It was a warm, humid night in June 2017. I came home from my dead-end job at a fast-casual dining establishment looking for some comfort via the warm glow of my laptop screen. Since it was the final day of E3, I didn’t expect any crazy news stories to have broken during the day. I nonchalantly fired up one of my go-to Nintendo news sources to see a shocking story: Nintendo had plans to support the 3DS family of systems past 2018!
My immediate response was to go to Twitter (@spigelwii) and blabber something about how crazy it was that Nintendo is actually going to support a platform for nearly a decade. After some thought and some spitballing, however, I actually managed to come up with a fairly realistic wishlist of games and franchises that could be represented on the *other* Nintendo handheld in 2018 and beyond.
Games We Already Know About
Nintendo recently announced that Miitopia was coming to the west. Miitopia, previously only available in Japan, is a silly game that may be able to attract a wide audience in Europe, which are where the majority of western Tomodachi Life sales came from. Culdcept Revolt and RPG Maker FES also got the nod from Nintendo and NIS America, and are both releasing later this summer in America. It’s not unrealistic to think that Nintendo would continue to follow this approach of encouraging these publishers to continue bringing games west from Japan, because they’re fairly easy to localize and even easier to make money off of. Yokai Watch 3 and Monster Hunter XX are two games that immediately come to mind in this category; immensely successful games in Japan that Capcom and Level 5 would have to be insane not to want to capitalize on.
Other games we know are coming to the system in the near future include Metroid: Samus Returns, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido, the new Professor Layton (which has a title so long I can’t be bothered to type it out here, let alone remember it), Dragon Quest XI, Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, Fire Emblem Warriors (lol), Mighty No. 9 (LOL), a new Kirby, Monster Hunter Stories, Hey! Pikmin, Radiant Historia, and another Shin Megami Tensei. That’s a pretty darn robust lineup for the second half of 2017 and the first half of 2018.
The Mario Franchise
There is no doubt that the Mario franchise is well represented on the Nintendo 3DS. Off the top of my head, I can name Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Golf: World Tour, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team and Paper Jam (plus a remake of Superstar Saga coming later this year!), New Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario Sports Superstars, Mario Party: Whatever, Mario Party: Whatever 2, and Super Mario Maker as games we’ve already gotten (not to mention a Luigi’s Mansion game and the opportunity to purchase the original Super Mario Bros. games on Virtual Console for the nine billionth time). Can we realistically expect another Mario game to end up on the platform? Methinks the answer is yes. The clues are hidden in plain sight, friends. Check the sales numbers, courtesy of vgchartz.com.
Three of the top six selling games on 3DS are Mario games: Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, and New Super Mario Bros. 2. (Bonus points if you can guess the other three games!) I think it’s telling that the more recent 3DS Mario adventures Nintendo haven’t sold as well; this seems to suggest that the hardcore fanbase that still play the system regularly and faithfully would be more interested in seeing Mario return to a more traditional setting (i.e. not the mediocre Star Rush and Paper Jam). There’s not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that a game like New Super Mario Bros. 3 would not only sell like gangbusters, but could also potentially reignite interest in the aging handheld for Holiday 2018 (presumably without a Pokemon game to bear the weight of the season). So...New Super Mario Bros. 3. Let’s pencil that in as a possibility.
The Zelda Franchise
It seems ludicrous to think that Nintendo could release another Zelda game on the 3DS...but it also seems ludicrous to think that Nintendo would release anything else on 3DS. Why not one of their most popular franchises?
Including remakes, Zelda has actually become a sneaky-yearly franchise. Check this out; here are the Zelda-related titles since the release of the 3DS in 2011:
2011: Ocarina of Time 3D, Skyward Sword
2013: Wind Waker HD, A Link Between Worlds
2015: Majora’s Mask 3D, TriForce Heroes
2016: Twilight Princess HD
2017: Breath of the Wild
Eight Zelda games in seven years! I’d say at the least we’re due for another Zelda game on 3DS, even if it is is just a remaster. At any rate, I don’t know what this new Zelda game on 3DS would be, but I don’t think it’s ridiculous to think that we could get something.
The Animal Crossing Franchise
I don't see this happening. Nintendo’s big cash-cow going forward is inevitably going to be the Switch, even as the 3DS continues to survive alongside it. Plus, they wouldn’t be able to top themselves. If you haven’t played it, New Leaf is the best freaking Animal Crossing ever. The franchise has already reached the pinnacle on 3DS.
The Pokemon Franchise
I would have told you less than two weeks ago that Pokemon Sun and Moon were going to be the last Pokemon games on 3DS. I was wrong. I’m not touching this one.
Old Franchises Revived
Nintendo is no stranger to doing this. On the 3DS alone we’ve had Pilotwings, Steel Diver, and Kid Icarus, not to mention a hard reset of Natsume’s Harvest Moon franchise (in the form of Story of Seasons), and a misguided attempt to revitalize Chibi Robo and a horrible failed experiment with the first Metroid Prime game in nearly a decade. Could I see Nintendo building a modern Wrecking Crew or touchscreen based Duck Hunt for 3DS? Not really, but I’m sure they could come up with something in that category. How about bringing back the Excitebike series, but with spaceships? Excitespaceship. Sounds awesome.
Nintendo just announced Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido the other day and has had a long history of publishing fun, new IP on 3DS since the early days (see: Box Boy, Pushmo, Codename STEAM, Pocket Card Jockey, Ever Oasis, etc.). I expect there to be a couple of surprises along the way into 2019, and for that matter, right up until the very end of the system’s lifespan.
Nintendo has gone nuts with the ports and remakes on 3DS, and why not? They are a cheap, simple way to get people to buy the games again, as well as introduce them to new audiences. Samus Returns, Star Fox 64 3D, Majora’s Mask 3D, Ocarina of Time 3D, Pokemon ORAS, Xenoblade Chronicles, Dragon Quest 7 and 8, Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World, Super Mario Maker 3D, Superstar Saga, and, to some extent, Fire Emblem Echoes are all older games rebuilt for new audiences, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Nintendo load up on a couple of those in 2018. For the sake of dreaming big, let’s say Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door and...I don’t know, Chibi Robo.
Other Odds and Ends That Make Sense
I’m thinking of a Wii U game that debuted in 2014. It featured a hero that couldn’t jump, fight, or do anything, really. It was well received, and often praised as something that would be excellent to take on the go, if it had been possible with the Wii U hardware. Why not a Captain Toad game for the 3DS?
The 3DS has a mostly complete library, but it’s really lacking that one Nintendo franchise that people have been begging for for years: Advance Wars. Sure, Fire Emblem has been readily available to scratch that itch, but with two (technically four) core releases in the past two years (plus a Dynasty Warriors game that will probably run like a morbidly obese old person on the 3DS hardware), it’s possible Nintendo will want to rest the franchise for a bit and bring in an old favorite to give people a break from Fire Emblem without giving them a break from the strategy genre.
Another franchise that has gone strangely dormant in the past few years is Wario Ware. Since the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Game and Wario, we’ve heard nothing, not even flatulence, out of our favorite anti-Mario mascot. Is it because the 3DS gimmick isn’t good enough? The Wii U’s gimmick wasn’t good enough either, and yet Game and Wario still exists! Bring back WarioWare! (If you’re as big of a WarioWare fan as I am, you owe it to yourself to check out the Rhythm Heaven Megamix compilation on the 3DS eShop. It’s a blast!)
Zero Escape 4. Just let me have this and I’ll never ask anything of anybody ever again.
Here’s my realistic wishlist for 2018/2019, assuming that there will also be some unknown surprises:
New Super Mario Bros. 3
Yokai Watch 3
Monster Hunter XX
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
My unrealistic wishlist:
Zero Escape 4
Elite Beat Agents 2
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 6 Waifu Simulator All Night
If this writeup provided anything more than a look into my disturbed mind and my autoerotic fixation on the excellence of the Nintendo 3DS, I’m happy with it. So, sound off in the comments: What games would you like to see come to Nintendo’s elderly handheld in 2018 and beyond?