Everything Nintendo announced at E3 2018

Nintendo came out with the big guns for its pre-recorded E3 conference this morning, delivering updates on a couple of veteran franchises while also bringing some new titles to its Switch console.

We didn’t get a ton of big surprises, but what Nintendo showed off was certainly exciting to a lot of fans. The bulk of the presentation was (as expected) devoted to the intimate minutiae of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which is arriving at the end of the year and will bring the biggest cast to the game ever, with some new characters arriving alongside the entire cast of the series’ previous iterations.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Mario Party and Fortnite were probably the biggest highlights, but let’s take a look at everything they talked about.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

One of the crazier parts of this announcement included the fact that Nintendo has made a redesigned GameCube controller, which will be compatible with the game and will be supporting your old GameCube controller somehow as well, presumably with a dongle.

Available December 7, 2018.

Super Mario Party

Alongside the new gameplay content, Super Mario Party is going to integrate some weird multi-Switch gameplay that will allow users to play together across multiple Switch consoles and merge their screens together.

Available October 5, 2018.

Fortnite

Available now for free download.

Other stuff

In addition to the big-gun trifecta of game announcements, Nintendo also shed some light on other titles coming to the system, which has realistically had a pretty tiny game library since launch.

Fire Emblem Three Houses

Coming spring 2019.

DRAGON BALL FighterZ

Coming 2019.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country

New update available September 14 for Expansion Pass members.

Other titles announced during the Nintendo Direct included Daemon X Machina, Overcooked! 2, Killer Queen Black, Hollow Knight and Octopath Traveler. In terms of the new Pokémon titles, Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, they will be available November 16 and people will be able to buy a $99.99 combo that includes the Poké Ball Plus controller, as well.

So that’s it; no Metroid Prime news, no Animal Crossing for Switch, no other big teases — but there’s certainly a good chunk of titles to keep Switch owners excited for a while. We’ll be at E3 checking out some of these new titles this week, so stay tuned for more from us on the ground in Los Angeles.

Is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate the most ambitious crossover event in history?

Nintendo sure thinks so. Take that, The Avengers. The game is certainly a massive undertaking and a comprehensive Nintendo history lesson, including every playable character from past Super Smash Bros. versions.

A handful of additions were announced this morning during Nintendo’s E3 kickoff event, including also-ran Super Mario princess, Daisy; new Pokemon; Splatoon’s Inkling and perennial Metroid baddie, Ridley.

The company didn’t give specifics with regard to the number of playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it’s definitely well into the dozens, with more being announced as we push toward the December 7 release date. It seems there’s still a lot to unpack, even beyond the 25 minutes of footage the company debuted this morning. 

“At E3, we’re showing how Nintendo Switch continues to redefine play, with the broadest range of games people can enjoy together anytime, anywhere,” said NOA President Reggie Fils-Aime said in a statement tied to the news. “Fans who’ve debated which Super Smash Bros. fighter is the best now have the chance to settle their differences once and for all, pitting familiar faces against fresh challengers on stages both new and old.”

The title will, naturally, include new stages, which appear to be increasingly complex, as is the nature of the series. Among them are levels from fellow Switch titles Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2.

And, as if the whole thing wasn’t steeped in enough fan service, Fils-Aime also alluded to the fact that users will be able to play the title with a GameCube controller. Nintendo added support for the bygone accessory via a USB adapter late last year. No words on the specifics of when that will be available for the title, but the addition will go a long ways toward improving gameplay over the Switch’s admittedly limited Joy-Cons.

Super Mario Party lets you connect multiple Switch consoles to expand your screen

Super Mario Party is coming to the Nintendo Switch, but alongside the new party gameplay, there appears to be an interesting new use of the Switch hardware for multi-player purposes.

It appears you’ll be able to modularly connect at least two Nintendo Switch consoles to expand the size of the screen you’re working with. In gameplay it seems actions will be able to seamlessly move from one screen to the other after users draw where the connection between the consoles are.

Mario Party has long been a Nintendo franchise that pushes the technical limits of the systems in their most gimmicky capacities. It seems that the Switch will gain some cool applications of the controllers’ motion capabilities for the wide variety of party games.

This really seems like the idealized use for the Switch’s controller system, and while Mario Kart 8 offered a lot of tabletop fun for using controllers on the tiny screen, Nintendo is really letting loose here bringing multiple Switches together and all of the controllers that they can handle.

How much a feature like this would actually be used in real life is a little dubious, but we’ll find out how much the mechanic fits into gameplay October 5.

Fortnite arrives on the Nintendo Switch today

After days of press conferences teasing games arriving in some time within the next decade, here’s a refreshing bit of news. As previously rumored, wildly popular sandbox survival game Fortnite is, indeed, coming to Nintendo Switch. Not only that, it’s  available starting today as a free download from the Nintendo eShop.

Epic’s title will be available at 10AM PT today (a little under an hour from now), bringing the battle royale mode that has made it such a massive money maker on the PC, consoles and iOS, which arrived in March. An Android version of the title is also in the works for later this summer. 

The game is a perfect fit for console. Nintendo’s long time focus on all ages entertainment certainly lines up with the title, which skews younger than many of the titles on display at the show this week, along with the (perhaps litigiously so) similar Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG).

The battle royale game play means Switch players will be able to play against a gamers and the growing number of devices Fortnite is currently available for.

Valve is bringing an official version of Steam to China

Valve is officially bringing its Steam game platform to China as it aims to take a chunk of the world’s largest market of gamers.

Valve said it will work with local partner Perfect World, which it previously collaborated on to release major games Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Shanghai-based Perfect World will control local promotional, the selection of games and distribution. There’s no confirmed date for when the Steam China service will go live.

The move makes perfect sense. For one thing, Valve has a vast opportunity to tap into. China’s games market is booming, with Newzoo forecasting that it represented $32.5 billion in 2017, ahead of the U.S., Japan, Germany and the UK. PC gaming has always been the base for revenue, but mobile is growing fast with Tencent — one of the largest gaming firms on the planet — recently reporting that its mobile revenue has overtaken that of PC.

But, as with all things China, access is uncertain. Parts of Valve’s service were blocked in China last December, although the ability to guy games remained intact. It isn’t clear why the partial blockage occurred — China frequently upgrades its firewall technology which can trigger changes — but working with a local partner is a more reliable approach than going solo. That said, Perfect World will have to manage the inevitable government censorship demands.

Despite having no official presence in China, more than one-quarter of Steam users have the language set to Basic Chinese, second only to English, according to a user survey. Whilst that also accounts for the Chinese diaspora, it is a sign that Steam already has significant traction among China’s gamers.

There’s plenty of competition in this space, so Valve won’t simply waltz into dominance. Tencent has its own Steam-like platform while NetEase has partnered with big U.S. gaming companies like Bungie and Blizzard.

Here’s what Sony announced at E3 2018

Sony wanted its E3 2018 press conference to be an event. Not the “we have 50 new titles to show you” event Microsoft just put on, so much as the get up and walk around kind. 

It was kind of like one of those trendy experiential restaurants. The portions are small and you’re still hungry after the final course, but it’s kind of fun, I guess.

The Last of Us Part II

A trailer bookended with a passionate kiss showed up some extremely refined gameplay for the post-apocalyptic survival game. It was…gory. But, then, that’s kind of what we’ve come to expect from the series, and the crowd went predictably wild with each close up hack and slash on the big screen.

Ghost of Tsushima

Another stunning — and amazing gory — one on the giant display. This samurai story is set during a Mongol invasion, featuring a whole lot of sword to torso action and got its gameplay debut at the show.

Control

Not a lot to go on here, but the trailer has a real first-person shooter crossed with Inception, which is perfectly okay with us.

Resident Evil 2

A remake for the popular zombie murdering series got what may well have been the most excited crowded reaction from the bunch. Lot of reveals here, but man was that face eating shot nice and close. It’s up for preorder today and will hit retail January of next year,

Trover Saves the Universe

From one of the co-creators of Rick and Morty, the trailer was fishing for laughs, but came up short, even in a crowd full of Playstation fans. Looks colorful, though.

Death Stranding

Norman Reedus ripping off his toenail was somehow more unsettling than all of the zombie murders of the past half-hour put together. Definitely one of the most innovative trailers we’ve seen so far — beautiful landscapes, close up child birth and hey, neat future umbrella.

Marvel’s Spider-Man Game

Due out in September, we knew this one was going to get some solid face time at the event. Sony showed off a good deal of gameplay, featuring your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man battle some familiar supervillians inside the Raft super prison.

Here’s what Ubisoft announced at E3 2018

E3 news is officially coming fast and furious, a day ahead of the show’s official launch.

Following a fairly disappointing showing from Square Enix, Ubisoft brought out the big guns, including Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy titles and a cameo by a beaming Shigeru Miyamoto.

Here are the biggest announcement’s from today’s event.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Set in ancient Greece, the latest addition to the hugely popular title got a gorgeous new trailer, complete with Socrates — because what action-adventure title would be complete with out one of history’s great philosophers? The title is due out October 5 — refreshingly fast for a show full of “pre-alpha” demos.

Beyond Good and Evil 2

The followup to the 2003 critical darling kicked off the show with an extended trailer and a touch of gameplay. The prequel is built around open-world action Star Wars-style space adventures. Currently in pre-alpha, the game is soliciting contributions from fans through Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s hitRECord startup.

Trials Rising

The BMX sequel got some high-intensity gameplay footage at today’s event. Currently available in beta, the title will arrive on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch next February.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Quite possibly the only game trailer with an Abraham Lincoln in the middle, the new Tom Clancy title is set in the nation’s capital following a zombie-style plague. The title will launch in March 2019.

Skull & Bones

Pirate games? This E3’s got ’em. Based on the naval battles from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, the new title features large-scale tactical open-seas action.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle — Donkey Kong Adventure

Another familiar face joins the Ubisoft/Nintendo crossover. The downloadable add-on arrives June 26 for the Nintendo, with Donkey Kong in tow.

Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Speaking of Nintendo, legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto was on-hand at the event to help introduce Fox McCloud and other Star Fox characters as exclusive add-on content for the action-adventure space title. Starlink is due out October 18.

Ubisoft partners with HitRECord to crowdsource ideas for Beyond Good and Evil 2

Ubisoft is working with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s hitRECord crowdsourced content network to come up with ideas for the sequel to its popular Beyond Good and Evil game.

The game itself isn’t shipping for a while (probably a long while since it’s in “pre-alpha”), but as part of the rollout anyone can create art and music and submit them to the hitRECord website. The site’s own community of creative talent will then take a whack at polishing things up.

Afterwards, hitRECord will make a demo to send to Ubisoft, which can then incorporate the ideas into the game. If Ubisoft uses the hitRECord content, all of the collaborators involved in its creation get paid.

Content can be anything from songs, to frescoes, to street art that’s depicted in the game.

“We want our community to participate in a way that’s never been done before through the Space Monkey program,” said Guillaume Brunier, a senior producer at Ubisoft.

More details about how to submit art or music to hitRECord below.

Square Enix didn’t show off much at its E3 2018 showcase

Well, Square Enix just wrapped up a short and uneventful E3 press conference that really seemed to phone it in. No Final Fantasy VII remake details and nothing on The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy

The hyped presentation did have plenty to share on a new Tomb Raider title, to which they devoted about seven minutes of their half-hour presser. They also spent a lot of time with close-ups of the tornadoes that will be blaring around in Just Cause 4, which is getting a December release date. The extreme weather looks pretty cool, actually, and, given that a lot of the Just Cause series seems to be about just finding the limits of weird stuff you can do with the game’s wonky physics, this seems like it’d be pretty clutch.

Outside of that, there was a sneak peek at a new title called The Quiet Man, which at first glance seems to be a title devoted to a deaf man punching Hispanic dudes in alleys throughout New York. Babylon’s Fall is also new. Additionally we saw the Kingdom Hearts III trailer we saw at the Microsoft event yesterday, along with a deeper look into Captain Spirit, which looks cute, but I find it difficult to get super excited about.

Other trailered games included Nier: Automata: Become As Gods, Octopath Traveler, Dragon Quest XI, Under the Moonlight, Monster Hunter World and Stormblood. 

(Skip ahead like eight minutes into the stream recording to get to the trailers.)

Gamers had lofty hopes, but they were all dashed against the stone by the presser’s end as evidenced by this quick live YouTube comments screenshot. Nobody was forcing them to host a press conference, but when you hold one, people naturally have expectations.

Here’s what Bethesda announced at E3 2018

For the past few days, Bethesda has been dominating a few big downtown L.A. buildings with massive Fallout posters. It’s clear the company is barnstorming E3 this year, and Fallout 76 has monopolized that conversation.

But Bethesda’s got a lot more in the works, including more sequels to beloved gaming franchises and a couple of surprises. Here are the biggest titles unveiled at tonight’s E3 kickoff event. 

Fallout 76

We knew from the outset that Fallout 76 was going to be the centerpiece of Bethesda’s big show. The company’s been releasing info in dribs and drops this week, including a trailer at the Xbox event earlier today. The game, which boasts a map four times larger than Fallout 4, is an online multi-player experience. It’s due out November 14, 2018.

Doom Eternal

We still don’t know much about this sequel to the 2016 reboot. Bethesda has promised some actual gameplay come Quakefest 2018. Meantime, the company’s called it “hell on Earth,” courtesy of boasting twice as many demons as its predecessor.

Wolfenstein Youngblood

Another classic first-person shooter got some sequel love today, as well. The co-op title due out next year features a pair of twins battling Nazis in an alternate timeline version of Paris in the 80s. Makes sense. There’s also a Wolfenstein sequel arriving on the Switch next month and a VR title coming in 2019.

Skyrim: Very Special Edition

Okay, this one doesn’t count, because it’s probably not real. Some things are just too beautiful to live.

Elder Scrolls VI

This one was a teaser, at best. But at least we know it’s a thing that exists — or, rather, will exist — and isn’t that half the battle, really?

Starfield

Another teaser. The minute-long trailer didn’t actually show anything — instead it just confirmed that the company is, in fact, working on the long rumored sci-fi space title.