A woman watches Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. on a big screen at E3 - the Electronic Entertainment Expo - an annual video game conference and show at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 16, 2015 in Los Angeles, California
A woman watches Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. on a big screen at E3 - the Electronic Entertainment Expo - an annual video game conference and show at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 16, 2015 in Los Angeles, California

Nintendo E3 2015: updated old games dominate announcements, as company brings back Zelda, Mario, Star Fox and Animal Crossing

Not a single major new franchise or series was announced at Nintendo’s event — but plenty of updates to old ones

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 17 June 2015 17:29

Nintendo has announced plans to revive many of its best-loved games for its modern consoles, including new versions of Mario, Zelda and Metroid Prime.

The headline announcement at the E3 gaming convention was a multiplayer-focused version of ‘The Legend of Zelda’, for its handheld 3Ds. But the Japanese gaming giant didn't provide any more details about a previously teased open-world "Zelda" edition coming to the Wii U console next year.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes’ for Nintendo's handheld Nintendo 3DS system was shown off during a prerecorded video presentation Tuesday, with sword-wielding hero Link teaming up with a pair of allies. The trio could climb atop each other to take down taller enemies and reach higher locations.

"This time, I wanted players to cooperatively enjoy more serious 'Zelda' gameplay elements, like solving puzzles and going through dungeons," said ‘Tri Force Heroes’ director Hiromasa Shikata during Nintendo's E3 presentation.

The previous Zelda adventure, ‘A Link Between Worlds,’ was released in 2013 for Nintendo 3Ds and sold more than 2.5 million copies. While previous Zelda games have been released for the Wii U, Nintendo has yet to premiere an original Zelda entry for the console, which has lagged behind Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.

For the Wii U, Nintendo showcased ‘Super Mario Maker’, which invites gamers to create Super Mario levels with the Wii U GamePad, as well as ‘Star Fox Zero’, a space combat game that utilizes the GamePad to project a view of vulpine fighter pilot Star Fox's cockpit, while more cinematic scenes are shown on TV. Both titles are set for release later this year.

"You can have that first-person and third-person view at the same time, managing those two different views as you play the game," said Nintendo executive and designer Shigeru Miyamoto during a preview event Sunday morning.

Nintendo displayed a few new figures for its "amiibo" toys-to-life franchise, including the guitar-playing canine K.K. Slider from ‘Animal Crossing’ and a pixelated rendition of Mario that will be released in honor of the 30th anniversary of ‘Super Mario Bros’. Nintendo also unveiled four figures — Donkey Kong, Bowser and their accompanying vehicles — that can be employed in Nintendo games and the upcoming Wii U edition of Activision's ‘Skylanders: SuperChangers’. It marks the first collaboration between a pair of toys-game franchises.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said Monday at the company's booth on the E3 show floor that the collaboration has been years in the making. He called it "very special" and wouldn't rule future mash-ups.

"We're looking for creative collaboration opportunities," said Fils-Aime. "It's not that we're ever going to let our intellectual properties go, but what we want to do is find studios where we have a joint appreciation for how things proceed forward. Activision and Vicarious Vision really shared our vision for what these two key pieces of Nintendo IP could look like in a different environment."

Other titles previewed Tuesday included the supersized sports title ‘Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash,’ party game ‘Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival’ and sci-fi role-playing saga ‘Xenoblade Chronicles X’ for the Wii U, as well as the 3D adventure ‘Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam’, interior decorating simulator ‘Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer’ and intergalactic multiplayer game ‘Metroid Prime: Federation Force’ for the Nintendo 3DS.

For the third year, Nintendo opted to unleash its E3 announcements in a streaming video presentation at E3 instead of a live briefing. However, Nintendo did host an e-sports competition Sunday at the newly christened Microsoft Theater in the LA Live entertainment shopping complex in downtown Los Angeles. John ‘Numbers’ Goldberg of New York bested 15 competitors to win the daylong Nintendo gaming tournament.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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