Nintendo has never been a company that particularly prided itself in its hardware. The Japanese giant has always been far more concerned with its catalog of gaming titles, much of which remain anchored in the Mario and Zelda franchises with a handful of deviations thrown in the mix for good measure. And if you were to base anything off of Nintendo’s pre-recorded Digital Event at E3 2015, it doesn’t look like much will change in the upcoming year. The latest installments of big-name franchises such as Star Fox and Fire Emblem were announced, alongside a successor to The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures and the latest news regarding Super Mario Maker.
Amiibos — physical figurines that wirelessly interact with various games on the Wii U and 3DS — also played a pivotal role in the company’s Digital Event, though, not quite as much as the bizarre puppets Nintendo used to introduce various titles and executives. Check out the biggest news and announcements from Nintendo’s briefing below for a closer look at the what the company has planned for the next year. Just don’t expect any news on the next iteration of the Wii or the open-world Zelda title.
Star Fox Zero
Star Fox has been a mainstay of Nintendo since the first title was released on the SNES in 1993. Although the years since have seen Fox McCloud & Co. derail from their vehicular roots, it seems Nintendo is putting the franchise back on its rails with the forthcoming Star Fox Zero. The company announced the long-in-development title during its digital briefing, offering a quick glimpse at the new vehicles and GamePad controls that will allow gamers to capitalize on the second screen and motion sensing gyroscope. The Wii U’s GamePad will offer a first-person view from the cockpit, providing greater accuracy during combat than the traditional third-person view you’ll see on the TV. Moreover, the iconic Arwing will now be able to transform into a bipedal robot, which was intended to be part of the scrapped Star Fox 2.
Star Fox Zero is slated for release on the Wii U during Holiday 2015.
Amiibo and Skylanders SuperChargers
Nintendo’s collectible figures, Amiibo, are about to invade another plastic figure-based franchise (aka Skylanders). Two new Nintendo Amiibo figures, Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and Hammer Slam Bowser, will also double as Skylanders figures and be compatible with the upcoming Skylanders Superchargers. Furthermore, the new Donkey Kong figure will come with his own secondary figure, the Barrel Blaster, which can be used to activate the vehicle in-game and represents a new feature in the line of Skylander figures. The two special edition characters will also offer a full set of moves and abilities that Skylanders Superchargers can take advantage of. The two Amiibo figures can be used to unlock new content in compatible Nintendo titles, too.
The new figures will be available when Skylanders Superchargers launches on Sept. 20, 2015.
Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival
Nintendo’s adorable, town-management sim is getting the Mario Party treatment. Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is a multiplayer, turn-based board game where players will collect points and engage in various activities, much akin to the main Animal Crossing games. Using their Amiibo figures, players will be able to bring new characters to their respective cities, each of which will offer new minigames and events to shake things up. The entire line of the newly-unveiled Animal Crossing Amiibo figures will also be compatible with Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, which includes popular characters like Tom Nook and K.K. Slider.
Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival lands on the Wii U during Holiday 2015.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
Nintendo announced not one, but two 3DS Animal Crossing titles during its E3 keynote in Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival. During the unveiling of the former, Nintendo played a short video showing Home Designer’s gameplay which tasks players with helping townsfolk with the designing and arranging of their homes. Players even have the ability to alter the plots of land surrounding a citizen’s house, engaging in a bit of landscaping in hopes of appeasing the homeowner. Nintendo also announced the game has NFC card compatibility, which put new residents into the game who likely require the home decoration services of the game’s main character as well.
Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer is slated for release on the Nintendo 3DS on Sept. 25, 2015.
Fire Emblem Fates
Fire Emblem If has a new title for the West — and a new English-language trailer. Not much else is known about the forthcoming strategy title, which was announced during Nintendo’s digital event, but the trailer showed a swath of cinematic scenes as well as some in-game footage. The game will follow two distinct story arcs revolving around conflicting factions, both of which will be heavily reliant on the decisions you make when playing alongside the peaceful Hoshida or the aggressive Nohr. latter campaign is also supposedly more difficult given you’re essentially starting an entire revolution on your own, but we’ll have to see how it actually plays out upon release sometime next year.
Fire Emblem Fates is slated for release on the Nintendo 3DS in 2016.
Hyrule Warriors Legends
Hyrule Warriors, the Zelda-centric hack-and-slash title from Omega Force and Team Ninja, is coming to Nintendo’s handheld 3DS system with a host of new characters and all previously-released DLC content. Nintendo announced the 3DS port during its Digital Event at E3 2015, additionally highlighting that the mobile title would feature exclusive characters from The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker — namely Tetra and King Daphnes, the latter of which can be unlocked on the Wii U if players own both versions of the game. Players will be able to take control of famous Zelda characters, engaging in large-scale battles across enormous maps. For those who haven’t played the original, the series essentially combines the agile, button-mashing combat of the Dynasty Warriors franchise with the item-collecting component of the Zelda series.
Hyrule Warriors Legends is schedule for release on the Nintendo 3DS in early 2016.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma and Triforce Heroes director Hiromasa Shikata didn’t just announce the forthcoming mobile title during E3 2015, but rather, showed off the 3DS multiplayer title in action. The new Zelda offering will see up to three players working cooperatively to progress through puzzle-riddled dungeons, while simultaneously collecting different outfits that imbue their characters with new abilities. Multiplayer is the major focus, but the title will also include a single-player mode where two “doll” characters team up with Link. The player will be able to switch between the three characters, dressing them up to better combat whatever challenges the game’s dungeons might offer.
The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes is set to arrive on the Nintendo 3DS in Fall 2015.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
Though Nintendo showed off a short trailer for the next chapter in the Mario Tennis franchise, fans of the series were treated to a slew of new additions to the game’s tried-and-true gameplay. Among the notable additions featured in the trailer was the inclusion of Mega Mushrooms which, when consumed, allow players to grow to mammoth sizes, instantly giving them an advantage in the match. The trailer displayed singles and doubles matches, with Mario, Bowser, Peach, and Toad featured during the demo. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash also adds a new jumpshot ability to each players’ repertoire, which the trailer depicted as a harder shot to return or counter. Ultra Smash appears as addicting and entertaining as any Mario Tennis title, and serves as the franchise’s first foray on the Wii U.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash will launch exclusively on the Wii U during Holiday 2015.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
Two different Mario series will collide in Nintendo’s upcoming role-playing title, Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam. Announced during E3 2015, the game will take two Mario spin-offs, Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi, and combine them into a singular effort where the titular heroes will find themselves face-to-face with 2D, paper versions of themselves. The new game will mesh the action-RPG elements of the Mario and Luigi series with the highly-stylized, storybook visuals of Paper Mario. Talk about the best of both worlds.
Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam is scheduled for release on the Nintendo 3DS in Spring 2016.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force
It appears Metroid fans will finally get to return to the long-dormant universe of Metroid Prime in Metroid Prime: Federation Force. While Samus may be skipping the next Metroid mission, players can expect a fast-paced, multiplayer romp as a member of a Federation trooper squad. The action will unfold across a series of four-player, co-op missions that span some of the Metroid’s most well-known locales, though, it remains to be seen whether the series will retain the open-ended environment and moody atmosphere of past titles in the series. An additional mode, the sports-esque Metroid Prime:Blast Ball, will also be a major component of the game. It’s certainly a departure from the Metroid formula, but regardless, we’re happy to see Nintendo returning to the beloved franchise.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force will launch on the Nintendo 3DS system sometime in 2016.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles X launched in Japan on April 29, and during Nintendo’s E3 event, the company announced this successful RPG plans to launch in North America December 4. During the show, Nintendo revealed a minute and a half long video showing off X’s stunningly huge open-world and displayed the titles tight gameplay. Gamers battle gigantic creatures either on-foot or within a huge robotic warsuit. Frenetic action, outrageous explosions, and over-the-top cinematics highlighted the debut trailer, and gave North American Wii U owners a little taste of what they can enjoy when Xenoblade Chronicles X launches December 4.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is set to launch on the Wii U on Dec. 4, 2015.
Super Mario Maker
Nintendo officially unveiled the long-anticipated Super Mario Maker at last year’s E3 conference, but debuted a more in-depth look at the creative title during E3 2015. Launching on September 11 for the Wii U, Super Mario Maker puts all of the level tools into the hands of gamers, giving them unfettered access to create levels at their will. The trailer Nintendo showed during the event revealed the capability to choose between a Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. lens during creation, offering an abundance of variety. It was also announced each copy of the game comes standard with a book full of creative tips, tricks, and ideas to help players start building their first courses.
Super Mario Maker is scheduled for release on the Wii U on Sept. 11, 2015.
Level 5’s Yo-Kai Watch franchise already carved a name out for itself in Japan — the country has three Yo-Kai titles currently — so it was only natural Nintendo would announce the series now plans to appear in the U.S. Touted as this generation’s Pokemon, Yo-Kai Watch puts players in the shoes of Keita, a young troublemaker who’s constantly on the hunt for yokai (ghost-like creatures or spirits). In the unveil trailer, young Keita travels around a city uncovering yokai, who he then has the ability to use in battles with his special yokai watch. The series is a bonafide hit in Japan —Yokai Watch movies and TV shows are wildly popular in the country — and Nintendo clearly banked on the fact it has the ability to be the same smash hit domestically.
Yokai Watch will launch on the 3DS during Holiday 2015.
Yoshi’s Woolly World
One of Nintendo’s cuter reveals was its upcoming platformer, Yoshi’s Woolly World. If you’re thinking to yourself Woolly World looks incredibly familiar, you aren’t wrong; the same developers behind the Wii platformer Kirby’s Epic Yarn lent their arts and crafts-centered talents to this Wii U title. During the reveal, Nintendo showed off a nearly two-minute video displaying the fabric-heavy world Yoshi and his yarned-up pals must navigate. With similar gameplay elements present from past Yoshi games, fans of the lovable dinosaur won’t have a hard time hitting the ground running when this title launches October 16. Nintendo also announced Yoshi’s Woolly World features Amiibo compatibility, with gamers having the ability to turn other Nintendo characters (i.e. Mario) into yarn strewn Yoshi-characters.
Yoshi’s Woolly World will launch exclusively for the Wii U on Oct. 16, 2015.