Over the last few years, Nintendo seems to have shied away from making a major splash at E3. The last keynote it held in Los Angeles was back in 2011 and since then, the Japanese publisher has been content to announce new developments via its Nintendo Direct Streaming service. This year was no different and if you missed it, here are some of the highlights:

There’s a new Star Fox

Last year a few lucky members of the media managed to get their hands on Nintendo’s forthcoming Starfox game, but there was scant news about when the game would see release, or what its title would be when it did. Nintendo Direct at this year’s E3 sorted all of that out.

The new instalment in the Star Fox series – the first since about 2006 – is called Star Fox Zero and it’s out at the end of this year. Aside from the usual assortment of dogfighting hi-jinx, spaceships and furry pilots, Star Fox Zero tosses players a couple of new features. These include transforming planes – some that turn into walkers and others that turn into tanks – and the ability to use Wii U’s touch pad for a cockpit first-person-view, which actually looks rather cool.

There’s a couple of new Zelda game

The Legend Of Zelda for the Wii U was never going to make an appearance at this year’s E3 – Nintendo said as much a couple of months ago that it’s been delayed until 2016  – but Nintendo Direct showed that the Japanese publisher hadn’t completely forgotten about the Hyrule faithful.

First, it announced The Legend Of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes for the 3DS. Apparently this is a multiplayer dungeon crawler where combat is punctuated by the odd bout of puzzle solving and a premium is put on cooperative play. Second, it announced the 3DS port of the digital crack that is Hyrule Warriors, which is out next year.

Nintendo characters are landing in Skylanders

One of the biggest surprises in Nintendo’s briefing was the announcement of a partnership with Activision to plop Amiibo characters into Skylanders. The two characters that Nintendo have licensed for Skylanders: Superchargers are Donkey Kong and Bowser and both will come with their own set of special abilities. However, these new Amiibo additions to the Skylanders franchise will only work on Nintendo platforms, so if you play Activision’s toy-peripheral based beat ’em up on Xbox One or PS4, you’re out of luck!

You’ll be able to create your own Mario levels and play tennis

No Nintendo briefing would be complete without the appearance of the portly plumber and this year’s E3 saw the unveiling of two Mario titles. First up was Super Mario Maker, which is slated for release this November; developed for the Wii U, SMM allows players to create their own levels and courses and then share them with mates. They can also play levels created by other players from around the world.


Second, Nintendo revealed Mario Tennis Ultra Smash, which does pretty much what it says on the tin; it’s a colourful game of hit and miss using Mario characters, power-ups and super-sized smashes. Should delight the Wii U’s party gaming crowd.

There’s a new Metroid game

Nintendo also revealed a new Metroid title that’ll be making its way onto the 3DS handheld next year. Apart from its release date, details on Metroid Prime: Federation Force are scarce, but from what we can glean from the trailer, it seems to be a four-player co-op shooter than involves taking down giant beasties.

The package also seems to include the 3vs3 Blastball game, which comes on like a cross between football and pinball played with very large and powerful guns.