Even though it doesn’t occur until the summer, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is truly when the gamer’s year begins. With every major publisher and developer trying to outdo one another with impressive announcements, the convention not only establishes the tone of gaming for the rest of the year, but it also gives us a glimpse of just where our favorite pastime is heading in the future. Keeping that in mind, over the course of the next three days we here at Gamervision will be polishing our crystal balls, shaking the hell out of our Magic 8-Balls, and contacting the spirits of the damned in order to predict just how we think E3 will go down for the Big Three.
Last year's Nintendo press event was a bit odd. Images of Link were thrown up on the screen, promises to please the core gamer were screamed, Mario and WiiWare were mentioned over and over again, and... nothing ended up being anything. In the end, Myamoto took the stage and talked about Wii Music and Ravi Drums lost his freaking mind. The biggest announcement came in way of the Wii MotionPlus (which still hasn't seen a release) and Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars. Nintendo eventually announced Punch-Out!! and the DSi, but that felt like damage control after a poor showing at the convention. How will they make it up this year?
DSi Will Get New Colors, Bundles
Nintendo loves making money, and as people argue the merits of the Wii, more people continue to purchase the Nintendo DS like it's going out of style. That's because it is, and Nintendo wants to make sure that it's always going out of style by constantly releasing new colors and bundles. Expect to hear about a pink DSi that comes with a Cooking Mama game, a Green DSi that is bundled with Brain Age, or a Red DSi that ships with Chinatown Wars. It's only been a few months, but I'm sure every color of the rainbow is in the camera-enabled handheld's future.
Handheld Virtual Console Coming to a DSi Near You!
It's been flat out confirmed by PR people in other countries that Nintendo is planning on doing some sort of DSi Virtual Console, but Nintendo hasn't yet made any formal announcments. I expect to hear that they're planning on taking advantage of the DSi's wireless and storage capabilities for more than just DSiWare. Being able to bring NES and SNES games that have been purchased on the Wii's Virtual Console on the road would mean the handheld would be an instant sell for anyone looking to play games on the go, and it seems entirely possible. Even if it doesn't go that far, being able to download GB and GBA games would work, especially since it would give them an outlet to release Mother 3 in the states.
Mario Returns... to the DS
Everyone wants another console Mario title after Super Mario Galaxy, but we're likely not going to get that. Not while there isn't a follow-up to New Super Mario Bros. in development for the Nintendo DS! Why? Because it sold nearly twenty million copies worldwide. They can't afford not to make a sequel, especially considering the fact that they might finally have some competition on the portable scene this fall.
A New Metroid Will Be DSi/WiiWare
If Nintendo wants its download services to be taken seriously they need to step it up, and there's a good chance Samus Aran will end up feeling the backlash. There's already been a Metroid title on the Wii and the DS, so no one can complain that the franchise has been ignored this generation. Expect Metroid Dread, the rumored 2D DS Metroid sequel, to find itself as either DSiWare or WiiWare. Either way, it will be 2D with 3D graphics and likely use very little motion/touch control.
Wii Zelda Will Use MotionPlus
Part of me wants to be a pessimist and say that they'll ignore Zelda for another year, but they really can't afford to. I mean, technically they can, because the Wii prints money, but even Nintendo understands how important it is to be liked, and there's no better way than with a new Zelda game. To tie it into their scheme to take over the world it'll use Wii MotionPlus for 1:1 swordplay, but it won't be as in-depth as, say, Red Steel 2's sword swinging. It might look exactly like Twilight Princess with cleaned up graphics, but boy will it play differently.
Pikmin and Ice Climbers for the Wii Will Be Announced
Olimar wouldn't have been in Smash Bros. and Pikmin 1 and 2 wouldn't have been remade if Nintendo wasn't getting ready to bring Olimar to the current generation in full form. The controls in the remakes worked great, so it will likely just be another chapter in the story, without being much different than the last two Pikmin games. Then again, it might come with a level creator or some Wii Connect 24 features... The same goes for Ice Climbers, which will likely find its way onto the system in some form.
Fox and Pit Will Be Shown, but No Game Will Be Announced
For some reason, Nintendo will mention "classic characters" and show Pit, but there will not be a new Kid Icarus announced. By the same token, Fox will be shown, but no new Star Fox will be displayed. Why? Because Nintendo loves pissing us off, and saying things without actually saying them. Of course a Kid Icarus and Star Fox sequel are being made, but they don't think they need to say it. Technically they're right, but it's still annoying. Prepared to be annoyed.
A Big Ubisoft Game is Wii-Bound
Be it Prince of Persia, Assassin's Creed, or Beyond Good and Evil, one of Ubisoft's big names is going to be on the Wii this time around. It isn't going to be an exclusive, but someone from Ubisoft is going to take the stage and talk about a partnership with Nintendo that has brought ____ to the console.
(Mushroom) Kingdom Hearts Announced for the Wii
It's completely expected that Kingdom Hearts 3 will be on the PlayStation 3, but there's no real reason for that. Kingdom Hearts and its sequel were on the PlayStation 2 because Square and Nintendo weren't talking and the PS2 was the best seller. Now, Nintendo and Square-Enix are BFFs, the Wii is the system to own (especially for the Disney audience), and Sony doesn't own a dime of the Kingdom Hearts series. It makes complete sense that Square would move the franchise to where its fans are, and its fans are mostly the younger audience (and RPG fans, who definitely aren't on the PS3 yet). No console has become an RPG machine like the PS2 was last gen, and this would be an awesome coup for Nintendo.
Miyamoto's New IP Will be Revealed, Working with Hideo Kojima
...and I have no idea what it will be.
And that's it! Check back tomorrow for Sarah's Sony predictions, and stay tuned for full E3 coverage live from the show floor next week!