Its the final countdown, were so close - but yet so far

Next week folks, that’s when it all goes down. With Nintendo’s ship this time around avoid of any leaks we’re playing the guessing game. What is the Cafe going to do and maybe even a little of how it’s going to do it. Enough with the introduction, let’s get to it.

Daniel Miller


Project Cafe:

We say this every year, but Nintendo need to do something big to get our attention back. Every time new Nintendo hardware comes out there is a whipping up of wild rumours and crazy speculation about all the things we wish Nintendo would add to their new console. When the Revolution (now Wii) was announced I remember there was talk that there was a hidden projector under the ‘secret’ flap on the front of the console. In actual fact, it was just an SD card slot. E3 for a Nintendo fan these past few years has been characterised by high hopes and crushing disappointment. Nintendo need to change that this year.

The Wii innovated and reached new audiences with its motion controllers, but it won’t be enough for Nintendo to release some similar type of innovation and be done with it this time. They need both innovative, accessible features and a return to hardcore games and features. I’m not sure I believe the talk about a six inch touchscreen built into every controller, but I do think the Wii successor’s controller will resemble more of an Xbox 360 controller than a Wii remote. Nintendo will make moves to capture the hardcore gamer again with expansions in online. I expect there to be friend codes still, but the online system might resemble a slightly more advanced 3DS online system.

The controller or controllers will no doubt feature motion controls but they will also pack a few surprises. I think we might see the Wii Vitality Sensor built into the controller’s handle. That would certainly add a new dynamic to playing games. Imagine playing Left 4 Dead and the game being able to sense when your heart was racing. Sounds good to me.

As for games we’ll see at E3, I think we’ll see a next-gen Star Fox in HD and a brand new Nintendo franchise of some sort. Nintendo will also show off the wide support of third parties. I expect there will be a lot of titles that are already out for the 360 and PS3 that get re-released with a few new features. We may not actually see them at E3, but they’ll turn up when the system is released. The system will of course be playable in some form at E3, but I believe nearly all the playable titles will be 1st-party Nintendo titles.


Only the third year in a row we’ve used this image.

Nintendo 3DS:

I think we’ll see a lot of talk about Zelda Ocarina of Time and about how we’re coming out of the launch window and how developers now understand the system and will be releasing some kick arse games. We’ll also see other previously announced big 3DS titles like Mario Kart and Animal Crossing in more detail.

Expanding the 3DS’ features will also be something we’ll see. I believe there will be talk about video recording using the 3DS’ cameras and introducing some new apps to the system that make use of Streetpass. Perhaps we’ll see some sort of game statistics swapping app where you see and compare games with other people who you Streetpass and the app will let you find out more information about a particular game, like screenshots and videos, by linking you into the eShop. Nintendo will surely try to keep the momentum going with Streetpass. I fully expect there to be new hats and challenges to complete in the Mii Plaza channel after a few system updates, so maybe we’ll see some of that at the show.

As for the wild predictions, I reckon Nintendo will show off Pikmin 3 running not on the Wii, but the 3DS. I may end up eating those words, but it seems like a good fit and a way to get a major game out on the system relatively quickly.

With the Wii dying, Pikmin 3 seems like it would get a much better run on the 3DS. Perhaps that’s just my wishful thinking running away with me. I’m also hoping a Metroid platforming game might show up at E3, it’s about time we got a good and proper 2D (so to speak) Metroid game, and no, Other M doesn’t count. Pokemon Gray should also show up and I predict it will be 3DS enhanced. So when you run the game on the 3DS the overworld graphics (which will stay very similar to Black/White) will be in 3D, and Pokemon battles may get the boost to 3D polygons.

DS/Wii:

There’s not much left for these two systems. Presumably Pokemon Gray will show up for the DS and maybe another Mario party or sports-type game (think Mario Hoops 3-on-3). The new Kirby title will also feature. It’s almost too much to hope that another Golden Sun title will turn up, but we might see some other Japanese RPG titles.

The Wii will be all about Zelda Skyward Sword. Perhaps this time the on stage demo won’t bug out. I expect we’ll get a release date for Zelda and extensive hands on with the title. If I’m right about Pikmin 3 jumping ship to the 3DS then we won’t see that on the Wii, but if I’m wrong then it’ll obviously turn up. I don’t expect any big game announcements but an odd small-time Mario game here or there wouldn’t be astray.

Adrian Verna

Project Cafe:

With all the rumours surrounding the much anticipated ’Project Cafe’ it’s quite obvious that once again, Nintendo will, as always, be taking a very unique approach with their next console, although it would seem that this time they’ll be influenced by Sony and Microsoft’s HD consoles to not fall behind hardware-wise as they did with the Wii.

It seems a given that Cafe will definitely have HD graphics, and as demonstrated by the 3DS’ improved online experience, the system will most definitely have an online infrastructure that will be on par with the PSN or XBL, although given Nintendo’s penchant for innovation, it wouldn’t be surprising if they did something completely unique with the online that no other console is doing.

What that is, exactly, I don’t think anyone can speculate and I think that same statement can be said for the entire console. What Nintendo do with Cafe will surprise us, no matter what anyone speculates.

As for the games, I personally don’t believe the rumours of all the big third-party developers like Rockstar getting behind the system, although, as I stated before, Nintendo will definitely surprise us. Probably the most obvious game for the new system is the next instalment in the Super Smash Bros. series. I remember reading an interview with Sakurai where he said he wouldn’t make another Smash Bros. game unless it innovated the series in some way, and with the rumours swirling around that Cafe will have a screen with a controller, you can just imagine all the different ways this could be implemented into the standard 4 player bash-em-up gameplay. Couple this with the improved online experience that will hopefully make Smash Bros. online actually playable and a Cafe Smash Bros. seems more and more like a no-brainer.


3DS
Games, games, games and more games. Now that we finally have the 3DS available, one of its biggest shortcomings has been the lack of exciting games for the system. Most of the really cool games that were announced at last year’s E3 haven’t been released yet, and since then only a few have had any new info revealed, with most of them existing solely as screenshots from last year. I suspect Nintendo will show off trailers and more info for most of the games they announced last year such as Paper Mario and Mario Kart. And of course they’ll show off some new games, my guess is for a new Metroid game on the 3DS, as that’s seems to be the only major Nintendo franchise that hasn’t been represented in some way, shape or form on the 3D handheld.

Wii/DS:

With Project Cafe obviously being the main attraction of Nintendo’s E3 conference this year, I doubt we’ll see much new Wii games, apart from already announced titles such as Zelda: Skyward Sword and WiiPlay: Motion. I’m guessing that Nintendo will show off as many Wii games as they did DS games at last year’s conference, which was not many.

However, I do expect Skyward Sword to have a big presence during the conference, because, well it’s Zelda. As for the DS, I expect it to have an even smaller presence than it did last year, and perhaps it may not even show up at all, as as far as I know there aren’t any big titles announced for the system at all, so it will be interesting to see whether or not Nintendo have completely moved on from the DS...

Phantom Ganon

Project Cafe:

If it’s anything like the 3DS at last year’s press conference (and I think it will be), this is going to be the best part of the conference. Like the 3DS last year, this will be shown last in the conference just so it’s the last thing the audience see before getting their hands on the actually technology. I think Nintendo have already confirmed that it will be there in a playable form so it lends more credence to my thought it’ll be the last thing shown. I’m hearing things about a greatly improved online infrastructure (an actual network no less) but rumblings about Valve being the ones to make it along the lines of their Steam client seem a bit far-fetched. I’d be glad to eat my words on this front though.

What we probably will see is a lot of games that aren’t that far along in development. If Nintendo really do want the HD audience on side, I’ll expect some HD multiplatform games that are due out next year to hit the system. Along with this some exclusives that I’ve been thinking of are Resident Evil 6 (at least initially), GTA V or maybe Soul Calibur 5 (remember when Link was in Soul Calibur 2?). First party wise, I’m hearing Pikmin 3 will finally be shown but my biggest hope is that the first game out on day 1 is the next Super Smash Brothers title. They’re usually out early in the life of the console and Brawl was a bit of a tribute to the Gamecube in terms of stages and character models. It would also be the biggest advertisement of the new online system. It’s no secret that the online for Brawl was not up to scratch. This would be there chance at the start of their next console to show the world "we’ve got it right this time".

One last rumour I’ve taken interest in is that Nintendo want a top-of-the-line FPS there on Day 1 as well and I can definitely see the logic behind this. Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 will probably be out a bit too early for the Cafe but who knows whether we’ll be seeing ports or whether the console will be out in a time period that suits perhaps the next annual edition of Call of Duty.

A word to the wise though, it’s very easy to get caught up in all this speculation and simply assume that we’re going to have our minds blown at E3. While this may be the case, be careful because E3 might not have too many answers at all. Just don’t let the hype train get off the tracks.

Nintenodo 3DS:

The second year of the 3DS should bring a much closer look at software. Another look at Kid Icarus is probably a given, along with other titles that were shown off last year but didn’t make it out (games like Snake Eater and Resident Evil Revelations). Ocarina of Time 3D will get one last big trailer before it’s released to the world in the month of June. A prediction from me in terms of a big game that’ll get a fair amount of conference time is Mario Kart. Mario Kart has always been great at connecting people (it pretty much has the title of best online game for the Wii) and it’ll be interesting to see what the 3DS can add to that. Perhaps a title that uses a great deal of augmented reality might also be coming. Last year Nintendo made a big deal of the 3D element of the 3DS (and for good reason) but perhaps it’s time to show off another element of the 3DS, one that seems to have been overlooked.


Wii/DS:

I won’t make much of a secret of the fact that I love the look of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I’ve heard a lot of naysayers (perhaps people disillusioned by Twilight Princess) saying that this game doesn’t look likely of being a great Zelda. Personally, I think it looks very likely. I think the art style is absolutely gorgeous and it will be the best looking game the Wii produces. But just looking at the trailers, the world seems to have a vibrancy about it again. That bodes well in my books.

Other than that the Wii will need some more titles to get it through the last portion of its cycle. It feels like yesterday when I was unboxing my launch day Wii. Anyway, I expect a localisation for The Last Story and a date for Pandora’s Tower towards the end of the year. Xenoblade is less likely but would be welcome, and I think the Wii has one more noteworthy title (other than Skyward Sword of course) left in it. Maybe that new Kirby title that was being shown off will be it.

Unfortunately I can’t see any room for the DS at the E3 press conference. It’ll be all about pushing 3DS software and rightly so. But it’s been an awesome ride with the DS from its initial "Phat" model to the last DSi XL model and all the software that’s come in between.

One last thing, this year is also The Legend of Zelda’s 25th Anniversary. Now while we’re already getting two Zelda games this year, I think there’s one more big announcement to come regarding Zelda. A brand new Zelda for the 3DS would be nice.

Daniel Vuckovic

Project Cafe:

It’s no surprise that the Wii Successor, Project Cafe or whatever it ends up being called is going to be the key piece of Nintendo’s showing this year. Nintendo will have to have something big up their sleeve for this one - they’ve got to be on their toes and really impress everyone. We need to be sitting there going - alright Nintendo what the hell is going on. We did it with the Wii and look how that turned out.

However this time Nintendo’s going to have not only been out there and innovative but also come back in a bit in order to win back third parties they’ll have to find a good medium ground. Games used to get ported tot the PS2, Xbox and the Gamecube more often then not. With the power difference, graphical difference and the poor online support the Wii has missed out on a lot of games and often got the C or even D grade teams work on it.

I know this is a predictions article but I don’t want to say exactly what I want to see with the controller, the console and the games. I don’t want to name any names either. Sure I could say Pikmin, Starfox and F-Zero. But I’m not going to. I want Nintendo take back the reigns, be the dominant force in leading the market again - they did it with the Wii. Iwata, we want to really say Wow.

Oh and a release date for the Cafe? Don’t expect anything other than a vague 2012 date.

Nintendo 3DS

While I didn’t want to predict too much with the Cafe, I want to be surprised with that - I’m going to predict the crap out of the 3DS. I think we’re going to see two sides to the 3DS showing, we’re going to see new games but also new enhancements to the console.

First up we’re going to see the next ’update’ for the 3DS. While we’ll have the eShop update already once E3 starts Nintendo will show us the next one. I’m talking 3D Video Recording, new channels and I think we’ll see a new StreetPass game.

Games games games games game. That’s the other big thing we’re going to see. Nintendo know they stuffed the launch up, they want people to own a 3DS. Games are the reason we own a 3DS so this what I think is going to happen. We’ll get to see finally, in action a better look at Mario Kart, Animal Crossing and the next ’casual’ 3D title. This might be a Brain Training game or something new. But we’ve already seen Mario Kart and Animal Crossing, what about something new! Well yes the’ll be that too, we know Mario 3D is coming and we’ll see more of that but I think Nintendo will unravel a whole wad of games we’ll be playing in 2012. I’m going to say F-Zero, Kirby and Pikmin.

Wii and DS

Nintendo’s showing of the DS and the Wii are going to be low key this year, aside from Skyward Sword which will receive a brand new trailer and a release date. The Wii’s successor is still a while away so anything new Wii wise will be things already announced like Xenoblade, The Last Story that will be finally be confirmed heading to America and other regions. This E3 is all about Nintendo’s future, the Wii and even less so the DS are not apart of that. The DS is going to get GB Micro’d.