Nintendo has a love-hate relationship with retro gamers. Sometimes Nintendo puts out games from series that are tried and true and almost every new entry is cause for celebration. Other times they let a series run its course and never speak of it again. Even with some of their most beloved franchises have been getting swept under the rug with no signs of ever emerging again. And yeah, characters from said franchises like F-Zero and Star Fox will always have a slot in Smash Bros., but people want new games from their favorite seemingly-forgotten series. Thankfully after this most recent E3, I now have hope. In one fell swoop Nintendo has shown that they have not forgotten some of their most beloved franchises. Now it wasn’t much and there is still a lot to be desired, what I saw was enough to come to this conclusion: it may take Nintendo a while to put them out, but once they do, it was worth it.
First off lets start with one of the biggest reveals Nintendo had during their E3 Direct: the announcement of Metroid Dread. When the Direct started everyone was betting on news of Metroid Prime 4. Since it had been over four years with no news of the game, fans were frothing at the mouth for any sort of update. While we did get confirmation that Prime 4 was being worked on, I’d say we got something that we needed and didn’t know we wanted: a brand new sequel to the Metroid franchise. Not a remake, but a full-on sequel that continues the classic Metroid story from Metroid Fusion. A game that has been 19 years in the making.
Mercury Steam, the same studio that helped make the Metroid II remake for the 3DS, is behind this game. Even though this is a brand new game, I had lost all hope for Nintendo to revive the old 2D Metroid style of games and I couldn’t be more happy with this. Granted it wasn’t exactly what I wanted during this E3 but it easily is the one game I am most excited for. During the Nintendo Treehouse right after the Direct gameplay was shown. Many breathed a sigh of relief as classic Metroid gameplay was shown with some abilities from the Samus Returns remake making a comeback along with some new ones, like Samus going invisible. Already this game looks amazing and the fact that it’s coming out in October makes me wonder how long Nintendo had this up their sleeve. Regardless this is a true to form Metroid game and if the game can not only get critical praise but sells well, we could be seeing more 2D Metroid games in the future. So far the game has become the highest selling pre-order since E3 ended and those special editions are now nowhere to be found.
The other game that was a surprise was the announcement of Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp. Advance Wars is a classic GBA game developed by Intelligent Systems, the same developer as the Fire Emblem series. This was an announcement I wasn’t expecting but am so happy to see. The original Advance Wars games are highly sought after and true gems of the GBA. To see these games get a remaster with great visuals makes me excited that I now no longer have to hunt down Advance Wars 2. This gives me hope because the last Advance Wars game that came out in North America was Advance Wars: Days of Ruin for the Nintendo DS back in 2008. This is still speculation but if Advance Wars 1+2 does well and sells we could see a new Advance Wars akin to Fire Emblem: Three Houses on the Switch but that is still very much a pipe dream at this point.
The point I am making is that Nintendo revived a franchise fans thought to be long dead and gave it a fresh new coat of paint. Not just any franchise but a GBA exclusive. If this game does well then Nintendo can possibly persuade other 2nd party developers (like Camelot) to revive older franchises and bring them to the Switch. I bring up Camelot because of their highly beloved Golden Sun RPG’s. The first two games are GBA titles that can easily go with the format that Advance Wars is doing. Put the first 2 games in one package and if things go well, figure out how to remaster/remake the DS games. Also since the original Advance Wars games are getting more and more difficult to find, Intelligent Systems can use the same style for Re-Boot Camp and apply it to the original GBA Fire Emblem games. Yes the original Famicom version finally came over to North America last year, but the GBA version of the game was how many gamers in North America fell in love with the series and those games are hard to find. Even though Fire Emblem is already a popular franchise, it would still be nice to see those games readily available.
While speculation is fun and exciting, we do need to take a step back. Yes, 2 franchises are coming back into the spotlight, 3 if you include the Wario Ware announcement. While Metroid fans are getting another game eventually, the Advance Wars game is a HD remake. We still don’t know what will or won’t be added in terms of quality of life improvements or if they upped the production value by adding voice acting. We do know the game will support online play but as of now that’s the only other feature mentioned on Nintendo’s website. However, just the sheer fact that these games are even coming out gives me hope that Nintendo will go deep into their own archives and pull out games that fans want to see again. It may take a good long while, but as they say patience is a virtue, and my patience has paid off.