Nintendo E3 2015 Predictions: The Wii U’s Last Stand
I am something of a Wii U apologist. As someone brought up on Nintendo’s games and consoles, I see a lot to love in the company’s flagging system, even though I recognize that Nintendo has failed to deliver on a number of promises in regards to how it and its touchscreen Gamepad would fundamentally change the way we experience our video games. In actuality, the Gamepad has been unceremoniously tossed aside, relegated to little more than an inventory or map screen in a number of games, essentially becoming no more useful than a standard controller only with a clunkier design and an unforgivably poor battery life.
With news circulating that Nintendo is working on a new console, this E3 could see Nintendo taking one last stab at getting a number of games out the gate that Wii U owners desperately want to see on the console. And what of the 3DS? Though the “New” version of the handheld was recently released, there hasn’t been much killer software announced for the device’s near future – will this be addressed at E3?
If Nintendo wants to inspire a surge in public interest for the Wii U prior to the expecting unveiling of their new console in 2016, and to increase the dipping sales of the 3DS, then the company’s digital event during E3 is certainly the place to do it. Or, as many expect, this year’s show could simply be another disappointing event for the company. Here are my predictions for Nintendo’s E3 2015, and be sure to vote on your predictions in the survey below.
Retro Studios Returns to Metroid
This is undoubtedly the logical route for Nintendo to take with one its most beloved franchises. The Metroid series was never better than when Retro Studios was at its helm, bringing us the Metroid Prime trilogy that is widely regarded as one of the most consistent series in the history of the medium. Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto has previously stated that Retro is high on the list when it comes to development teams Nintendo want to place in charge of a new Metroid game, and following Team Ninja’s unsuccessful stab at the franchise in the form of Other M, handing Samus Aran’s story back over to Retro sounds more appealing than ever.
Though it hasn’t been confirmed by Nintendo, from various reports issued by the company it seems likely that Retro had previously been asked to produce another Metroid game, only for the game to turn down the offer in order to work on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that Retro aren’t keen on the idea of creating another Metroid, because the list of studios I’d want to take on the series other than them (and given the Wii U’s almost non-existent third-party support, the list of studios who’d be willing to take on the series) is very small.
As one of Nintendo’s few first-party developers, you’d have to believe Retro would be given something to do. Outside of an unnecessary third Donkey Kong Country game, it’s likely that their attention will have been turned once again to the Metroid series, and this would be a great move both for the development studio and for Nintendo.
No Wii U Price Drop
It’s easy for us to say that the Wii U should receive a price drop, given the poor sales of the console and the fact that it’s currently priced just below the much more popular Xbox One. However, while this would be beneficial to the wallets of potential Wii U buyers, it likely wouldn’t help turn around the fortunes of the console given that a price drop this year wouldn’t be accompanied by any major system sellers.
Sure, Star Fox is pegged for a late 2015 release and with Miyamoto at the helm it’s certainly an interesting prospect, but that franchise is no Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros. A $50 cut to the Wii U’s retail value would certainly help the console out when the next The Legend of Zelda game is released in 2016, but for the time being a price drop in 2015 would likely only harm Nintendo’s financial bottom line without it gaining any significant ground on the sales of the PS4 or Xbox One.
Many have been calling for the Wii U to receive a price drop for quite some time now, but thus far Nintendo has only reduced its cost by $50 since its initial launch. If they didn’t introduce a price cut around the launch of Mario Kart 8 or Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, then they certainly aren’t going to do it in a year in which there aren’t that many games on their release calendar.
Pokemon X and Y Sequel
Pokemon developer Game Freak would once take their time with each new iteration in the series, but now they are prone to releasing the games annually, either by providing fans with updated versions of the likes of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, or by releasing direct sequels such as Pokemon Black and White 2. While some believe that 2015 will see the release of Pokemon Z, a game which would act as a quasi-sequel to Pokemon X & Y in the way that Pokemon Yellow did to Red and Blue, it’s more likely that we’ll see the release of Pokemon X & Y 2 instead.
Pokemon X & Y were widely praised for providing a fresh lick of paint to the Pokemon series, and it’s unlikely that Game Freak is looking to step foot into a new generation of Pokemon just yet. It’s also unlikely that they’re looking to update any of their old releases in the series given the relatively recent release of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, meaning that if they are to debut a new Pokemon game this year, it will likely be a direct sequel to the series’ debut on the 3DS.
I could also go out on a limb and suggest that, while unlikely, the new Pokemon game could perhaps be a New Nintendo 3DS exclusive in order to drive sales of the new handheld, though that would seem unlikely given the established user base of the 3DS and 3DS XL., who would certainly kick up a storm if Nintendo were to prevent them from playing a new entry in the console’s most popular series.
Playable The Legend of Zelda
Nintendo has shifted its focus away from E3 press conferences over the past few years in order to deliver carefully controlled digital events alongside a stronger emphasis upon playable games in and around the Los Angeles Convention Center. Though The Legend of Zelda’s Wii U debut (excluding the HD remake of The Wind Waker, of course) was pushed back to 2016, Nintendo is still going to want to keep people talking about it. Outside of an inevitable new trailer for the game, Nintendo could therefore also bring a playable demo of the game to E3’s show floor.
Of course, this will be almost entirely inconsequential to the many paying attention to the event at home, but it will at least allow for the press to come away with previews of the game, which given the amount of time Nintendo is clearly putting into it, could stand to be one of the greatest games the company has ever made. This is the biggest Nintendo game on the horizon, and it would be unwise for them to go to E3 with only a trailer to show for it.
Do you agree with our predictions? Feel free to make your own using the survey below: