Much like last year, Nintendo has a lot to prove going into their E3 Digital Event this year. The Wii U is still very much at a disadvantage against Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, though sales have picked up in the last week and a half, thanks to Mario Kart 8's stellar debut. But can they sustain the momentum they seem to have picked up for the time being?
Though Nintendo already has some solid games to show off that we already know about, they're going to need to pull out more surprises to really pull off a successful show. Now is the time to show gamers why they need to own a Wii U as well as a reason to continue looking forward to its future. In some respects, this could be the Wii U's last big chance at turning things around, so Nintendo needs to go all out. Thankfully, that's exactly what it looks like they're primed to do this year, if early reports are anything to go by.
With that said, here's a look at what we can expect to see from Nintendo going in, and what we predict from their Digital Event tomorrow.
Final details on Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, at least 3-4 more characters revealed
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U has been a long time coming, but we recently got launch windows for both games. Expect to hear a specific release date, mostly for the 3DS version with a vague launch month for the Wii U version this Fall (likely November). We'll also likely get a few more character reveals (at least 2-3) in addition to reveals of new modes and such.
Unveiling of Zelda Wii U
Mainline console Zelda titles are, in many respects, one of the biggest events for Nintendo fans; they're equal (if not greater) in importance to mainline Mario titles. A demo was shown off for what the Wii U version of Zelda could look like at E3 2011, but now we'll finally get our first look at the next entry in the series at this E3 according to producer Eiji Aonuma. What time period will it be set in? What will its visual style look like? And what key gameplay mechanic will it introduce? We'll most likely find all of this out, along with the first teaser trailer for the game.
First details on games to use NFC on Wii U
What exactly is NFC? It's been a year and a half since the Wii U launched and we still don't have anything that makes use of this tech on the Wii U Gamepad, save for Pokemon Rumble U on the eShop (which hardly made a splash when it debuted last summer). Reportedly, this year's E3 will be the first in which Nintendo really goes all-out in an attempt to capitalize on at least one or more games that will make use of NFC capabilities; we've already heard that Skylanders-like Nintendo figurines are on the way that will give certain bonuses to characters throughout different games, so might we see an actual Skylanders-like game featuring Nintendo characters as well? We'll see.
Details on X, Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, and possibly Yarn Yoshi
If Monolith Soft's Xenoblade followup X does indeed release before the end of this year as planned, it would give Nintendo four solid first-party Wii U titles this Fall. Bayonetta 2 is already confirmed for release this year, as is Hyrule Warriors (which is already set for August in Japan). The real question is whether Yarn Yoshi will see release. We'll possibly get a trailer for it, but between the game not appearing on Nintendo's fiscal report for this year and the four other games already releasing, it's highly possible Yarn Yoshi will be moved to an early 2015 release, much like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was last Fall. Still, it's possible we might see it if Nintendo wants a deluge of games and to go big with Wii U in combination with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
90 Minute Presentation on a Brand New, Unannounced 3DS Game
We're scratching our heads on this one. Nintendo has revealed ahead of time that there will be a 90 minute presentation on a previously unannounced 3DS title, but what in the world could it be? The only thing that comes close in importance for having a presentation of that length would be Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, but alas, we already know about that game.
Whatever it is, it's bound to be big, or otherwise Nintendo wouldn't dedicate so much time to it. The length of 90 minutes seems to indicate that they're using this time as an education process, not just to showcase your standard game that looks cool; there's something here that will likely feature new technology and require extensive explanation, and I can't wait to find out more about it.
Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney
This little jewel of a title has gone missing for so long in North America, even though it's been released in Japan for some time now. With Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy translated and released, I have a feeling that we'll finally see the good professor and Phoenix Wright finally take center stage, with an announcement of a fall release on 3DS.
Majora's Mask 3D
Beyond Smash Bros. and the Pokemon remakes, we really have no idea what else is in store for 3DS in the Fall. With A Link Between Worlds having released last year, Hyrule Warriors releasing on Wii U, and Zelda Wii U releasing possibly as soon as next year, now would be a great time to capitalize on Zelda hype by releasing the next major remake: Majora's Mask.
Possible IP revival
I don't know why, but this feels like a year where we'll finally see at least one IP revival, whether it be F-Zero, Star Fox, or something else. The time just feels right; make it happen, Nintendo!
Mario Spin-off Title
There usually ends up being more than one Mario spin-off game, whether it be Mario Party, a Mario sports title, Fortune Street, or something else in the Fall. Smash Bros. doesn't quite count as that, even if it does have at least 5 Mario characters in it, so my bet is we'll see at least one Mario spin-off announced. It won't be a huge title, but enough to pad out the release schedule a bit. My guess? Next Level Games is due to announce something within the next half-year, likely, and it's been an awful long time since we last had a Mario Strikers game. Or, perhaps we'll finally be seeing another Mario Super Sluggers game.
And that sums up my thoughts as to what we know and what we may see. Whatever happens, this is bound to be a big E3 for Nintendo based on the Zelda reveal alone.
What do you think will be shown off in Nintendo's Digital Event? Let us know in the comments below!