What does Nintendo have in store for us this year?
Last year’s E3 was huge for Nintendo. Not only did Nintendo show off for the first time a brand new 3D Mario game for the 3DS, but they also introduced their Wii successor: the Wii U. A lot has happened since last E3, including the massive 3DS price drop and the release of five – yup, FIVE – new Mario-related titles, with 3 more expected to launch this year. But enough of last year. This year, Nintendo is planning to pull the cover off of the Wii U and show the world the what their next-gen HD gaming console is capable of. But that’s not all Nintendo has to do; they also have to keep the momentum going with their 3DS handheld console. What are they going to announce? What’s going to be on the show floor? Who else besides Nintendo is going to show up? Well luckily for you, I’ve come from the future, and I’m here to tell you what Nintendo did at E3 2012!
Okay fine, I’m not from the future. But still, there are so many things I want Nintendo to do and hope they will do it! My predictions aren’t exactly the most predictable ones; I like making crazy predictions and then boast in glory when they actually come true. So, without further ado… ON TO THE PREDICTIONS!
1. Nintendo is going to demo their “Mii-related” pack-in game for the Wii U.
Nintendo may not want to reveal the price of the Wii U quite yet, but they sure as hell want to reveal its value! Part of the success with the Wii was its Wii Sports pack-in. Not only was Wii Sports a great game, it was the game to own on the system! It both emphasized family-friendly gameplay and showed off what the system was capable of. If Nintendo has learned anything from the Wii U launch, it would be that the Wii U needs a great pack-in at launch. Wii U Play, maybe? Or maybe Chase Mii and Battle Mii built into the system? Get my drift, Nintendo?
2. Nintendo is going to reveal a new Zelda game.
I know what you’re thinking. “What? A new Zelda game? But we just had one last year!” Don’t fret, my friends. A “reveal” doesn’t mean “show me gameplay”. Heck, Skyward Sword’s reveal was just a poster! With Skyward Sword out and Miyamoto promising “no more 5 years of development for Zelda”, I’m willing to bet a reveal is being planned for E3. A 3D Zelda. No, not 3D in a spatial sense. 3D as in stereostopic 3D. Yup, that’s right. Nintendo is going to announce a Zelda game for the 3DS at E3 this year!
3. Nintendo is going to announce cross-connectivity with NSMB2.
Two NSMB games in one year is ridiculous. It’s like having two different versions of Call of Duty in the same year! Why in the world is Nintendo doing it? Easy: Wii U and 3DS connectivity. Imagine, creating your own user levels on the 3DS and porting it onto the Wii U. Or taking NSMB2 on the go and uploading your data to the big screen. Sounds pretty cool, right? As of now, cross-connectivity has only been confirmed for Smash Bros. 4, which just started development. If Nintendo wants a quick proof of concept, cross-connectivity with NSMB2 and the Wii U’s NSMB (which is likely to be NSMB2) is the way to go.
4. Nintendo is going to reveal a new I.P. geared toward the “hardcore”.
Nintendo? New I.P.? What? Yeah, I know. If you ignore Rhythm Heaven, Steel Diver, Brain Age, the Wii series of games, Nintendogs, Animal Crossing, those three Rainfall games, and every other franchise that people like to pretend never existed, the last great Nintendo I.P. was Pikmin, which is already seeing its third iteration here on the Wii U. Nintendo has to step up its game! All joking aside, *ahem* with Miyamoto confirmed to be working on several new I.P.’s, there’s got to be something cooking for E3. Perhaps we’ll see finally see what Nintendo’s been doing for the past year or so at E3. No wait… we WILL see it at E3! Oh, and one more thing. One of them is going to be a shooter. Because “shooter” is always synonymous with “hardcore” (hint: I was being sarcastic).
5. Nintendo is going to change the name of the Wii U.
I know a lot of people are torn on this issue, but I firmly believe in what I believe. The name “Wii U” makes no sense to anyone. To the casual audience, Wii U is just another Wii add-on. To the hardcore, Wii U represents just another casual console, mostly because we related the name “Wii” to the term casual. To the cascore (the audience in the middle where I fall in), Wii U means absolutely nothing. So why keep the name? Sure, the 3DS suffered through the same dilemma, but at least that name made some sense. Heck, even Reggie wasn’t even sure what the “U” stood for! Utopian? Universal? Unity? Reggie, just shut up! Wii U needs a name change, and it’ll get one at E3.
And yes, I know. Nintendo’s already started a “Wii U” Facebook page and a Wii U ad campaign, so the chances of a name change is relatively slim, but I’m still going to hope… I still think Nintendo will change the name.
6. Nintendo is going to detail Nintendo Network.
Nintendo announced its “competitor” with PSN and XBL in a financial briefing early this year. But since then, we’ve heard very little of the Nintendo Network. Now is the time to shine. Nintendo needs to prove that they can stay connected and keep up with their competitors after years of lagging behind. Nintendo needs to prove that they can integrate games and features into the Network day one. But above all, they need to innovate. The world of online is still very open and Nintendo has the chance to not only catch up to the competition, but also get ahead. Get ahead on MMO networking. Get ahead on online boards and lobbies. Make new features, and give them a Nintendo twist. Then we’ll see what Sony and Microsoft have to say.
7. Nintendo is going to explain connectivity in Animal Crossing.
The next major first-party game to launch is Animal Crossing for 3DS. Slated for release in 2012 in Japan (and surely in America as well), Animal Crossing 3DS will help Nintendo detail their plan for Nintendo Network on their handheld. We all know that Animal Crossing has always been about connectivity, and with NN launching soon, it’s the perfect time to talk about AC’s new features. Item trading? Online lobbies? DLC? It’s Nintendo’s time to shine and prove to everyone that Nintendo can continue to stay connected, even in the handheld market.
8. Nintendo is going to detail built-in Wii U software.
How will Nintendo appeal to the “casual” audience? It seems that they’re trying too hard to appease the core audience and leaving their casual friends who fell in love with the Wii behind. What can Nintendo do about it? It’s simple: make the Wii U an entertainment device, the ultimate Nintendo entertainment system. Add ESPN, add Skype, add Facebook, add Youtube… the Wii U has the ability to be an entertainment hub and not just a game station. If Nintendo wants to attract everyone, they need to confirm that these applications will be on the Wii U day one.
Well, that’s it for predictions! Check back next Friday for one more thing to think about before E3 2012! Trust me, you won’t want to miss it. Meanwhile, why don’t you guys tell me what you expect to see at E3 this year? Do you agree with my predictions? Or are they too crazy to ever be true? Sound off in the comments below!