Our E3 coverage continues with a look at the Big N. With the Wii U floundering and their rivals bringing new hardware to the market, this year could be make or break for the Japanese giant. We’re expecting them to bring out the big guns, and Nintendo have plenty of them…
Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Pikmin, Star Fox, F-Zero. Nintendo have a raft of high-quality, big-name franchises under their belt. So far in the Wii U’s life, the Big N have refrained from calling upon them too much. Expect this to change next week. With the arrival of the spotlight hogging duo of PS4 and Xbox One, Nintendo has wisely decided NOT to hold a traditional E3 conference instead holding a special Nintendo Direct where they will attempt to turn the tide of negativity and poor sales for its home-console. We take a look at what we they need to announce..
There’s no doubt about it, Nintendo need to give everyone reason to go out and buy a Wii U – and to do that they have to show us their best titles. With new Mario Kart and Smash Brothers titles confirmed to be revealed, Nintendo are off to a good start. Joining their list of titles on show for the Wii U are Platinum’s The Wonderful 101 and cult-favourite Bayonetta 2, and Nintendo’s own Pikmin 3, Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Luigi U and Mario and Luigi: Dream Team. While this is an envious line-up, we think Nintendo will go a step further – and they need too. While Mario Kart shifts units (and hardware) with ease, the other titles have either a low profile or are a spin-off or remake; they simply aren’t system sellers – Smash Brothers always goes down well with the converted but won’t bring a new audience to the Wii U.
To this end, we expect Nintendo to announce a full-on 3D Mario title – Super Mario Wii U if you will. While the Wii U has been inundated with Mario spin-offs, a real Mario sequel is big news and is sure to get gamers interested. Not to be outdone, we’re almost certain a new Zelda title will be teased too – don’t expect it to be released this year, but it’ll be definitely on its way. Although we feel Wind Waker is the best Zelda title, and we can’t wait to play the HD make over, a new installment will boost those excitement levels. While many have hopes for a new Metroid title, we think the Mario 3D, Mario Kart, Smash Brothers and Zelda salvo will be more than enough to grab the headlines.
Same Old Faces?
Unfortunately, it does seem like Nintendo are hoping their old franchises will pull them through. As much as we like seeing new installments of their well-known series, we’re holding out hope for Nintendo to create some new IP. Pikmin was the last real new IP from Nintendo (Wii Sports, Fit and Music don’t count!) and we’d like to see the genius developers at the Big N let their imaginations run wild. Will it happen though? Unlikely. New IP rarely sells consoles and this is what Nintendo needs the most right now. Maybe next year…
A raft of games might not be enough though. Nintendo desperately need an official price drop on the Wii U – many retailers have been doing this independently so far but a Nintendo led price drop is a must. With new cutting edge consoles around the corner, the Wii U is simply poorly priced to attract new owners. A drop to £180 at E3 would be a great move – a shot in the arm, coupled with some hot game announcements and a quiet few months before the big boys are out at the end of the year. If Nintendo don’t do this, they looked doomed to us. With the 3rd parties all but abandoning the console and the 3DS going from strength-to-strength, the future seems grim no matter what they do. It’s going to be hard for them to turn things around at this point, but we’re rooting for them.
– Dave Green. Follow him on Twitter @davidpgreen83