And 7 more things you shouldn’t hold your breath for
Ah, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Ol’ E3 has had its ups and downs, but it's still one of the biggest explosions of gaming news each year. This year, all eyes are on Nintendo and their shiny new console. Fan buzz is getting louder thanks to more and more rumors that keep “slipping out” and being spread online.
If the world has learned anything from the Star Wars prequels, it should be that setting your expectations too high will make the fall of disappointment all the rougher. Predicting what Nintendo will do has never been an exact science, but they do have a pattern to their behavior if you look hard enough. So here is a list of seven Nintendo items you can feel free to get excited for, and seven you should put on the backburner for a while.
#1: Wii U Info Galore
Nintendo will surely be providing us with all the reasons why we should give them more money. They will definitely have a video that shows off many of the confirmed features of the tablet controller as well as what the user interface will end up being. It will probably have attractive people having fun in giant living rooms in it. There will surely be tons of playable demos on the floor of actual games beyond just the collection of tech demos we got last year. You can also expect them to reveal just what they plan for the contents of a retail package when you buy one. Will they pack in a Motion Plus Wii-mote? Is there a pack-in game? What storage solution do they have planned? Will the virtual content on my Wii be able to be transferred to the Wii U? These are questions we should get answers to.
Hey, I’m right there with you. Most core gamers don’t like the name “Wii U”. We think it will not only confuse the average consumer but that it is a sign of another Nintendo generation full of shovelware and appealing to the casual player that the Wii brand is infamous for. Nintendon’t care, bro. The Wii name saved them in their darkest hour, and they are not going to abandon that name recognition to make a bunch of 20 something males on the internet happy. We'll end up buying it no matter what they call it and they know that.
Plus, the average consumer is actually smarter than we like to give them credit for when it comes to technology. There is not a massive widespread problem of people constantly buying an iPod when they were trying to buy an iPhone, is there? Actually, thanks to Apple’s iteration lust, consumers are very aware that the ‘S’ at the end of iPhone 4S means that it is different from the iPhone 4. Sure, you can always point to a few isolated examples of a grandma getting her grandson a DSi XL instead of a 3DS… if you want to be a jerk. Why would you want to be a jerk? Why? Just… just don’t, OK?
Oh, and Nintendo already said they won’t announce the retail price. There is no special agenda, it is just that as a Japanese company Nintendo likes to wait until the Tokyo Game Show to announce their prices. They did it in 2010 with the 3DS and they're doing it again. It’ll probably be under $300, but whatever. They’ll tell us when they are ready. Just chill and enjoy everything they're telling you.
#2: A pack-in game
Nintendo totally understands just how much people salivate at the words “free” and “included”. Giving people a “free” game “included” with a new console has always worked out well for them… all the way to the bank. Only, why ship a physical disk in a paper sleeve like Wii Sports when you can have something already installed on the console itself? The 3DS had little games like Find Mii, Face Raiders, and AR Games built in which were not only delightful diversions but also acted as kind of a tour of the new features that portable had to offer. If Nintendo wants to mold customers into ones that will purchase items digitally, this is a surefire way to get them to see the advantage of not having to swap out a disk to play something new.
Wii Sports was actually the most perfect pack-in ever… for the Wii. It was a game that introduced many to making a Mii and just how versatile (and easy) it was to use motion controls when playing a game. As popular as it was, you shouldn’t expect a sequel to the Wii Sports brand… at least not in a form we are familiar with.
The next pack-in game will be something that shows off the features of the new tablet. It will have to showcase the benefits of having dual analog sticks as well as a touchscreen. It will have to highlight the feature of playing with just the tablet streaming from the device allowing the TV to be used by others. It will also have to have some form of multiplayer that showcases having a tablet player and the others using Wiimotes, which will let the more casual players know they should hold on to their old controllers.
For all we know it might end up being that New Super Mario Bros Mii game they showed off last year. It might be a totally new IP. Time will tell.
#3: 1st party titles ready for launch
Well, obviously Nintendo is going to talk about Nintendo games. The important thing is between the very disappointing 3DS launch and previous comments made about Sony’s Vita handheld, it is clear that Nintendo knows that if they want something done right they gotta do it themselves.
They will spend a sufficient amount of time showing off the planned third party support, but they will make it very, very clear that they intend to be much more of a presence in the Wii U’s launch line-up. They saw what happens when all you give gamers is a flight sim, puppy owning sim, and a submarine game at launch. There will be talk of the launch window, but plan on having a bigger number of 1st party titles available on launch day than in recent history. Expect Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Bros Mii, and other main franchises to show up.
Series creator Masahiro Sakurai has barely begun work on the game. He has already stated that he is currently focusing on how he can develop the Wii U/3DS connectivity. There hasn’t been enough time for anything to be ready to show. It will get a mention just so they can show us that they haven't forgotten about it. We will probably get a new title for the two versions, but that’s it. Logo, coming soon, moving on. Don't expect any gameplay and I wouldn’t even hold my breath for a teaser trailer.
Anybody who has a 3DS knows that Nintendo is really trying when it comes to online content. You can have a friends list. Many of their 1st party titles have solid, easy-to-use multiplayer. They have been making software updates that do things like allow you to make folders or fixing the shortcut glitches in Mario Kart 7. They have been consistently adding more games and demos on their virtual console and you can even connect to your Club Nintendo account so you automatically get reward points (coins) when you purchase games through your 3DS. It isn’t hard to guess that this is a prototype of what we’ll see with the Wii U’s online abilities. So you can bet they will devote time to proving that they are no longer allergic to the internet anymore.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is still Nintendo after all. They are still worried some pervert could stalk kids through their console. Don’t expect to be able to make a screen name. Don’t expect achievements/trophies/whatever. Don’t expect headsets. Of course, the good part of this is you also shouldn’t expect some kind of paid ‘Gold Subscription’ either. Baby steps people. Online that consistently works first, thirteen year olds that scream epitaphs and question your mother’s honor in your ear later. If you really want that… there’s always Skype.
#5: Don’t forget the 3DS
Now that the 3DS is out and selling pretty good … now is the time to strike.
Luigi’s Mansion 2, New Super Mario Bros 2, Paper Mario, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, Kingdom Hearts 3D, Pokemon Black and White 2, Professor Layton, Monster Hunter 4, Heroes of Ruin, and a dozen other games you have to own.
Reggie Out, bitches.
(Drop the mike)
The math is simple on this one.
Nintendo may make iterations to their handhelds every couple of years, but they won’t do it in a single year. We all know the 3DS is not perfect, but don’t expect to hear about the 3DS Lite, 3DS SP, or whatever until next year. They won't take the spotlight away from the new console which you can bet will get two thirds of the focus during their presentation and show floor. The next 3DS will probably show up in 2013, not before.
#6: Connectivity (Literally)
In 2010, Nintendo realized that the only thing that sells better than videogames is sex. Taking this as far as Nintendo probably ever should, they employed dozens of attractive females all with a 3DS tethered to their waist for the show floor demo area. They repeated this in 2011 with Wii U tablets. This has at least one more year before the gimmick wears thin.
I’m entirely convinced that Nintendo was just trolling here. Have the President come out in 2009 and talk about what is basically a pulse meter and then wait and see who tries to copy them.
Ubisoft fell for it hook, line, and sinker
It isn’t happening and we can all be thankful for that.
#7: The Old Guard
Even though things have slowed down for both, they still have huge install numbers and it just makes financial sense to keep making games for them for a few years more. Pokemon Black and White 2 is coming out for the DS while Kirby's 20th Anniversary is coming out for the Wii, and we know they know the new platforms exist. Heck the recently announced Adventure Time game is coming for both the 3DS and the DS. Not everybody wants (or can afford) the latest and greatest and it would be foolish for Nintendo to avoid getting money from these kinds of customers as well.
Sure, by 2014 everybody will have jumped onboard the S.S. New Hotness, but both the Wii U and 3DS are backwards compatible. So there isn’t any danger of users who choose to upgrade being unable to play any new games for the old systems.
New tech always has a transition period. Circle of consumerism.
Just one more thing …
If you know your E3 press conferences you just know you’ll hear those four little words that means something big is about to be unveiled… “Just. One. More. Thing.”
There is one rumor that I know is a long shot. I know there may be nothing that comes of the idea but it is the one thing that I will throw logic aside for and hope beyond hope for Nintendo to end its event with. Revealing a Star Fox/Metroid mash-up for the Wii U by Retro Studios. The proven abilities of Retro Studio used to reinvent two fan favorite franchises with innovative new play mechanics is just enough to get me excited beyond all logic.
Make it happen Make it happen Make it happen Make it happen Make it happen.
Both are space faring characters, both are owned by Nintendo, and both have recently had a few lackluster entries in their franchises. A team-up is just what these two need. The chattier characters of Star Fox means Samus can go back to the noble bounty hunter of few words for contrast. Whatever space voodoo wormhole warp magic plot convenience they have to whip up to get these two in the same universe, just make it happen. Andross joins forces with Ridley to weaponize the Metroids… there I did it for you Nintendo.
The Wii U tablet also opens up a slew of interesting new angles for gameplay. A blend of space battles (ala Star Fox 64) and on-foot 1st person shooter segments (ala Retro’s own Metroid Prime series) is probably the way to go. You navigate a ship by watching the TV, with radar and special weapons displayed on the tablet. The on-foot segments could have an always-on map making navigation a breeze. I can also envision a Super Mario Galaxy-style helper co-op mode where the player with the tablet controls one character and a second player acts as back-up with a standard Wii-mote. Or even simpler, since the tablet has its own screen, one person uses that while the other uses the TV. There are also those pie-in-the-sky dreams that it will have online competitive multiplayer or online 4 player co-op missions that let gamers run Team Star Fox style missions. Loser has to be Slippy.
If the game comes out with even half of these features, it would be a system seller for sure. Either way, Nintendo has a ‘sink or swim’ E3 this year so let’s hope they all remember to unequip the iron boots this time and leave Robbie Drums at home.
E3 2008 – Never Forget
As always articles are the work of a single writer and not necessarily the opinon of gamrReview as a whole.