In its annual E3 Digital Event on Tuesday, Nintendo of America Inc. President and CEO Reggie Fils-Aimé noted a distinctive theme that encompasses so many Nintendo experiences. "If there's a secret to the success of Nintendo franchises, it is transformation," Fils-Aimé said. "We never let them stand still."
Nintendo spotlighted this transformative theme in a wide selection of games coming to the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS platforms in 2015 and beyond.
Super Mario Maker allows players to create and share their very own sidescrolling Super Mario stages for the first time in series history. The game employs the Wii U GamePad for detailed level construction. Players can place enemies, hazards, and more by tapping a stylus to the touch screen. Super Mario Maker includes stage elements from several past games--both from the pixel-based classics and modern 3D entries.
In advance of its release September 11, Nintendo detailed new features for the creation game. Super Mario Maker will support the company's Amiibo smart figurines, which lets players activate the Costume Mario ability and dress the hero up as other characters--such as Link or the Wii Fit Trainer. Nintendo will release a 30th Anniversary Mario Amiibo figure specifically for Super Mario Maker and the game will release with a book that highlights the series' history and offers sample stage layouts to try.
The transformational theme is also central to Star Fox Zero, which continues the long-running space shooter series with a brand new Wii U entry. Zero leverages the unique design of the Wii U console experience to let players to use the GamePad screen as a cockpit view, providing more precise aiming capabilities. The television screen simultaneously shows a more traditional, cinematic look at the action.
Legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto discussed the creation of the game during the Digital Event, noting that some elements were carried over from the canceled Star Fox 2 (originally designed for the Super Nintendo console in the mid-1990s). Players can transform the Arwing ship into a tank or gyrocopter to tackle levels in new and different ways. Developed in collaboration with Bayonetta 2 creator Platinum Games, Star Fox Zero is due out this holiday season.
Nintendo also showcased a number of other Wii U entries coming before the end of the year. Yoshi's Woolly World is a sidescrolling platform adventure that carries on the spirit of Kirby's Epic Yarn for Wii, putting the familiar Super Mario character into a world built of fabric. Yoshi can use the unique composition of his yarn-based body to help overcome the adorable challenges ahead of him. The game has its own Amiibo toys available. Yoshi's Wooly World is set to release October 16.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash brings the arcade-style sports series to Wii U this fall with new features like jump shots and giant mushrooms. And Nintendo has teamed up with Activision to power up the Wii U version of Skylanders SuperChargers, which features two characters from the Nintendo universe: Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and Hammer Slam Bowser. The companies will release exclusive Amiibo toys that work with Skylanders and other Nintendo games. SuperChargers and the figures are set to release September 20.
The Amiibo focus continues with Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival this fall, which offers up a digital board game experience featuring characters from the popular life simulation series. Nintendo's other big holiday release is quite different in tone: Xenoblade Chronicles X, out December 4, lets players dig into an epic role-playing experience set amidst an intergalactic war. The publisher also offered a brief glimpse of 2016's Genei Ibun Roku #FE (working title), an Atlus-developed role-playing game that blends elements of the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem franchises.
Earlier this week, Nintendo also announced several content additions for last year's Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Iconic character Ryu from Capcom's Street Fighter series joined the fighting game roster as an optional add-on character, along with Roy from the Fire Emblem series. New stages and costumes were announced and the company revealed intentions to eventually release Amiibo figurines based on every character from the games.
While Nintendo has several Wii U experiences on the horizon, the upcoming Nintendo 3DS slate is just as strong, led by The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes. The popular adventure series adopts a cooperative multiplayer approach for this new entry, which can be enjoyed by up to three players at once. Tri Force Heroes includes new fashion elements and allows players to customize their characters with different outfits when the game releases this fall.
Another Zelda game on the horizon for the handheld is Hyrule Warriors Legends, a remix of last year's Wii U game, which blended familiar characters and elements from the series with the action-packed excitement of Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors games. The Legends version adds new characters from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and will be available in the first quarter of 2016.
Nintendo has a trio of other 2015 releases planned for the 3DS. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, set for release September 25, lets players customize their own colorful homes and gardens and utilize new Amiibo cards. Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon expands the role-playing series this fall with even more randomly generated dungeons to explore--all filled with loads of familiar monsters. This holiday season's Yo-Kai Watch brings a popular Japanese role-playing game to America for the first time, letting players seek out and battle fantastical creatures.
Nintendo plans to tap more of its enduring franchises for new 3DS entries in 2016. Metroid Prime: Federation Force reimagines the sci-fi adventure series as a cooperative four-player game on the handheld and features a three-on-three competitive sports experience called Metroid Prime: Blast Ball. Meanwhile, Fire Emblem Fates delivers an expansive role-playing experience in the long-running series with two versions of the game being released to allow players to experience the fantasy struggle from opposing sides.
Mario makes his own 3DS appearance in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, which pairs characters from the earlier Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi entries in a new comedic role-playing adventure, slated to release next spring.
Nintendo plans to support the Wii U and 3DS significantly in the months ahead, as evidenced by its impressive lineup. But the company is also looking ahead to the future: Fils-Aimé affirmed during the event that Nintendo plans to share details on its next game console, codenamed "NX," in 2016. With impressive games now and big plans on the horizon, Nintendo continues to deliver transformative games and experiences now and into the foreseeable future.