E3 2016 is probably the single most important event for gamers all year long. It's here we'll get our first look at the big franchises that will keep our consoles and gaming rigs humming later in the year and, if we're lucky, a sneak peek at next-gen hardware, too.
This year is going to be different than most, however. All three of the main console manufacturers have hinted at new hardware – Sony with its PS4.5, Microsoft with a modular console and Nintendo with the Nintendo NX – meaning this could be a very big year. But not everything is changing for the better this year. Activision, Disney, Wargaming and EA have all said that they won't be attending the convention in an official capacity this year. That means no crazy surprise rock shows to support Guitar Hero Live, Disney Infinity displays packed to the gills with miniature movie icons and absolutely no Pele coming out on stage to talk about the beautiful game.
But maybe, just maybe, none of that will matter.
E3 is a fiercely independent beast. It's survived with the support of those companies in the past and it can do so again. As long as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo show up with new IPs in hand and next-gen hardware in toe, this is going to be another memorable year in Los Angeles.
Nintendo, playing it safe with Zelda
No one could conceivably claim that Nintendo put on a good show at last year's E3. Instead of footage from the new Zelda, we got a trailer for Zelda spin-off Tri Force Heroes. Instead of a juicy new entry in the Metroid series, we got Metroid Prime: Federation force with a trailer so underwhelming that it immediately sparked a petition to get the game permanently pulled from the Nintendo lineup months ahead of its release.
Even Nintendo's Starfox reveal, a title which had the gaming community shedding a collective tear of joy, was quickly deflated when we saw the shoe-horned controls.
But 2016 is a new year. We've been keenly following the news leaking out about Nintendo's next console and last month Nintendo finally confirmed that the NX would be releasing in March 2017.
Nintendo has also recently announced its live streaming plans for this year's E3. At E3 2014 it blew us away with the reveal of a new Legend of Zelda for the Wii U, but since then we've seen little of the new game aside from a Nintendo Direct broadcast. This will all change at E3 2016, where Nintendo will be streaming the new Legend of Zelda (which has also been confirmed for the NX) for an entire day.
Nintendo has confirmed that Zelda will be the only playable game they're showing at this year's show, but that won't stop us from putting a few more things on our wish list.
It's no secret that Nintendo has big plans for mobile gaming after it announced them prior to E3 last year. So far we've seen just one Nintendo mobile game, Miitomo, but Nintendo has also announced that 2016 will see the release of Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem alongside Pokemon's ARG (augmented-reality game) title, Pokemon Go, footage of which leaked earlier this month.
Not to sound greedy, but it would also be nice to see something new on the Mario and Metroid fronts. Retro Studios, the team behind the much-loved Metroid Prime series on the Nintendo GameCube also has an unannounced project in the works, and our fingers are crossed that it's a return to their arm cannon-blasting, Kraid-killing roots.
Nintendo is playing this year's E3 incredibly safe with its focus on the Legend of Zelda, and whilst we love the franchise as much as anyone else, one game does not an E3 showing make. It would be great if Nintendo surprised us with another announcement, or even more details of its mobile plans, but we're not going to be holding our collective breath.