E3 2014: Nintendo Predictions, Rumors & Expectations


Are you counting down to E3 2014? We are here at GameSided! Every day this week, we’ll take a look at one of the five companies that holds a Monday press briefing (or Tuesday, in Nintendo’s case) to help kick off the event in the same order that you’ll see them from Los Angeles. Today, we conclude the week of speculation with Nintendo.

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I think it’s strange to be just a fan of only one console manufacturer. Unless you’re restricted by budget, why limit your video game intake? This is especially true if you’re following Nintendo at E3. Even if you’re a staunch Nintendo fan, you’re likely to be left wanting. Will this year be any different?

The Wii U is the weakest system of the current generation and it has a terribly small install base considering how long it’s been on the market. Those two factors combined have made even Nintendo’s most ardent third party supporter, Ubisoft, wary about bringing games to the system. So much so that Ubisoft won’t be showing any Nintendo games at E3 this year.

This means that it’s once again up to Nintendo to shoulder the burden of carrying its system practically on its own. Considering that Nintendo provides the bulk of the support for both the Wii U and the surprisingly popular 3DS, the company is stretching itself thin. If you’re a Nintendo-only fan, you know what you’re going to get: quality games spaced out with ludicrously long wait times. What do you have to look forward to next? Nintendo’s digital E3 briefing will provide some answers.

Things I’m sure we’ll see at the Nintendo briefing

  • More Super Smash Bros. information than you can handle

Even though it appeared in just a reveal trailer, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U was easily the biggest game for Nintendo during last year’s E3. Unsurprisingly, the pair of games will be Nintendo’s main focus this year and there’s a lot to cover. Game director Masahiro Sakurai posts daily updates about the game, ensuring a steady stream of information, but E3 should show off everything important, like specific release dates.

I also suspect a new character reveal or two, with at least one third party character from Namco Bandai, as the company is helping with development. Pac-Man is likely. Finally, I’m sure that, with Nintendo hosting an official Super Smash Bros. tournament during E3, the GameCube controller adapter will be prominently featured.

  • NFC figurines

Nintendo is finally looking to make use of the Wii U’s incorporated NFC technology, promising to show off its new NFC figurines (think Skylanders or Disney Infinity) as well as the infrared device that will be used to make the 3DS NFC-compatible. The company will reveal what these figures will look like, what they will actually do and what games they will work with. Word is that Super Smash Bros. will be one of the first and, considering the wide range of recognizable characters the game features, it’s a natural choice.

  • A trailer and playable demo for X

Monolith Soft’s ambitious follow-up to the Wii’s incredible JRPG, Xenoblade, X fuses massive monsters, giant transforming mechs and an open world. It’s pretty much everything you can want in life from a conceptual standpoint. Hopefully, a playable build confirms that potential. I also figure it will be given an official title beyond X.

  • Another Bayonetta 2 trailer and playable demo

Easily the most surprising game of the Wii U’s library, Bayonetta 2 is Platinum Games’ sequel to what I consider the finest action game of the last generation. Another demo will help emphasize how ridiculous, cheesy, cheeky, over-the-top and violent it is. It handily represents everything that Nintendo isn’t, which is why the game will be used to show off the system’s diversity.

  • More information about Hyrule Warriors and Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem

Rather than court third party supporters, Nintendo has been striking interesting collaborative deals with other developers. For Hyrule Warriors, Nintendo is working with Tecmo Koei to bring the hack-and-slash gameplay of the Dynasty Warriors series to The Legend of Zelda setting.

Beyond the initial trailer, nothing is known about Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem. You can surmise that it’ll be some mix of strategy, traditional role-playing and maybe some demon-fusing, but which elements the game will take from each franchise remains to be seen. Nintendo will finally lift the veil on this odd, but intriguing collaboration.

  • Yarn Yoshi

Nintendo just released Yoshi’s New Island for the 3DS, so it might be a bit too soon to show off the Wii U’s Yarn Yoshi. However, the work-in-progress game was revealed through simple screenshots and brief clips during a January 2013 Nintendo Direct. I think it’s time to see the game in full action.

Things I think we’ll see at the Nintendo briefing

  • A trailer for Fatal Frame

Wandering around haunted locations and using a special camera to take pictures of vengeful spirits? The Fatal Frame series provides the most natural (and terrifying) application of the Wii U GamePad’s screen. Nintendo is working with Tecmo Koei to bring the horror series to the Wii U and, hopefully, development is far along enough to show how the game will look and play.

  • A new Zelda game

Nintendo likes to lean on its biggest properties, so even though A Link Between Worlds released just last year for the 3DS, a new entry wouldn’t be out of the question for the Wii U. Zelda Williams, daughter of actor Robin Williams, will be at E3 to promote something. She grew up a huge fan of the series thanks to her father and they’ve helped promote new entries in the past. It’s possible that she might just be there to talk about Hyrule Warriors, but she teased that whatever she’ll be doing is “extra special” and that “it’s not what you think.” Cryptic? Yes. Just vague enough to cause unnecessary amounts of hype? You bet!

  • Detailed looks at the upcoming Pokémon remakes and a confirmation of Pokkén Fighters

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are slated for a November release and, in keeping with the theme-naming, a trademark for Delta Emerald was filed. It’s likely that at least the two former games will get an extensive trailer and demos on the show floor. Further, The Pokémon Company recently trademarked Pokkén Fighters and Pokkén Tournament, igniting hopes that a Pokémon-based fighting game is in the works for the Wii U. After being teased with the game at last year’s Pokémon Game Show, I think we’ll get a short reveal trailer confirming its existence.

Things I hope we’ll see at the Nintendo briefing

  • Something, anything new

This doesn’t really need to be expanded upon. Nintendo needs more new IPs to balance out its well-known heavy-hitters. The company recently filed a trademark for something exhaustingly called Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace. Whatever it is, hopefully it doesn’t go the way of Project H.A.M.M.E.R., which is to say, nowhere.

  • A new game for an underutilized IP

Contrary to the previous point, us Nintendo fans can get just as excited about new entries for old IPs as we can about brand-new IPs. If Nintendo thought to bring back Metroid, F-Zero or Wave Race or perhaps handed the reins of Star Fox over to Platinum Games (who actually want to develop a new Star Fox game), that would be the defining moment of the company’s briefing. I’m personally hoping for a return to the Advance Wars series on the 3DS, given the same attention and care afforded to the spectacular Fire Emblem: Awakening.

  • Huge third party support

Ha! Don’t hold your breath. Really, don’t. Smaller developers will be at E3 to support the Big N, but don’t expect much of anything from the likes of EA, Activision, Warner Bros., or Ubisoft.

  • New hardware

While I want Nintendo to release stronger hardware, I don’t see the point. It wouldn’t help draw in third party support; developers would look at the small install base of that potential new hardware compared to the PS4 and Xbox One (and even to the Wii U) as an excuse to not support the system. There won’t be new hardware this year.

Even though the Wii U is struggling, Nintendo will point to the successful launch of Mario Kart 8 to “prove” that there is a market for the console. Just like Sony riding out the commercial failure that is the PlayStation Vita, Nintendo will see how another year goes. A lot is banking on Super Smash Bros. to turn its fortunes around, so it makes no business sense to undercut the biggest Wii U game by announcing new hardware.