Round Table: E3 2012 Predictions

Twenty-two days and counting…

By Michael Contino. Posted 05/14/2012 10:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

Pikmin 2 artwork, masthead

E3 2012 is finally upon us and the staff has gathered their predictions for the show of shows. On Tuesday, June 5th at 9am PST (12pm EST and 5pm GMT) Nintendo fans’ eyes will be glued to their screens as Nintendo reveals their plans for the future of gaming greatness. While we don’t know for certain what will be revealed, we all have our own suspicions and if there’s one thing we love at Nintendojo it’s to gather around the proverbial watercooler and have a gossip about all things E3. Feel free to post your own predictions in the comments’ section below.

Kyle England

I think this year’s E3 is going to be one of the most important events in video gaming this decade. For the first time in a long time, I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen. Recently, Nintendo decided to unveil New Super Mario Bros. 2 and details about digital distribution on 3DS and Wii U. These were both pretty substantial announcements, so why didn’t they wait to unveil them at E3? I think it’s because they have something even bigger up their sleeve, something we will never see coming. Mark my words: Nintendo is going to reveal stuff about Wii U that is going to knock our socks off. They just have to. The Big N is going on about how they want to win back the hardcore audience and create a unified online platform, yet we haven’t seen very many details so far. There have been tons of Wii U rumors, about it running apps similar to smartphones, running the Android OS, or even teaming up with Valve to distribute using Steam. Wii U has the potential to be a game-changer, no pun intended. I think that the tablet screen is just going to be the beginning, and we are going to be very surprised by what Nintendo has planned for the new console.

Metroid Prime Fusion Suit
Could Retro Studios be priming a 2D sequel to Metroid Fusion?

On the software front, I think we might see some rumored projects finally revealed. I really want to see what Retro Studios has been working on since Donkey Kong Country Returns (Please oh please let it be a 2D sequel to Metroid Fusion!!!). I also wonder if we will get any information about the new 3DS Legend of Zelda game, even if it’s just a teaser. Of course, we know that Pikmin 3 will be shown, so I am eager to see what it will be like. What I am most excited about are the game projects that we don’t know about yet. I am confident that Nintendo is going to have a few special games for the Wii U that we haven’t seen or heard about yet. I like the fact that they are letting information trickle out about new games on purpose so we don’t get any big surprises spoiled like we did in 2010 when the 3DS was prematurely revealed.

All in all, next month’s E3 is going to huge. It’s been a while since we were at the beginning of a new console generation, and I am very excited.

Katharine Byrne

One thing’s for sure. Nintendo’s going to spill (almost all) the beans about Wii U. We may not be getting a price, but details, people, details. We know announcements about New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Pikmin 3 are coming, but what else will Nintendo have up their sleeve? Well, I think a lot is going to revolve around the Nintendo Network, their new online infrastructure. In fact, I wouldn’t be completely surprised if their entire presentation was based around showing off how Wii U and 3DS will communicate in the future. As Sakurai has already hinted at with the next Smash Bros., I think we’ll be seeing lots of new titles that can be played simultaneously on both platforms, especially with the advent of digital downloading coming to 3DS. You’ll be able to pick up on 3DS where you left off on Wii U, or maybe they’ll share some common features to allow you to keep tabs on your progress.

If I were to pin down specific games, I think we might see Dragon Quest X, DarkSiders II, Rayman Legends, Epic Mickey 2, and maybe Assassin’s Creed III, but the floor’s open for the rest of them. As much as I’d love to see F-Zero or Metroid, or even that supposedly new 3DS Zelda title, I don’t think it will happen, at least not this year.

Epic Mickey 2 Official Art
Networking is key.

On the handheld side of things, I think we’ll see more Fire Emblem: Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Animal Crossing, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, and Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. In fact, the two Epic Mickey titles might just be the games to unveil some of that Wii U/3DS wizardry I mentioned a moment ago, though I’m sure Nintendo will have their own first party title to show off its true capabilities first– maybe New Super Mario Bros. 2 or Paper Mario? We won’t see a 3DS redesign though. That will be next year at the earliest.

Will Pandora’s Tower get announced for the US? I have a sneaking suspicion it might, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high as it didn’t make a huge impact here in the UK. As for surprise, wacky, totally unlikely predictions? GameCube games on Wii U’s Virtual Console. Make it happen, Nintendo. And I’ll also eat my metaphorical hat if Wii U gets a name change.

Lewis Hampson

Nintendo should have no problem “winning” this year’s battle of the press conferences. The emphasis of course, will be on Wii U and 3DS, and I expect we will see a mixture of old and new experiences coming to both systems. By old I mean established IP’s making their debut on Nintendo’s next generation Wii. Mario and Pikmin for starters, are two titles which you can pretty much guarantee to see, but what about the long dormant titles that we haven’t experienced in a long, long time?

Well, personally I believe Nintendo will show off a brand new F-Zero game in June. The launch of a new console is the perfect time to show off a racing experience and what the hardware is capable of, when processing 30+ objects moving at 3000kph (especially if it’s developed by Retro). I believe Nintendo will try to entice fanboys of old, who think the Big N have lost their way in looking out for their needs as a gamer. Make no mistake F-Zero is most definitely a “core” game, and the fact we haven’t seen anything of the series for so long, bodes well for an appearance, as they will definitely attempt to appease the fears and apprehension core gamers will no doubt have with Wii U.

F-Zero GX Screen
Imagine this in HD…

Speaking of core games, I believe Nintendo could shoot themselves in the foot if they overplay the significance of multi-platform releases. Games like Darksiders II, a new FIFA, etc., should all be drawn upon as examples of Nintendo’s third party alliances, but unless they have some third party exclusives, not many people will care for a game which is coming out on existing platforms.

It should be a given that, in 2012, games being released on a system that debuted in 2005 will be coming to a brand new piece of hardware. What Nintendo really needs to do is show it can draw exclusivity from prominent third party publishers and developers. Without this most gamers will just get back to their PS3 or 360, not bothering with Wii U until well after it releases. I really hope Nintendo introduces a brand new IP, either for Wii U or 3DS. I don’t care whether its core or not (please not a Wii Music-alike), just something which makes everyone sit up and take note.

As for the hardware, I believe Nintendo will announce third party external hard drive support, as a means to subsidize the likely small hard drive inside the console itself. This seems even more apparent given Nintendo’s recent admission that digital downloads will be available from day one. I hope they play to the system’s real strengths, and reveal some technological step forwards in terms of Near Field Communication for the tablet controller, and what this could bring to the console other than Spyro games. Paying for content with NFC enables credit or pre-paid cards and will certainly be a step in the right direction for Nintendo’s online service.

I am really looking forward to E3 this year and if Nintendo reveal just enough of their cards, it could be their best yet.

Kevin Knezevic

It’s hard to guess just what Nintendo will have in store for us at this year’s E3 (considering it has so much riding on the event), so I’m going to go out on a limb and make some rather bold (read: probably wrong) predictions as to what I think we’ll see from the company.

We already know that both New Super Mario Bros. Mii and Pikmin 3 will be making an appearance at the show, but I think we’ll also get to see some (early) footage of the next Zelda game (which will be running on the same engine that powered last year’s demo) and the next Metroid (developed by Retro Studios, naturally). If Nintendo is truly serious about catering to the hardcore demographic with Wii U, then it would want to utilize as many of its “core” properties as possible, and what better franchises to show off the company’s “gritty” side than Zelda and Metroid?

Zelda Wii U Tech Demo
E3 would not be complete without at least a pinch of Zelda.

I also think we’ll get to see Dragon Quest X at the event, which will be announced as a Wii U exclusive in North America and will not carry a subscription fee for online play (much like Monster Hunter Tri before it). It also wouldn’t surprise me if Monolith was hard at work on a Xenoblade 2, but it could just as likely be developing a new epic property for the console. In either case, I believe we’ll see the first footage of its next game at the show.

I’m also still holding out hope that Nintendo will announce a new Eternal Darkness game at the event. The first, while by no means a commercial success, developed a very strong following among hardcore fans, and announcing a sequel would foster some goodwill toward this audience. I also get the feeling that we may see a new Wave Race game, if only to effectively show off Wii U’s capabilities (and assuage any concerns about its hardware). And I’d love to see Nintendo unveil a home console installment of Golden Sun (which is more likely now considering it would want to capitalize on the success of Xenoblade and The Last Story). Camelot is renowned for pushing consoles graphically, and Golden Sun, with its detailed environments and over-the-top summons, would be a great showpiece for the system. (Hey, a guy can dream.)

On the handheld front, we’ll see some new footage of already-announced titles like New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi’s Mansion 2, the new Animal Crossing (which by this point should have an official subtitle), and Paper Mario (which I’m afraid might slip into next year considering how crowded the holiday season is becoming). Beyond those, I think Nintendo will also confirm the American release of Fire Emblem: Awakening (as well as the pricing for its add-on content), and may even announce the localization of Monster Hunter 3G and Monster Hunter 4. I also suspect we’ll see a couple of new IPs for the system, but whether they take the form of casual titles like Wii Fit or something more involved is up in the air. In any case, 3DS should have another strong showing this year, with a few surprise announcements for good measure.

Of course, all of this is just baseless speculation, so there’s a very good chance that many (if not most) of my predictions will not come true. Still, I have no doubt that we’ll see a truly spectacular conference from Nintendo, and that’s reason enough to be excited for the event!

Michael Contino

New Super Mario Bros. 2 hits 3DS this August. Although a launch date for Wii U will not be announced at E3, expect the new console to land mere months after Mario returns to 3DS. Therefore, after last E3’s New Super Mario Bros. Mii demo, Nintendo will most definitely show us something that distances itself from New Super Mario Bros. 2 enough to entice gamers to buy a launch Wii U.

Pikmin 3 is going to blow people away and show off Wii U’s capabilities. When the game launches, it will be over eight long years since the last game in the series. Mario and Captain Olimar will not be enough to grab non-Nintendo fans to give the platform a go. Assassin’s Creed III should be a launch title, as should Darksiders II. In addition, a Wii U-enhanced Batman: Arkham City, the recently discovered Rayman Legends, and even 007 Legends, could round out a solid launch lineup.

Paper Mario Mario With Hammer

E3 would be nothing without surprises. Nintendo will have to give us a sneak peak of what to look forward to in 2013. Retro Studios is bound to be working on something spectacular. I long for the day when a Donkey Kong adventure, akin to Donkey Kong 64, is announced. Metroid Prime 4 is quite possible. Star Fox and/or F-Zero may be announced as being in development for Wii U. The most out-there prediction I can make is Gabe Newell will come out and reveal Half-Life 3 for Wii U. To make two final points on Wii U, I would welcome a name change to the platform, with open arms, and expect a tidbit or two about the upcoming Smash Bros. games (with added Geno).

New Super Mario Bros. 2 will be the first of many 3DS bright spots for the rest of 2012 and beyond. New trailers for Animal Crossing: Jump Out, Paper Mario 3DS and Luigi’s Mansion 2, should be shown along with one golden surprise, which will be saved for the end of the conference. The Legend of Zelda’s first original 3DS outing will be revealed, sending everyone away, happy.

Adam Sorice

The most recent of Nintendo consoles have had a hot and cold relationship with the gaming public. Back when it was initially revealed at E3 2010, the 3DS had gamers’ heartbeats running away (when the premise of an hi-def hardcore handheld felt like quite the teenage dream) but that initial enthusiasm soon became a love let down upon release ten months later. While a strong line-up of franchises were initially unveiled with the console, the final launch line-up needed some alterations as consoles were left sitting on shelves and early adopters left showing their teeth to the company when the release calendar dried up. Desperate to restore the 3DS’s crown and amend its crooked profits, Nintendo decided to forget about the price tag of the console and pulled out the skeleton guns to fast track a posse of Mario games into the holiday trap, prompting formerly unloved 3DS-es to exclaim to the mustachioed hero, “Where have you been all my life?”

Not wanting to make the same mistakes second time around, Nintendo has treaded much more carefully with Wii U and the press, a strategy that is likely to continue at next month’s conference. The company are ready for those flashing lights next month and knowing that anticipation is almost as important as the product itself, Nintendo is unlikely to announce the launch line-up and we already know that don’t give two shits about blowing open the price point at the show. Revealing every secret about the console on a single day may cause the current interest in the console to be knocked down like a domino, while drip feeding every minute detail about the impending release gives the company that many more opportunities to leave its customer base speechless. While it’s unlikely that they’ll never talk again (especially since we’ll be covering every fact that is revealed, I think the unknown facts about Wii U after E3 are going to be just as newsworthy as those that we do know. Nintendo’s famous for maintaining an unreadable poker face on these matters so after the relatively pedestrian of its last console (let’s not forget that the lost revenue poured into resurrecting the 3DS was some serious money, honey) a lot of the PR maneuvering that we’re about to witness is merely doing it for the fame of courting the gamer once again.

“I’ve had enough, this is my prayer…” noted Iwata regarding the hope of the Nintendo Network offering players a richer online experience on Wii U and 3DS.

I agree with Katharine in her theory that Nintendo’s online presence and service will be a crucial part of the conference. While Nintendo’s relationship with online gaming and digital distribution has been a bit of a bad romance in the past, it appears that the company could be on the edge of online glory with Wii U. After creating a free soul, burning roads with the 3DS’s eShop, Nintendo has the potential to combine the accessibility of Nintendo technology (because some of us struggle with digital distribution in its current form) with an online network that not only draws in the player but is physically crafted to be fitting to the player’s needs. Microsoft, Sony and Apple have all tried to combine the television, the computer, the game console and the player (with some so frustratingly difficult to work that they may as well ask a non-German speaker to become fluent instantly) but with a well-designed interface, an evolution of Wii’s channel format and a second screen that crucially doesn’t have you tied to one room or left flailing at your television, Nintendo could create a multimedia presence that wins over more than just those for whom Nintendo pumps like the blood in their veins. It would also see an end to publishers running to GameStop to release a game like Xenoblade Chronicles when you could just drop it online instead. One more thing: GameCube games to download. In the scope of available content for Wii U, the under-appreciated purple lunchbox is the front man. Your weather channels, your NES games and your Netflix need to play back up for a while. To not offer them (just as Game Boy Advance are largely unavailable on 3DS) would be a stupid hoe decision, indeed.

In terms of software, this year’s E3 should be the last for a good few years where we see Mario being used repeatedly on all fronts, the franchise’s “I can be anything, I’ll be your everything” identity has too often be abused by the developer in recent years. Echoing Kevin’s thoughts on the announcement of New Super Mario Bros. 2 for 3DS a few weeks ago, it’s clear that the company has once again grown addicted to the Mario brand, even if they know it could be toxic. To use Mario thoroughly is good brand awareness, to use it excessively is in danger of alienating true gamers who go beyond fanboyism and aren’t just down for whatever. We all like a Mario game but there are other things out there, things that can’t be explored with Mario and the corresponding sport equipment. If I was the plumber, I know I’d be shouting, “Stop calling, stop calling, I don’t wanna talk anymore”, to Miyamoto for the immediate future. These things take their toll on him.

Even though I’ve had a little bit too much Mario, as long as Nintendo manages to strike a balance between the big hitting franchises, the slightly forgotten ones, some fresh content and third-party support that doesn’t feel forced or tacked on (or y’know, just Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance would be fab) they will be just fine. While Nintendo has recently been bad in terms of converting hype into turnover, they’re perfectly good at putting on great conferences that capture the industry’s imagination. If it wants to truly steal away the hearts of gamers and the confidence of investors, E3 2012 needs to be Nintendo’s first step in centering itself as a safe place for edgy, ambitious gaming and entertainment experiences. Nintendo knows its hardcore ownership will love it to the end of time but now its time to win back the veteran gamer and the mainstream once again. Regardless, you’re still good to me if you’re a bad kid, Nintendo.

Now that you’ve heard our (eclectic) opinions regarding what’s likely to be announced during Nintendo’s E3 2012 conference, it’s your turn to tell us what you think Nintendo will announce. A new name for Wii U? A new Zelda for 3DS? Another meme-tastic gem from Reggie? Let us know all your crystal ball predictions in the comments below.

3 Responses to “Round Table: E3 2012 Predictions”

  • 102 points
    Hawthorn says...

    I’ve applied. Here are MY predictions:

    Well, Nintendo, you’ve certainly managed to throw in surprises to every E3, and if you fail this one I might just jump off the Astronomy Tower.

    But, Big N is treading on thin ice with the Wii U. Last E3, Nintendo focused more on the tablet controller then the actual console. Sure, it’s innovative, yes, but the controller is just that: a handheld device intimately connected to a solid device connected a TV and external power source, a.k.a. controller, not a console.

    Nintendo will also need some good games. I, for one, am looking forward to Animal Crossing: Jump Out, Paper Mario, and maybe a Pikmin 3DS. A return of F-Zero would be nice, as well.

    Some more StreetPass and SpotPass games and such is a definite need. The Legend of Zelda would be nice too. Unfortunately, I’m a handheld kind of guy. I’ve never had the time nor the patience for a console. Yes, yes, I may be a complete idiot for that, but honestly: the boot-up screen is so long, and with the DS and 3DS, touching is definetely more accurate then motion control. I find my self rambling now.

    I’m a handheld guy (boy?). So, a Legend of Zelda and perhaps a Pikmin for 3DS will be good. I’ve rediscovered the inner Animal-Crossing inside of me, so I’m definitely looking forward to the 3DS one. Who wouldn’t, though, with all the changes.

    I probably won’t have the money for Wii U. I barely have enough money for my handheld games as it is (i’m 12, see). Being that, I’ll love seeing the Wii U, especially love the 3DS part, and then at the conference’s end I’ll be heavily dissappointed I don’t have the money. And perhaps a different name for Wii U.

    Wii U and 3DS insinuate that they are NOT new consoles part of a new generation of video gaming (the eighth generation, for your reference), but part of the previous generation (seventh generation, Wii, DS, PS3, 360). Don’t make the same mistake, Nintendo, with the Wii U as you have irrepairably done with the 3DS.

    Wii U will also a need a lengthy line-up of excellent titles for the launch. And for 3DS, I’m clinging to my desperate hope Atari Lynx games will come to the 3DS VC (i’m a very big Lynx fan. for nearly seven months before i finally got one).

    That’s it.

    Why is this issue called Without Magic, by the way?

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