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Nintendo E3 2018: The 5 Biggest Announcements

Nintendo held its E3 press conference on June 12 at 9 a.m. PT. While the company spent most of the Nintendo Direct briefing showing off its new “Super Smash Bros.” title, as expected, there were still a few surprises.

Here are the five biggest stories of the show.

1. Every single “Smash” character is coming back.

Nintendo gave players a closer look at “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” for the Switch on Tuesday. The game was first announced back in March with a teaser revealing that characters from “Splatoon,” such as the Squid Sisters, would be included in the new “Smash” title.

Although the selection of fighters you start with may be small, the game will feature the biggest unlockable roster in the history of the series, bringing back every single character who’s ever been included in a previous “Smash Bros.” game.

The game’s progression system is streamlined so that you’ll always feel like you’ve just unlocked a new character, Nintendo says. Stages will include the Spirit Train from “Zelda: Spirit Tracks,” Moray Towers from “Splatoon,” and Great Plateau Tower from “Breath of the Wild.” It’ll also have an eight-player multiplayer mode.

“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is slated for release on Dec. 7.

2. “Mario Party” is coming to Switch.

“With new modes and new minigames coupled with original board gameplay, the party starts anywhere, anytime, and with all kinds of players,” according to the game’s official website. “The original board game style has been kicked up a notch with deeper strategic elements, like specific Dice Blocks for each character.”

“Super Mario Party” will feature 80 new minigames that will utilize the Switch’s unique Joy-Con controllers in various ways. It’ll support up to four players.

The release date is set for Oct. 5.

3. Got a Switch? You can drop into “Fortnite Battle Royale” right now.

Fortnite” releases on Nintendo Switch today, June 12, Nintendo confirmed at E3. The game will be available to download at 10 a.m. PT.

“On Nintendo Switch, ‘Fortnite Battle Royale’ is the same game you know from PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and mobile,” Epic Games said in a release. “Same gameplay, same map, same content, same weekly updates. With Switch, you can squad up with your friends in the same room or around the world, and even play on the go.”

At present, Epic says there are no plans to bring the original “Save the World” PvE component of “Fortnite” to Switch.

4. “Xenoblade Chronicles 2” is getting an expansion.

“Guide a group of legendary warriors on a journey through the tragic history that doomed a kingdom and drove a hero down a dark path 500 years before the events of ‘Xenoblade Chronicles 2,’” Nintendo said. “Defend yourself from Malos and his forces using all the fury of this refined battle system, allowing you to fight as both the artificial lifeforms known as Blades and their masters, the Drivers.”

The expansion launches on Sept. 14 for expansion pass owners, and a physical edition will go on sale Sept. 21.

5. A new mainline “Fire Emblem” game is coming to Switch.

“A brand-new ‘Fire Emblem’ game with a new story and characters is coming to Nintendo Switch,” Nintendo announced on its website. “The ‘Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ game takes place on Fódlan, where the Church of Seiros exercises great power over the land and its people. This turn-based tactical RPG will put new strategic twists on battling, with formations of troops supporting individual units on the battlefield.”

“Three Houses” is the first mainline “Fire Emblem” title to hit the Switch. The previous “Fire Emblem” game, “Fire Emblem Warriors,” was a hack-and-slash RPG developed by Omega Force and Team Ninja; it was released for the Switch and New Nintendo 3DS handheld system in 2017.

The 2018 Electronic Entertainment Expo takes place this week, from June 12 to June 14, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Twitch’s official coverage of the event began in earnest Sunday afternoon.

Follow all of Variety‘s E3 2018 coverage, which includes breaking news, original interviews, and hands-on impressions, right here.

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