From what we know from the last Nintendo Direct that showed (tentatively titled, but who knows?) Yoshi's Island 3DS, it could actually meet Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island standards of quality. For those who don't already know, Yoshi's Island is my favourite platformer of all time, and also my favourite game in the Mario franchise, above all of the RPGs in the series. So a sequel to one of my favourite games is absolutely exciting to me and it makes YI3DS my most anticipated game for the E3 season — besides Super Smash Bros. 4, of course.
We know that Artoon, the developer of the terrible Yoshi's Island DS and Yoshi's Universal Gravitation (the latter notable only for its awesome name, which isn't even what it's called in America), has been dissolved. This is a huge relief, because Artoon cannot be trusted with making a good Yoshi game. YIDS was a terrible virus on the series — the music was crap, the graphics were messed up, the gameplay was unbalanced (Baby Donkey Kong was overpowered), the game was inexplicably shorter than its prequel, the difficulty curve was a cliff, the story was an embarassment that threatens the canon, and the game wasn't fun at all. It's so bad, I'll probably write an article in the future dedicated to how bad it is.
Anyway, if Nintendo EAD is the developer this time with the 3DS sequel like they were with the original Yoshi's Island, we should be in for a treat. There are big concerns that are always associated with Nintendo EAD nowadays, like insane producers flipping over tea tables. Nintendo's best platformers lately have been coming from other developers, because EAD has just been pumping out New Super Mario Bros. games, which are antithetical to the type of gameplay I expect from Yoshi's Island. Yoshi's Island is a master at exploration platforming with deep and interesting mechanics with no time limits on levels.
NSMB is the opposite of this type of gameplay. Good-Feel's Wario Land: Shake It! and Retro Studios's Donkey Kong Country Returns are other examples of exploration-based platforming, as is, from what I can tell, Ubisoft's Rayman Legends. Yoshi's Island is the best of all of these for the unique art style, the quality story-telling (and contributions to the canon storyline), and most importantly, the depth of the character mechanics. Yoshi has a wide variety of moves that are constantly being tested in new and challenging ways at just the right pacing to keep the game fun to play over and over again. The level design doesn't resort to bad gimmicks, and the in-game assets and objects that Yoshi interacts with build upon each experience.
I know I made it seem like a change in developer is the only reason why I suddenly have renewed confidence in a new Yoshi's Island title. Thanks to the strangers at GameXplain, we have analysis of how there is clear inspiration from the original and no inspiration from the Artoon-developed sexually-transmitted disease.
The narrator's voice may be slightly grating, but the new art style is justified in the video, along with Nintendo either taking level design directly from Yoshi's Island or not having actually developed the game yet and they only made the graphics engine. Either way, YI is like a guidebook on how to make an excellent game, and if Nintendo's designers study it closely and not anything from Artoon's bastardization of the franchise, then we'll be in for a great treat. Just keep Miyamoto far away. We'll see if anything happens with it in tomorrow's Nintendo Direct!
Follow Ludwig on Miiverse. His NNID is PrinceOfKoopas. When he's not trying to spread the Enlightenment Movement, he's always talking about how great Yoshi's Island is. That's worth the follow, right? As a complete aside, he's going to admit here that he never owned a SNES and his experience with this game is solely through Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3.