E3 2011. The BIG one. This could be – and I’m being very serious here – the finest moment in Nintendo history; and that’s saying something. If you recall, Nintendo’s conference and presentation at E3 2010 was nothing short of breathtaking, only rivaled by E3 2004, when The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was first unveiled.
Highlights from last years E3 were in ample amounts, from the showing of the 3DS, a demonstration of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (expectations were dampened due to wireless interference, but we forgive you Nintendo), a trailer for the long awaited/overdue Kid Icarus: Uprising (which brought about E3 2004 vibes), unexpected trailers for both GoldenEye 007 and Kirby’s Epic Yarn, a new trailer for Metroid: Other M, and a new game from reclusive game developers Retro Studios, who showed off Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Not to mention, all of the hot chicks that came out with 3DS’s. Oh yes, it was a damn good E3.
But how can Nintendo top that? In addition to besting whatever Sony and Microsoft have up their sleeves? Here’s how:
Whatever Nintendo has planned for its new system has gotta be huge. I mean, something pivotal. Something to finally, uh…shut people up. And of course, to get people talking. The Wii was fantastic for what it was – an innovative new console who’s motion controls motivated the gaming and non-gaming masses to try something different. And it worked, changing the gaming world forever. Though it came at a price…
The Wii was underpowered, and “hardcore” gamers, in addition to Wii consoles, were turned off (or not bought at all). Had the Wii been home to a more diverse, critically acclaimed library, then that would have more than made up for its modest specs. The casual appeal of Wii left many clamoring back to their Xbox 360’s and PlayStation 3’s, craving something they considered next-gen. In retrospect, GameCube was the last true next-gen Nintendo console, and though it proved popular with the hardcore, it failed to differentiate itself enough to avoid placing third to the PS2 and Xbox.
So how can Project Cafe avoid the shortcomings of Wii and GameCube, yet maintain or exceed all of their strong suits, while staying competitive with current-gen consoles, in addition to holding its own against whatever new systems Microsoft and Sony come up with next? The answer is actually quite simple…
It has to do everything.
High Definition: An obvious no-brainer, it has to be HD compatible, and not just limited to 720p – I mean Project Cafe should output 1080p easily. It has to. High definition televisions are a standard now, and will only become more common as the years go by. It’s time that Link, Mario, and Samus all join a revolution they didn’t help create – the high definition one.
Robust Game Arsenal: Quite possibly the most important part of Cafe’s arsenal will be the games – Project Cafe has to have the kind of games that you’ll steal money from your parents just to have (um, kids, it’s an expression – it’s very bad to steal, period. And oh yeah…don’t do drugs. Thanks. Anyway…) – Super Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda are great for what they are, but it’s time Nintendo arm itself with some third party heavy artillery.
Nintendo needs franchises like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Assassin’s Creed. Exclusives like Little Big Planet, Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots, and Alan Wake. It still needs titles like Wii Sports and Wii Fit, because let’s face it – Wii was hugely successful because of them, and there’s no way Nintendo is giving up on its Blue Ocean strategy just yet – they’ve learned too much. Also, Cafe needs brand new, original franchises developed by Nintendo to ignite gamers, in addition to familiar franchises like Super Mario, Pikmin, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, and (of course) Super Smash Bros.
Superior Online: As was the case with HD, Nintendo needs to finally embrace online gaming. Yes, Nintendo, the Internet happened. And people swear by it. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest online gamer, but I know it would be foolish to not have it an integral part of their new system. There’s no point in having a game like Call of Duty: Modern Warware 3 grace your console and not have an online function to support it – and not just any online function, I mean something that blows current online capabilities away.
The “It” Factor: Now that Project Cafe can do what the other consoles do (if not better), now it has to do what the others consoles can’t. With motion controls, the Wii had something that immediately set itself apart from the other consoles, which gave it the “it” factor. I personally never considered motion controls a gimmick, as much as I considered them an innovation – one that built upon innovations of the past. At the time of this writing, it’s still a mystery what the control setup will be for Cafe, though I’m sure it’ll be backward compatible with Wii, meaning motion control is involved one way or the other.
But what will Cafe do that’s different from Wii, in terms of sheer innovation?
That, my friends, is the greatest mystery of them all.
What About The Name?: Ah, the name. The name it will become known as for lifetimes to come. We’ve heard many names, from Wii HD, Wii 2, Nintendo Stream (I like Super Nintendo Stream), Project Cafe, and my personal favorite, Nintendo Feel.
Allow me to, uh, touch on the Feel.
I really like the idea of it being called Nintendo Feel, seeing as how it comes off as having a double meaning. Like Wii, the name Feel is very accessible – it’s simple, easy to remember, and if the rumors about Feel are true (controllers having a touchscreen that uses haptic technology, allowing the player to actually feel whatever object is shown on the screen, such as the difference between soft, smooth, and rugged textures) then it has real meaning also. If said rumors were true, then that aspect of the console would definitely spark national interest, therefore once again changing the way we play. That, along with an undeniable lineup of must have games, would recapture the hardcore market Nintendo lost with Wii, hence the system having a“Nintendo Feel”.
Or, as I’ve recently heard, they may just end up calling it “Nintendo”. Brilliant.
Whatever the final name is, I have faith in Nintendo’s decision. Nintendo names its babies well. Most of them, anyway.
SUPER MARIO 3DS
Inspired by Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy (two of the greatest games of all time), Super Mario 3DS will be Mario’s first outing on Nintendo’s new portable. This game, I think, is essential to driving 3DS sales forward. In other words, it’s the kick in the ass the hardware needs. Kid Icarus: Uprising and Ocarina of Time will do wonders for the system, but Mario will more than likely turn it into a best seller.
Mario 3DS heralds the return of the Raccoon tail, a favorite in Super Mario Bros. 3. Probably more than anyone else, Nintendo knows how to get the best out of its systems, so expect this game to be visually breathtaking. And uh, allow me to reiterate that this game is inspired by Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. Yeah, its kind of a big deal. According the Miyamoto, it’ll be playable at E3, and I personally cannot wait to see fan reactions.
KID ICARUS: UPRISING
I’m going to admit something right here and now: I’ve never played a Kid Icarus game (ok, well there was this one time online, but that doesn’t count). I mean, I’ve neverplayed, as in really getting deep into one. I’ve always heard that the first Kid Icarus title (released in 1987) was quite difficult, mixing in elements from early versions of both Metroid and Zelda. A sequel, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, was released in 1991. Since then, he’s sort of been in limbo – for 21 years.
Kid Icarus: Uprising looks to change all of that. At last years E3, nobody expected Nintendo to show off a trailer of the game, as was the case with Twilight Princess from 2004’s E3 – it paid off, because those in attendance roared with excitement seconds before Pit announced, “Sorry to keep you waiting!” It was magic.
According to Nintendo, the game is “a fast-paced and action-packed blend of aerial and ground-based shooting built on elegantly intuitive and streamlined play control. Boasting game play that is easy to pick up, but incredibly deep, the game is sure to satisfy novice gamers as well as fans who have been clamoring for a new installment in the franchise.”
Consider me excited. You should be too.
METAL GEAR SOLID: SNAKE EATER 3D
I can’t stress enough how monumental it is that Solid Snake is gracing a Nintendo portable – in TRUE form. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is considered one of the best entries in the franchise, and for Hideo Kojima to bring it to 3DS, I think, says a lot about his impressions of the system. This is an important game, and should be integral in helping change the current perception of the 3DS.
Expect MGS 3D to be playable at E3. Yes please!
RESIDENT EVIL: REVELATIONS
Every time I take a gander at this screenshot, I enter a state of disbelief. Revelations looks amazing. In fact, this would make a pretty good looking console game – but for this to belong to the specs of a handheld – I’m in awe. The 3DS is in a for a treat. Or a trick? If what Capcom representatives said is anything to go by, it’ll definitely be a scare.
“Resident Evil: Revelations is a pure horror game. The fight against terror that is approaching you is a theme this time. Being able to experience it in 3D must be a great joy for the players. Right now all the members in the development team are making it so that in the end, it may even make players too scared to continue forward.”
Unlike Resident Evil 5, which was more “survival-action”, this original entry into the series will be centered on “survival-horror”, a return to form for the franchise – and a welcome one. RE4 and 5 were great for what they were (actually, RE4 was incredible), but it’s been a long while since we’ve had a RE game that scared the shit out of us. I’ve never looked forward to being so scared in my life.
I can deal with the fact that we have to wait until 2012 in order to get our hands on the final version. It already looks and sounds amazing, so I can only imagine what the final product will bring. And plus, Capcom will allow us to get a very small feel for what the game will be like, when it releases the demo of Revelations along with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D on June 28th.
MARIO KART 3DS
The Mario Kart franchise has always been ahead of the pack – that is, unless someone throws a Blue Spiny Shell after it, but that’s yet to happen. Mario Kart is one of the finest racing games there is, with just about each title building on the one that came before it. Mario Kart 3DS will be no different.
Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that the 3D gives the game “a new sense of depth,” making it more clear of where objects are. Additionally, the games frame rate and graphics have been praised, running at a smooth 60 frames per second. Though it hasn’t been confirmed, MK 3DS will surely be home to online races. Yum.
Not much is known about this title, except that it’s gorgeous, in 3D, and scheduled for release by the end of 2011. Expect Mario Kart 3DS in a big way at E3.
Nintendo. It’s time. Give the people what they want. We know you’ve been working on it. We know it exist. What we don’t know is if it’s exclusive to Wii, 3DS, or maybe even a launch title for Project Cafe. It doesn’t matter really, because we know that whatever system it lands on, it’ll make wonderful use of the tech available to it. But whatever…
Just show us what you’ve got.
THE RETURN OF RETRO STUDIOS
Dear Retro Studios,
We absolutely love you for Donkey Kong Country Returns, we really do. But get back to making Metroid games, or we’ll blow your house down.
I predict that not only will Retro be making their glorious return, but that they may bring along a new Metroid game with them. It’s either that, or they announce that they’ve been helping Nintendo make Zelda. I’ll take either one. The last time Retro was asked about what they were working on, they simply replied, “a project everyone wants us to do.” I think it’s safe to say that people have been salivating for a new Metroid Prime entry, and after the slight disappointment of Metroid: Other M, I think now is the time to deliver.
If not Metroid, then Retro’s spin on The Legend of Zelda will do just fine. You think I’m kidding? It’s been long rumored that Retro was at least working on a Zelda game at some point, but supposedly it’s since been cancelled, due to “undisclosed” reasons. I think they’re up to something.
I think it’s safe to say that there is at least a Metroid 3DS game in the works, though it’s unclear if it’ll be developed by Retro. In one way, shape or form…Retro will make themselves known.
GRAND THEFT AUTO 5
No, this hasn’t been confirmed. By anyone. But there are those, like me, who believe Rockstar has a bigger reason than ever before to keep this particular Grand Theft Auto title a secret: It’ll be a Project Cafe launch title. Granted, Rockstar is always secretive about its games – especially GTA.
If it’s true that Nintendo wants hardcore players back in their favor, then Grand Theft Auto 5 would make for the perfect hardcore title to launch its new system. Gamers would literally flock to Project Cafe. This makes a lot of sense, because, not only is it a great business move, but it’s likely that GTA5 will release in 2012, and now is the perfect time to get people hyped for it – why not introduce it for a console that has the highest amount of interest? Surely it’ll be a multi-platform release (unless Nintendo paid a ridiculous mountain of cash to have it exclusive), but it would be a spectacle tointroduce it with the next “next-gen” console.
What will GTA5 be though? A re-imagining of San Andreas? Or something completely different? I wouldn’t complain if it was either. I’m calling it: Grand Theft Auto 5 will be announced at Nintendo’s press conference on June 7.
Can you feel it? The sense of wonder. The magic that you know is waiting around the corner. It’s the feeling a child gets knowing that they’re about to go to Disneyland. It’s the feeling Charlie Bucket got when he found that golden ticket that granted him admission into the Chocolate Factory in Willy Wonka. Nintendo is the Willy Wonka of the gaming world. They have mastered putting on a great show (save for a few), and know what their fans want to see.
It’s great to have an idea of what to expect going into a Nintendo press conference, but nothing beats not knowing what to expect. I am a Nintendo fanboy, and I have no problem whatsoever admitting that. Nintendo taught me how to walk.
In your wildest dreams you cannot imagine the marvelous surprises that await you.
And of course…
Link will fly.