Sunday, May 17, 2015

Nintendo E3 2015 Predictions

It’s that time of year again and so I’d thought I’d make some E3 predictions on the Nintendo side of things. Nintendo had a fantastic showing last year, with some great reveals, fun events, and just an overall incredibly positive atmosphere throughout the week mainly thanks to the excellent Treehouse steaming event. I’m glad that Nintendo recognized that they had something great last year and have decided to pretty much do the same gig again this year, which is fine by me. After fumbling for a few years, it seems the quirky company has found their unique E3 sweet spot. This year could be another great for them, or it could just be solid; what made last year great was all the surprises and just the overall presentation of the thing. I have no doubt the presentation will be on point again this year, but so far I’m a little iffy on whether they’ll have as exciting a show, with their lineup being composed of a lot of games we already know a lot about, an already confirmed absence of “Zelda U” (which could change, but I’m inclined to think not, as much as it saddens me), and no Smash Bros. to fall back on this year. Still, I’m hoping they have a few mystery projects in store.

First off, the obvious: Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Woolly World, and Xenoblade Chronicles X will all be present and demoed (and hopefully will get release dates, and in Xenoblade X's case, finally get a western release date), with a big focus on Mario Maker since 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros. (they’ve already announced that Mario Maker is going to be the Best Buy demo title this year). Super Smash Bros. DLC will also be discussed, with a  release date for Lucas, perhaps they’ll surprise us by announcing that Lucas is available the very same day (they’ve already said he’s coming in June, so why not?). Some more DLC details will likely be talked about, perhaps a hint at another character, maybe the return of Wolf to tie in with Star Fox later this year, and also some talk about how the Smash Ballot is going. I’m also predicting that Mother 3 will finally be announced for a western eShop release to go along with Lucas, maybe for release also in June, maybe later in the year. The new Wii U Star Fox game will finally get its proper big reveal and be demoed extensively by the Treehouse, likely with Shigeru Miyamoto in tow, passionately talking about his game with Bill Trinen by his side as always. Speaking of Miyamoto, it’s possible we’ll some more of his “Project Guard” and “Project Giant Robot” games in more mature forms, and maybe with proper titles.

Star Fox is gonna be big this year

Next, the surprises: Most of the stuff above is expected, and most of it is games we’ve either already seen extensively or at least know about already, so I’m hoping Nintendo has some nice surprises in store for us. Here’s what I predict. First off, a new Metroid for Wii U from Retro Studios. We know that Retro has been working on something since the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze back in February of 2014. As much as I wouldn’t mind a follow-up to the sublime platforming masterpiece that is Tropical Freeze, I doubt they’re doing another DKC game. Maybe they’re working a new IP or something else, but it’s clear that people want a new Metroid from Retro, and I think Nintendo and Retro are both well aware of it. Given how much Nintendo has been catering to its fans lately, I think there’s a good chance that it’s happening. We’ll probably only get a teaser trailer and the game probably won’t be out until 2016 at the earliest, but we’re long overdue for a Metroid game, and even more overdue for a good Metroid game.

Hopefully the actual boxart won't be this terrible

My second prediction is either less likely or more likely, I can’t decide which. Miyamoto has already hinted that they’re planning a big Mario game for Nintendo’s next home console. We also know that EAD Tokyo, the group responsible for all of the 3D Mario platformers since the original Super Mario Galaxy has been working on a new Mario game, though they won’t say for which platform. This mystery Mario could very well be for Nintendo’s next home console (which would explain why they won’t say which platform it’s on), but I’m also still not completely ruling out another 3D Mario on Wii U. With the 30th anniversary and all, I think now would be a good time to announce something like that. Maybe it would simply be “3D World 2”, but I’m predicting it will be something close to the Galaxy style, something that fans have also been asking for. There is definitely evidence that would make something like this less likely. Perhaps they want to focus on Mario Maker for one, and not distract from it. Or perhaps EAD Tokyo, assuming they are the ones developing it, want to put all of their energy and focus into this big Mario game for Nintendo's next console (which is something I'm not against). Some also say that Nintendo is not going to go back to a style more in line with Galaxy or dare I say, Super Mario 64 or Sunshine, and looking at the progression of the 3D games in the series and also hearing statements from the core people currently involved in the 3D Mario games, they’re probably right. I personally really want to see the next huge evolution in the series or at least something completely new (which in my eyes hasn't really happened since the first Galaxy, though arguments could be made that the 3D Land/World style was an evolution of sorts), but I wouldn't be completely opposed to another 3D outing on Wii U before then, and if that other Wii U outing is that revolutionary title, than that'd be pretty great too. I just have a feeling…something else Mario, something rather big, is going to show up this year.


I'm hoping there are some more surprises that I can't predict as well, even if it's just a teaser here or a small tech demo there; that kind of stuff is part of what made last year such a great E3 for Nintendo and I hope we see some more stuff like Miyamoto's "project" games, the cryptic Star Fox "reveal", and even the Zelda teaser; some stuff to get me excited in addition to the more substantial game trailers and demos.

One last prediction that probably won’t happen: So Eiji Aonuma has already confirmed that “Zelda U” won’t be making an appearance at this year’s E3. Aonuma and the Zelda team could change their minds and give us a short trailer or something, but I’m not counting on it. However, perhaps the Zelda series won’t be entirely absent. Given the game’s very positive reception, both critically and fan-wise, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got another 3DS game in the same style as A Link Between Worlds; the “Majora’s Mask” to A Link Between Worlds, if you will. It probably wouldn’t take too long to develop either, if it reused that game’s assets. Maybe we’ll get that reveal at E3 this year; after all, I’m unaware of any huge new 3DS games on the horizon, besides that new Fire Emblem game coming at some point. Obviously, this is a wild guess, and I’m not in any way expecting it, especially on the heels of Majora’s Mask 3D’s release. I’m thinking that Zelda will probably just take a break for the rest of the year, which is honestly fine by me. The Zelda series has gotten a lot of love recently and in order to avoid oversaturation, I’m fine with Link and Zelda (and Tingle) taking a break for a little bit. …Although I won’t lie: the void left by “Zelda U’s” absence at this year’s show is probably going to be felt, at least by me.

I wouldn't mind another dose of top-down Zelda goodness on 3DS

So there you go! Agree? Disagree? Have some E3 predictions of your own (Nintendo or otherwise)? Let me know!

I'm not sure what picture to put here, so just enjoy this photo of Iwata, Reggie, and Miyamoto hanging out with Donkey Kong

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