Last year, I made the bold prediction that Nintendo “won” E3 before E3 even took place. This year, any prediction of “winning” is already tainted by Nintendo and their sustained hype.

The past few weeks before E3 have seen nothing but leak after press conference, release after release of games that have been rampantly rumored to exist on the Internet. Nintendo is no exception to that rule, with over six months of rumors regarding their 2018 lineup for the Nintendo Switch.

The Obvious – It’d be more surprising if these didn’t show up

Super Smash Bros.

The Great White Elephant in the room is of course Smash Bros., first teased back two months ago at the tail-end of another Nintendo Direct. There has been a big cloud over what type of game it will be, be it a new Smash Bros. or an upgrade of the Wii U version. We do know the inklings of Splatoon will be playable, and that prospect enough will be what entices fans to play it anyway, but the question now is how new is the Switch Smash Bros.?

Smash Bros. has been the center of a sort of split among the Nintendo community over how Nintendo has handled major franchises. As of late, big-ticket games for the Switch have been mostly ported, updated versions of games on the Wii U. Hyrule Warriors, Pokken Tournament, Mario Kart—all of these are fantastic games that deserve their due on the Switch but have replaced the typical Nintendo pattern of developing something new. Last year, Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, and Super Mario Odyssey carried the system to greatness. This year, the system seems to be absent of must-have titles in that same vein.

Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!

Nintendo still has tricks up its sleeves. The recent announcement for Pokémon has been a head turner for sure. The 2019 Pokémon game teased will be a hardcore fan’s major pick up, but it is unlikely Nintendo will reveal more this year on the game other than something is coming soon. This year it is all about Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! revealed earlier this week.

Many seem to be baffled by the plans for Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! due to how casual friendly it is for players. Game Freak, however, is looking at it as the bridge between Pokémon Go, which still maintains a decent amount of popularity, and their main series at this point. The Let’s Go games are probably as close as we will get to what long-time fans always wanted: a simulated experience of being a trainer on the Switch.

I mean think about it, the portability of the Switch, the use of the joy-con or pokeball accessory or even your phone to capture monsters, playing with friends in co-op play for the first time in the franchise history; Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! are breaking new ground while simultaneously being a soft re-imagining of Pokémon Yellow.  It is a game that is designed for kids, the very kids that many players of the original games have now. It is a game that crosses generations, old and new, in a way that few game franchises dare to go. For everyone else, you must just wait a little longer for a more hardcore experience.

Mario Tennis Aces, Yoshi, and Third Party

The biggest title we know going in will be Mario Tennis Aces, which in the vein of all Mario sport mashups looks good. Yoshi is another confirmed title that will no doubt get some love at E3. Mario Tennis Aces looks impressive for sure, and the continuation of one of their more popular sports-style franchises is always a safe bet from Nintendo. Yoshi is also looking incredibly cute and fun for players of all ages. Outside of these two titles though, it is mostly promising games that have yet to be revealed. Smash Bros. is one such promise, but the cloud over how new it is kind of persists.

At least that one is confirmed though. The only other major games confirmed so far have been  third party titles such as Bayonetta 3 and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. Both will of course get a moment to shine, hopefully more than just a trailer though. Bayonetta 3 at the very least I’m hoping will get a lovely new trailer or gameplay demo at some point, while Monster Hunter will no doubt get some love to capitalize on the massive success of Monster Hunter World.  Outside of those two, the rest of the third party presentation will likely fall on Bethesda, Ubisoft, EA, and other major companies who have already supported the Switch. A few other expected games, such as EA’s FIFA, will definitely be there, and Fortnite has been all but confirmed to be on the system at this point.

Nindies

 

The biggest X factor here will be the indie games on the Switch. The success of indie titles on the platform cannot be understated at this point, where we see with their new #Nindies initiative has certainly attracted a ton of games to the system. Already big titles such as Fe, Stardew Valley, and Darkest Dungeon are just the tip of the iceberg of major releases on the system now. A ton of indie games are also timed exclusives, or simply only going onto the Switch at this point I would expect a lot of major indie games getting a major showcase at E3 this year beyond the patented trailer run-down we tend to get. Maybe even a special shout out on the showroom floor for them as well.

The hardest part though is predicting what indie games will actually show up. It was, until recently, impossible to predict what will show up this year. The recent leak though has sort of opened the lid for some confirmed titles. Overcooked 2 and Killer Queen Black are chief among the indie titles shown, and they are likely the tip of the iceberg of what we will see this year.

The Maybes – High risk, potentially high reward

Nintendo Labo

This is a running theme with Nintendo lately, the pick up and play any way you want, crossing generations to kids and adults with a variety of products only Nintendo can really deliver. Nintendo Labo will likely get some love in that vein too, and Nintendo’s push in the mobile market has been stellar, so I wouldn’t be shocked if more phone games are going to get a first look too. This is the strategy Nintendo is employing, different games for different generations, sustaining the hype for the hardcore crowd while offering more family-friendly options into the mix. To say the least, it’s working well at the moment.

Fire Emblem, Metroid Prime 4, and Pokémon 2019

Fire EmblemMetroid Prime 4, and the 2019 version of Pokémon have been confirmed. We know they are coming within the next two years, for the most part. The question now, though, is will they show up at E3 this year?

It’s hard to really gauge it honestly. Nintendo has mastered the art of sustained hype at this point, skillfully releasing teasers and trailers and sneak peeks all year long thanks to their Nintendo Directs. The days of predicting who “wins” E3 have been over for a while now, as Nintendo continues to play the long game against the other companies.

Who knows what E3 has in store, but even if folks look at the sort of quiet presence of Nintendo this year compared to last year, it is still a giant awaiting to rise once more. Make no mistake, Nintendo knows when to release the big guns, the question now is E3 the place to do it for them? If any Nintendo franchises show up besides what we know is confirmed, those three are the most likely candidates.

The Don’t Hold Your Breaths – Better grab your good luck charm

Other Nintendo Properties

It is a whopper list of demands by the fanbase. New F-Zero, Star Fox, Punch Out!!; every single franchise under the sun that Nintendo owns was pretty much rumored to be in development at one point or another. If the past presentations by Nintendo are any indication though, they are acutely aware of their place in the grand scheme of things, teasing a whole ton of games that will finally make their debut at E3 this year.

Will there be a big reveal somewhere in there? Knowing Nintendo more than likely somewhere, although I’d guess it will go to a Super Smash Bros. over anything else. Personally I hope for more F-Zero, but I get the feeling that will not happen this year.

What are your thoughts on this list? Do you agree with the choices made? Leave your comments below and be sure to check out the rest of our E3 coverage. 


Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching, erudite-minded scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over five years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.