Nintendo has had great success with the 3DS, but it has dug itself in a little bit of a hole with its Wii U console. By releasing the console a year earlier than the PS4 and Xbox One, it gave Nintendo fans the first chance to have a “next-gen” console. However, it gave Sony and Microsoft a year to release a console with better hardware than Nintendo, giving them the edge with the games they can handle.
Third-party companies started pushing their new titles to the limit with the new upgraded consoles. The new console generation introduced the possibility of 1080p graphics and 60 frames per second gaming, as well as massive worlds and incredibly detailed environments. The problem for Nintendo was that the Wii U could not handle the vision of games like Batman: Arkham Knight or Assassin’s Creed Unity. Because of this, developers had two options: create two versions of the game, or stick with the version originally desired. All of the developers have chosen the latter, removing possible depth in the Wii U’s library. This leads to E3 2015.
Two of the most successful titles for the Wii U so far have been Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros., which have helped the Wii U’s sales over the last year. Now that the two titles have launched, fans are worried that the Wii U is going to be bare with games that bring fresh ideas to the console, as opposed to another Mario title. Nintendo has shown us that there is a chance with Splatoon, but can it continue the trend at E3?
Games in Development
Nintendo has three big titles slated for a 2015 release: Star Fox (a reimagining of the Nintendo 64 title), Mario Maker (a Super Mario Bros level editor), and Yoshi’s Woolly World (a 2D platformer with everything made of yarn). Hopefully at E3 we will see more features of Mario Maker, like how smooth the editing is and how community sharing of levels will work. Even though it has been a while since we have seen a Star Fox or Yoshi title, Nintendo still needs to prove that their respective 2015 Wii U games are a breath of fresh air in these legacies instead of more of the same.
Looking at the 3DS, there is the recently announced Hyrule Warriors 3DS, a handheld version of the Wii U title released about a year ago; JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game) crossover Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem; and a new Ace Attorney title in the works. Recently, the 3DS has been given ports of Japanese games or handheld versions of other games. I hope to see more Nintendo-developed titles announced for the 3DS.
What is NOT Being Discussed
Even though fans are chomping at the bit to learn about the new open-world Legend of Zelda, Nintendo has stated that it will not be shown at their conference next week. Instead of creating an E3 demo, which takes a lot away from the development process, Nintendo decided to focus on the development of the game to ensure that there will be no further delays after being pushed into 2016.
Another hot topic for Nintendo has been the mysterious NX console. Because of the problems with the Wii U, Nintendo announced the new console to hopefully become the top dog again. Not knowing whether or not this will shift focus away from the Wii U, Nintendo has decided to stick with just talking about the console that is already out.
Along with the NX console, Nintendo has also announced that it will be making smartphone games as of next year. Since their console games have not been making a lot of profits for them, this is a great move. Whether or not they go with a free-to-play model, this will help Nintendo stay a successful game company.
One of the franchises that has been the most successful for Nintendo is Pokémon. Last year Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were released for the 3DS, which were remakes of the Game Boy Advance Ruby and Sapphire versions. This included graphical enhancements, as well as including the new Pokémon that have been introduced since the games release in 2003. Hopefully, this year fans will get another original title, including even more new Pokémon and mega-evolutions.
Over the last few months, Nintendo has been supportive of games already on consoles with DLC, for games like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon. Since Nintendo had fans nominate which characters they want to see announced for Smash Bros, I expect there to be some choices of new characters based on the nominations (I’m crossing my fingers for Waluigi). There is also a strong possibility for more Mario Kart tracks and Splatoon maps/weapons.
There are two franchises that have not seen a new game in a while: F-Zero and Metroid. Fans have been vocal about these franchises getting a Wii U game over the last few weeks, and if Nintendo listened, we’ll definitely be seeing a new Metroid to help out console sales. As much as a new F-Zero entry would be great, I can see an F-Zero expansion to Mario Kart 8 with characters like Captain Falcon, and perhaps a 300CC mode for even faster racing than the already ridiculous 200CC.
It would be great to see new IPs from Nintendo so fans see depth in the Wii U library. Also, it is interesting to see how much more Nintendo is going to expand the Amiibo figures, with titles like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon being released in the fall. In the end, all I can hope for is a Waluigi game.