[Update: The Nintendo E3 2018 Digital Event kicks off in just a few hours at 9am PT / 5pm BST. What can you expect when Nintendo takes over the airwaves tomorrow? We've got six predictions-slash-wishlist items we're hoping to hear more about.]
It’s been one big year for Nintendo, and between the soaring profits, mightily impressive Switch sales, and promises of much more to come, we think the brand will be strutting into this year’s E3.
As in previous years, Nintendo won’t be hosting a live on-stage presentation at the E3 show itself. Instead, it’ll be broadcasting its pre-recorded video of announcements and trailers on Tuesday June 12 at 9am PT / 5pm BST.
This year we’re expecting to see Nintendo try to prove to any doubters (if there are any left) that it will be able to maintain the Switch’s momentum into its second year. That will mean providing some updates on big first-party announcements, as well as revealing an enticing lineup of third-party ports new and old.
Overall, expectations are high for Nintendo this year, and while we’re looking forward to any surprises that the company pulls out of Mario’s magic hat, we’re really hoping to see the following six things make an appearance of some kind.
Pokemon and Metroid Prime 4
During E3 2017, Nintendo announced that two of its biggest franchises would be making highly-anticipated debuts on the Switch – but we didn’t really get much more information than that. While Metroid Prime 4 received a logo, there was no footage or release window attached to it. And although the Pokemon RPG had a release window of 2018 or later (if you can call that a window – we’d call it more of a release cliff edge) it still doesn’t have a logo or even a full title.
With E3 rolling around once again it’s nearly a full year since these games were announced, and we've had pretty much no additional news in the interim. This year, then, we’re hoping to hear a little more about what Metroid Prime 4 and Pokemon Switch will involve. A hint of plot for either game, perhaps a short teaser trailer with screenshots, or even a more solid expectation of when we can expect these titles to be released would be welcome.
After Metroid and Pokemon were announced at E3 2017 we thought that would be it for big Nintendo franchises coming to Switch for another year or so. We were wrong. Nintendo wrapped up 2017 by announcing during the Game Awards that Bayonetta 3 is currently in the works for the Switch.
While Bayonetta 3 did have a more substantial trailer on show than either Metroid Prime 4 or Pokemon, it’s only been a few months since that announcement, as opposed to a year. However, we’d still love to see the game get a prime-time showing during Nintendo’s E3 conference.
Super Smash Bros
We already know that Super Smash Bros is going to be a big part of Nintendo’s E3 show this year: not only will it appear in the presentation and Treehouse livestream, it’ll be the main attraction on the show floor. And Nintendo is also hosting a Smash Bros Invitational, which will pit eight players from around the world against one another in a Super Smash Bros competition.
So, knowing that Super Smash Bros will be such a significant presence at the show, we’ve decided we would like all of the news. From a solid release date to a full roster of fighters, we want to know everything Nintendo can tell us about the game that's likely to be a key driving force in bringing players into the full Nintendo Switch online service when it launches in September.
At the moment, Nintendo has given no indication that it's planning to release Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch. But it also hasn't said that it resolutely won't release Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch. And so we live in hope.
Now that Super Smash Bros, Pokemon and Metroid have all been confirmed for Nintendo's new console, and Legend of Zelda, Super Mario and Mario Kart have all had their debut, we feel like Animal Crossing is the natural choice for the next big first-party announcement.
That’s not only because Animal Crossing is already popular and successful, but because the game is a perfect match for Nintendo’s hybrid console – its sandbox nature makes it ideally suited to long play sessions on your TV, as well as shorter on-the-go bursts on the Switch’s handheld mode.
As a result, we're hoping it's announced at this year's E3, even if it is just a logo or an acknowledgement, as we saw for Pokemon and Metroid in 2017.
More Labo sets or peripherals
There wasn’t a particularly long wait between Nintendo Labo’s announcement in February and its launch in April. But now that the Switch’s intriguing cardboard creations have arrived, we want to see more.
In the official Nintendo Labo trailer there were a total of eight official-looking Toy-Cons that haven’t been released in either the Variety Kit or Robot Kits that are currently available. This leads us to believe that there are more Nintendo Labo kits coming soon, and we’d like to see some of them announced at E3.
The Toy-Cons in question include a bird, a shotgun, a steering wheel, a camera, a periscope, a joystick, an extendable arm and a drum pedal. That's enough for a Variet Kit 2.0, we'd say.
More third-party reveals
The Nintendo Switch has stood out from other recent Nintendo console releases thanks to its third-party library. Although the games that are coming to the console haven't always been the newest releases, they have offered new ways to play games we love, and we'd like to see that continue.
Skyrim and LA Noire were examples of ports done right, making last-generation games feel fresh thanks to some interesting Switch control integration and the sheer novelty of playing them on the go. We'd like to see some more beloved titles make their way to Switch this year – a Grand Theft Auto title seems to be a popular request that we can get on board with, and maybe even something to celebrate Fallout 3's tenth anniversary.
That said, we'd also like to see some newer, more contemporary third-party releases announced for the Switch at this year's E3, because the novelty factor of portability won't be effective with older games forever.
We think it's likely that EA will release another Switch version of FIFA, but there are some exciting third-party rumors which point to titles such as Call of Duty Black Ops 4, and that's the kind of thing we'd like to see.