E3 Show Daily

Nintendo Captivates Crowds

The Legend of Zelda has long been one of Nintendo of America's premier franchises, ranking right alongside Super Mario among its most iconic experiences. With 2016 marking the 30th anniversary of the original Zelda, Nintendo has dedicated its entire E3 booth to the series’ next big evolution.

Due out in 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a transformational entry in the long-running series, maintaining the essence of the fantasy adventure quest while making significant gameplay changes and enhancements along the way. Key to those shifts is a more open world that lets players tackle challenges in their own way. 

"The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild breaks boundaries for the franchise and for games as a whole," said Reggie Fils-Aime, president and COO of Nintendo of America. "Where you go, how you get there, the order in which you do it, and the items, weapons, and approaches used to solve puzzles and defeat enemies are all up to you."

Players can now explore the beautiful terrain however they please. Series hero Link has an array of new abilities to help him navigate the environment, including climbing walls, sliding down hills on his shield, and using a paraglider to soar through the sky. However, the open-air design extends past simple navigation; with the new nonlinear approach, players can tackle more than 100 new Shrines of Trials in any order they please, with each offering unique challenges to overcome. 

Breath of the Wild also introduces new survival aspects, with Link needing to change clothes to deal with shifts in the weather, and accumulate food to recover from injuries. Weather also plays a role in Link's tactics, as rainfall can put out a campfire, and lightning may be attracted to his metal-clad gear. All told, while the kingdom of Hyrule has a vibrant and almost cartoonish look in the game, Breath of the Wild is actually a more realistic game in some respects. 

Nintendo has created an immersive booth experience to showcase Breath of the Wild, featuring large statues of game characters and enemies—as well as more than 100 demo stations for fans to play the game for the very first time. Attendees can even earn a special coin and T-shirt for playing the demo sections prepared for E3.

Breath of the Wild is being demoed on the Wii U console; the game will ship simultaneously on Nintendo’s upcoming next-gen console, codenamed the Nintendo NX. Additionally, Nintendo will release three new Amiibo smart figurines alongside the game: the bow-wielding Archer Link, horseback Rider Link, and Guardian enemy toy. The game is also compatible with the Wolf Link figurine, which was released alongside The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for Wii U earlier this year.

While Breath of the Wind is Nintendo's sole game on the E3 show floor, the company also showcased the upcoming duo of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon for Nintendo 3DS during an online livestream event. Both games are due out for the handheld on November 18, and introduce a brand-new region filled with fresh characters, as well as previously unseen creatures to collect and battle.

Nintendo aired a lengthy gameplay demo of the upcoming games during its "Treehouse: Live at E3" stream on Tuesday morning, spotlighting some of the new elements in the Pokémon franchise. Both titles take players to the tropical Alola Region, where they can explore the four islands while finding and training new Pokémon. 

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon introduce a new starting cast of characters to choose from: Rowlet, a grass-type and flying monster; the fire-type Litten; and the water-type Popplio. The streaming event also introduced a trio of other new Pokémon—Grubbin, Pikipek, and Yungoos—as well as a Battle Royal mode that allows up to four players to face off in a show of strength and skills.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wind will be heavily showcased on the "Treehouse: Live at E3" stream all week, letting fans from around the world get a deep dive into next year’s quest. However, Nintendo is also using its online event to showcase several other titles due in the coming months. Role-playing games Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (June 24) and Paper Mario: Color Splash (October 7) are both headed to Wii U. On the handheld side, the new Monster Hunter Generations (July 15), Mario Party Star Rush (November 4), and Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (out by year's end) are all headed to 3DS. 

Nintendo also revealed that a handful of noteworthy independent games will appear on Nintendo platforms. Dungeon-crawling adventure Severed from DrinkBox Studios is coming to both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, while Tom Happ's sidescrolling adventure Axiom Verge and Thunder Lotus Games' action-packed exploration game Jotun: Valhalla Edition are headed to Wii U. Meanwhile, 13AM Games' fast-paced running game Runbow Pocket will make the move from Wii U to Nintendo 3DS. Furthermore, Nintendo plans to release additional Amiibo figurines on November 4 in the Super Mario series, including new Daisy, Waluigi, and glow-in-the-dark Boo toys. 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most anticipated Wii U games to date, and will also serve as a bridge to Nintendo's next console. Anyone excited to experience one of the most ambitious fantasy adventures to date should visit Nintendo’s booth in E3’s West Hall to savor the playable demos.

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