Round Table: Exceeding Expectations?

With just a day before Nintendo’s E3 event, we discuss what they might offer up.

By Greg Wampler. Posted 06/06/2011 15:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

Exceeding Expectations? Round table masthead

This year’s E3 Nintendo conference is setting up to be a big one. Following on from a high last year with the unveiling of the company’s latest handheld, Nintendo’s fortunes have somewhat slumped with few killer products in the last twelve months and a less than successful launch of its pricey 3DS. E3 2010 proved that you can win the conference but lose the battle as consumers were far from engaged with Nintendo’s recent offerings. However, a new E3 is a fresh attempt to gain the interest of the industry and what better to draw them in their hoards than the revealing of a brand new home console, completely with yet another revolutionary controller?

So what exactly will Nintendo’s E3 2011 conference hold? Will it better last year? Will it amaze us with a plethora of new titles (that might actually come out this year) and a revolutionary piece of hardware that puts even Wii to shame? You’ve already read up on what the experts have to say so with only a day until we find out all the answers, the staff came together to discuss our expectations for Nintendo’s conference tomorrow.


Andy Hoover

Wii 2, or whatever you want to call it, will undoubtedly steal the show this year assuming Sony or Microsoft don’t come out of left field with a brand new system, which is highly unlikely for the next few years. What we end up seeing will be determined by how far out the console actually is; if they are aiming for late 2012 then we might only see the hardware revealed with a couples of games previewed and nothing more. However, if they are planning for a March release like they did with 3DS, then expect a massive display of games. And to be honest, I think a Spring release is just as likely as a holiday launch.

Kid Icarus: Uprising screen
Wow, remember how amazing the new Kid Icarus game looked? Where did it disappear to then?

Just as big a portion of the show will be devoted to 3DS; most developers who pledged support for the system have yet to show their cards so I think we will see plenty of software shown off. Nintendo will probably have Kid Icarus: Uprising and Mario Kart 3DS on display with ship dates in time for the holidays while another title or two, possibly an Animal Crossing game, will be joining them. In keeping with their promise to better support third parties, Nintendo will give them plenty of time to show off updates of previously announced titles, Kingdom Hearts 3D and Metal Gear Solid 3D perhaps, as well some major announcements. Oh, and let’s not forget that the eShop is launching on Monday too, that will most certainly play a role.

Outside of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Wii will play the smallest role this year. They will probably have a montage with a few new titles (Last Story and Xenoblade hopefully) but unless they have a wicked plan for the Vitality Sensor, let’s try not to get too excited.


Aaron Roberts

You know what I want to have announced this week? Tons of new stuff. A new Super Mario game, new Metroid, new Kirby, new console, a new Smash Bros., new controllers that blow our minds and new third party games we haven’t thought of. I also wanna see some new IPs for 3DS, it really needs ’em.

I also want to see something spectacular. We don’t know everything about Project Cafe, which will undoubtedly have an absolutely horrible name, but what we do know is that there is something that’ll set it apart from everything else. I’m really looking forward to how Nintendo is going to blow us away this year. That’s what I’m on edge about; how we’re going to be surprised. But not by the horrible name of the console.


Andrew Hsieh

I’ve said before that it looks like Nintendo’s bitten off more than it can chew with its 3DS launch fiasco– I use the term “fiasco” appropriately here, I think– and it needs a way to get back into its consumers’ good hearts, which I just don’t believe is through Café. Certainly it’s a chance for Nintendo to go all-in with hype (and more hype) but just hype alone doesn’t seem legitimately capable of making Nintendo’s 3DS dreams (one in every home!) come true. I’m gonna go ahead and say it: I don’t think Nintendo’s going to put as much focus on Cafe as everyone thinks it will.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D screen, Link and Epona
“Wait… so I have to save Hyrule AND the 3DS? Gimme a break!”

There’s, of course, plenty of counters to that silly statement, namely that Nintendo has mentioned before that Project Cafe will be playable at E3 2011, to be released in 2012. Certainly there’s no way that Nintendo would abandon its Café plans now– but at the same time, I doubt Nintendo will leave 3DS behind as well, especially right now when it’s floundering until the release of Ocarina of Time 3D. It’s just not very good marketing.


M. Noah Ward

Don’t count your Cafes before they’re hatched, Andy. Wii 2 being able to “steal the show” is not a sure thing. There’s still plenty of grousing over 3DS’s launch being underwhelming (whether that’s justified or not) and while Nintendo could create another 3DS-styled circus with forty Wii 2 demos on the show floor, the press may be reticent to go nuts over it. Remembering how many of the games we saw at the 3DS demo are, even a year later, months and years away from release on a console that turned enthusiasm about that hardware demo into a shock launch price.

The other risks for Wii 2 also remain with the analysts, pundits and fan sites on the internet, potentially eager to point out that Wii 2 may be “more powerful” than PS3 and 360 but only marginally so, or that the tablet controller doesn’t make sense, has too short a battery life, will launch at an expensive price, or is far too cumbersome to be appealing.

The counterarguments to these potential shortfalls boil down to one thing so far as we super fans are concerned: “but it’s Nintendo.” Nintendo has a decent (albeit not infallible) track record with hardware design, and a stellar stable of franchises to pick from for Wii 2’s launch library, provided that the franchises can be non-competitively split with whatever 3DS has in the short term, as the handheld definitely needs a popularity boost at this show to turn around its under-forecast sales. And if Wii’s first few years taught Nintendo anything, casual games aside, getting all those premier first party franchises quickly sequelized on a new machine is a surefire way to get hardcore, nostalgic Nintendo fans lining up to buy yet again, no matter how odd the controller or powerful the specs. Let’s hope lightning strikes twice for Nintendo’s Wii 2, because Wii’s ship has sailed, Zelda or not.


Lewis Hampson

E3 should belong to Nintendo this year. I expect 3DS to be the main focus, with plenty of games being lined up for release from third parties before the year’s out. Super Mario 3DS must surely be on the agenda and maybe Starfox 64 3D will make an appearance. Although it may just be a year too early, I feel we may get insight into the connectivity between Café and 3DS. Maybe Café will be able to stream 3DS games from the handheld, and upscale them to HD resolution on your TV? It’s a little out there, but some sort of reveal may be on the cards.


Does Project Café’s controller look anything like this? We don’t have to wait long to find out!

I expect Nintendo to reveal a healthy dose of Project Cafe information and games. Expect a full reveal of the Controller design and a first look at a handful of games. I’m going to say that Nintendo will show off a brand new AAA IP for Cafe. Something more mature, that will appeal to the western audience watching, and set the tone for Café’s image. Also, I envisage third-party developers and publishers, on screen or on stage talking about Café and what they can do with the new system.

As for Nintendo’s recognized franchises, I think Smash Bros. will make an appearance for Café, and here’s something I would like to see as a feature touted for the game: unlockable Beta stages from unreleased Nintendo games! Starfox 2 levels? Super Mario Kart R tracks with Magikoopa? Super Mario 64 2 stages? OK, I can dream, but you never know with Nintendo. That’s why I’m so excited! Oh, and obviously, A Link to the Past in any form will do nicely.


James Stank

Before I say anything else, I want to drive home the point that this is Nintendo’s E3 to lose, just like last year. We knew last year that 3DS was going to be revealed and Nintendo’s competition didn’t really have a new system to show off, so Nintendo easily won. Their 3DS showing was superb, and even if NGP had been fully revealed, one can argue that the 3DS showing still would have given Nintendo the win. This year is much the same. Sony and Microsoft are not expected to reveal their next generation machines next week, which once again leaves Nintendo in a one horse race. If they can pull off a successful showing of Project Café games, as they did for 3DS games last year, Nintendo will hands-down win the show, no matter what the competition does. But let’s get into what I think will actually happen.

Nintendo E3 2010 conference, 3DS demos
Could Nintendo repeat its 2010 3DS success this year? Even without TVs strapped to booth babes?

I expect 3DS and Project Café to take up the majority of Nintendo’s booth space and conference time, with only a small amount dedicated to Wii. I love Wii, and I think it’s the best Nintendo system yet (the Virtual Console helps a whole lot) but I agree with Noah. Wii is finished, and they won’t waste time on it at E3. As far as Project Café goes, I expect to see the system, controller, game announcements and playable games too. Nintendo may even go as far as to compare it to Xbox 360 and PS3. I think the cover will be completely removed, and we’ll know everything. When will it launch? Early 2012. Wii is dead in the water right now, and they need to get that new system out as soon as they can. As far as 3DS goes, it will be more of last year. Tons of great games, with more of them being playable this time around, along with some surprising new announcements. It all falls to Nintendo. If they try to win, they will win easily.


Smith Stuart

Above all else, I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of a new Smash Bros. for Project Café that focuses more on roster and versus mode rather than wasting (in my opinion) months of precious development time on creative failures such as The Subspace Emissary and its worthless sticker gimmicks. Be that as it may, I’m still super-psyched for the unveiling of Wii’s mysterious successor, and I would be even more stoked to see at least one fresh Nintendo franchise be birthed in the process. Who knows? Maybe we’ll finally see the product of Mr. Miyamoto’s sudden interest in swimming and youth guidance?

Yes, my friends, video game history is about to be made. Oh, and I also expect Reggie to walk around the stage reciting Nintendo’s praises. But don’t quote me on that one.


Mel Turnquist

I’m very excited about Project Café, there’s been so many rumors abound about it. I hope they enhance the motion gaming (if they go that route) a little more. I also love the rumored idea of a touchscreen with the controller; it’ll bring a lot more to the system, I think. Wii has been stalling recently when it comes to titles, which only leads me to believe that they have possibly set a date for the Café launch. Despite Nintendo denying that revenue from Project Café will feature in their forecasted profits before April 2012, I’m going to guess we could see Café even before Thanksgiving. That way it avoids any potential Black Friday disasters and it will be fresh enough on shoppers’ minds for when Black Friday approaches so that they will head out and buy it then.

Mother 3 logo
Will this finally be the year that we see Mother 3 released? Maybe if we wish really hard? Really really hard?

I’m also predicting that Skyward Sword will probably end up being produced for both Wii and Cafe and will be a launch game in a similar way to Twilight Princess was for Wii. I’m also predicting that there’ll likely be a new Super Mario game announced to coincide with Project Café’s unveiling and that Nintendo will finally set a date for its remaining first-party 3DS games such as StarFox 64 3D and Animal Crossing 3DS. My outlandish and wishful thinking prediction is that Earthbound will be available for the Virtual Console or that Nintendo finally release Mother 3 for the 3DS.


Adam Sorice

I’m expecting a lot of things this year from Nintendo’s E3 conference but mostly, I’m expecting an end to the delivery of promises that Nintendo can’t keep. Let’s think back to last year’s show, wasn’t it marvelous? Well yes it was! They showed off a brand new Zelda that was going to release by the end of the year, was going to release sometime in 2011, I’m sure well at least was going to hit shelves before this year’s E3 that didn’t actually come to fruition at all. What happened to that game? Are we supposed to happily sit back and endure another twenty minutes on the same Zelda game that we’re just trying to polish a bit more? I’ve had enough hype, release the game already. Some years ago, Nintendo changed PR tack and set out to only announce stuff when it neared completion, so why has Zelda not landed yet?

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screen
Oh Link … you’re back. Again. We love you, but seriously, go away. It’s over. Move on.

And if it were just Zelda, that would be one thing, but this was a problem massively replicated across the 3DS platform. Nintendo revealed the most revered and popular console of recent times at last year’s conference but where is that handheld now? Glorious, shining and almost weighed down by the galaxy of stars appearing on the console, the 3DS that is currently available on shelves is laboured with a big price tag and no talent to back it up. We were promised Ocarina of Time in 3D and we’re still waiting (even if its release is imminent) but the likes of Kid Icarus: Uprising and the Metal Gears, Kingdom Hearts and Resident Evils of this world have yet to materialize. Maybe Nintendo tried to avoid the past errors of Wii’s release by staggering their biggest games over a longer period but what have we been left with? Oh yeah, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition: the game that keeps on giving.

I have no doubt that Nintendo could pull out another amazing, landmark, show-stealing conference as they did last year, I just think it won’t. The bitter taste in people’s mouths after last year’s performance (The Little Conference That Could But Didn’t) should alert Nintendo that it’ll be held to account when it comes to profits and this year will see a show of desirable products that are more achievable. In short, a lot of 3DS, a bit of Zelda, just enough tease and a distinctly hands-off portrayal of Cafe. Think Vitality Sensor but less trippy.


Greg Wampler

E3 is Nintendo’s this year, easily. With big 3DS games to show off like Resident Evil: Revelations and Super Mario 3DS, Nintendo has the handheld side of things in the bag. Then, you have Project Café. The console where everyone, including Aaron, wants to pick on about its name before it has been announced solely due to Wii’s name. I say, don’t worry. According to rumors, this console has been sitting in developers’ hands for a year or two. That means Wii really was just developed to expand the market, which is what I have been saying for years (Nintendo has also mentioned this; remember the whole “wait until Wii’s successor is launched, it will all come together”?)

Super Mario 3DS logo conference reveal
What better logo than this to secure Nintendo’s victory over the Sony NGP?

Getting away from rumors and going with the facts, we know that a controller with a screen is coming. However, will it compete with the likes of 3DS at all? I don’t think so. Nintendo is smart when it comes to having multiple products that do the same thing, yet do different things at the same time. I hope to see Nintendo show off some crazy ways of using the controller for other things than just playing games. I also hope to finally see Nintendo bring its many tries at connecting their portables and home consoles together. Also, look for Skyward Sword to take advantage of extra resources if played on Project Café.

Finally, I know a lot of people say we don’t need Grand Theft Auto and other famous third-party games on Nintendo’s consoles, but I say differently. Watch for Grand Theft Auto 5 to make an appearance on Project Café as well as Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 3. You can still have the family goodness and wholesome gaming experiences from Nintendo while having the more mature games from Rockstar and Infinity Ward on the same console. In fact, this is what the NES and especially the SNES were all about.


Kevin Knezevic

We are officially on the cusp of a brand new generation, and I could not be more excited for Nintendo’s E3 conference. Say what you will about the company’s shortcomings, it always puts on a fantastic showing when it has a new console to herald into the world. A good part of its briefing will no doubt be devoted to Café/whatever-its-name-will-be and its new features (be it the rumored touch controller or something completely unexpected). Launch date and pricing will likely be reserved for a separate media event much like was the case with 3DS (which will hopefully be held in New York again so I can– ahem– try it out in the name of Nintendojo).

On the software side, I very much doubt we will see a new Zelda game; Skyward Sword was, after all, only revealed last year, and it seems unlikely Nintendo would have another one already in the works (unless it was for 3DS). Likewise, I think a new 3D Mario is also unlikely since EAD Tokyo is still hard at work on the highly anticipated, upcoming 3DS iteration. Those two will undoubtedly get a lot of time dedicated to them but I think the best we can hope for in terms of Super Mario or Zelda installments for Café is a passing announcement that they are already in development.

Samus Aran two forms, artwork
Will our favorite bounty hunter be used to launch a more mature Nintendo console?

With those two franchises already present and accounted for, what games could be left to get fans excited for Cafe? Pikmin 3 certainly seems like a safe bet, but it’s not exactly the kind of series that will attract enthusiasts in droves. No, I think Nintendo will hedge its bets on a new Metroid to launch with the system– with Mario and Zelda already set to appear on existing consoles, Nintendo will likely use Samus to entice its longtime fans. Metroid, admittedly, may not have the same appeal as either of the company’s other two big franchises, but it would certainly benefit from launching with the console: not only would it immediately put Café in the hardcore gamer’s good graces, but it would also likely sell more than any previous entry in the series by virtue of being the first real killer app for the system.

Also likely is the long-awaited reveal of Dragon Quest X (as a Café game, no less). Much like Metroid would immediately bolster the console’s image in the eyes of enthusiasts on this side of the ocean, so, too, would Dragon Quest X make a huge selling point for it back in Japan. Wii has far too little life left in it for Nintendo to waste such a huge title, and it only makes sense for the company to leverage this exclusive to their advantage and start the next generation off on the right foot.

Beyond that, I think the majority of the show will focus on 3DS. I expect a lot of returning software like the console’s Paper Mario, Animal Crossing and Mario Kart iterations to have a greater presence on the showfloor alongside surprise first- and third-party titles (New Super Maro Bros. 3D and some new AR Games seem particularly plausible). Wii will probably have a miniscule presence this time around, with only Skyward Sword and (hopefully) Xenoblade and Last Story (and– dare I say– even Pandora’s Tower) making up the aging console’s last round of notable releases.


You’ve read our thoughts on what Nintendo might offer up come tomorrow morning but what do you think? Agree that the company’s conference will bank on the capital of Project Café or think that Nintendo will offer up a more modest spread this year? Let us know in the comments.

2 Responses to “Round Table: Exceeding Expectations?”

  • 255 points
    Joshua A. Johnston says...

    Sony and Microsoft have cast their lots with Kinect, Move, and Vita. Sets a fascinating stage for Reggie and Co. tomorrow…

    Thumb up 0
  • 162 points
    LadyMushroom says...

    I just hope Café isn’t overpriced like 3DS.

    I really am expecting them to astonish us all over again the way they did with Wii. I think Café may add another new dimension to gaming, something the competition (and we) haven’t even thought of.

    I am so excited!

    Thumb up 0

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