Last up for the Big Three is Nintendo, who will be presenting their conference at 9:00 AM Pacific time (noon Eastern time) on Tuesday, June 7th.
Nintendo had an excellent year last year, returning to their roots and concentrating on games, games, and more games. The 3DS was unveiled to huge acclaim, with a stunning library of game announcements and impressive graphics, and the promise of glasses-free 3D. The conference started off with a bang with the unveiling of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, despite the unfortunate wireless interference during the gameplay demo. Announcements of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Mario Sports Mix gave the Wii a promising outlook for the rest of 2010 into 2011. The unveiling of Kid Icarus: Uprising was met with great enthusiasm, and trailers and demos of games such as Epic Mickey, Metroid: Other M, and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn rounded out what was essentially a non-stop barrage of gaming awesomeness. The entire conference was Nintendo’s love letter to the core gamers and a return from the casual gaming concentration that pervaded the company’s image through the past few years.
Nintendo still has Skyward Sword, but the outlook for the Wii is otherwise bleak. With the promise of a new console on the horizon that will be shown at E3, and the 3DS picking up steam, this should be a very exciting conference and upcoming year for Nintendo. The company has always been one of the most secretive in the gaming industry, but let’s take a stab at what we expect we’ll be seeing.
Project Cafe gets a name, release window – Rumor has it the console will simply be named “Nintendo”. While this seems odd, it makes sense, because many non-gamers use “Nintendos” as a generic name for all consoles anyway. Expect a mid to late 2012 release, and plenty of gameplay footage and game announcements tomorrow, similar to the 3DS reveal last year. Chances of it happening: Definite on all but the “Nintendo” name.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword remains Wii exclusive – It seems ludicrous to think Nintendo will hold back a Wii game as a launch title for its next console, which is rumored to be more powerful than the PS3 and 360. Unless the game were to receive huge upgrades and abandon motion control, it’s a better fit for Wii. We think Nintendo will let Skyward Sword be the Wii’s last hurrah. Chances of it happening: Does Nintendo have any sense?
Skyward Sword will not be delayed – Expect Skyward Sword to still be on track for a 2011 release. Wii will have a horribly weak lineup if it’s not. Chances of it happening: Should be 100%, but we all know about Miyamoto and his delays.
3DS library for the rest of the year – Expect a solid release date for Star Fox 64 3D, and at the very least a reveal of Super Mario 3D with a release window of holiday 2011. Nintendo should also show off some third-party efforts, and maybe a few other first-party game reveals like possibly Mario Kart. Chances of it happening: Pretty freaking good.
The Last Story and Xenoblade localization – North American gamers have been clamoring for these games, and it seems more likely that they’ll see localization since they’ve been confirmed/half-confirmed for Europe. Still, we all know how much Nintendo of America hates us, so anything’s possible. Chances of it happening: It’ll help Wii’s library out immensely this year, so let’s say a big “Please?”
3DS Price Drop – After a relatively disappointing launch, and especially considering Sony’s bombshell that Vita will only cost $249 – the same cost of a 3DS – Nintendo is in a predicament if they don’t either push the 3DS more of a value or drop the price significantly. The system should have launched at $199. Chances of it happening: As much as Nintendo hates price drops, don’t bet on it.
Cafe’s touchscreen controller – Rumor has long had it that the Wii’s successor will have a large touchscreen on its controller, with tablet-like functionality. Nikkei recently speculated a six-inch touchscreen, a camera, and a rechargeable battery for the consoles’ controller – and they’ve usually been right with their predictions in the past. Chances of it happening: It sounds outrageous, but Nintendo dares to be different. So it could very well be true.
The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary – This event is even featured on Nintendo’s E3 lanyards, for crying out loud. Miyamoto has confirmed something is in the works for the series’ silver anniversary, the question is what? Nintendo dropped the ball with Mario’s 25th, simply dumping a ROM on a CD and including a small book with it, and selling it for $30. Hopefully we’ll see a bit more effort put into Zelda – a 3DS collection of remastered older games with some nice packaging and an artbook would be nice. Chances of it happening: There will definitely be something for Zelda’s 25th.
Nintendo has always been excellent at keeping their announcements under wraps, and this year is no different. We’re definitely in for some surprises, but there’s no doubt that the Wii’s successor, Skyward Sword, and 3DS game announcements will be the stars of the show.