Hint: It’s all about the games
As a devoted ‘Nintendo drone’ I am always enthusiastic about new announcements that can come our way, and E3 is about as big a stage as there is for Nintendo to make such announcements. Simply put, this is where I feel Nintendo needs to make the biggest splash to lay the foundation not only for the rest of 2017, but the earlier part of 2018.
Sure, they have the Nintendo Directs that can be deployed at any time and are watched by millions, but there has always been something special about Nintendo taking the stage at E3 and the audience they can reach, which is not necessarily limited to Nintendo fans.
“This is not the Nintendo of old.”
In past years Nintendo has bypassed having a conference at E3 in favor of the more controlled Nintendo Directs. And who can fault them? From the now infamous ‘Wii Music’ presentation to the ‘Nintendo Land Fireworks’ ending which was built-up as a massive reveal, to the ‘Is it a new console or a new controller?’ Wii U reveal, Nintendo has staggered at the E3 stage just as many times as they have conquered it.
But for every stumble they have taken in the past, it seems like for the better part of this year they have hit every note in stride, and then some.
First, the Nintendo Switch launched with what some people considered a small lineup, but with arguably the greatest launch game in the last 20 years. It has been sold out consistently since launch and the system itself became the fastest selling Nintendo system ever at launch. And then a second wave of demand spawned with the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe who also enjoyed the biggest sales launch in franchise history.
That is all good and well, but how about the second part of this year? This is where E3 matters the most for Nintendo as they lay down the foundation and their vision for Switch up to and throughout the holiday season.
First off, the game to end all games.
It is no secret that Mario is Nintendo’s most prolific mascot and one of the most iconic characters in pop culture history. How a Nintendo console is defined almost always goes hand in hand with the Mario game that appears on it. From NES’ platforming masterpieces, to N64’s Super Mario 64 introducing the world to 3D graphics and motion, to Mario’s trek through space in Super Mario Galaxy, each entry in the series has defined the success of the console it has inhabited.
Which is why a game like Super Mario 3D World, as good as it was for playing with your friends and family, did not climb to the upper echelon of Mario games, and instead helped cement the Wii U’s fate which was basically decided since before the system launched.
Super Mario Odyssey is the first game since Super Mario Sunshine that has dared to return to a more action-oriented genre, with vast worlds not limited by a static camera angle. This game, unsurprisingly, is the one that I expect to be the ‘Best of Show’.
But Super Mario Odyssey can’t do it alone. It needs help.
With arguably the best collection of characters in the industry, Nintendo has the pick of the litter when it comes to creating games. As long as Nintendo is involved, every game it touches promises to give you an unique and otherworldly experience, regardless of which character they choose to represent it.
Either way, there are those characters that are so special, that they deserve their own game on each console generation. Who are those characters? Outside of Mario, Link, Samus Aran, Captain Falcon, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Pit, Ness, Little Mac, etc. etc.
So far this on the Nintendo Switch we have seen Link on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and no one else, unless you count the roster of characters from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
So where is Metroid? F-Zero? Donkey Kong? Kirby? Kid Icarus? Earthbound? Punch Out? How about Animal Crossing? Golden Sun? Advance Wars? Star Tropics? Pikmin?
Fire Emblem is coming in the way of Fire Emblem Warriors this year, and a new entry in the Fire Emblem series on Switch in 2018. Other than that, nothing else is known and this needs to change today.
Depending on how many games Nintendo is willing to release in what is becoming a crowded second half of the year, I would expect a surprise reveal or two to come out of the Nintendo Spotlight.
Here is how this year is looking so far, counting the biggest releases on Nintendo Switch:
July: Splatoon 2
August: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
September: Pokkén Tournament DX
October, November, and December are still up in the air, but that is where games like Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (if it doesn’t get delayed) should end up. Fire Emblem Warriors is still out there without a release date.
This is the lineup of games I’m expecting to see during the Nintendo Spotlight and the first hour of the Treehouse Live event.
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- Pikmin 4 (World?)
- Animal Crossing (and its mobile companion)
- Fire Emblem Warriors (and a glimpse at 2018)
- Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake
What needs to be shown by Nintendo to win the show:
- Metroid (because why not?)
- Donkey Kong
- Switch VR with Virtual Boy games (I can dream, can’t I?)
- Monster Hunter 5
- Bayonetta 3
- Pokémon Eclipse (Stars)
Wii U ports that we can expect to be shown:
- Super Smash Bros. Deluxe
- Bayonetta 2
- Super Mario Maker Deluxe (and interested to see how it would work)
- Tokyo Mirage Sessions
- Paper Mario: Color Splash
Third-Party games made possible on Switch
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Rocket League
- Call Of Duty WWII
Even though the Nintendo Spotlight has not started, it is not to say that Nintendo has not been present. With pretty much a mention in each one of the conferences (except Sony of course) we have learned about the cross-console play on Minecraft (Microsoft Conference), Skyrim V supporting both amiibo and motion controls (Bethesda Conference), to Ubisoft unveiling Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and toys-to-life game Starlink: Battle for Atlas.
Nintendo now has the stage to themselves and the chance to walk away with their most important E3 win in years.
What are your thoughts on what games Nintendo needs to show to win E3?
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