E3 is nearly upon us – the annual event that’s essentially Christmas for gamers. It’s where major publishers and developers announce new content and show more of hotly anticipated titles. Whilst a variety of studios will be out in force showcasing their gaming gifts, this writer is a Nintendo fan so this is where this article will focus.
More specifically: what’s possibly going to be unveiled? Nintendo are an unpredictable company at the best of times, so it’s not always easy to speculate, but that’s a significant part of the fun. Join me as I venture into my Nintendo crystal ball and predict Nintendo’s E3 platform in 2018.
Super Smash Bros. Switch
At the end of the March 8th Nintendo Direct, the Big N set the internet on fire, sending Nintendo fans and gamers in general into a crazed frenzy with the announcement of Super Smash Bros for Switch. It was inevitable, but the hype-inducing cinematic, the confirmation of playable Inklings and a 2018 release date was enough to create a palpable sense of excitement. We know Smash Bros. will be a big presence at this year’s E3, but what can I predict about the game itself?
First of all, it won’t be a straight-up port of the Wii U/3DS games. It’ll have a lot of content from it, but it will be a base to further build on. The fact there’s a new logo, no confirmed title yet and the announcement cinematic being a tease lends credence to the idea the game will not simply be a port. In terms of characters, both new and returning, it wouldn’t shock me to see a character from Nintendo’s new fighter IP Arms – whilst not the phenomenon that Splatoon became it has a dedicated fan-base. Characters like Ribbon Girl and Spring Man are both recognisable and would easily fit into the Smash mould too. I envisage a major bombshell in the form of a third party character being announced.
Setting the internet ablaze akin to Solid Snake for Smash Bros. Brawl and Mega Man for Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS would be such a coup for Nintendo. The titular characters from Banjo & Kazooie would definitely achieve that level of hype and fan-interest. Even Microsoft Xbox head Phil Spencer would like to see the lovable duo in Smash.
I think the Ice Climbers are certain to come back. Being axed from the Wii U/3DS games due to the 3DS’s hardware limitations, now this problem has ceased to exist, they’re guaranteed to return in my view. I believe established characters may get a new lick of paint, with old characters players have been familiarised with being given a fresh move set. In the teaser trailer we see Link as his ‘Breath of the Wild’ model, pointing to changes afoot with fan-favourites gamers have been accustomed to for years.
Yoshi for Switch was announced at Nintendo’s last E3 in 2017 and we’ve not heard a peep about it since. Everybody’s favourite long-tongued dinosaur has been mysteriously absent for an entire year, but I believe it’s certain he’ll break his silence at this year’s E3. I predict also, that this new Yoshi game will have some form of Labo integration – Nintendo’s odd experiment into melding cardboard with videogames has only been marketed as its own oddity thus far. I feel Nintendo will want to branch out Labo by incorporating it into established franchises.
Why? Well, the Yoshi franchise and Nintendo Labo have similar target audiences, but from what we’ve seen of the game we know that cardboard is a big part of the aesthetics and game mechanics. Perhaps this is the reason why the game has been curiously under the radar, Nintendo was busy adding a new element – Labo.
Fire Emblem Switch
We first heard official confirmation of a Fire Emblem game for Switch back in early 2017 and we’ve heard nothing about it since. When Nintendo unceremoniously announced Fire Emblem for Switch they stated it would be a 2018 game so I think, much like Yoshi, this will be a lock for E3 this year. I imagine the new Fire Emblem will be a late holiday game much like how Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was in 2017.
Animal Crossing Switch
The last fully-fledged Animal Crossing game came out in Japan in 2012. That’s a long six years. It’s surely about time to witness the return of Nintendo’s titan life-sim series. Animal Crossing is one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises and breaks the mould between ‘casual’ and ‘hobbyist’ gamers alike; the mechanics of the Switch itself would be a perfect fit for the series too. There’s no doubt it would drive hardware sales and this matched with the drought of Animal Crossing makes it a likely contender for E3.
I think they’ll announce the game and show a trailer, but it won’t be playable on the show-floor and it won’t be a 2018 release. I see early spring 2019 being a better fit. Furthermore, I think it will have at least some connectivity with the mobile game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. In terms of new features, I predict we’ll see the role of Mayor being expanded from New Leaf – giving you more options and control of your town.
Last year’s E3 saw the announcement of a main-line Pokémon game coming to Nintendo Switch. There was no trailer or logo, just a promise. But that was enough to instill a flurry of intrigue, theories and excitement. After all, despite the lack of information, it was a historic moment. We knew, that for the first time in the franchise’s 20 year history, that it‘d be coming to a home console system.
Whether or not it’ll be shown at Nintendo’s presentation is another matter. The Pokémon Company traditionally unveils projects for the first time on their own terms. It’s possible a Pokémon Direct could happen during the run-up to E3, keeping with tradition but also building hype during the same time. Will it be a 2018 game? I’m going to go out on a limb and state it’ll be Nintendo’s big holiday release this year.
For years Pikmin creator Shigeru Miyamoto has been commenting in interviews that a fourth instalment is on the way – With little nuggets confirming the games existence to tide over fans. If Pikmin 4 does get revealed I’d expect at least one new Pikmin type to be shown and explained. The rock and winged Pikmin were a welcome addition to the previous instalment and I’m positive Nintendo would like to build on that further by capturing the quirky essence of Pikmin in new creative ways.
Metroid Prime 4
Despite only some music and a placeholder logo, the announcement of a Metroid Prime 4 sent shockwaves across the gaming community. For good reason too. The original Metroid Prime trilogy is a much-cherished series and some of the most celebrated games in Nintendo’s entire history. Expect no gameplay, only a teaser-trailer with perhaps a vague release window like ‘2019’. It wouldn’t be surprising that to capitalise on the wave of interest in Metroid Prime 4, that Nintendo decide to re-release the original trilogy on HD for the Switch – whetting fans’ appetites and giving newcomers a chance to experience them before the fourth instalment hits.
Party Game – Mario Party or WarioWare
The Switch has a glaring hole in its current library: a major party game. Excluding the underwhelming glorified tech-demo that was 1-2-Switch, Nintendo hasn’t released a party game to really show off the system in unique ways. There’s untold potential for a party experience with the Joy-Cons and the HD Rumble and IR features. A Mario Party game is extremely likely purely due to the fact Nintendo loves to pump them out on a regular basis.
A new WarioWare game could also fit this party game gap. There hasn’t been a WarioWare game for nearly a decade with 2009’s ‘WarioWare DIY’ on the DS being the last entry. Nintendo, however, hasn’t completely forgotten about it with compilation game WarioWare Gold scheduled for the 3DS this year. The fact it’s on Nintendo’s consciousness gives me a reason to think they’re gearing up for a franchise comeback on the Switch.
Retro Studio’s New Game
At this point, it’s obligatory to throw in a Retro Studios prediction. Retro Studios, the Texas-based Nintendo studio are the developers behind the Metroid Prime trilogy and the new Donkey Kong Country games. With their last release being in 2013 we know they’ve been hard at work on a new project.
We know they’re not working on Metroid Prime 4 and it’s been so long since a Donkey Kong Country game. Coupled with that fact, the Switch recently had Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ported to it, so it seems unlikely they’re working on Donkey Kong. Perhaps, they’ve been tasked with resurrecting another old Nintendo franchise? I predict we’ll see that idea come to pass.
The massively successful Super Mario Odyssey has to be getting DLC. New Kingdoms or new levels to existing Kingdoms seem like a financial and creative no-brainer. The fact they added extensive DLC to Breath of the Wild bolsters this idea further. I predict a Kingdom based on Super Mario Sunshine’s Isle Delfino, given all the hints in the game. I’ll go one further and predict there will be Luigi’s Mansion DLC in time for Halloween this year.
So there we have it. My predictions for Nintendo’s E3 platform this year have been laid bare. But what do you think? Do you agree with my predictions? Do you have predictions yourself that I didn’t mention? We’ll see for ourselves on June 12th when all shall be revealed.
Words by Raphael Kiyani