Nintendo kept things pretty low key at E3 2016, opting to do a Nintendo Treehouse livestream from the show floor rather than a filmed-in-advance Nintendo Direct. It also had fewer games to show off - but the upside is that we got extensive looks at the games on offer. There were a lot of little details to pick through, so if you missed the stream and don't have time for a full viewing, click on through our gallery to get the recap of the key points you need to know from Nintendo's presentation.
Link's next adventure is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Reggie Fils-Aime got things started right with a new trailer of The Legend of Zelda for Wii U and NX, which he described as "an entirely new format for a Zelda game". If you hadn't heard, this game is going to be absolutely massive; the trailer showed off a variety of wide-open environments, including expansive green fields, tropical beaches, desert canyons, and gorgeous open ocean. The scenes of serene beauty transitioned to Link himself engaging in all sorts of activities: paragliding off a cliff, shimmying up a rock wall, hunting deer, cooking grub, chopping down trees, and even using the power of physics to roll a boulder over some enemies. There was also a very brief glimpse of a strange magnet-shaped device which allowed Link to summon an object into existence and drop it into the world.
Next we got a look at combat, which is full of dodging and counterattacks creating a nice sense of flow. Link could be seen wearing a variety of armor types, including a knight's classic metal plating - we'll come back to that in a second. The enemies take many different shapes and sizes (as per the usual), the difference being that each one - like the spider-esque Guardians we saw in the first debut trailer - glow with neon energy. We end on a shot of the classic Master Sword, just waiting for the hero of Hyrule to wield it.
Pokemon Sun and Moon officially names its legendaries
Pokemon got some time in the sun after Zelda's shining moment, with live gameplay showing off the first half-hour or so of the new adventure. Your journey for badges takes place in the Alola Region, a tropical climate clearly modeled after Hawaii. We already knew the three starter Pokemon players will have to choose from - Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio - which will animate with the cutest of movements to match their adorable designs.
The developers from Game Freak also revealed the names of the legendary Pokemon on the cover of Sun and Moon. The lion-looking creature is Solgaleo, a Psychic and Steel type, while the giant bat is Lunala, and Psychic and Ghost type. Also joining the legendary gang is Pokemon X and Y's Zygarde, as previously hinted at during an event in Taiwan. Two iterations of the multi-faceted Pokemon were shown: 10% Forme and Complete Forme.
Sun and Moon are full small refinements
Besides the fresh locale of Alola, Pokemon Sun and Moon is chock full of little upgrades and new characters to befriend. In the way of small tweaks, the humans in the world now have much more realistic proportions compared to the giant-headed chibi people of X and Y. You'll see each trainer in the background during battle, which helps you gauge the relative proportions of your Pokemon, and the dynamic camera is constantly panning to show off these additions (as a well as graphical upgrades to lighting and shadow effects).
There are also some less obvious enhancements, like the seemingly sentient Rotom Pokedex which looks like a talking star, and a new shadow effect to signal that you're approaching a Pokemon battle with an NPC, giving you a chance to back off and prepare if needed. We also got a look at a smattering of new Pokemon, including the mongoose analogue Yungoos, and Pikipek, a cuter version of a woodpecker.
Battle Royal is Pokemon's new four-player, free-for-all mode
We also got a brief glimpse of Battle Royal, a new multiplayer mode that completely changes the dynamic of battle. It supports up to four trainers, with three Pokemon each, and lets you attack any opponent in the boxing-style ring. Whether you decide to gang up on the toughest opponent or bide your time to land the finishing blow and be the last one standing is up to you. If the timer runs out (the demo showed a generous 60 minutes), the winner will be decided by who has the most Pokemon remaining, factoring in who defeated the most Pokemon. Pokemon Sun and Moon will be available on November 18, 2016.
Legend of Zelda now has loot and stamina systems
Back to Zelda! After a 15-minute lull in the stream, Eiji Aonuma and Bill Trinen showed off a hearty chunk of the opening gameplay for Breath of the Wild. The demo starts with Link awaking to a fully voiced message: "Open your eyes... Wake up, Link..." presumably spoken by Princess Zelda. Strangely, Link seemed to be awakening in a high-tech chamber of some sort called the Shrine of Resurrection, rising up from a pool of water and looking up at a peculiar device. Also, he wasn't wearing any clothes.
Ok, Link wasn't totally nude - he had the decency to wear some briefs. But this revealed the existence of a loot system, in which Link can find and equip various pieces of armor and new weapons over the course of his adventure. Weapons also have a chance to break, which is a first for the series. Also a first: Link can jump and climb up objects in the environment, both of which will deplete a little green stamina meter. We'll have more Legend of Zelda details as the day and the Treehouse livestream continue.