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e3 2018

E3 2018 Predictions: Nintendo

by Kyle Hilliard on Jun 04, 2018 at 01:00 PM

For the past two years, Nintendo has chosen to focus its E3 presence toward singular games. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild commandeered 2016 in a huge way and Super Mario Odyssey defined the Nintendo booth in 2017. The smart money is on Super Smash Bros. for 2018, but with the Switch's continued success, we're thinking we'll be seeing a whole lot more than just Nintendo games at its booth and during its Direct presentation.

As we have done in years past, we have placed our predictions on a scale of Sure Bet, 50/50, and Long Shot.

Super Smash Bros. Isn’t A Port… But It Looks Like One
The moment the dust had cleared after the Switch's announcement, the first question on everyone's minds (after the confirmation that a new Zelda and a new Mario were on the way) was, "What about Smash Bros.?" We all assumed, and frankly would have been satisfied with a port of the excellent Wii U version of Super Smash Bros., but when the game was finally confirmed in March, we weren't sure what to think. Is this the Wii U Super Smash Bros. with new characters like the inklings from Splatoon and a Breath of the Wild skin for Link? Or is it an entirely new game? Super Smash Bros. Wii U released in 2014, but on the Smash Bros. release timeline, four years is pretty quick for a new entry. The gap between Melee and Brawl was seven years and the gap between Brawl and Wii U was six. That being said, for reasons not yet totally clear, this seems like it's not going to be a port, but we also don't think it will feel dramatically different from the last entry – and we're okay with that. Keep an eye out later in the week for a feature where we break down which new characters we expect to see in the new game.

Probability: Sure Bet

Retro’s Rumored Star Fox Racer Surfaces
Last month, rumors began circulating that Retro's next project would be something surprising. Not a new Donkey Kong Country, Metroid Prime, or a new I.P., but rather a racing game based in the Star Fox universe. Rumors should always be taken with a grain of salt, but there is a lot of evidence surrounding this one, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was a commercial juggernaut on Switch. Of course Nintendo would want more racing games for its console that would fit in that same genre. We're betting we will see this thing – whatever it is – at E3.

Probability: Sure Bet

Amiibo Presence Reduced Significantly
We're not saying we won't see any amiibos at E3, either behind a glass case on the show floor or pictured during the Direct presentation, but we're thinking we will be seeing fewer of them. Retailers like Target no longer have dedicated sections devoted to the near-field communication baubles, and many of the characters (presumably) that will be in the new Smash Bros. already have amiibo figures connected to them.

Probability: Sure Bet

Metroid Prime 4 Gets A Trailer
One of the most exciting announcements with the least amount of information associated with it from E3 2017 was Metroid Prime 4. All we learned last year was it was coming and that Retro was not making it. That was it. This year, we're hoping to see a trailer. We're not even confident it will have gameplay in it, but it will at least give us an idea of the game's art direction and story.

Probability: Sure Bet

Pictured: Fire Emblem Warriors

Fire Emblem Switch Gets A Trailer, But It’s Still Far Away
Another one of Nintendo's patented no detail announcements was a recent one that said, "Fire Emblem is coming to Switch... eventually!" We're thinking we will learn more about that game this year with a trailer, but its release date will be a ways out.

Probability: 50/50

Yoshi’s Cardboard Adventure Gets More Gameplay And A Nearby Release Date
When Yoshi for Switch was shown off for the first time, it seemed further along than most of the then-revealed Switch titles at the time. For that reason we think it is actually pretty close to release, and E3 will offer a deep dive into the game and a release date that's not too far off.

Probability: Sure Bet

The Next Zelda Is 2D
To the surprise of no one, Nintendo has already confirmed it is working on a new Zelda game. The series' producer, Eiji Aonuma, said that Breath of the Wild will serve as a template for the series moving forward, but he also said the more traditional 2D-style of Zelda game is not dead. The follow-up to Breath of the Wild is probably far out, but we're thinking the next Hyrule Adventure will be smaller scale and will be more like Link to the Past and we might, at the very least, get a tease for it at E3.

Probability: Long Shot

N64 Classic Edition Has Fewer Games, But More Controllers
We have this one listed as a long shot not necessarily because we don't think it is happening, but because we don't think we will see it at E3. The NES and SNES Classic were both revealed outside of E3 with the latter arriving on our inboxes in the form of a press release, surprisingly. We feel pretty good about the N64 Classic Edition being on the way, and we think it will make up for a smaller library by including more controllers, but we're pessimistic that we will learn about it at E3.

Probability: Long Shot

Pictured: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

New Animal Crossing Announced For Switch
Animal Crossing is a fan-favorite. For many, it is the reason they bought a Switch. The simple idea that a new Animal Crossing may someday exist on Switch was enough to entice people to make the purchase, but we don't have much faith in learning about a new one at E3 this year.

Probability: Long Shot

The Nintendo Switch Gets A Redesign
Nintendo likes redesigning its handheld consoles regularly to make them more ergonomic, powerful, or in the case of the 2DS, take away the initial core selling point of the system. It does not, however, often redesign controllers. The design of the Switch's controllers are integral to the console, so a redesign would require some heavy lifting. For that reason, we don't think the Switch will be getting any radical redesigns anytime soon, but it is certainly a possibility. We do have our fingers crossed, however, for a Switch Pro controller with a headphone jack.

Probability: Long Shot

Mother 3 Comes To Switch
We included this on our 2017 prediction list, and we're going to keep including it on our list until it happens, dammit. Here is last year's entry with only a few changes.

There's a good reason this is a long-shot, but you can't blame us for hoping, can you? In 2015, Nintendo released the never-released-in-America Mother for NES, fully translated, for the Wii U Virtual Console. Now is the time to release the game fans have been clamoring for for years. Nintendo – we'll take it on either of your platforms (preferably both) Switch and we promise we will stop bugging you about it.

Probability: Longest shot

Third Party Support Stays Strong... For Older Games
The Switch is addressing one of Nintendo's greatest struggles since the Nintendo 64 era – a lack of strong third-party support. But there is a caveat. Many publishers are excited to bring its games to Switch, but not the new ones releasing for current-gen consoles. Instead, the Switch is getting ports of some of the best game's from the previous generation, and we're not really complaining. Here are the games we think will be making their way to Switch after they get announced at E3, and we threw in a few first-party ports we think will surface, as well.

Sure Thing
Diablo III

Metroid Prime Trilogy
Super Mario Maker (with Switch additions!)
Super Mario 3D World

Long Shot
Grand Theft Auto V
Persona 5
Fallout 3

To read our predictions from last year, head here.