Color me surprised. In terms of indie game showings it was neither Sony nor Nintendo duking it out for the most games as I theorized. Instead, Microsoft ran away, showcasing at least 10 indie games, which is 10 more than Sony and nine more than Nintendo.
Nintendo’s Treehouse event is just about coming to a close and we have an answer as to how many indie games they’ll show. One, just one. That game is Switch port of Rocket League, a two year old game that took the world by storm when it first came out. While it still holds some interest today, it’s largely fallen from the ranks of “most amazing indie games.”
Unlike Sony however, who had little to show for themselves, Nintendo was busy with their own first party games. They announced several new games for their core franchises, and demoed more of Super Mario Odyssey and Mario + Rabbids. They didn’t have much time for anything else, as their event was only 30 minutes long this year. It was their own livestream though, so it could have been as long as they wanted it to be.
Still, many will likely come away from this rather bland E3 thinking Nintendo is the victor. They had a lot of great games, even if they lacked any indie presence whatsoever. Nintendo isn’t lacking in the indie games they could have presented. Among the indie games coming this year are Cave Story+, Golf Story, and Ultimate Chicken Horse to name only a few. Each of these games would easily fit in with the “theme” of a Nintendo show, especially Stardew Valley since there’s no new Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing this year.
The Switch is interesting, as other than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the system’s early releases has been indie game-heavy. To not seen any of those indie games, or any more other than Rocket League mentioned feels lame. Many were hoping the Switch would finally break the third party limitations of previous Nintendo consoles. Their Treehouse event today shows that may not be the case.
Indie games can do so much to bolster a console’s lineup. Again, look no further than the Switch’s current offerings or Microsoft’s E3 show this year to see that. Luckily, there are plenty of indie games heading to the Switch this year. The Switch may be the best “Indie Box” currently going right now outside of the PC. It’s just now there are going to be some first party games as well.