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Greetings my fellow gamers! Welcome back for part two of my crazy and zany E3 predictions. I say that because, well, the whole point of E3 is for the big three console makers -- Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft -- to knock us off our feet with their bold reveals, and only the truly nutty would try and guess what surprises await us enthusiastic gamers. If you ask me, predicting isn't about your scorecard after all is said and done, but rather the fun and excitement that comes with trying to foretell the bombshell announcements we all know are looming on the horizon.
In case you missed part one of my E3 predictions, where I go into detail about what I think Microsoft will reveal, I encourage you to check it out right here on the Future Shop Tech Blog. I mentioned in that article that I was going to do my Nintendo and Sony write-ups combined in one post, but I quickly realized that my Nintendo predictions were quite vast, so I've decided to split this feature into three. (My Sony predictions will be ready this weekend!)
So let's kick up our feet, relax, and have ourselves a good old crystal gazing roundtable about gaming. I would love to hear what you think about my guesses!
Nintendo Press Conference - June 2 at 9:00am PST
Nintendo is in a precarious situation right now. On the one hand, the Wii and DS have been a clear runaway success for the company, especially here in Canada. On the other hand, after last year's lackluster E3 showing, vocal core-gamers were quick to express their growing sense of alienation with no new core-friendly franchise extensions for Nintendo mainstays such as Mario, Zelda, or Metroid. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata even went so far as to apologize for their media briefing shortcomings and reassured long-time Nintendo fans that hardcore titles are coming.
It's for these reasons and more that I think Nintendo will definitely seek to please their long-term fans in a big way this year. Nintendo luminary, Shigeru Miyamoto assuaged concerns last year by announcing that the Mario and Zelda teams had reunited and were actively working on their next projects. I predict we'll see at least one of these big game announcements at E3; if I had to place my bets on one it would a sequel to Mario Galaxy. The reasons? It's two-fold: 1) we know that members of the Twilight Princess team worked on Wii Fit and I would imagine that game kept the team busy for quite some time (especially if a Wii Fit sequel is in the mix); and 2) Nintendo has already announced that The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks will be available for the DS later this year. Surely Nintendo wouldn't plan two Zelda games in the same holiday season, would they?
Nintendo will also supplement their hardcore offerings with trailers for Pikman 3, Sin & Punishment 2, Cosmic Walker, and Dynamic Slash. With luck, maybe we'll even get a North American release date for Disaster: Day of Crisis, but I wouldn't hold your breath on that one. I also think Nintendo will dig deep into its archives and resurface another long beloved franchise (such as what they did this year with Punch Out!!) -- most likely the long-rumoured return of Kid Icarus. Or, maybe we'll finally see what Retro Studios has been up to since they finished Metroid Prime 3: Coruption all the way back in 2007.
With all the great success Nintendo has had lately catering to the casual crowd, I would also expect to see Wii Sports Resort featured prominently during their media brief, as well as an announcement of the next major casual title. If I had to take a guess I would probably bet on a new Brain Age Wii sequel, or perhaps we'll finally see Nintendogs make it's way to the Wii. One thing is almost certain to happen -- Nintendo will announce the next major title to fully support the Wii Motion Plus technology (likely their next big casual title). It wouldn't surprise me if Nintendo also announced Wii Motion Plus compatibility with one of those hardcore titles I mentioned above (Pikmin 3 would be a great candidate). Speaking of Wii Motion Plus, I think it almost goes without saying that Nintendo will announce at least one more device or add-on to Wii's growing list of accessories. In less than three years we've already seen the Wii Balance Board, Wii Wheel, Wii Crossbow, and Wii Speak. (That's a lot of Wii's don't you think!)
Much like the Microsoft media brief, I'm sure we'll see a video reel (or live demonstration) of a few notable third-party titles including EA's Dead Space: Extraction, Ubisoft's Red Steel 2 or Rabbids Go Home, and hopefully Square-Enix will show off Dragon Quest IX for Nintendo DS.
Finally, I predict Nintendo will reveal some DSi games that really take advantage of the unique features of the system -- perhaps a game that requires you to take photographs with the built-in camera, or a game that requires you to load photos on your DS and manipulate them somehow. Unquestionably, there will be some new DSi downloadable games touted at E3, and I think we'll see an expansion of the DSiWare service, possibly to include the ability to download old Gameboy games (similar to the Virtual Console on Wii). Last but certainly not least, I expect Nintendo to announce that Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! will be coming to North America and dropping this fall.
Well there you have it, my Nintendo E3 predictions are in the bag. I hope you enjoyed them -- and please, let me know what you think! Cheers.