E3 2021: Everything multiplayer from Nintendo Direct


Well, Animal Crossing: New Horizons fans may remain disappointed after today’s lack of update info, but Nintendo’s 2021 E3 news did have a lot of surprises, not just for the single-player crowd but for the online multiplayer crowd we focus on here on MOP as well. We’ve got updates to Smash Bros Ultimate and Monster Hunter Riseports of Worms Rumble and Strange Brigade, plus more Mario Party goodness that’s online.

You can watch the whole update after the break (including some single-player action for you Zelda and Metroid fans), but let’s take a look at what multiplayer goodness Nintendo and its partners brought to this year’s E3.

The Smash Bros reveal of Kazuya was fairy dramatic in its cutscenes, but the Tekken fighter seems to have transitioned well into the Smashverse. It’s funny how the game now has representatives from major fighting games such as Street Fighter and King of Fighters all in one fighting game, and hosted by Nintendo to boot. There’s still one more fighter yet to be revealed, but we’ve seen no hints on who it might be.

Monster Hunter Rise’s update 3.1 is looking small, mostly with its Monster Hunter Stories 2 layered armor and paid cosmetic DLCs (though I admit that baby penguin is cute), but two out of the four events we’re getting are center on new armor. I recently bemoaned the lack of farmable content in the game, so we’ll see if these armor pieces inspire people to come back/stay on board. That being said, MHS2 is looking as if it could be a fun multiplayer experience with a cutesy MH look. If Capcom’s been trying to get core MH fans to try the spinoff series off, well, I’m not sure the DLC is doing it, but the features, such as online multiplayer and breeding, will capture a lot of interest.

Worms Rumble leaves the series’ turn-based culture behind for a real-time action game in 3-D. The game is already out for PC, PS4, and PS5, and it’s coming out on the Switch on June 23rd. It’s also coming out for the Xbox One later this year. The game hasn’t performed well on Steam, but perhaps crossplay with console releases might shake things up. For those who may already have the game, the Switch release brings not only exclusive skins for the Switch but a new arena: Spaceport Showdown, which includes low-grav mechanics that are randomly generated.

Strange Brigade is another latecomer, having previously been released for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. At least on Steam, the game’s online population looks thin, but I do recall the game feeling serviceable when I played it at E3 several years ago. It’s an online co-op shooter for up to four players that has you and your partners going through what felt like fairly linear levels blasting the undead and solving puzzles. Think Indiana Jones meets The Mummy. No mention of crossplay here, though, so you may want to bring your own friends if you don’t want to play solo, unless there’s a major untapped market on the Switch.

Finally, we’ve got Mario Party Superstars, a kind of best-hits of arguably some of the best entries in the Mario Party series (the N64 titles). Nintendo’s taken boards and minigames from several titles, updated the graphics, and added a few new twists (we’ve heard) to create this new-ish title.

What sets the original three Mario Party games apart from some of the newer titles is the various ways players could trap the board. No word if that’s specifically coming back, but Nintendo has said that the game supports online play not just with friends but with strangers, so solo players can queue up and find partners around the world. What’s interesting is that Nintendo is also including “stickers” for communication between players. We’ll have to wait and see if communication will be robust enough for players to create alliances during play.

The game does have solo modes and minigame only options (yes, the latter applies to online play too). Nintendo has not made these games reliant on motion controls, so you can use the joy-cons or pro controllers for this one. Look for the game to be released on the Switch on October 29th, 2021.

6/16 Update: We reached out to Nintendo’s PR for some clarifications regarding some of the above mentioned online multiplayer games. For Animal Crossing fans, we were told, “The Animal Crossing series – and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, in particular – is very important to us. We plan to provide updates in the future so players can continue to enjoy their island life.”

We also asked whether some of the multiplayer games coming out might have online options, especially given their popularity. WarioWare: Get it Together doesn’t have online play (just local multiplayer), but we were told there is a mode that will include “online functionality,” though I’d guess it’s a minor feature, like New Pokemon Snap’s LenTalk photo-share option. However, turn-based multiplayer strategy game Advanced Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp will have “more information” coming soon, so perhaps it’s something we should keep our eyes on.

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