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Gaming Gossip: Episode 17 - Did Nintendo win the Not-E3 showcase competition with its latest Direct?

We discuss the latest show and where it ranks against the other Not-E3 showcases, all before previewing the new Zelda, Mario & Luigi, and Metroid Prime 4 announcements.

Audio transcription

"Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of Gaming Gossip. I think it's our 17th one and it's one that's been a while in the making. We've been busy as of late.
It's been Summer Game Fest, a lot going on. Me and Dav, we've been travelling, we've been to LA, we've been to the YouTube Theatre, we've been to Play Days Campus, the Belasco Theatre for Ubisoft, we've been everywhere. Alex has been holding down the fort here."

"Yeah, exactly, we've been everywhere. So we've been very busy and that's why we've been sort of having to record another one of these. I've been to the beach too. You've been to the beach? Yeah, I've been to Venice Beach. What can I say? I don't think you get the luxury of seeing the golden Los Angeles. I've been to Treyarch too. We've been everywhere."

"But anyway, we're not going to be talking about that today because, well, we've talked about it a lot and if you want to check it out, you can do so in your local Game Reactor region. There's lots of Summer Game Fest coverage that's still coming out, so stay tuned for that. No, today we're going to be talking about the Nintendo Direct because it happened, as of recording this, yesterday afternoon. A lot of people are saying that it was sort of the saviour of this not-E3 period this year, that it was sort of the best showcase."

"I have, I would say, conflicting opinions about it. But no doubt, I think we're all going to have various thoughts about it. So let's start off. Dav, you're the Nintendo guru of us all here, so you tell us, what do you think about the Direct? Did it live up to the expectations? That's a name tag I got, I think, with the very first or the second Gaming Gossip show, so I'm keeping it. It felt good. I think it just felt good. I think it's a nice finisher to the Summer pre-Gamescom events, like to the June sort of round of showcases that we get. I think the less optimistic of us, and getting dark, were concerned that we were going to get a lot of filler. I think much more filler than we got. So, for example, we were expecting a Zelda remaster, for example, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. Some rumours had it years ago that those games are ready to be released on the Switch from the Wii U HD versions. Other rumours were saying we were getting a remaster of A Link Between Worlds from the 3DS, or even a remaster or remake from A Link to the Past. But we got a new entry. It is true that it's a top-down sort of spin-off, if you know what I mean. It's not the main series anymore, but we get these top-down spin-offs that are really, really nice and are all based on puzzles, etc."

"So that was a new game. We weren't expecting a new Mario and Luigi, and we got it. We expected that series to be down, to be dead forever, to be done after AlphaDream's closure. And we got Paper Mario from Intelligent Systems. We got a new Mario RPG. So that really didn't give us any hope for Mario and Luigi anymore. And we got a new, incredibly cartoon-looking Mario and Luigi."

"I think that was a surprise. And the less optimistic of us were not expecting to see Metroid Prime 4 in action. We can get into them if you guys want. I don't think it looks super exciting at this point, at this stage. It's releasing next year, but I wasn't expecting it to even release on the Switch anymore. So other than that, yeah, plenty of remakes, remasters, re-things like Mario Party with games that we've seen before, and a lot of Japanese love. But I think, again, the less optimistic of us weren't expecting a show with the Triforce thing from Nintendo. It's Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, and we got one of each. So at the end of the day, it's much, much better than the less optimistic of us were expecting. The crazy optimistic of us might have asked for more."

"Really, I don't know. We all know it's the last, the farewell year for the Switch. So what would you expect if you were even more optimistic than this?
Silksong. That's the only thing I think people were...
Out of Nintendo's hands, I guess."

"What did you guys expect?
Yeah, the thing is for me, right, is that I was watching the show live, obviously. We all were, you know, covering it because that's how we do these things. But for the first 15 minutes, I was thinking, my God, this show is kind of boring. I was really like, you know, we just got a remaster or re-release after one after the other, and it was kind of like the theme of Nintendo as of late, especially in this latter sort of sunset era for the Switch, to remaster games, HD version, stuff like that. And we got a lot of that, and I was thinking, my God, this show is stale. This is really stale. And I was really concerned about the direction it was going."

"And then, obviously, we got the news of Mario & Luigi. We had, you know, the Zelda thing, New Mario Party, Metroid came. So there's lots of interesting things that ultimately did come from this show. But I think there are a lot of people out there that are saying that this sort of show, as we've seen in the past with sort of E3 periods, like Nintendo has come along and saved the sort of not E3 period. I don't think that's the case, personally, because I don't get excited by, you know, seeing Marvel vs. Capcom 2 coming back. Like, it's not a new game. It's the same game. People are just excited that they can play it again, right? So that doesn't really do anything for me. I know that a lot of people are excited about that, but I prefer getting excited about actually new fresh stuff, which is why I think this show was a bit sort of a bit mediocre in many ways, because I think the Zelda game looks excellent. I'm really excited about it."

"I think it's going to make September a really impressive month, especially with that Zelda at the end. Really cutesy, adorable month filled with two really exciting, promising games.
And obviously, then we've got Mario & Luigi in, I think, November. And then there's an October game as well. I think it's that maybe Mario Party that's the October game. So there's lots of promising things coming out for Nintendo Switch later this year that I'm excited about."

"I will also say, like you said, Dav, Metroid looks good. I'm very concerned to see how that game actually runs, because, you know, it's all good showing off the gameplay, making it look like Doom and the sort of aesthetic and the first person element and all that. You go, wow, it looks really cool. But we'll see how it actually runs and performs, because that's going to be the real telling point of it. I think there was maybe 25 minutes of that show that didn't do anything for me. And that's why I think that Nintendo hasn't really had a firm winner here with this show. No bangers for Christmas. No big game for Christmas either."

"That's weird. No huge game to sell. Well, I get they don't need to sell the Switch, because the Switch is like the third highest grossing or selling console of all time already.
But no, that's why I think I still think Ubisoft won this E3 period, this not E3 period, because I think they really nailed what they wanted to do. Here's their games. Here's the games that are coming up. We're going to show you a lot of them. We're going to tease a few things that are coming in 2025, but the focus is on the now, the present, the coming soon."

"And they showed off exactly what we want to see in those games. So I think Ubisoft still win with Xbox, probably a close follow up, mainly because a lot of their announcements were quite exciting ones. You know, Doom. Me and Dav, we love the mixtape game, I think it was called.
Yeah. The one that looks like a movie, the way they presented it in Gears. So yeah. But no, yeah, that's my sort of take on it. I thought it was a sort of a middling show, should we say."

"I think it's different experiencing it at the theater and experiencing it from home. So I guess Alex has a slightly different opinion on Xbox, like Xbox being on top. To us, I don't know, you confirm or deny. To us, I think Ubisoft was especially special because of the way they arranged it there in the old ways with very human touch to it. I don't know, Alex, if you felt like that. Of course, Nintendo, we all felt the same in terms of how it was, you know, streamed."

"To talk on Nintendo first, I really like this showcase because when you look at the sum of its parts, it's a lot better than a lot of other stuff. Nintendo doesn't really have anything to prove. As we say, it's the sunset era for the Switch. And yet they still managed to give a couple of bangers, not necessarily for Christmas, but definitely like Metroid is a banger, a new Zelda game is a banger, a new Mario & Luigi is a banger for Nintendo. And so I would say that they did pretty well considering the expectations were low. I think the only thing they didn't hit was that Silksong announcement that people are praying for, but you're not going to get it."

"You're going to get it from Team Cherry. You're not going to get it at like a random Nintendo Direct at this point. And then, yeah, I would have put Xbox on top from the Summer Games thing because it was the most exciting show and it also didn't run over. I'm always, I don't know, you guys know about my, you know, bias against Summer Game Fest as a concept."

"So I think it's just bloated, but it proved that more than most years this year, I think, with the fact that it didn't really have that much exciting stuff. And yet it still managed to run out for two hours, whereas Xbox in half the time managed to put double the exciting announcements.
And Ubisoft was, I think, what we expected. I imagine the theatre does make that experience a lot different, but for me just watching it, I was like, okay, yeah, yeah, okay, you know, thanks. Okay. I understand. Stuff that we, as well, I'm not, I'm not as big on Ubisoft as I once was. So, you know, I don't know whether, you know, I don't know how hyped I can be for a lot of the announcements that are coming out because you know what it will be unless it's beyond good and evil too. There's nothing that can really surprise you because it'll be, if it's not the Assassin's Creed game that's coming out now, it'll be the Assassin's Creed game that's coming out in two years' time. If it's not the Far Cry now, it's the Far Cry in two years' time. If it's not Star Wars Outlaws, it'll be some other big IP open world game that'll probably be similar to Assassin's Creed or Far Cry, but with a little bit of a flair to it."

"So, I don't know, that's probably what outlines me as the less optimistic out of all of us. But yeah, I went in with a very unoptimistic vibe of this Nintendo showcase because I didn't expect anything because it is the last year of the Switch. They're not really going to go into anything that's going to be coming out on Switch too because they're not going to talk about it because they've not unveiled it yet. And yet, they still managed to show off a lot of exciting stuff even if 25 minutes of the showcase was a bit, you know, usual re-releases stuff. But at the same time, could you argue that at least, you know, I would say it was the same with Xbox and Ubisoft and Summer Game Fest. They all had this problem of about at least 20 minutes of each show was probably sort of wasted. And at the same time, many of the games that we say are filler or are re-releases got their respective announcements for the other platforms as well. So, we cannot say this is just filler for the Switch. They just got highlighted in the Nintendo Direct, but many of them such as Marvel vs. Capcom or Dragon Quest or other games are also releasing on other platforms and it's nice announcements for those who play on PC or on consoles."

"Well, in the case of Hello Kitty, that's only coming for the Switch and PC next year.
It's a console exclusive to then be released on PlayStation the year after. Check out our exclusive interview from Summer Game Fest that we were saving for yesterday. But other than that, all those announcements can... They are also filler for the other platforms and for pretty much everybody. So, I guess everybody can be happy. And actually, Dragon Quest looks absolutely amazing to me. I think it's the 2D HD remake I'm looking forward to the most because I'm a Dragon Quest guy, not a Final Fantasy guy. And I love the visuals. I mean, I can watch that trailer again and again all the time. Check out also Alberto's preview on that one, handsome preview on the Switch. I think it looked incredible. So, I don't know, guys, if you want to talk a little bit about Zelda specifically and Mario and Luigi and Metroid for a brief while or... Because this ended up being like a wrap-up of the whole Summer Events thing. Yeah, it makes sense. Yeah, let's talk. Should we do it thematically? So, we'll start with Zelda. We're not the first one to arrive at. It's easy for Rafa to hear next to me behind the camera. We're talking about Zelda, Rafa. Yeah, the main girl."

"Yes.
You.
Oh, totally. Yeah. I mean, there is a gripe with Link's Awakening running on pretty much the same engine, the same graphics. It had some performance issues. Frame rate would drop whenever approaching the end of the screen for it to load the next section or whatever. And I think part of the trailer here looked the same, as in struggling when loading the next tile."

"So, we'll see about that. I think it's going to be great. So, I don't know if this has been confirmed. They did the remakes for Ocarina and for Majora, and also the Link's Awakening, the modern version. I think it's going to be the same studio. But again, what you said is what I love about this series, that they are experimenting with a new mechanic. First and foremost, this is going to be it. We're going to build a whole game around this. And you're going to be controlling Zelda, which of course was rumored several times. But the last rumor was very, very accurate, that the next game she would be the protagonist. And I think that mechanic is very, very interesting. There has to be some limit to it, to the objects that you can copy and you can carry with you, right?
Yes, or the monsters. How many monsters can it?
Hmm."

"Hmm.
Hmm.
Yeah, we can move on to Metroid Prime 4. So, I'm a huge fan. I'm a huge fan. I was a huge fan of the original trilogy. I played the hell out of Metroid Prime Remastered last year on the Switch. It was hearkening back to my GameCube and Wii era, which made me a games journalist. So, it really hits me hard in the patata, as we say in Spanish. So, I think with this trailer, even though it looks a little bit generic and a little bit raw at this time, and we'll see how it performs, I think what this trailer wanted to show and for fans to make sure that this is the exact same formula. So, it showed very clearly first person exploration, first person scanning, first person targeting combat, and the morph ball puzzles. I think, to me, this game will all be about the level design. I know there's some lore to it. It's a little bit purple and a little bit generic sci-fi to me, but Metroid is like that, after all. And as we are seeing now, beautiful nature, beautiful natural environments to explore, some ancient sort of civilization, having to do with how you get your powers. But after all, it's all about the level design being interesting in 3D, and I think that's gonna sell the game for me or not."

"And I kind of trust the team they've been building with both Retro, which was a studio no more, but they've been hiring people, very talented people, who've been developing western sci-fi FPSs. And they are now with Retro in Austin, in Texas. So, I kind of trust them and Nintendo's direction with this game. I think it would be a little bit unexpected that this wasn't as high quality as the side-scrolling games by MercurySteam, which became really important and best-selling Metroid games ever, which is crazy. So, I really don't see this releasing in 2025, given the little footage we've been shown, but I'm looking forward to it. I think it's my favorite game of all time, like Super Metroid and Metroid Prime. I'm a sucker for this series. I just love Samus. I just love, look at those space pirates. I'm looking forward to shooting them in the face, like tomorrow, but we'll see when that happens."

"It doesn't look a real engine. It looks like their own thing, and sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. That gives them their own touch to it, but perhaps it can be difficult to perform nicely in some regards.
Ship. It's a pun. It's a pun, you know, because it's a boat and a nylon. It's a nylon boat that they are navigating the world with. So, that's hence why it's called brother ship."

"We miss that pun in Spanish. It makes no sense. It's like conexión fraternal, which is like brother connection, which is okay, but I love the pun in English and the cartoon style. How do you feel about this? Are you into Mario RPGs at all?
Yeah. Which one did you play? From the papers?
Okay. So, not the latest main entry, but the remake from the GameCube game. I think that's probably the best one, but the writing is so good. These are a little bit more about platforming, as you guys are seeing. So, it makes sense. It's a platforming RPG, if you know what I mean. It's into adventure and minigames, as you're seeing here, and I love that they opted for a completely different visual style. It's more similar to comics or to Disney, if you ask me, and it's both... Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The animation is crazy. The animation is really, really good, and it's both separate from Mario RPG, classic CGI, 3D style, and from Paper Mario, paper saving sort of deal. So, that was a surprise."

"I'm not really sure whatsoever how Nintendo are going to approach the second half of 2024, but now we've got a new Zelda, we've got a new Mario Party, and we've got a new Mario and Luigi title all coming out, all of which look promising. I mean, yes, obviously, the Mario Party has a lot of returning minigames, but that's kind of like Mario Party."

"It's going to sell millions.
Yeah, I'm going to buy millions.
Yeah, it doesn't matter what's in the game, as long as it's fun. That's what I kind of think, the way I kind of look at Mario Party. So, yeah, we've got a lot to look forward to, and I'm excited to check out many of it. And then, obviously, 2025, we've got a few things to look forward to. Dragon Quest is next year as well, right, Dav?
No, Dragon Quest is this year, but then they are remaking the other ones, too."

"Dragon Quest is... I mean, wow, look at that. We didn't prepare a trailer for that one. That's something else, man.
I'd love to imagine it. It looks really good.
But 2025, you know, I mean, it's pretty clear to me, they are saving the new game by the guys who make the main 3D Mario games. EAD Tokyo either is... Oh, we got it ready, but we didn't include it in the... Okay. That might be the new 3D Mario, or as per rumour, it might be the new Donkey Kong game, because this was supposed to be the year of Donkey Kong with the theme park, etc. But, you know, we just got a remaster of the remaster of Donkey Kong Country Returns, and it's coming out in January anyway. It's a great platformer, and it was the first showing of Retro Studios in that show, which made us excited for the wrong reasons, but then Metroid Prime 4 came out."

"But yeah, as you say, it's second tier games until we get the big ones for the new console.
So, as a final thing then, final last question now, when do we think we're going to get the proper successor, which we're still hoping is going to be called the Super Nintendo Switch, I think?
I mean, we get Zelda in September with a new, and we haven't mentioned this, with a new model for the Nintendo Switch Lite. That's going to make the Switch surpass the PS2 live-to-date sales pretty much everywhere."

"It's tricky. I think they have to say something before the natural years end. I think they have to put a name on it, or to just show a t-shirt for them, same as happened with the Switch.
Full reveal, hands-on reveal in January, February, I think it has to be like that, if the console is releasing, similar to the Switch, in the first two years."

"If the console is releasing, similar to the Switch, in the first quarter.
But they didn't commit to that. They commit to showing the console before April, not to releasing it. So perhaps we are looking at the slightly pushed back window for that, and then they don't have to be like this, and they can wait until January to show it."

"So I would hope for it to be shown in the Q4 of this year, 2024. That's my hope, that they pushed everything back. But I would say Zelda is the last big release, so perhaps after Zelda anyway, after Zelda and the light, and the golden light, the Hyrule something edition. It's very difficult with how times are now, with the industry and with the timing. It's very difficult."

"We'll have to stay tuned, because Nintendo has been keeping us on the edge of our seats about how they're revealing this Nintendo Switch successor for a long time. We thought it was going to be revealed back in March, we thought it might even get released relatively early on through the year, then that got changed, and now we're not sure when we're going to get it whatsoever. So stay tuned for that. But no, as we know more about it, we'll be sure to keep you updated. Otherwise, we'll be back next week with our 18th episode of Gaming Gossip. I don't know what we'll be talking about, because we'll be well past the event season at this point, so stay tuned for something. It's the time of the backlog episode?
Very different."

"I mean, it makes sense with the summer, to talk about backlogs.
Either way, if we're doing backlog, I don't know, but either way, you'll have to just tune in to next week's episode for all that. But otherwise, Dav, Alex, as always, a pleasure, and we'll see you on the next episode of Gaming Gossip."

"Pleasure, guys."

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