Rounding out the big three E3 conferences is Nintendo, who will be presenting their conference at the usual time: Tuesday June 5 at 9AM Pacific (12PM Eastern).
Nintendo had a largely mixed year last year. The only new game of note that was announced was Luigi’s Mansion 2 for 3DS, a game that we haven’t seen since. The Wii U, Nintendo’s upcoming console, was given a disappointing unveiling, with no live gameplay footage. The console itself wasn’t even shown in any form – the only thing Nintendo focused on was the tablet-like controller.
We’re hoping Wii U gets a better showing this year, and Nintendo remembers E3 2010 – when it returned to its roots and gave us games galore. The company is notoriously secretive though, so it’s really hard to predict what we’ll see during their show. We’ll take a stab at it though!
No Wii U release date or price – Nintendo has already said that they won’t be revealing specific details about the Wii U’s release date or price at E3, and there’s no way in hell that they’ll renege that promise. Expect a Wii situation, where they waited until the last minute to announce a release less than two months later.
Chances: If you really think they’ll announce this, you don’t know Nintendo. It won’t happen.
New Wii U game reveals – Even though we won’t see a date or price, expect to get plenty of new game announcements from both Nintendo and third parties.
Third-party Wii U support – Nintendo platforms haven’t always been the most hospitable for third parties, but the company has gone out of its way to change that in recent years. Expect to see some concentration on third-party efforts for Wii U – we already saw some last year such as Ninja Gaiden 3 and Darksiders 2. Expect at least a reel of footage showing off third-party Wii U games.
Chances: Really good.
Wii U online system details – It’s already been announced that Wii U will have online functionality far beyond Nintendo’s past efforts, and more comparable to the PS3 and 360. Nintendo needs to tout these features and give gamers details on how online gameplay will work.
Super Mario for Wii U and Pikmin 3 – As the only first-party Wii U games we know about right now, these are pretty much guaranteed to make an appearance at Nintendo’s conference. At the very least, expect a trailer for both. It’s doubtful Super Mario will be much different from the last fifty Mario games, but Pikmin 3 will be welcomed after a long hiatus.
Chances: Really, really good.
3DS release dates galore – Nintendo’s got a pretty barren second half of 2012, with only New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the horizon for the 3DS. They’ve got several already-announced games on the horizon, such as Paper Mario, Animal Crossing, and Luigi’s Mansion 2, so expect to see at least one or two of those given proper release dates before the holidays.
Chances: Practically guaranteed.
New 3DS Zelda – 3DS needs a Zelda of its own. Ocarina of Time 3D was an excellent remastering, but it was still an old game. Aonuma has said he wants to remake Majora’s Mask for the handheld too, but we would rather see an original Zelda. But it’s doubtful we’ll see it this year.
Chances: Don’t count on it.
3DS game announcements – Expect a few new 3DS games announced, from both Nintendo and third parties. It would be fruitless to try to predict what games might be announced though.
Retro’s new project – The latest rumor is that Retro Studios is working on a Star Fox and Metroid crossover. While that sounds a bit farfetched to us, it’s been almost two years since Retro released Donkey Kong Country Returns and it’s certain that they’re working on something else. E3 would be the most likely time to show off their project.
Chances: Fairly good.
New “expanded audience” titles – Face it, Nintendo won’t go an entire conference without attempting to piss off core gamers. There will be some casual game announcements throughout the conference, especially for the Wii U – maybe a Wii Sports for the next generation?
Chances: It’s Nintendo. Enough said.
Lack of Smash – Iwata jumped the gun last year in announcing that Sakurai would be working on a new Super Smash Bros. title that would support cross-platform play between Wii U and 3DS. The game’s still in the planning stages, so it’s doubtful we’ll see it at E3 this year.
Chances: If you think we’ll see SSB, you’ll be disappointed.
Kirby’s 20th anniversary – 2011 was the year of Zelda for Nintendo, with releases on all its major platforms in celebration of the series’ 25th anniversary. We expect to see at least some acknowledgement of the pink puffball’s 20th year – maybe the teased 20th Anniversary Collection for Wii. Don’t expect anything on the scale of Zelda’s 25th though.
Chances: It’d be a disappointment to not see some love for Kirby – he’s getting up there, after all.
No 3DS redesign – It’s too soon, don’t count on it, just move along.
Chances: Not gonna happen.
Fire Emblem: Awakening – Nintendo’s latest entry in the classic strategy series is the first Nintendo game to feature DLC. While that doesn’t make us too happy, it’s seriously time to get some more FE love here on this side of the Pacific. Make it happen, Nintendo.
Chances: Probably not too great, but we can hope.
New F-Zero – Fans have been clamoring for this ever since GX in 2003, and Nintendo has quite casually ignored them. The series skipped Wii and DS, so let’s hope Nintendo decides to revive it for Wii U or 3DS.
Chances: Not good at all.
Pandora’s Tower – The last of the three Operation Rainfall games and the only one to yet receive a localization or announcement of such, Pandora’s Tower could be a good sendoff for the Wii. It might not be as critically acclaimed as Xenoblade Chronicles, but the fact that it’s already localized for Europe means it wouldn’t be much trouble to bring here, and the game should be a solid gift to the hardcore gamers who have stuck with Nintendo through the Wii years.
Chances: It could happen…maybe.
So there you have it, a fitting wrapup to our E3 predictions for the big three conferences. Check back after all is said and done to see how we did!