Let's be honest, it'll be tough for Nintendo to be recognized as the winner at E3 2015.
Over the last few months, the house that Mario built has made some pretty major announcements - such as the fact that it's already working on next-generation hardware, code-named Nintendo NX, and that it's teaming up with DeNA to bring all-new games to mobile - but Nintendo has also acknowledged none of that will be at E3.
But don't give up yet. With all that working against them, Iwata and Co. could still have a come-from-behind victory, but they'll need to have a lot up their sleeves.
We already know much of what will be there: Mario Maker, the create-your-own-Mario-platformer title, will undoubtedly get a ton of attention at E3, and the new Star Fox for Wii U, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi's Woolly World, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon and the 3DS version of Hyrule Warriors are certain to be there as well. The much-anticipated Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem could even make an appearance.
Though these known quantities may be enough to satisfy some Nintendo enthusiasts, it'll take much more to win over the entire gaming community.
For Nintendo to claim E3 victory, it'll have to unveil new entries in one of its most renowned series: Metroid.
Considered by many to be one of Nintendo's top properties, Metroid has yet to see new releases on Wii U or 3DS, but if Nintendo knows what it's doing, it'll reveal both. Ideally that would mean a brand-new first-person Metroid game on Wii U in the vein of the Metroid Prime series; the Wii U Gamepad has already proven that it works great for shooters with the recently released Splatoon, and there could be plenty of other unique functions for the controller. (Perhaps, for example, you could hold up the gamepad to mimic heroine Samus Aran's various visor options.)
Retro Studios, developer of the Metroid Prime series, has been quiet for a while now, so it's very possible they've been stealthily working on a new Metroid.
Over on 3DS, though, Metroid would benefit from a more traditional side-view, third-person treatment, especially if the system's dual screens were used in tandem to display the vertically scrolling environments the series was once known for.
While Metroid is great at delivering atmospheric sci-fi action, Nintendo will also have to appeal to the cute and creative side of its audience, and a new Animal Crossing game for Wii U would be just the way to do it.
The last Animal Crossing game was a big hit on 3DS, but rather than delivering more of the same on Wii U, the developers would do well to shake things up with new activities, enhanced online capabilities, and crossover features with the upcoming Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer for 3DS.
Speaking of cute, E3 would be a perfect place for a Wii U version of Pokkén Tournament – the arcade Pokémon fighting game developed by Bandai Namco – to make an appearance.
However, it'll take more than tried-and-true franchises to give Nintendo the edge at E3. It'll also need something different and new, and for that they should turn to one of their biggest recent success stories: amiibo.
Since their release last November, Nintendo's NFC figurines have proven so popular that most of them can't even be found in stores, despite the fact that there's no killer software to go with them. It's time to change that.
Just as the Skylanders games give users a reason to interact with their matching toys, a new Nintendo game – preferably some sort of expansive action-adventure with RPG elements – would provide the perfect excuse for those amiibo to do more than sit on a shelf. If you don't own any amiibo, fine — you could still explore a variety of famous Nintendo worlds with a few stock characters or Miis.
But if you do have amiibo, you could play the game as Mario, Link, Little Mac, Shulk, Toad, Mega Man, Ike, Charizard, or any of the dozens of characters released in amiibo form, each with their own abilities and attacks, resulting in the biggest Nintendo mashup available this side of Smash Bros. Of course, Nintendo would be foolish not to announce several new amiibo, too.
Nintendo would also be wise to capitalize on the impending 30th anniversary of one of its biggest brands: Super Mario Bros.
Sure, in some ways Mario Maker does the job, but if the company were really smart, it'd push the nostalgia buttons as hard as it could with a premium collector's edition containing not only a compilation of Mario's best games, but a multi-disc CD soundtrack and a hardbound book overflowing with artwork and interviews.
Throw in an exclusive amiibo and you'd have a package that no Nintendo fan would be able to resist.
Along with such heavy-hitters, Nintendo should further appeal to its core fanbase with less mainstream but highly desirable games from Japan, such as the next big thing from fan-favorite publisher Platinum Games, and North American versions of hotly demanded RPGs Dragon Quest VII and VIII.
Nintendo could also turn some non-fans into believers with Devil's Third, from Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki.
Although it was looking pretty shabby last year, the game re-emerged earlier this week looking infinitely better than it had previously; if this mature-focused title can back it up in the gameplay department as well, it could help give Nintendo the balanced library it requires.
A lot of these suggestions might sound like nothing more than wishful thinking, but if Nintendo's going to take E3, it's gonna need to do something special — and if there's one thing fans have learned over the years, it's that you can never count Nintendo out.
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