than a half hour long.

That being said, Nintendo had several big announcements that I genuinely cared about. The return of Metroid Prime, the new details revealed about Super Mario Odyssey, new Kirby and Yoshi games, and even lesser known titles like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 all strike me as major AAA releases. There were very few “throwaway” games. Everything felt like a blockbuster.

Will the overall quality of Nitnendo’s lineup outweigh their lack of quantity? It’s hard to say. However, I can confidently say that Nintendo provided us with a lineup of killer apps that will make the Switch a worthwhile purchase this holiday season.

Check Out Our Full E3 2017 Coverage