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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

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What Nintendo got right and wrong at E3 2018

Fortnite, but no Metroid Prime 4. Nintendo’s press event was a rollercoaster

Nintendo had the relatively simple job of maintaining its sales momentum with the Nintendo Switch, and today’s presentation did exactly that. Nintendo has always made every announcement count, and is able to whip up fan frenzy with just one or two huge titles a year.

And this year belongs to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as shown by the amount of time the game received during the stream. So let’s take a look at what Nintendo did well, and where it struggled this year.

Right: Who is in Smash Bros.?


Right: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveal

OK, but seriously, you get every character! This Super Smash Bros. release comes with a wealth of content, which makes sense considering it’s basically an expanded re-release of the Wii U Super Smash Bros. It’s unlikely that fans are going to care, however. This feels like a feast. Nintendo continues to know how to drive excitement for its consoles with a few big-name releases stretched out across the year, and 2018 is no exception.

All these characters, all these stages, all this content. The demos and announcements went on and on for this game, and it was all good news about the title. This is going to sell the Nintendo Switch, no questions.

Super Mario Party for Switch Nintendo

Right: Super Mario Party for the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is already a social system, so having party games that take advantage of players who have access to multiple system is a smart move. This is another example of how the inventive design of the Nintendo Switch helps Nintendo offer experiences that aren’t possible on any other console.

Nintendo knows that as long as you have new experiences and ideas to look forward to, you’re going to keep getting excited about the Switch, and Super Mario Party provided those new ideas during the stream.

Fortnite on the Switch Nintendo

Right: The voice chat and online features of Fortnite

There’s a lot to be happy about when it comes to Nintendo’s “surprise” launch of Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch today, but one of the more interesting details is the fact that you can use any standard 3.5 mm headset for online voice chat, which is a feature that no other game offers on the system, as far as we can tell. This makes chatting with your team much easier — remember, Nintendo’s official solution is a phone app that leaves much to be desired — and is something that should be offered in more games.

It’s sad that the PlayStation 4 seems to be the sole holdout when it comes to cross-platform play, but being able to play against Xbox One, PC, Mac and mobile players through the Nintendo Switch is already impressive. This is the sort of thing that makes Sony look backwards, and I hope the company decides to play with the rest of us soon.

pokemon The Pokémon Company

Wrong: No news on a proper Pokémon game on the Switch?

The lack of news in this area is leading to some issues in the community, and the complete silence around the project doesn’t seem necessary. Just give us something, Nintendo! We really didn’t have any reason to expect this, so it seems a little whiny to ding the company for a lack of trailer or information, but this is still one of the games that has fans completely salivating. Maybe Nintendo will use it to dominate E3 2019?

A photo of the Nintendo Switch home screen with its battery charge icon Polygon

Wrong: No information on classic games or the online service

I was hoping to see a bit more of the online service in the stream, especially with Fortnite coming out of the gate and offering online features that few other games on the Switch can match. Nintendo needs to send the message that online play is important to the console’s future, as is Nintendo’s software past, and that didn’t come through during this presentation.

Wrong: A lot of missing games, in fact

Fans are used to being disappointed over a lack of Animal Crossing news, but I was hoping for some kind of news on Metroid Prime 4. There was also no update about the upcoming Yoshi game for the Nintendo Switch. Wasn’t that supposed to come out this year?

Again, Nintendo likes to stretch its announcements out, but this seems to be more evidence that Metroid Prime 4 isn’t anywhere close to being released.

Wrong: Remember the 3DS?

Nintendo doesn’t seem to! The company seemed completely focused on the Nintendo Switch during its stream, which makes it look like all the big titles from here on out are going to be headed to the Switch. Or maybe it’s a bit early to say that and Nintendo is holding some big announcements in its back pocket. But yeah, the lack of the 3DS during the show was certainly noticeable.