A few hours ago, the latest Nintendo Direct hit the Internet. This was the first since June, and the first with the spectre of Nintendo’s beloved former President Satoru Iwata hanging over it. With half a year since the last Direct, hype and excitement were reaching stratospheric levels. Rumors about Twilight Princess HD, the upcoming Zelda for Wii U, and the results of the long-awaited Smash Ballot were being banded about among fans. Now, the Direct has finally hit, and while packed with useful content and neat announcements (the aforementioned Twilight Princess HD, for instance), for the most part it wasn’t filled with dramatic surprises. (REACTIONS AFTER THE JUMP)
The two big exceptions to that? Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow versions being brought to the Nintendo 3DS – something that seemed impossible due to the lack of a link cable – and even more exciting, the incredibly popular and divisive Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII jumping into Super Smash Bros. as the second DLC newcomer. The inclusion of the Square-Enix fighter (with alternate costumes from both the original game and its CGI sequel film Advent Children) is sure to bring a new wave of discussion over his validity, the purpose of Smash, or just how cool his trailer was. Speaking of which, that teased a final Smash Bros. video for December, which would presumably follow the one from E3 and reveal the results of the ballot. Was Cloud chosen by the fans? What kinds of new content does Sakurai have in store? At the very least, it confirms that DLC will continue over a calendar year since the games initially launched, a serious commitment matched by recent datamining.
Much of the other news was more logistical, providing release date information for the latest crop of Nintendo’s games. Release dates and additional footage were given out for Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Star Fox Zero, Pokkén Tournament, Final Fantasy Explorers, SteamWorld Heist, Mega Man Legacy Collection, and others. In addition, we also got new information about various amiibo, DLC for Splatoon, a website for Super Mario Maker, release specifics about Fire Emblem Fates, and confirmation for western releases for Dragon Quest VII and VIII.
But there was one question of concern for many fans (beyond the “what the hell is your problem. release the Smash Ballot results”): how would the Direct feel and play without Satoru Iwata? At least in the United States, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime started the video with a short tribute to his colleague, and him and longtime NoA figure Bill Trinen leading the show couldn’t help inviting comparisons to Iwata (the European and Japanese counterparts starred NoE President Satoru Shibata and Nintendo Corporate Limited PR representative Mr. Morimoto, respectively). Reggie and Trinen are both very charismatic, but Iwata’s very specific sensibility – wearing Luigi caps with Shigeru Miyamoto, or playing with the “Non-Specific Action Figure” – was still greatly missed. It was also perhaps odd that new Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima was absent, as fans have been used to many of the company’s leaders using Directs to introduce themselves. Though the broadcast wasn’t quite as playful as Iwata’s most famous moments, the pace, and energy, and a rather goofy Yo-Kai Watch advertisement suggest that the format is still capable of working.
We also have some individual responses from some of Source Gaming’s staff!
What a way to come back for the Directs. Of course, I don’t know if anything particularly special happened exclusively to Europe and Japans, so I’ll weigh in on good ol NA. Starting off with TP, I personally thought it was….ok. Being leaked didn’t help of course, but even disregarding that, it doesn’t exactly look all that much better as opposed to what happened with Wind Waker. The Wolf Link amiibo was the biggest thing I got out of that whole announcement. Mario Maker seemed like a cliff note here, but Splatoon I thought brought it in a big way, to keep hype flowing, and people looking to play the game for months to come. On a side note though, at this point I’m greatly doubting Octolings will ever actually officially happen, as I certainly don’t expect a Splatoon Direct again. Triforce Heroes DLC looked good, and it’s nice to have some free updates to look forward to for the games future. Pokemon had a lot of good news, especially finally being able to enjoy the original 1st generation games once again and seeing a solid date on Pokken Tournament, though I am somewhat disappointed we have yet to see Pokemon Z. Lot of strong trailers for indies, as well as Star Fox, XenoBlade X and Hyrule Warriors Legends, and on the note of the last one, I thought it was great to see Linkle be confirmed 100%. She had been teased before but seeing her in action is a strong reason to purchase the title. Of course I won’t cover everything since there was a lot more good things, that I admittedly didn’t have the most interest in (though special shout outs to my new hopefully favorite meme, Reggie screaming BILL).
Of course, no better way to end off then talking about how the direct ended, with Final Fantasy VII protagonist, RPG and Video Game Icon, Cloud Strife, being confirmed for Smash 4. Cloud was always a character I wanted to a degree, but he always felt like that lost cause, in the same realm as characters (in my opinion) Geno or Banjo, but I think this one reveal, since when Snake himself was revealed as our first third party character, shattered speculation and expectations all around the world. As PushDustIn mentions in this article here about it only being a courtesy to be on a Nintendo system, not a flat out requirement, I think we’re at the point where third party and even Smash Rosters themselves going into the future is less about Nintendo History (though of course, that’s still the primary focus) and more about Video Game History.
Sure, if you wanna be technical, Cloud checks off the box of being on Nintendo before, but unlike Snake who at least had major titles from his franchise on Nintendo, Cloud was a bit part in all those games, and ALL of the influence on his design come from Sony games and even movies. Cloud took everything you thought you knew about Smash Bros, and shattered it with his Buster Sword, in what can only be the most surprising and hype filled reveal since when Robin was revealed as no one leaked that. Cloud himself looks absolutely fantastic to play as, and just goes to further enforce the argument on anime swordsmen is worthless, and Midgar, while a banned stage clearly still looks really well designed, and hearing FF music in Smash will be great. Even if you don’t like Cloud, at least be able to appreciate what it could mean for future 3rd parties, once mere pipe dreams, now closer to reality than ever. Overall, I’d give this Direct a 9/10, only having some parts in the middle dragging it down.
Did not expect Cloud. Just wow. Final Fantasy 7 is not my favourite Final Fantasy but I understand his inclusion. He is Mr. RPG just like how Ryu is Mr. Fighting game. I really hope he is not a ballot character although to me this is looking more like Nintendo is focusing on third party characters for this DLC as they are easier to market, hype up and then cut when Smash 5 rolls along. With the announcement of a December Smash Direct I am almost certain that we will have another two characters along side him. The question is are they third party or are they Nintendo owned? As for the rest of the direct it was OK. A lot of longed out parts that did not need it in the EU direct. But we got Dragon Quest 7 & 8 localization and a new Picross title (even if it was not the one i was hoping for).
Nintendo Directs are finally back! It was really great seeing Morimoto again, and he did a much better job hosting the direct this time around. The direct was really satisfying as a whole. The pace was much better than E3, and the announcements felt like they were on a row with one game not taking up too much of the spotlight. If the Twilight Princess HD wasn’t leaked earlier, than it probably would have hyped people.
First, let me talk about the Shovel Knight rumor, as that’s what a lot of people are going to ask about. Cloud’s announcement sadly has little impact on the Shovel Knight rumor. It doesn’t actually kill it. However, it seems that we do have a timeframe for when we will know 100%. The December broadcast of Smash will tell us if the Shovel Knight rumor is true or not. The Shovel Knight rumor was based on being one of the first characters available. Therefore unless Cloud is released before (potentially) Shovel Knight, than the rumor is still (unfortunately) alive. Personally, my likelihood for the rumor has taken a dive. If I had to give a percentage (as people seem to like that)I think it’s about 40% likely to be true as of writing.
As far as Cloud’s inclusion in Smash…I’m hyped! I recently made the argument that the future of Smash is the characters and Cloud feels like definitive proof of that belief. Before anyone says he wasn’t requested or “there’s no way he’s a ballot character”…then please check out the Perception of Smash DLC in Japan, Redux where he is clearly in the top 20 characters in the poll I did. Cloud is most likely a ballot character, and one of the last three characters. In addition, there has never been a rule to have a Nintendo appearance. Sakurai has said it might be a courtesy, it was never a requirement. I feel like I’m going to repeat this statement for many years.
I feel that the broadcast in December will follow the same style that Lucas, Roy and Ryu were suppose to (before they got leaked). Announce one character, then the broadcast and announce + release all three characters shortly after. I can’t see Smash DLC continuing for a long time, and I believe we are closer to the end than many expect. It’s been a fun and wild ride, and I hope we can continue to contribute to the Smash and wider fanbase positively.
There wasn’t much to say about the Nintendo Direct as most of the content was simply games we knew about and updates to already released games. I will say I’m not happy about Cloud’s inclusion. Besides the fact Final Fantasy 7 has yet to be released on a Nintendo system, Sakurai has neglected Nintendo in a game about Nintendo. The only new characters added so far have been third party characters. If there were other Nintendo characters added, then Cloud’s inclusion may have been interesting as he is a huge gaming icon.
Yet, the fact remains that Nintendo characters are specifically being pushed to the side. While fans like these characters, this would be the equivalent of adding Batman and Jughead in Marvel vs Capcom over actual Marvel characters. There are more characters coming, but I have my doubts we won’t get something from another company. As I discussed in A Return to Form, there is a possibility of reaching negative utility where adding more third party characters would be a detriment to the game. I am seeing more and more fans upset by Cloud’s inclusion. Are we reaching negative utility now? It’s hard to really say. Right now, everyone is in a sort of honeymoon phase. It would be best to wait until the initial shock wears down. In the meantime, Nintendo did announce there would be a Smash Brothers presentation coming soon which will show off more about DLC. We’ll wait to see what they’ll show.
Cloud was a mind-blowing inclusion, and immediately set social media on fire. Any sort of positive attention for Nintendo is good, of course, but once the hype settles down, it doesn’t change the fact that Nintendo really doesn’t have a very strong lineup for the winter holiday (especially in the states), which is concerning. A bunch of launch dates confirmed for 2016, some smartphone ports for 2015, eShop games, free DLC, Amiibo updates. Ultra Smash looks disappointingly barebones (and is surprisingly small, clocking in at 888MB), Twilight Princess HD looked…not so hot? I don’t think anybody came in to this Direct thinking Nintendo would drop a bomb, but this upcoming lineup looks especially disappointing.
Focusing on Cloud, though, his reveal opens up an intriguing set of possibilities. Sakurai has said before that his goal is to make Smash the best character game there is, and not necessarily one about Nintendo characters (although naturally, he has worked for Nintendo, Smash began as only Nintendo characters…). If Sakurai truly wants to make an amazing “character game,” then I do believe he may turn to more third-party characters. The doors have been blown wide-open, and to the chagrin of many Nintendo diehards, there are many third party characters that are much more visible, prominent, and prevalent today than there are of characters left in Nintendo’s first party stable. Steve from Minecraft or Master Chief would be much sexier and popular selections than Isaac or Wolf (not that Master Chief doesn’t have his own set of problems, of course. He would be fairly jarring given the tone of the games, and Sakurai has alluded to higher ratings precluding inclusion of certain things before– I’m just using Master Chief as a hypothetical here).
Spazzy -1; Rest of SourceGaming -0. On a more serious note, this Direct was good, but not great. I’m very excited for the Splatoon updates, Star Fox still looks fun (graphics seemed a bit sharper to me as well), and the Nindies section, as always, went on for way too long. Twilight Princess HD was expected… but man, I was not expecting a Wolf Link Amiibo. That thing looks great!
As far as the Smash reveal goes…. it makes sense. Cloud was one of the only video game icons left, and Square-Enix was one of the only big Japanese companies to not have a hand in Smash. Plus, his inclusion comes with an amazing looking stage and some fantastic music. I must say, though, that it’s somewhat hilarious that Sony was not able to procure the rights for Cloud to appear in Sony All Star Battle Royale considering what just happened today.
First of all, this was definitely the best direct in some time. Zelda fans like myself particularly have a lot to look forward to, with DLC content coming for Triforce Heroes (I’ll be all over that fancy Linebeck inspired costume!), a rather delicious looking Wolf Link Amiibo, a HD remake of Twilight Princess and a sliver of information about the next Zelda game on Wii U.
Some of the soon to be released games have really whetted my appetite, Xenoblade looks spectacular visually. I had actually decided against getting it on release but I may have to reconsider that now. Paper Jam is shaping up really nicely, and Star Fox looks like everything I’ve been wanting for far too long now. Even the bare bones looking Mario Tennis actually has me excited.
The big news for Smash fans was obviously Cloud Strife joining the fight. Something I cannot say I’m particularly pleased with, at least on a personal level. Despite my initial reaction upon seeing that text pop up on the screen was to use a few expletives, above all else I don’t think he looks like a particularly fun or engaging character to play as, which is more important than anything else. Now, I’m ridiculously unfamiliar with Cloud, and the Final Fantasy series so this is based purely on the reveal trailer. I recognise that he’s definitely ‘worthy’ in the sense that he’s left a lasting impact on the gaming world. I guess I’m just more interested in characters who have a history with Nintendo. At the very least, his addition has taught us that Sakurai doesn’t care about any rivalry with Sony or Microsoft. Both Cloud and Ryu have games coming out exclusively for the PS4, and while Ryu does have a rather sizeable history with Nintendo, Cloud doesn’t. This at least bodes well for the possible addition of my all time favorite gaming characters; Banjo-Kazooie. My lack of interest in Cloud actually leaves me hesitant to want to buy him. Fun fact: four of the five known DLC characters hail from RPG games.
December should be an interesting time, Cloud is sure to be released following the presentation, as well as at least one other character (we could see a repeat of events similar to that of E3). Smash DLC is definitely nearing its end, but I find it hard to pinpoint exactly how many characters are left and when it’s going to end. The timing of the Ballot’s end in October leaves me to believe that a final release in Q1 of 2016 is about as likely as any other scenario. We’re obviously due at least 2 more characters as per the slots in the code, and while the Shovel Knight rumour has taken a hit we can’t completely rule him out either. I fully expect most, if not all of the remaining DLC characters to be Third Party. Four more is my magic number (including Cloud).
So PushDustIn wins, I guess. I’m far from a Cloud fan (I may have once briefly considered getting “FROGLIFE” knuckle tattoos, to give you an idea of where my Square loyalties lie), and his Nintendo appearances are certainly less “legitimate” than Snake’s were, but he’s a quintessential part of video game history. It helps that he looks rather fun, with retro effects for some attacks and a more outwardly cartoonish style than fans may have expected. We’ve often brought up the importance of truly iconic characters in “selling” Smash, but by this point there really are few in the industry who haven’t yet gotten in. Ridley and King K. Rool and Isaac have their fiefdoms in the Smash community, but in terms of worldwide recognition and popularity (not to mention commercial potential) Cloud towers above any “main” choice.
I am a little disappointed he was announced over a character from Nintendo (and that he doesn’t be bringing to have any pre-VII Final Fantasy content), but there is something to be said about DLC and the Smash Ballot creating the potential for combinations and crossovers none of us ever expected. I was prepared for almost any choice, and being blindsided by this was really satisfying. It makes me wonder how big Ryu’s reveal would have been without the leaks two months prior – and if Sakurai is using Cloud to tease a follow up to the “New Content Approaching” video, what else could he have up his sleeve?
Oh, and Twilight Princess Link’s left-handed again! Go southpaws!
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