It’s that time of year again, as game developers, journalists and publishers from all over the world get ready to travel to Los Angeles in California for E3 2017. It’s been a couple years since we last made predictions for E3, and a lot has happened since then. Just like last time, we’ll separate the big three console makers and even make another set of predictions for third parties specifically. Today’s focus will be on Nintendo, who has had an interesting last couple of years. The Wii U had been put to rest only to be succeeded by the more popular and recent Nintendo Switch. The 3DS family has been struggling with an identity crisis and is starting to show it’s limits. That being said, Nintendo is pretty notorious when it comes to keeping secrets for E3, and this year should be no different. We won’t mention stuff that has already been announced and shown (Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Super Mario Odyssey, etc), so they will be absent from this list. Without further delay, here are some predictions for what may be revealed during Nintendo’s E3 presentation and Treehouse Live stream.
1. A REAL Metroid Game
We made the prediction in 2015 that a new Metroid game would be announced at E3 2015. While we weren’t exactly wrong, fans were unfortunately disappointed with the announcement of Metroid Prime: Federation Force. While it wasn’t exactly a bad game, it wasn’t what fans of the series really wanted. The game was considered a failure, which while it hurts the hopes of a future game in the franchise, hopefully it made Nintendo realize what the fans really want. Retro Studios, developers of the original Metroid Prime series, have been working on a new title since finishing 2014’s Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
It’s been more than three years now, and it’s about time for Retro Studios to show off what they’ve been working on. Keep in mind, it’s entirely possible that their unknown project isn’t related to the Metroid series. There are several other developers that could produce a Metroid game, possibly even working with third party developers like Platinum Games or Treasure, the latter not having a game release since 2014 as well. Whatever the case, Nintendo knows fans want a new Metroid game, whether it be a side-scroller or a new first-person shooter. It would be a perfect game to hype up for new Switch owners, and it would give plenty of people a reason to purchase one as well. It would also be a nice ray of hope to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the series.
2. New Next Level Games Project
Next Level Games is quite a talented studio, having a pretty good track record of games. Most of their notable ones have been Nintendo games like Super Mario Strikers, Punch-Out!!, and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. They’re also the developers behind the previously mentioned Metroid Prime: Federation Force, which was a solid title in its own right, but as a Metroid title it was lacking. Even though that title came out about ten months ago, Next Level Games has been known to stay busy. Considering that they’ve partnered exclusively with Nintendo since 2014, it would be no surprise if the developer had something new to announce for the Nintendo Switch.
Now while the Nintendo Switch is the new hardware, the developer has a lot of experience with the Nintendo 3DS. Despite the age of the system, Nintendo is still committed to supporting the handheld with plenty of new titles on the horizon this year. With that being said, Nintendo may hold back a Nintendo Switch announcement and have Next Level Games surprise us with another Nintendo 3DS title for one of their iconic franchises. Perhaps the best candidate for this would be a new Punch-Out! game, which would feel right at home on the Nintendo 3DS, especially with the cel shaded style used in the Wii reboot. Arms is about to release on the Nintendo Switch, so it would be almost redundant to release a Switch Punch-Out! game, but on the 3DS, it would be a great eShop title. Little Mac doesn’t get a lot of spotlight, but since he was a popular newcomer in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to have a new game.
3. A New Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Title
While not exactly a AAA series, the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spin offs have been relatively successful for Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, and Spike Chunsoft. With ten titles currently released, the last one being 2015’s Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, it seems about time for a new entry, especially now that the Nintendo Switch is out in the wild. The series is mostly known as a handheld franchise, with the exception being the three WiiWare titles released only in Japan back in 2009. There have been two releases on the Nintendo 3DS, and while that would be an easy option for a sequel, the Switch makes more sense.
Nintendo wants to make sure the Switch builds a solid library, which while it takes time, they definitely don’t want to let opportunities slip away. Since the Switch is capable of being completely portable, it’s a perfect match for this series. Spike Chunsoft is constantly developing games, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to have a new Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game up their sleeves. It would also be a good way to take advantage of the new Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon additions. Add that to the high definition graphics capability and they could make an impressive looking title in the series.
4. Super Smash Bros. Deluxe
While there have been reported fake leaks of a Super Smash Bros. announcement for E3, it still makes perfect sense. Even when the Nintendo Switch was known as the NX, there have been heavy rumors that Namco Bandai had been working on a port of the Wii U version for Nintendo’s new platform. On top of that, given that Nintendo is releasing the “final” Super Smash Bros. line of amiibo in July, it would be about time to announce a “deluxe” Switch version. Much like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it could be a “greatest hits” version, maintaining all of the Wii U and 3DS content, but also adding more. Perhaps a brand new version could mean the return of cut characters like the Ice Climbers, or even brand new characters like the Splatoon Inkling.
The original release on Wii U and 3DS had quite a bit of added content post-launch, with new characters, stages, and even Mii costumes. It wouldn’t be unusual to see new content at launch like a Splatoon 2 stage, or more content based on new releases since then. Downloadable content for a Switch version, while possible, would likely take too many resources, so it would be smart for Nintendo to try and have all the planned content available for launch. Overall, this is probably a safe prediction, as Nintendo knows a lot of fans want a Switch version. Now the only hurdle to figure out is how a GameCube controller can be incorporated into the mix.
5. A Nintendo Switch Bundle
This would likely be a no-brainer, especially since other regions are already on track with this. It’s a bit of a strange decision that Nintendo launched the Switch without a game bundle like their previous two consoles. Perhaps it was to keep the cost of the product down for the consumer, but it’s clear that fans have no problem paying a little more for a bundle, especially when it comes with special edition hardware like the sold out Monster Hunter XX Switch bundle. Bundling the console with first party titles would be fairly easy too, as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been selling almost 1:1 with the console, and the other launch title 1-2 Switch still would work well as an included game.
It’s also possible that Nintendo is waiting to reveal a Splatoon 2 bundle to North America, as a bundle is already on the way to Europe and Japan, with special neon pink and green joy-cons to boot! Nintendo may even announce a Super Mario Odyssey bundle, especially given the large focus on the Italian plumbers latest foray at E3 this year. Nintendo Switch consoles may be flying off the shelf right now, but having a bundle wouldn’t exactly impact that pace any less.
6. A Third Party Switch Exclusive
Nintendo isn’t opposed to working with third parties, despite their history with them on their platforms. There have been several examples of Nintendo allowing use of their own characters in third party franchises like Dance Dance Revolution or even Monster Hunter. Given that they have close relationships with companies like Sega, Bandai Namco, and Capcom, it wouldn’t be unusual to see a new title coming from one of those companies developed exclusively for the console. Considering Capcom has already released Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers and they’re getting ready to release Monster Hunter XX – Nintendo Switch Ver., Capcom seems to be unlikely at this point (but still possible). We can always dream of a Nintendo Switch exclusive Mega Man title.
Sega is currently working on Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania for the Nintendo Switch, though not exclusively. Perhaps they might be willing to announce a new title for the Switch that will revive one of their classic franchises. Something like a new Skies of Arcadia or even a new Phantasy Star would be an amazing reveal for the platform. There is also the highly possible Bayonetta 3 that has been rumored to be exclusive to the Switch, assuming it’s already in development. Bandai Namco is always a wildcard as well, with iconic franchises like Tekken, Dark Souls, and the Tales series. They have Namco Museum to be shown at the show this year, which is a collection of retro classics. It is also the 20th anniversary of the SoulCalibur series, so a Nintendo Switch exclusive entry in the franchise might be an interesting announcement, perhaps bringing back Link, or another Nintendo character like Ike or Chrom from the Fire Emblem series. Either way, a third party partnership seems likely and hopefully we’ll see something to give more incentive for consumers to buy the Nintendo Switch.
7. Animal Crossing Mobile This Summer
This is probably the safest prediction on the list, as Animal Crossing Mobile is known to be in development. It was previously delayed to sometime between April 1st this year and March 31st, of next year. While the development is no secret, consumers still have no idea what to really expect of this title. Given that there have been two spin off titles for the franchise like Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival, the mobile game could easily stray from the traditional formula too. If it’s anything like the traditional game, it would surely be a popular game for consumers worldwide. Fire Emblem: Heroes continues to do well for Nintendo, and though not as profitable, Super Mario Run was downloaded by millions worldwide.
Now the real prediction here is that Nintendo will try to surprise fans by not only revealing the game for the first time, but also announcing a release date. They wouldn’t release it immediately, as their current mobile strategy involves asking for notifications of availability from the app stores. This means they will likely give it at least a week before releasing to the public. Honestly, the month of June seems like a prime time to release a new mobile game for them, especially given their original target was to have five mobile games by this time (they currently only have three). It’s very likely that Nintendo will use their presentation to discuss many things with the mobile gaming strategy, especially since phones will be involved in the use of the Nintendo Switch chat function. We may also get information on the hinted Legend of Zelda mobile game, but Animal Crossing will likely be the focus here.
8. Nintendo Switch Interface Update
While not exactly a prediction related to a specific game, it’s not a secret that the Nintendo Switch lacks some important interface details. The system recently had the ability to save credit card information on the Nintendo eShop and the system currently has a backdoor route to an internet browser. The system overall could use some big upgrades. The Nintendo eShop, while quick to load and navigate, lacks the presentation of the Wii U and 3DS eShops, and even lacks organization. It can be entirely possible to overlook titles on the eShop simply because it narrows things down to “Recent Releases”, “Best Sellers”, “Coming Soon”, and a search function. It would be great to have separate categories for things like demos, featured titles and potential sales. As of this writing, there are currently 55 titles on the Switch eShop (including the Arms Global Testpunch). It’s starting to get a little harder to keep track of games and unless the search filters are used, or specific games are selected, it’s entirely possible to not even know something is there (like the Disgaea 5 Complete demo).
The eShop isn’t the only feature that can use an update either. The interface of the Switch, while clean and accessible, lacks other details too, like other themes outside of the basic black and white backgrounds. A more detailed activity tracker would be appreciated too, as the Wii U and 3DS had these features from day one, and fans worldwide are still upset that they don’t have an accurate number for how many hours they’ve put into Breath of the Wild. Other features like video apps, a dedicated internet browser, and other entertainment applications are also ripe for potential here. Then there is the obvious Virtual Console, which Nintendo has said is in development for the Nintendo Switch. Hopefully E3 can help shed some light on some of these upcoming and expected features.
Surely Nintendo has a lot of surprises in store for their E3 presentation, and these predictions all feel pretty likely. Think we missed something? Feel free to sound off in the comments and make your own predictions. Nintendo will have their online presentation on Tuesday, June 13th at 9:00AM PST, so we’ll know soon enough. Tune in tomorrow when we spotlight Sony with our PlayStation predictions.