E3 Predictions: Nintendo

by Sage Ashford

Finally, we come to the Nintendo portion of E3. Though recently companies have started branching out from only doing their shows on Monday, choosing to appear on Saturdays and Sundays instead, Nintendo has been ahead of the pack in that respect for years by doing their Nintendo Direct shows on Tuesdays. We’ve already got the date–this year’s E3 Direct will be on June 11th, starting at 9AM Pacific, 12PM Eastern. Now let’s get into what’s likely to make an appearance there.  Let’s keep in mind that Nintendo will have already aired a Pokemon Direct starring Pokemon Sword and Shield information, so while the game is likely to be present here, it’ll be to a far more diminished extent, while the company focuses on other titles.
First Party

Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: Easily the biggest surprise coming from the last “general” Direct we got, Nintendo’s Link’s Awakening remake will be one of the strongest titles for the company when it drops this fall. It’s not only a beautiful title in its own right, but it’s got the benefit of appealing to the nostalgia for millions of people worldwide who played the original Game Boy title.  Expect an extended gameplay look, and a release date.

Animal Crossing Switch: Hotly anticipated, the people in charge of Animal Crossing have been teasing Nintendo Switch owners for a while now. First they released the Animal Crossing mobile game.  Then they brought Isabelle to Super Smash Bros Ultimate.    Supposedly Animal Crossing is scheduled for 2019.  If that’s the case, with Pokemon out of the way by then I’d expect this to get the majority of the focus like Smash did last year (though hopefully to a far lesser extent).   It’ll also likely come out in December of 2019, becoming that holiday game that will be almost impossible to get a hold of during Christmas time.

Luigi’s Mansion 3: Everyone’s favorite scary ghostbuster is back.  They didn’t give us terribly much of Luigi’s Mansion 3 in this trailer, but if this game is scheduled for 2019 it’s almost a given we’ll finally get the game’s real title, more game play, and learning when this actually comes out.  If it’s not coming out in October alongside the 3DS game, I’ll be disappointed.

Town: Town was announced during the Fall Direct last year, and it’s something of a weird project. It was started so that developers at Game Freak could acclimate themselves to HD projects…but it’s probably going to release around the same time as Pokemon Sword and Shield, which is an HD project itself.  Still, it’s good that Game Freak gets to be more than just a Pokemon Factory.

New Smash Bros Character: We’re about due for a new Super Smash Bros DLC character.  Though it’s hard to imagine who they might use the game, I will say I wouldn’t be surprised if they went for a bit of cross-brand synergy and snuck a Dragon Quest XI character in.
Wii U Ports:  There’s still a few remaining Wii U games which could stand to be brought over at this point. Super Mario 3D World, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, and (most importantly) Xenoblade Chronicles X are just a few of the Wii U’s titles which could be brought over with no issue.  At this point Nintendo’s not having much of a problem filling out their release schedule, but it still wouldn’t be surprising if they announced one or two more ports to make sure all of their games get the love they deserve.  If I had to guess, I’d say Super Mario 3D World would be the front-runner candidate, allowing the Mario teams a bit more time to work on their next titles.
However, in the other direction, it’s possible if no ports are announced here that Nintendo’s done with that section of things for now, which would leave a few great titles trapped on their Wii U.  Hopefully that won’t be the case.
As frustrating as it might be for some people, the reality is there’s not much need for Nintendo to unveil more first party games than we’re already aware of. Between Pokemon, Animal Crossing, and Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, they’re stacked in a way most of their competitors could only dream of for this holiday. It’s very likely we’ll get at least one new game announced, but if they didn’t we’ve still got enough to see titles from them for the remainder of the year. If anything, I’d pull for something from Monolith Software–they’ve been consistent about releasing a title every two years lately.  Their next couple titles seem to be planned out and probably aren’t ready, but I wouldn’t discount them porting Xenoblade Chronicles X over to calm their fans for another year.
Third Party

Bayonetta 3: It’s about time for an update for this game.  It premiered at The Game Awards two years ago, and no one’s said anything concerning the title since. Presumably they were just trying to stir up excitement for the Nintendo Switch going into 2018, but even taking that into account it’s still weird we’ve seen nothing about this new title.  I’d expect a trailer similar to what we got for Astral Chain, with a loose release date of 2020.

Astral Chain: One of the bigger surprises to come out of Nintendo’s last Direct, Astral Chain is still mostly a mystery.  We understand the world–cops with special powers battling against monsters by using summons that are basically the Stands from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. But we have no understanding of the characters or the city we’re meant to explore.  Is it an open world or stage based?  What are the other cops like?  How is progression handled?  There’s a lot of questions remaining for a game which is supposedly coming out in three months.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: There’s a rumor going around that CD Projekt RED will be porting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt over to the Nintendo Switch. Considering the Switch’s existing base and their tendency to double-dip, buying titles they already have, I wouldn’t be surprised to find see this happen at all.  In fact, I’d be more shocked if they didn’t also bring over Gwent and Thronebreaker to the Switch as well.

Daemon x Machina: This was a surprise reveal at Nintendo’s last E3, which was decidedly lackluster in terms of new titles.  The game is being made by the producer of the Armored Core series, and boasts designs by Macross creator Shoji Kawamori, essentially turning this into a dream title for every mecha fanboy and girl out there.  The game is supposed to come out sometime this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets pegged to be apart of the August/September crowd of games, releasing before the big guns drop during the remainder of the year.

Shin Megami Tensei V: This game’s been missing from the line-up for quite some time.  Now to be fair, Atlus takes a long time developing HD titles since they aren’t really a large company…but it was also mentioned for the first time in 2017, and it’s been two years since then.  With many of their larger games either already out or coming out soon, it’s not unreasonable to expect an update on this title, if not a full-on release date.

Dragon Quest XI S: It seems like Switch fans have been waiting forever, but Nintendo’s finally managed to get the latest Dragon Quest onto their system. And it’s quite the upgrade, even from what was already an upgraded game in the Western localization. It has fully orchestrated music, the ability to switch between English and Japanese audio, and the ability to switch to a 2D 8-bit graphics option.  And all of that’s without mentioning the added new stories for the lead character’s other party members.   There shouldn’t be too much of a focus on this, but since this version is such an improvement, it’s more likely the game will appear here over even Square’s own E3 conference the day before.
And that’s it, everyone! By the end of this 30-45 minute Direct, the “revealing new games” portion of E3 will be pretty much over. Still, that won’t mean it’s over–we’ll be following up with all the in-depth gameplay, and of course we’ll be doing post-conference reports to talk about how everyone did.

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