Content Warning: The game footage below may include violence, sexual content, drug use, and/or foul language. Please view at your discretion.
Nintendo will have minimum presence at E3 this year as their Treehouse Live event will only feature the upcoming Zelda game for Wii U and the upcoming NX console. However, the NX will not be revealed at this E3 and Nintendo has also confirmed that the new Pokemon Sun and Moon titles will also have a presence at their E3 conference. At this point, it is anyone’s guess what Nintendo will have in store for its viewers at E3 2016 but I for one am hoping that they surprise us with some awesome reveals of upcoming Wii U releases and possibly some concrete information on the NX.
To begin their Treehouse Live 2016 Press Conference, Nintendo kicked off their presentation with a message of support to the families affected by the tragedy in Orlando and to Christina Grimmie who was tragically shot at a concert last Friday. Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime then called for a moment of silence before beginning Nintendo’s official E3 livestream.
Fans were then treated to a new trailer for the upcoming Zelda game for Wii U and Nintendo NX. The trailer showed off some open world gameplay including the new ability to scale buildings and rock faces similar to how it is done in games like Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed. It appears that Link can now also chop down trees to form a bridge between two cliff faces. The trailer also revealed the new Zelda game’s official title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Fils-Aime then went on to say that the upcoming gameplay demo will feature only a small area of the game that is so large that it will not be able to be entirely explored by those trying out the game on the E3 show floor.
The release date for Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon was confirmed for November 18th, 2016. Before diving into the Zelda presentation, Sam and Terry from Nintendo chatted with the developers of Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon who showed a snippet of live gameplay and what new features fans of the franchise can expect when the new games launch in November. It was also revealed that Zygarde, the third in the trio of legendary Pokemon from Pokemon X and Y will have a key role in the story for Pokemon Sun and Moon. The demo offered a look at some old Pokemon like Ledyba, a lady bug Pokemon, and Yungoose a new Pokemon introduced for the first time in today’s demo. Also a new living Pokedex, possessed by the ghost type Pokemon, Rotom, offered more detailed descriptions of captured Pokemon and players can now view the stats of their opponent Pokemon in the middle of battle by tapping that Pokemon’s sprite on the 3DS touch screen. Another new Pokemon, Pikipek, a woodpecker themed Pokemon, was also shown in the gameplay trailer.
After a lengthy hands on look at Pokemon, the presentation switched back over to the gameplay reveal of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild after a brief break. The demo seemed to begin at the start of the game with Link waking up in a dark room in some kind of machine. Fans also got a look at a new inventory system which looks to include equippable weapons and armor. After escaping the room he awoke in, Link then ventures into the world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We got a look at the expansive environment and how link can navigate down the mountain by climbing. From there, the demo showed off the scale of the world that Nintendo has created for the new Zelda game as only the small, middle portion of a much, much larger world map is available on the show floor at E3. While Link was only equipped with a tree branch in the demo, setting the branch on fire allows for different gameplay opportunities, like setting grass on fire to clear a path. After finding an axe, Link gains the ability to chop down trees and gather wood to set up campfires. After finding a rusty broadsword, Link then ventures forth in search of a shield. Soon, Link runs into a camp of Moblins and engages them in combat. Here we see that weapons and equipment can take damage and break, requiring Link to craft of find more gear. Players will also be able to collect weapons from defeated enemies and use them in later combat encounters. There is almost a survival element to the new Zelda title as Link will be relying upon the items and resources he finds in the environments and gains from defeated foes in order to craft better equipment and keep existing equipment in working order.
The graphics look to retain the Wind Waker-esque art style of partial cel shading, but the environments and open-world look stunningly beautiful. The game offers little exposition as to Link’s place in the world and why he came to wake up in this destroyed version of Hyrule, however, through exploration players can slowly uncover clues as to the backstory of what happened to cause Hyrule to enter its current state of being. The demo ends after Link finds a bow and arrows in the ruins of what used to be a key temple in Hyrule. Skipping to a later point in the demo, Link discovers another Moblin camp and quickly dispatches them with his axe while showing off a slow-motion dodge move. Puzzles will also be upgraded by allowing players to experiment with different objects like explosive barrels which can open up new areas to explore or destroy obstacles that previously blocked your path. Nintendo also announced that starting today at 3 PM PST The Legend of Zelda items will be available in the MiiTomo mobile app. Nintendo of America’s, Bill Trinnen then confirmed that much more Zelda gameplay footage would be shown before the show cut to another break.
After returning from the break, the gameplay cut to some climbing gameplay and exploration of the top of the temple that was shown in the earlier demo. Throughout the demo, the developers and Nintendo hosts offered further details and commentary on what fans can expect from this new Zelda title. The demo also showed off more of the game’s massive overworld on both the map screen and from the view of Link as he stands atop the ruined temple. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild certainly looks like it could be the sequel to reinvigorate not only the franchise as a whole but the Wii U and generate huge buzz for the upcoming NX console.
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