It speaks volumes that one of the first things Nintendo did at its 2015 E3 event was acknowledge a next-generation console it hasn't even formally announced. It also offered very little Wii U content for the coming months. Go figure.
The NX remains shrouded in mystery – it might not even be a "console" in the traditional sense – but I'll always remember today as the moment Nintendo finally started to let go of the Wii U and move on. Nintendo America President Reggie Fils-Aime said it himself: the theme of this year's E3 for Nintendo is "transformation".
OK, so the show kicked off with Star Fox Zero, which will arrive on the Wii U this Christmas, but the rest of the event was heavily focused on the 3DS. After Sony opened fire on E3 with a merciless barrage of long-awaited games, Nintendo's E3 kept a slower pace, allowing for time to dwell on things like Yoshi's Woolly World and new Amiibo figurines.
Nintendo prefers to focus on the coming months, not years, which is fine, but this year it made for an empty showing. Its major satellite studios were notably quiet, and to me that can only mean they're working on what's next. While other publishers talked about the far-off future, Nintendo refrained.
All filler, no thriller
After the event Miyamoto did confirm that Zelda is still coming to the Wii U. So why has Nintendo stopped talking about it, especially after the phenomenal gameplay demo we saw just months ago? Why won't it commit to a new release date?
There's every chance the new Zelda will get the Twilight Princess treatment and be launched across both the Wii U and the NX. And yes, Nintendo's disappointing Metroid 3DS announcement could be a covert water-tester for a future home console game.
Nintendo has done everything it can to succeed with the Wii U, and to its credit has released some spectacular games, but it knows it's time to move on – hopefully with some valuable lessons in tow. If it really is holding back the big announcements for the NX, then I'm confident that it won't make the same mistake of launching a console with a game lineup so terribly barren.
Transformation often evokes nostalgia, and Nintendo's E3 event closed with a montage of people playing the Mario theme. "As anyone transforms, be it a person or a company, it's good to reflect on where you've been to help guide where you go next," said Reggie.
Nintendo has transformed itself time and time again, and as Super Mario Bros turns 30, there's never been a better time for change. Here's to what's next.