If you keep up with the tech blogs, you would know last week was E3 week. E3 week is something that I have looked forward to every year for as long as I have been a gamer. I remember fifteen years ago in middle school getting my copy of Electronic Gamer Magazine, Nintendo Power and Game Informer to read as much as I could about the games I was going to want to buy with my paper route money. Without the luster of new consoles, the past few years hasn’t brought anything exciting to E3. Every year, like clockwork, we see a new iteration of Call of Duty, a new iteration of Battlefield, a new iteration of Assassin’s Creed and a new iteration of a long standing franchise that I couldn’t care less about.
Nintendo has, for the better part of a decade, been an outlier. Nintendo has never had the most powerful console on the market. Nintendo has always had unique ways to play games across the Wii, Wii U, 3DS and Switch. Nintendo had the market in the palm of their hand with the Wii but couldn’t capitalize on the Wii U and has experienced a shrinking handheld market thanks to the rise of the smartphone. Nintendo, to their credit, found their niche in amazing first part properties (see: Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, etc.) and third party titles that you couldn’t find anywhere else. Nintendo has even gone to the extent of creating new IPs, like Splatoon, to bring new audiences into their ill-fated Wii U.
One thing that the last ten years was missing was a new Metroid game. Ok, that isn’t entirely true. Metroid: Other M and Metroid Prime: Federation Force are two entries in the Metroid franchise that people would rather not discuss. Metroid: Other M was a strange title that came with mixed reviews and played more like Ninja Gaiden than Metroid. Federation Force was a handheld game that had almost nothing to do with Metroid. It was almost like Nintendo wanted to create a new IP but decided late to slap the Metroid name on the title and call it a day. Did you know that Metroid turned 30 last year? It’s not entirely sure that Nintendo did, as they focused on Zelda’s 30th anniversary instead. It’s almost as if Nintendo wanted us to forget about Metroid.
Entering E3 for the last ten years, many people’s dream Nintendo announcement was a new Metroid Prime game. The Metroid Prime series debuted on the Gamecube and was the first of a series of first person adventure games. It was very similar to the adventure platform game of NES and SNES past. The series spanned three titles. They were all excellent. After Other M flopped, every E3 people wanted a new Metroid game. The Wii U came, the Wii U went. No new Metroid game. At E3 2015, Nintendo trolled everyone with the announcement of Mtroid Prime: Federation Force. A large part of the community though that maybe they were only showing the mech gameplay off and that a real Metroid title was just not being shown off. That wasn’t the case.
June 13, 2017. Almost 10 years after Metroid Prime 3 was released, Nintendo surprised the fans of the Metroid series. After confirming that the first ever core Pokemon RPG was coming Switch, a first for the series, Nintendo dropped a teaser trailer for Metroid Prime 4. A new Metroid game coming in 2018. Later on in the day, a new Metroid game was announced for 2DS/3DS that is a retelling for Metroid II.
I was genuinely shocked that, at an event where we all thought we were not going to get a great showing from Nintendo, after they tapered expectations with a less-than-stellar Pokemon Direct a couple days before E3, blew all expectations out of the water. Between two new Metroid Games, a Switch Pokemon title confirmed, fantastic gameplay from Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey and all the fun “eSport” competitions that they had on the show floor, Nintendo won E3.