E3 2014 – Nintendo

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Current Gaming
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E3 Nintendo

We’re a week away from what those of us in the gaming industry wait for each year. E3! This week, I’ll be posting a blog for each of the “Big 3,” detailing what I feel they need to do and what I think they may do. This is all pure speculation and it will be interesting to see just how far off I was once E3 has concluded.

Just like last year, Nintendo is going to skip the traditional press conference in favor of a Nintendo Direct type event. Strategically, I don’t have a problem with this move. These have worked well for Nintendo and it does allow them to have everything prepared before hand, sparing themselves any glitches or embarrassments (if only they could have focus group tested that Wii Music demo…). Personally, however, I dislike this idea. I like seeing and hearing the excitement of the audience as new games are revealed. I still would have loved to see how an E3 audience would have reacted to last years Mega Man in Smash Brothers announcement (hard to believe that was a year ago).

Like Sony, there are two fronts to Nintendo’s digital presentation, and I think they’re approach to each will be drastically different.

3DS
Honestly, I don’t think that Nintendo needs to do too much in regards to the 3DS. Obviously, new games will be announced, but the system is a beast, even if it isn’t matching the DS in sales. I’m certain we’ll see more gameplay from the recently announced Pokemon Sapphire and Ruby remakes, not to mention the 3DS Smash Brothers entry, and we’ll probably be getting a new game from Nintendo’s stable of core franchises. I think that overall though, Nintendo is going to shine more light on 3rd party entries for the 3DS. The system has a strong library and Nintendo has to be focusing quite a bit on the WiiU at the moment. It’s the perfect climate for them to step back on their first party announcements and allow the 3rd parties to take center stage. Not only will this allow Nintendo to showcase the variety of games the 3DS is receiving, but will also build goodwill with 3rd party developers, which is always a positive. I’m not normally a fan of the status quo, but in this case, I think Nintendo can afford to cruise just a bit.

Heaven only knows how huge this title will be on the 3DS.

Heaven only knows how huge this title will be on the 3DS.

WiiU
Yeah…the WiiU. The good news here is that I think Nintendo has finally admitted to themselves that the WiiU just isn’t going to perform as they had once hoped. This is a good thing. Now, what they have to do is give consumers a reason to come back to the WiiU, or consider it at all, in order to make the system a viable 2nd console (I just believe that the chances of it being an alternative to the PS4 or Xbox One are nil). That starts and ends with games, of which Mario Kart 8 is the first of their big pushes. For their digital presentation, they need to pull out all the stops. Throw everything against the wall and hope that something sticks. I’ve written before that Nintendo will not win this generation, but that they can be respectable. This is the time to take that step towards respectability.

We’re going to see Smash Brothers videos, that’s a given. I suspect that we’ll also see some focus on Watch Dogs (even though it’s already out for the Xbox One and PS4) and Bayonetta 2. An announcement of a port of Bayonetta isn’t totally out of the question either, given that the sequel is a WiiU exclusive. There is also the next Sonic title, which I believe will receive some attention. Ultimately though, I think that they need to take the opposite approach with the WiiU than what I suggested they take with the 3DS. 3rd parties have ditched the WiiU, by and large. If this system is going to sell, it’s going to be Nintendo made games that sell it. I believe they need to give a release date for Monolith Soft’s X, preferably for year end. I also feel that they must showcase the next console Zelda title in some capacity. Zelda will move consoles, so the sooner the better for Nintendo. On top of that, we need more info on the mysterious Yarn Yoshi game we were shown some time ago. Is it even still in development? I feel that in addition to those moves, they also need to have something else on hand that we haven’t heard about. Some game or games that will leave us dying to know more. Think the Other M or Twilight Princess reveal.

I so hope the next Zelda is in this art style.

I so hope the next Zelda is in this art style.

Nintendo is well known for keeping their secrets close to the vest, but this is not the time for that. Let people know what’s in development, even if all that’s available for showing is concept art. People need to be reassured that more games are coming to this system, and giving them a rough idea of what’s being worked on would accomplish just that. Imagine seeing some concept art for a new console Metroid title, or Star Fox, or Kid Icarus…or all three. Just knowing that new, big name titles are in development would add value to the WiiU system. At this point, they need to make the WiiU appear as valuable as possible.

Thoughts & Predictions

  • 3rd Party showcase for the 3DS
  • 3DS Smash Brothers video(s)
  • New side-scrolling Metroid title for the 3DS
    • I’d prefer this on the WiiU, but given the side-scrolling revival we’ve seen in recent years, I think this is distinctly possible
  • More systems arriving on the 3DS Virtual Console
  • Strong first party push for the WiiU
  • No less than 3 “big name” first party titles coming to WiiU
    • Going out on a limb, I’m thinking Star Fox will be among those, utilizing gyroscopic GamePad control option
  • New WiiU Zelda video
  • Monolith Soft’s X out by year end
  • Yarn Yoshi out by year end or cancelled
I just can't believe Yarn Yoshi would be cancelled after this DLC for Lost World.

I just can’t believe Yarn Yoshi would be cancelled after this DLC for Lost World.

We’ll revisit these after E3 has concluded to see just how badly I missed the mark. I suspect I will have been way, way off. 😉

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