Nintendo seems be back in a big way, riding a wave of popularity with the Nintendo Switch that it’s predecessor could only dream of matching. Riding high on the successes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nintendo are in the somewhat enviable position of trying to follow up those games with further hits, as well as simply meeting existing demand for the console.
Despite their periodical Nintendo Direct streams and a withdrawal from holding live press conferences at E3, Nintendo still put on a show with a dedicated Direct and the subsequent Treehouse streams that go into further depth. This is Nintendo’s first real opportunity to show what’s next and go into more detail on their plans.
Before we get going, perhaps you think yourself a better soothsayer and crystal ball gazer than us? Try you hand at our annual E3 Bingo!
Super Mario Odyssey
It’s no secret that Super Mario Odyssey is going to be a big part of Nintendo’s show. Announced and shown in brief back in January, precious little has been shown about the game. All we really know is that Mario’s heading back to the real world, hopping between dimensions with the help of a magical new hat.
A series that has often reinvented itself to get the very best out of the system it’s designed for, it will be fascinating to see how Nintendo have adapted Super Mario to the Switch. Will there be some kind of multiplayer element to make use of the paired Joy-Con on every system, or does it simply focus on delivering the best Mario platforming it possibly can? Either way, fans of 3D platformers will want to keep tabs on this one, that’s for sure.
ARMS and Splatoon 2
Don’t expect too much in-depth analysis on these two games. ARMS is just about to be released next week – its review embargo lifts today, in fact! – and Splatoon 2 is just over a month away. There’ll be a trailer or two, almost certainly, but these two can rely more on their invitational tournaments being held by Nintendo through the week.
It’s a similar story for Pokken Tournament DX, though this ought to get a slot in the Treehouse schedule to go over some of the additions.
Fire Emblem and Xenoblade
Much to the delight of RPG and strategy fans, there’s plenty of Fire Emblem, with both a Warriors-style game and a core Fire Emblem game, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is also on the way. We’ve barely seen any of Xenoblade, and the main Fire Emblem title is still only a vague idea, so no doubt we should have more in-depth trailers and reveals next week.
While Fire Emblem Warriors feels like a known quantity, developed by the same team behind Hyrule Warriors, the currently codenamed ‘Fire Emblem for Nintendo Switch’ is more exciting. In particular, it should be expecting a big graphical overhaul as it makes the jump to HD, though it’ll be interesting to see whether Intelligent Systems manage to capture the feel of the series in the transition. Xenoblade meanwhile should continue the series penchant for huge open worlds, and it’ll be the console’s first real opportunity to show how well it copes with a massive RPG experience.
More Wii U Remasters
You couldn’t really blame Nintendo for pilfering their Wii U’s catalogue, what with the console nowhere living up to their hopes despite a string of excellent games. A huge number of prospective Switch buyers have never had the opportunity to plat these games.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Pokken Tournament Deluxe could quite easily be followed by Nintendo recouping more of the development costs on games like Yoshi’s Woolly World, Hyrule Warriors, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Bayonetta 2, and Super Smash Bros. Only the last of these is actually plausibly rumoured, but don’t expect a deluge, as they keep a steady stream of games coming that keep catering to rather different tastes. In fact, we might not see any remasters at all, if Nintendo decide to push forward with more original content.
A Brand New IP
The last few years, Nintendo have shown they’re actually not that afraid to try new things and launch new IPs. Splatoon has been particularly well received, and now there’s the stylish ARMS. What could be next for Nintendo? It’s anyone’s guess, but there’s a pleasing unpredictability to what they’ve been doing lately and I wouldn’t be surprised by at least one new IP this E3.
Sure, there was a Pokémon Direct just yesterday, with Pokken Tournament DX announced for Switch alongside Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon for 3DS and Pokémon Gold & Silver coming to 3DS virtual console. Naturally it’s disappointing that there isn’t a mainline Pokémon coming to Switch, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be more Pokémon announcements at E3.
One consistent rumour is that there’s a Switch port of Pokémon Sun & Moon in the works called Pokémon Stars, which will be a rejig and overhaul of the original in the vein of Pokémon Yellow or Crystal. Will it happen at E3, then? We certainly hope so and it would be the kind of landmark announcement that would be incredibly popular with fans, but in light of Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon’s announcement, Nintendo could avoid cannibalising sales on their ageing handheld.
Fans keep crying out for new Metroid games in particular, while F-Zero has also been desperately under appreciated since the GameCube. These and others feel unlikely to be revived this E3, as Nintendo have bigger fish to fry.
Whither the 3DS?
The 3DS isn’t quite dead yet, but it’s definitely in its twilight years. A few games are on the horizon, such as Ever Oasis and Hey! Pikmin this summer, but Nintendo will likely announce one or two more games to add relevance to the New Nintendo 2DS XL that was a pleasant surprise in April. The 3DS likely won’t be the main focus though, especially as there was a 3DS oriented Direct just a couple months ago.
Where is the Virtual Console?
It’s extremely unusual that Nintendo haven’t discussed and already started rolling out their classic games on the Switch via the Virtual Console. Oddly enough, it seems that Nintendo haven’t quite decided what to do with it yet.
A Nintendo spokesperson said as much to Famitsu last week, when discussing the Switch’s online subscription, that they were “still undecided”. It would be simplest for them to follow the same model as on Wii, Wii U and 3DS, but perhaps there’s a better way than asking us to drop money on Super Mario World for the umpteenth time?
Nintendo Switch Online
The Virtual Console seems to be quite heavily linked to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription. This has now been pushed back to 2018, while the free games have been switched from month long loans to a system more like PS+, where you keep games for the duration of your subscription.
However, Splatoon 2’s release will see the release of a preview version of the smartphone app that will be a cornerstone of the service’s social connectivity. It’s not particularly glamorous, but Nintendo could briefly touch upon this during their Direct, while deftly avoiding talking about the ridiculous tangle of cables this system will require for party chat.
Given the Switch’s current momentum surely now is the time for more commitment from third party developers? There are a batch of games we know are coming – perhaps we’ll also get a look at the Shin Megami Tensei title that Atlus are working on – but some big multiplatform announcements would really bolster the hybrid console’s library, beyond the port of Skyrim and a Switch specific version of FIFA 18.
Nintendo Classic Mini SNES
Another one we don’t think will get much, if any screen time. Why distract from the Switch right now? If this is really in the works, it will be immensely popular whenever Nintendo announce it. Doing so later in the year just before a Holiday 2017 release makes far more sense, while letting the focus remain on the Switch for now.
Nintendo have an awful lot of directions they can take their new console, and while it’s surprising that we’re being kept guessing on so many levels, it’s also fascinating to see how they handle their recaptured success.
While we hope for Nintendo to keep going from strength to strength, we’ll find out what they have in store next week on Tuesday 13th June at 5PM UK time. Be sure to check in with TSA for all news, trailers, and announcements.