Let’s Go E3!

It’s the most gameful time of year: E3 is due to begin, though already it feels as if we’ve had enough ‘pre-E3’ announcements and leaks to constitute half-a-conference worth of reveals. As is customary for any gaming enthusiast worth their ancient Rock Salt, I hereby present my expectations and hopes for the expo.

Part I – Nintendo

Quenching Nintendo’s Thirst for Third-Parties…

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An odd but seemingly genuine line-up

Given the apparent legitimacy of a recent leak regarding show-floor demos (see above), I’ll be happy to see Nintendo getting greater third-party support this E3: the Switch has clearly succeeded in winning over a range of publishers and developers. Though I’ve no personal interest in Fortnite, it’ll undoubtedly be a boon to the system’s catalogue and help draw in more young players. I’m particularly intrigued to see how acclaimed arcade strategy game Killer Queen translates to consoles, not least because it’s the rare instance of a contemporary, highly-regarded game that almost no-one has played. An Overcooked sequel is a relatively minor albeit unexpected surprise: what changes are in store for the game’s delectable mix of stress-inducing strategy and culinary-based cooperation?

…Leaves Some Space for First-Party Surprises

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Surprisingly, font colour choice isn’t the most divisive thing re: this rumour

Of course, nothing compares to surprises involving Nintendo’s iconic first-party IP – a vague logo reveal for Metroid Prime 4 was enough to cause fan frenzy last year (incidentally, I doubt we’ll see much more of it this year). Will the rumoured Retro-developed Star Fox: Grand Prix materialise, thus resurrecting the spirit of Diddy Kong Racing whilst also extinguishing all hope for a future F-Zero? Will we see another surprise collaboration à la Tokyo Mirage Sessions or Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (having recently completed the latter, I’d love if that Ubisoft team tackled another Nintendo property)? Will we get an announcement for a Super Mario Maker successor, or – hope against hope – a Zelda Maker?

Back down to Earth with a Smash

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An accurate depiction of a Nintendo fan watching a new Smash Bros. trailer

Unsurprisingly, Super Smash Bros. for Switch will be the focus for most Nintendo fans and likely the company’s show-floor (it’ll be playable at least). Series creator Masahiro Sakurai has confirmed he’s in Tuesday’s Nintendo Direct video presentation, so we’ll receive insight into mechanics and balancing along with character reveals and flashy pre-rendered trailers. The game will however first be showcased via an invitational tournament on Monday; using fan-pleasing contests to highlight new games is a tactic Nintendo have employed for the last few E3s. One vital question remains unanswered: will Ridley finally be pla- is it a ‘true sequel’, or an enhanced port of the Wii U title? Signs thus far suggest the former. All I really want is Shovel Knight as a new challenger, Cappy to be implemented somehow, and for the now redeemed Rabbids to show up as assist trophies. Bwaaah.

Will silent stalwarts make a splash?

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This Bulborb is through with waiting patiently for more Pikmin

As for titles we’ve heard little or nothing about, it’s my sincerest hope that Pikmin 4 is given an official reveal. After the mediocre reception of Hey! Pikmin, a 3DS platformer spin-off, series fans are desperate to know what’s become of Miyamoto’s whimsical take on the real-time strategy genre. Then there’s Fire Emblem for Switch, which has been transmitting radio silence since the console’s reveal presentation 16 months ago (though at least that franchise’s spinoffs have performed relatively well). I also expect a title, release date and more footage for the new Yoshi, and perhaps a Labo tie-in given the game’s cardboard aesthetic. Outside of these, potential sequel announcements could come for Mario Party, WarioWare, either of the Mario RPG franchises… even a new 2D Zelda is feasible. Maybe don’t get any hopes up for a Mother 3 localisation announcement or new Rhythm Heaven though…

Part II – Everybody Else

The Weekend Crowd

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Vault Boy takes L.A.

BioWare’s Anthem may raise an eyebrow due to sheer ambition and technical prowess, though I – like many other gamers – am currently soured towards anything EA related. Microsoft seem set for the most barren presentation in their history at the expo, and only the announcement of a new Fable instalment would interest me. I’ll be curious to see how much more support Bethesda are going to pledge for the Switch: will Fallout 76, whatever it ends up being, see a simultaneous release across all home consoles?

Disney Dealings, Final Feelings

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Is making jokes about ‘the most ambitious cross-over’ still a thing?

I’m really intrigued how Square’s deal with Marvel for a slate of games is playing out, and assumedly we’ll see the latest hints on Monday. On a similar note, I wouldn’t mind more footage and details for Insomniac’s Spider-Man, which legitimately looks like it could become the best superhero game yet made. Returning to Square, Kingdom Hearts 3 has really impressed thus far – the Toy Story world in particular looks phenomenal – so I’m excited to see more, though I wouldn’t begrudge being spared narrative details (more so to avert headaches than avoid spoilers). I honestly feel indifferent at this point to Final Fantasy VII Remake; a remaster of Final Fantasy VI for Switch, however, would get my full endorsement, especially given the imminent release of Octopath Traveller – a Switch exclusive that harkens back to the golden era of SNES JRPGs – and the poor Steam port FFVI recently received. On that note, perhaps Square will provide some details on their recently announced Switch specific division.

Various shades of AAA

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Angry fan-girl furrows brow at lack of gameplay in trailers

As suggested above, I’d like to see what Davide Soliani’s team at Ubisoft are up to, especially if they’ve been entrusted with further Nintendo related projects. Then again, maybe the next Nintendo collaboration will come from elsewhere in Ubisoft – the new Assassin’s Creed game is titled Odyssey after all… (In all seriousness though, why on Earth are they annualising that franchise again when the lesson of Origins was surely ‘longer development, better product’?). I feel obliged to mention lingering anticipation for Beyond Good and Evil 2, even if I’m currently convinced that it’ll barely resemble the original – perhaps they’ll show something to change my mind. Red Dead Redemption 2 is something I’m genuinely excited to see more of, Rockstar’s shift towards online focused design notwithstanding. I also hope whatever is served up for The Last of Us fans is more substantial than the last few trailers they’ve received. I legitimately have no interest in Death Stranding, outside of being fascinated at the level of interest others have for it – no amount of mo-capped Mads Mikkelsen is going to change this.

That’s my penny’s worth ahead of the various conferences, live streams and coverage from the convention itself. Let me know in the comments what you expect to hear more about or see revealed.

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