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.

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.

Tagged with 3DS Handhelds, E3 2017, Nintendo, Opinions, Pokemon, Switch, USgamer.

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