For two years now, Nintendo has forgone the flashy E3 stage show in exchange for a pre-recorded series of Nintendo Direct-style videos that are shown throughout the entirety of E3. Combined with Nintendo Treehouse, wherein they play and stream the games they are currently hyping up, the whole event feels much more fan-focused and gamer-oriented than the likes of Sony and Microsoft, with their big wigs sweating it out on stage and stumbling over their words as they try their best, bless them, to get the crowds excited for the next generic action shooter featuring a white male protagonist as best as they can.
At any rate, Nintendo’s fresh take on information reveals at the expo has proven successful, and they will continue that trend soon at E3 2015. Between the NX, their mobile deal, some theme park attractions, a handful of new IPs, and promises of continued franchises, not to mention all those unknown reveals they’ll be making, Nintendo has certainly got a wealth of material that they can focus on. Let’s kick things off by immediately getting out of the way those things that will not be discussed at E3.
Nintendon’t Bet on It
Instead of looking to the future and giving us an update on the NX (whatever that may be) or showcasing their first batch of mobile titles, Nintendo will be focusing on their current hardware at E3, the Wii U and 3DS. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata recently stated as much, recognizing that E3 would not be the appropriate venue to discuss such topics. He said, “E3 is an event for dedicated video game machines, we do not intend to discuss the smart devices as well as quality of life,” which seems pretty cut and dry. Iwata also mentioned that the NX will be kept well under wraps until sometime in 2016, so we’re still far from learning anything new on that front.
Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing much of The Legend of Zelda for Wii U this time around either. When series producer Eiji Aonuma updated fans on development progress in March, he stated that a 2015 release was no longer their number one priority for the game, instead focusing on making the game the best it can be. Aonuma followed up with a post to the Miiverse, claiming the game would not be shown at this year’s E3. Nintendo may surprise us with a brief progress update, but don’t get your hopes too high for anything substantial.
Following Mario Maker‘s reveal at least year’s E3, the game recently received a launch window of September 2015, 30 years after the first Super Mario Bros. came out for the Nintendo Famicom on September 13, 1985. No specific date has been set for Mario Maker, and aside from a new video of possibilities in April, we haven’t seen much of the game. This means it’s almost assured that the Super Mario level builder will be shown off during E3, likely with a cemented date in place.
Mario Maker wasn’t the only new game Nintendo unveiled at E3 2014, as Mario’s forefather Shigeru Miyamoto was on the event floor showing off his two new titles in the works, tentatively titled Project Giant Robot and Project Guard. Both games utilize the gamepad in clever and creative ways, both games were a delight to play, and both games have been unheard of since that initial reveal. Hopefully that means they’ll be much more fleshed out with proper names at the upcoming E3, and approaching release before the end of the year.
Original Nintendo Seal of Quality
Another pleasant and unexpected surprise last year was not only the announcement of a new Star Fox game, but the promise of a 2015 release as well. During a January showcase of The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, we were told that both games were still on track for a 2015 release, with Star Fox actually coming out before Zelda, despite there having seen substantially less of the space shooter than the open-world adventure. Now, with Zelda being bumped out to 2016, it’s possible Star Fox may be delayed as well. Whatever the case may be, we will undoubtedly learn more real soon, during Nintendo’s E3 announcements.
The other main first-party Nintendo game you can expect to see a whole bunch of at E3 is Yoshi’s Woolly World. More and more details have been coming out lately, including the announcement of Yarn Yoshi amiibo, amiibo functionality for other characters, and various gameplay videos. Yoshi’s Woolly World has confirmed release dates for Japan (July 16), Europe (June 26), and Australia (June 25), but oddly enough, only the tentative “Fall 2015” has been given for North America. You can expect the North American release date to be finalized and announced during E3.
Making Great Games Greater
Nintendo surprised approximately nobody when they announced Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS will be getting some upcoming DLC characters. They did, however, pique quite a bit of interest after asking for fans’ direct input on just who to include next with their online character ballot. Mewtwo has already joined the fray, and Lucas of Mother fame will be entering the ranks on June 14. The ballot has been live for a couple months now, and it’s incredibly likely they’re have at least one new reveal ready to show off.
Another hot title with lots of fanfare is the recently released Splatoon. The family-friendly shooter featuring squids and kids in equal measure will be releasing a steady stream of free content updates throughout the summer, which kicked off at the beginning of this month. E3 isn’t just the place to host new reveals, but also to keep gamers interested in what is already available. It wouldn’t be surprising in the least to get a proper line-up of content we can expect to see in Splatoon during the rest of June and July.
Third-Party Joins the Party
The Wii U hasn’t exactly been a hit with developers in the west that aren’t Nintendo, but slowly we’re seeing more and more third-party devs give the innovative console a shot. In fact, there’s a whole slew of upcoming games for the home console that should prove a welcome deviation from your standard Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon fare. Bandai Namco recently showed the first gameplay trailer for Project Treasure, and promised more information this summer. Hello, E3! Then, Monolith Soft’s highly anticipated Xenoblade Chronicles X came to Japan in April with mostly positive responses, so a holiday release confirmation for North America seems like a sure thing.
Of course, we can’t forget that there are future titles releasing for “mature” audiences as well; yes, “rated M for Mature” games do happen from time to time on Nintendo consoles, believe it or not. Koei Tecmo’s Fatal Frame V (or Fatal Frame: Oracle of the Sodden Raven) is heading to North America later this year, though we haven’t the slightest clue when. September or October both seem like safe bets to bank on the Halloweeny time of year, which would also work perfectly well for Valhalla Game Studios’ Devil’s Third. After experiencing a bit of developmental hell, Devil’s Third was officially announced as a Wii U exclusive at last year’s E3. Surely there’s another update to be had on the project, even if it’s just to say that development is still chugging along.
The 3DS and Further Speculation
After five pages of straight-up Wii U exclusives, you may be wondering, “What about the 3DS?” Worry not, because there’s plenty to look forward to on that front as well. The two most prominent Nintendo properties hitting the handheld in the not-too-distant future are Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Fire Emblem IF. The former will be the first title to utilize amiibo cards, and the latter will have two separate versions of the game, similar for most main-line Pokémon games. We’ve received updates on both Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem recently, however, so it’s up in the air whether or not we’ll see them at E3.
Third party developers strike the 3DS as well, in the form of Bandai Namco’s Project X Zone 2 and Square Enix’s Bravely Second: End Layer. Bravely Second has only just been confirmed for a western release and won’t be available until 2016, and if it shows up at E3, it will likely be a part of Square Enix’s debut press conference instead of taking up Nintendo’s time. Project X Zone 2, however, is hitting store shelves this fall. The cross-over sequel spectacular will very likely announce new characters and a release date during Nintendo’s time at E3.
Of course there’s always room for new announcements and surprises. Will we finally be treated to a new Metroid or F-Zero? Maybe some HD remasters for Super Mario Sunshine or The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess are on the cards. Or perhaps Nintendo will take note of Splatoon‘s immediate success and announce another brand new IP or two. Give us your own thoughts and wishlists in the comments!