E3 time has come around again, and people are doing their annual predictions and such. I’m going to do something like that, with a bit of a twist. It’s fairly obvious what Microsoft and Sony have to do, Microsoft has to sell people on the Scorpio and Sony has to show off more games that won’t release for 5-10 years and their fans will be happy. Now, Nintendo’s in a bit of a strange situation this year, so instead of just listing the games I want, I’m going to give an explanation as to what I think Nintendo should do to maximize the success of the Switch and give them good footing for the next year.
Nintendo’s in a very good spot this year, theoretically. Focusing (almost) exclusively on Breath of the Wild last year means that they had a whole other year to build up a library for 2017/2018 and could really blow some people away if they wanted to. All they have to do is want to. Nintendo’s philosophy for E3 over the past few years has just been to show off games that are coming out in the next year, and nothing else. I feel that this should change, especially with such a new system on the market that they have to build momentum with. People have to get excited for the long haul here, and there’s no way to do that unless we have an idea about what’s happening beyond December 2017.
So, here’s a small list of things I think Nintendo should (and shouldn’t) do at E3 this year.
What they should do
Keep the presentation brief, save all long winded explanations for the Treehouse
Nintendo’s presentations during E3 have a tendency to latch on to a few games for way too long, (despite them being rather short overall) resulting in an presentation without enough content to really get people going. If people get to the point where they say, “Okay Nintendo, time to move on,” you’re already 30 seconds beyond the point when you should have already moved to the next game. Nintendo should keep the presentation short and sweet, moving from game to game pretty quickly to keep the excitement up. The fluff can be saved for the Treehouse streams, that’s what they’re for.
"Do these proportions make my head look big?"
Sell Super Mario Odyssey as hard as they can
Breath of the Wild was about as big and as good of a launch game that a system could ask for. Next up, they need as big of a year 1 holiday blockbuster as they can make. A main series Pokemon game would definitely have been bigger, but having it be a year 2 game makes a lot more sense in terms of how long it’d take to develop as well as the release trends the series follows. Super Mario Odyssey can easily be the game that fans of Mario have been waiting for, a game 15 years in the making essentially. Galaxy and Galaxy 2 were amazing, but they weren’t the successors of Mario 64 and Sunshine that people wanted, 3D Land and World were even farther away from that. If Odyssey nails the openness, exploration, and world design that made 64 and Sunshine so good, it could easily be the game that brings people to the system this holiday. Especially if they bring up similarities to 64; that game still has power and influence even more than 20 years down the line.
A guy can hope, right?
Show they know what the fans want, by unveiling a long desired game
Over the past few years, Nintendo has been the king of “Doing exactly the opposite of what fans want from a series.” Metroid Prime Federation Force, Paper Mario Colour Splash, Chibi Robo Zip Lash, Hey Pikmin!, these are all games that do very little if anything that the fans of these franchises love about the franchises. Nintendo has got hype going for it with the Switch, and they really should try to win back some faith from the core audience, because they should know that the causal crowd doesn’t stick around. What game should this be? I could name a dozen franchises that have been ignored or mistreated by Nintendo that deserve a revival, but it really doesn’t matter which they choose. Reviving a fan-favourite yet ignored franchise would show that they do understand what the fans want, even if only a little.
Stuff like this keeps people interested, even if it isn't the biggest news
Keep announcements coming beyond the presentation, during the Treehouse
This is where the small games that don’t really require time during the main presentation will shine. Surprise reveals and demos during the Treehouse will keep people watching, and give smaller games some spotlight and let people who may not seek them out on their own experience new games that they might enjoy. Nintendo has done this in the past, obviously, so they just need to bring things up a notch. A big surprise during the Treehouse streams would bring a lot of press too.
Bring the big guns
This one is obvious, they need to bring their top content to the show. They showed off a few big games during the Switch presentation, like Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but they need to bring even more big games to the Switch over the next few years. We know that a Pokemon game will end up on the Switch at some point, we don’t have to worry about that, but the Switch needs way more than that. Animal Crossing Switch would be a massive reveal, especially if its release date was within one or two years. That’s not even talking about the third party games that Nintendo should be fighting to get on the Switch. The Switch is a really cool console, but in the end there’s one thing that truly sells consoles, and that’s the games.
Talk about Virtual Console
Virtual console has been a big aspect of Nintendo's consoles for over 10 years now, and its lack of presence on the Switch has been a little worrying for many people. While I obviously think that it will be coming to the console at some point, it would be nice to get an idea of when it will happen and in what form it will be. Will it just be the same set of systems that it's always been for the same prices that they've always had, or will they do something different with it? I obviously hope that they'll expand the Virtual Console to include all their handheld systems, which have been very limited and split between 3DS and Wii U for some reason. I also would like for them to include Gamecube, but chances are the prospects of doing HD remasters of those games will end up more profitable and worthwhile for Nintendo.
What they shouldn’t do
Automatic money printer, it doesn't need any help printing money
Focus on ARMS or Splatoon 2
This is fairly self-explanatory. ARMS is releasing pretty much immediately after E3, and there’s nothing really new to show off. We already know what ARMS is about- we know how it plays, we know how it looks, and we know what critics think of it. Maybe show off a bit about the future plans for DLC content, but another explanation on how the game works or even gameplay demos would be a waste of time.
As for Splatoon 2, that’s a guaranteed hit, they don’t have to do anything to ensure that it sells. It releasing in July is also really close to E3, and there’s no reason why Nintendo wouldn’t dedicate at least one Direct on its own prior to its release. Unless there’s something revolutionary coming to Splatoon 2 that nobody could imagine happening, focusing on it would be more wasted time.
Focus on the 3DS
The 3DS has been out for 6 years now, it was nearing the end of its lifecycle a long time ago. Sure, there are some games still coming out for it, so completely ignoring it would be bad, but giving it a huge portion of Nintendo’s E3 presence would be a mistake. I understand the idea of keeping the 3DS around in 2017, especially before the Switch came out and was a huge success. But now, the Switch has taken off, and it’s possible (read: likely) that it could outsell the Wii U’s lifetime sales in one year, so the fear of it failing and having to rely on the previous success shouldn’t really be a factor anymore. Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon should be the last big game that Nintendo launches on the 3DS, before focusing exclusively on making the Switch as big as possible with as massive and varied a library as possible.
Focus on the Pokemon games that were announced
Really self-explanatory. We had a direct just a few days ago that unveiled these games, and at best they should be saved for the Treehouse for a demo or two. A port of Pokken and a remix of Sun and Moon aren’t big news, which is likely why they were unveiled prior to E3, so there’s no need to show them off during the main presentation.
And that’s pretty much it. This is obviously my opinion, so feel free to disagree with any of my thoughts. Will Nintendo do any of what I said here? Honestly, I have no idea, they’re pretty hard to pin down when it comes to how they’ll handle situations like this. I think the big unknown is whether or not they’ll give a big spotlight to the 3DS, because that’ll likely determine what their development focus will be over the next few years. Will they split their efforts, or go full on to the new moneymaker? Who knows. All I know is that whatever happens, it’ll be very Nintendo, for better or worse.