It’s that time of year, folks. E3 is less than three months away, and casting speculation about the big show is all the trend. Earlier this week, Nerd Much? covered some of our E3 2017 predictions from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Bethesda and Ubisoft.
Every week leading up to this year’s show, we’ll be taking an even closer look at each publisher and game developer, taking a fine-toothed comb and a giant microscope to each.
But today, we’re going to take a closer look at what we can expect (and hope) from Nintendo at E3 2017:
To Direct, or Not to Direct? That is the Question
We still don’t know at this point whether Nintendo plans to go back to their roots and deliver a press conference type event this year. That didn’t seem to go too well for them in January, so they may shy away from the idea. But E3 2017 could be a huge opportunity for the company to drive home exactly why you need a Nintendo Switch. If they instead opt to deliver a pre-canned Nintendo Direct, it may not pack the punch they need to drive excitement for their console/portable hybrid. Either way, we should have an answer on that front soon.
We do, however, know that Nintendo has reserved a huge amount of space on the E3 show floor. So what are they planning to do with it? My guess? They turn it into a Mario based world. Because, for now at least, the second half of 2017 has one title at its forefront.
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Super Mario Odyssey
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first: Super Mario Odyssey is going to be a big deal for Nintendo this year. Already announced for Holiday 2017, Mario’s 3D return to form will be front and center on the show floor.
Expect much of Nintendo’s floorspace to replicate the worlds of Super Mario Odyssey. Those behind the scenes last year did an incredible job of transporting attendees to the land of Hyrule. This year, maybe we travel to New Donk City? Or even a couple other of the not yet named areas. Regardless, you won’t be able to escape Mario.
The Wii U was on its deathbed last E3. The writing was on the wall. So Nintendo relied heavily on the last big gun that was Breath of the Wild. And it worked out amazingly well. That can’t happen this year though. Nintendo has to prove their new $300 console is a must have. And there’s a bunch of different ways they can justify that.
The Nintendo Switch Online Service
I’m not going to begin to try and predict what Nintendo is going to do with this huge aspect of their console. They’re likely to disappoint us if their track record holds true. But let’s set pessimism aside for a moment and layout what I hope they do.
The Nintendo Switch Online Service will be a prominent portion of your Nintendo Switch in the future, as all online aspects of consoles are. The service launches later this year, and thus will likely be detailed during Nintendo’s E3 presentation. The problem is, we really don’t know anything about it. And Nintendo being Nintendo – that thought is scary.
Officially, the premium Nintendo Switch Online Service will feature “online gameplay, online lobby & voice chat app, exclusive deals and a monthly game download.” Those first two components are things that the PlayStation and Xbox consoles already do very well. It’s unlikely that Nintendo will be able to match them out of the gate. That’s why the “exclusive deals and a monthly game download” is so important to nail. It’s right here where Nintendo can garner excitement.
Both PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold offer free game downloads each month. Nintendo offering one up as well isn’t anything impressive. And now, with the reveal of the Xbox Game Pass, it’s even less so. We do know that Nintendo isn’t going to charge near the same amount as Sony and Microsoft for their yearly subscriptions. But that doesn’t mean they should skimp.
So much good will could be earned if Nintendo does free games and deals right. Give us the free game a month — even though it’s likely to be a game people have purchased on the Virtual Console twice before. But on top of that, make your “exclusive deals” mean something. Give premium members discounts on DLC. Severely cut Virtual Console game prices. Hell, let My Nintendo users actually keep the rights to the Virtual Console games they buy in the future. That would be huge! Which leads me to…
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The New Virtual Console
Featuring the Nintendo Gamecube! Nintendo Wii and Wii U games aren’t likely to happen on the Switch. While the Switch has a touchscreen, it’s a buried feature – and impossible to use when docked. But the Gamecube? That’s ripe for the picking.
There’s a colossal amount of nostalgia behind the Gamecube. It was Nintendo’s last console hoorah before moving over to the waggle-fest of the Wii. Rumors were everywhere before the Nintendo Switch’s public unveiling that Gamecube games were poised to be announced. Obviously it didn’t happen, but E3 is the prime place for it to be showcased now.
Eurogamer, which nailed many Switch leaks, reported that Super Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Luigi’s Mansion were ready and playable on Switch months ago. It’s unclear why Nintendo didn’t have the Virtual Console ready for the console’s launch. But theoretically, it should be ready to roll by June.
If Nintendo could pair a favorable Online Service offering with a robust Virtual Console service, the results could be epic to say the least. Just imagine how many Switches would instantly turn on around the world if Nintendo said the words “and they’re available right now” at the end of their presentation.
Since 2008’s Animal Crossing: City Folk on the Wii, we’ve yet to get another console entry in the series. The 3Ds’ New Leaf did really well, but again, that was released nearly five years ago. Animal Crossing seems poised to return to the fray – and now seems to be the perfect time.
Nintendo has confirmed that an Animal Crossing mobile title is coming to iOS and Android at some point this year. With the release of Fire Emblem Heroes on smartphones, Nintendo had a jumping point to bring the series to casual players and then announced a plethora of new games to accompany it. They could do the same for the Animal Crossing series. But instead of 3 new titles, they only need one.
You see, Animal Crossing is a near perfect title for the Nintendo Switch. At home, you can run around and venture through your town and it’s people at your leisure. On the go, it’s a great game to quickly turn on and burn a few minutes here and there with. If Nintendo somehow interconneted the smartphone and Switch iterations of the game and cross-marketed them, it could generate a new level of buzz for the series.
Really, it’s not a question of if we’ll be seeing Animal Crossing, but when. Hopefully “when” will be this June.
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Breath of the Wild DLC Details
I can’t remember the last time – if any – a game has been so heavily discussed as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s a really special piece of software, one that will be in our gaming lexicon for years. It’s been out for three weeks now, but people are still sharing little tidbits about how their adventures vary so differently.
So, come three months from now, can Nintendo still get people excited about our Hylian Hero? Sure, easily. By showing us why we should be looking forward to the DLC Nintendo has planned for the game. We know that the first DLC drop comes in the summer and includes Hard Mode, the Cave of Trials and a new map feature. But the second DLC is what could get people excited.
This “Holiday”, we’ll get a “new original story”, a “new dungeon”, and “additional challenges.” It all sounds vague at this point. But people are calling Breath of the Wild one of the best games ever made. Surely Nintendo wouldn’t put out mediocre DLC for such a coveted title? It has to feel like an event, and not cash grabbing tack on. And there’s no better time to show that off than when you’re trying to sell your Switch to the world during E3.
Finally, and the Nerd Much? Staff already touched upon this, but yeah — Metroid. For the last few years, the series’ presence was a hope at each E3. And each year we continue to walk about disappointed.
Metroid: Other M released in August of 2010. That’s seven years for those of you math deficient folks. If you want to talk the Prime series, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption launched in 2007. That’s ten years. And no, Federation Force does not count.
Sure, Metroid doesn’t sell a ton of systems, but it is a game that will shout to Nintendo’s hardcore fan base (much like Breath of the Wild did) that Nintendo is making games for you too. Zelda is doing an incredible job of luring the hardcore back. Now, bring us a new Metroid to drive that point home. Now is the time for an exciting reveal — even if, like Zelda, we have to wait two plus years to actually get the game. At least the wait would be worth it.
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