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Mario, Metroid, and Pokemon Have Nintendo Nicely Setup for 2017 and Beyond

A slew of first-party reveals at E3, including two new Metroid games, should keep up the momentum.

Opinion by Kat Bailey, .

We're at E3 2017 covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2017 hub!

A good E3 press conference has a handful of ingredients: a few immediate release dates, a handful of strong trailers, and a few crowd-pleasing surprises. Nintendo's E3 Direct had all of that, with the surprise reveal of Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS being the cherry on top.

In the course of a mercifully quick Nintendo Direct, they confirmed Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for 2017; teased new Kirby and Yoshi games for 2018, and dropped a couple huge announcements--a core Pokemon for the Switch and a brand new Metroid Prime.

No, there wasn't a Pokemon Stars, Animal Crossing, or Smash Bros. in the mix, but the rest of Nintendo's announcements will do quite nicely.

Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are a great one-two punch for Nintendo.

For Metroid fans, the confirmation that Metroid Prime 4 is alive and well comes as a massive relief. Outside of the rather strange Metroid Prime: Federation Force, Metroid has been MIA since 2010's ill-conceived Metroid Other M. It had basically become a meme that where other Nintendo characters were constantly being celebrated, Samus was left to sit in the corner, sad and alone.

So while Metroid Prime might be a long way off, it's gratifying to know that it's even still alive. Remember, it's been seven years. That's an eternity for a major, well-loved series like Metroid. The mere existence of Metroid Prime 4 is a win for Nintendo.

No need to be sad anymore, Samus.

In the shorter term we're getting Metroid: Samus Returns, a remake of Metroid II due this fall. Fans have been clamoring for a return to Metroid's 2D roots for a long time, and especially a remake of Metroid II--a game regarded as something of a black sheep by longtime fans of the series. Coming on the heels of Nintendo's Switch-centric Direct, it was a pleasant reminded that the 3DS has at least one more year left in it.

Between Samus Returns, Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, Super Mario Odyssey, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the Switch and the 3DS both look to be in for a nice holiday season. There hasn't exactly been a deluge of new games for these platforms; but as Mike has pointed out more than once, Nintendo has developed a nice cadence with their first-party releases that has helped them to avoid some of the dry spells of the past.

The Switch was practically made for Pokemon.

Looking ahead to 2018, things admittedly get a bit hazier. We now know that we're getting new Kirby and Yoshi games, but the rest of Nintendo's offerings feel a bit further out. This is where indies and third-party releases will hopefully start to fill in some of the gaps. In all probability we will have a much better idea of Nintendo's 2018 schedule come fall, when they usually drop a Nintendo Direct or two for whatever they're releasing in spring.

Whatever happens, Nintendo still has their ultimate ace in the hole: Pokemon. Game Freak confirmed a core Pokemon RPG for the Nintendo Switch during today's Direct; and while it might not be out until 2019, it is indisputably one of the Nintendo Switch's killer apps. Really, the Switch was basically made for Pokemon.

With that, Nintendo seems to be in good shape in both the short-term and the long-term: Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 make for a great one-two punch in the fall, and Metroid Prime 4 and Pokemon are there to entice us for the future.

Any way you slice it, that makes this E3 a success for Nintendo.

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Comments 14

  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #1 SIGGYZtar 5 months ago
    Nintendo's first party offerings rarely not amaze. Now I wonder about the third party offerings, we can't just live on Monster Hunter.
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  • Avatar for Godots17thCup #2 Godots17thCup 5 months ago
    I am a little disappointed about no Retro Studios or Animal Crossing for Switch (yet - there's no way that game isn't in the works), but with the steady stream of stuff Nintendo has set to come out over the next year or so, I think I'll be able to carry on. :p

    EDIT: I'm so jazzed about what Nintendo did show that I didn't realize until over 2 hours later that Nintendo still hasn't revealed Pikmin 4.Edited June 2017 by Godots17thCup
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #3 SatelliteOfLove 5 months ago
    Now that I've seen the shows, its Nintendo-Ubisoft on top, with Devolver Digital's fever dream and Bethesda a bit behind them. The PC one, EA, MS, and Sony's are waaaaaaaaaaaaay in the back
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #4 Kat.Bailey 5 months ago
    @SatelliteOfLove The PC one had the XCOM expansion, the Klei RPG and the Chucklefish Advanced Wars game at least
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  • Avatar for Mr.Spo #5 Mr.Spo 5 months ago
    I'd hope that Prime 4 and Pokemon are late 2018, really. Nintendo should have enough software for Switch that they don't need to rely on announcing 2019 titles this early in the system's life-span, especially given both games aren't being developed by Nintendo's internal structure, EPD. That would mean 2018 has Pokemon, Metroid Prime 4, Yoshi, Kirby and Fire Emblem. Not a bad start, by any means.
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  • Avatar for matt-b #6 matt-b 5 months ago
    I was very pleased with the presentation. The fact that there were 2 Metroid announcements from Nintendo today though...TWO...METROIDS...my heart could just burst.

    I think after E3 and during fall/holiday we'll get a better sense of 3rd party games for Switch. I would think a lot of them are trying to squeeze that last 3DS dollar before going full swing into Switch development, like Atlus with the trio of RPGs.
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  • Avatar for docexe #7 docexe 5 months ago
    I was very skeptical of the commercial prospects of the Switch after the full reveal at February, but now I feel a bit more confident. Nintendo has a solid line-up this year, and if the console keeps its current momentum, more 3rd parties will start developing for it.

    Granted, we won’t see the same tentpoles from the PS4/Xbox One, but I’m now confident that the Switch will inherit the current market niche of the 3DS and Vita, including their 3rd party support and then some. And if Nintendo maintains the current pace of releases, the future of the hybrid system might be bright after all.Edited June 2017 by docexe
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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #8 UnskippableCutscene 5 months ago
    I'm not opposed to a cute mascot platformer, but introducing a Mario platformer and a traditional Kirby game and a Yoshi's Island lineage platformer all in the same damn event is too much of a good thing. Nintendo really can't rely on third parties to balance these cartoony mascot platformers with other content. They need, at minimum, a port of something like Bayo 2 to balance it out.

    What I'd REALLY love is a Zelda in the top-down Link Between Worlds style for Switch. But of course, BOTW just came out and for now a man can dream...Edited 3 times. Last edited June 2017 by UnskippableCutscene
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  • Avatar for hamfighter #9 hamfighter 5 months ago
    While I generally prefer more games-focused presentations, I feel that Nintendo really dropped the ball here with total silence on Switch infrastructure/services. Would have liked to see something about Virtual Console, online plans, accounts, system upgrades (transferring save games via SD card, folders/organization for my ballooning number of games, and such), etc.

    A couple other disappointments to me:
    1) Not even a demo reel for some of the indies - hoping that makes an appearance either during this week or in a near future Nintendo Direct. Hell, I'd have been sated a bit just seeing a new short video revealing the next batch of upcoming ACA Neo Geo games (much as they did at a fairly recent Nintendo Direct, with a video that showed the next ~10 or so games in the series, that group of which will be concluding with this week's release of Sengoku).

    2) The beginning of the presentation with its Switch = eSports angle isn't really enthusing to me at all.

    That being said, the Switch games they did show look pretty solid, especially Mario, and the acknowledgement that Prime 4 and Pokemon are coming is promising. And we know they have more franchises in reserve that will surely show up in future years, in typical Nintendo style of cranking out another entry for each new system (Animal Crossing, Smash, Donkey Kong, Pikmin, etc...). Still just the typical Nintendo first party stuff though, this is really not much different from the Wii U in that regard. Aside from Mario + Rabbids, no surprise third party announcements or collaborative projects? Could have made some big waves with something like a Bayonetta 3, some new Capcom game, etc.

    Edit: Oh, and the post-video reveals of 3DS Metroid 2 and Mario & Luigi remakes gets a big thumbs up from me. Gotta give them some credit there.Edited June 2017 by hamfighter
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #10 jeffcorry 5 months ago
    I was reminded again why I love/hate Nintendo. I am definitely pleased with today's announcements, but I still want Virtual Console on the Switch, and there is no word as of yet.
    It would be so perfect. So, so perfect.
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #11 Jonnyboy407 5 months ago
    Super fun day for Nintendo games.

    I had hoped to see 3rd party stuff. I hope
    more devs come around soon. Still, more than enough Switch and 3ds games to last the rest of the year
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #12 SuperShinobi 5 months ago
    2018 still looks a little light, particularly if either Pokemon or Prime 4 gets delayed - and Prime 4 is being developed by a new team.

    I liked Mario Odyssey and the 3DS announcements. Odyssey looks like pretty much the 64 sequel I've wished for. I wonder if the new Pokemon game will also get a 3DS port eventually?
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  • Avatar for Wellman2nd #13 Wellman2nd 5 months ago
    I still can't quite believe Xenoblade 2 is coming is coming out this year. Even the trailer they showed I still can't believe it will be out in the US before Spring of next year.
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  • Avatar for themscissors #14 themscissors 16 days ago
    I'm expecting a Mario, this is special nostalgia.
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