Monday, 14 June 2010

What The Cool Kids Are Watching

If recent years are anything to go by, Nintendo will spend most of its presence at E3 2010 waxing lyrical about how bloody brilliant it is. Backslaps will abound as one senior representative after another waltzes out with the usual American confidence and list the sales figures on that week’s most recent DS model. Once they’ve finished telling us how the Wii and DS have appealed to millions of non-gamers, animals and blind people, the real show can begin.

Although last year’s presentation was underwhelming to say the least, 2010 looks set to be radically more exciting. Why? Well, the big N’s three year dominance in the world of motion control is going to face some stiff competition with both Sony and Microsoft unveiling their own waggle devices. Personally I don’t see either company stealing the limelight, simply because the Wii will continue to appeal to an entirely different market. Still, don’t think for a moment that Ninty is going to get complacent; with Wii hardware sales on the inevitable post-peak decline, expect some big announcements.

Like? Well, some things are a given. We’ll see Metroid: Other M again, no doubt an almost final build; Wii Party will be there just a few weeks ahead of its Japanese release and Epic Mickey should be delighting Disney fans with (hopefully) a playable demo. Then of course there’s that vitality sensor which Satoru Iwata unveiled to last year’s rather unenthusiastic and frankly dumfounded crowd. 12 months on and we’re still none the wiser but expect whichever game it’s packaged with to demonstrate the usual Japanese quirkiness. Let’s just hope this doesn’t turn out to be another underused peripheral like that bloody balance board.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest draw for diehard Nintendo groupies will be a new Zelda which is still set for this Christmas. However, A Zelda game without delays is like... well any other Nintendo game without delays, so take that 2010 release date with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, with this being the first Hyrulian adventure built specifically for the Wii and a much-needed redesign of the Zelda formula, we should anticipate not only the best looking Wii game so far but also the type of grand adventure this console has been crying out for.

And finally we have the 3DS. After numerous iterations of the two screened portable and 6 years of some truly brilliant games, Nintendo is about to reveal to the world its successor. Alongside the obvious appeal of 3D effects, rumours suggest that we can expect a much more powerful system with dual touch screens and a Wii-like motion sensing accelerometer bundled in for good measure. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but what is guaranteed will be a brand new library of videogames featuring all the usual suspects.

Now we move on to hopes and predictions. Miyamoto himself has hinted at the vitality sensor being utilised in Zelda and motion plus seems a given, but will Wii speak or the balance board get a look in? It’s highly unlikely, as are any online features but given Nintendo’s recent push to appeal to the much forgotten hardcore crowd, they may just surprise you.

Aside from Smash Bros. Brawl, Kirby has been absent from the current gen line-up which is a huge disappointment to a Kirby nut like myself. Although a title has popped up as a forthcoming game at recent E3 shows, it’s failed to make an appearance. This year it’s supposed to be appearing yet again but given recent comments made by officials that a title is indeed still in production, maybe, just maybe I’ll finally get my dream. Not that I’m expecting a 3D adventure. Chances are it’ll be a sidescroller with 3D backgrounds, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Since the Metroid trilogy came to a close, Retro have been involved in a secret project and a recent rumour claims that it’s a long awaited reboot of the Donkey Kong series. If this is true then the Wii is well and truly the console to own as platformers are hard to find nowadays.

Pikmin 3 for the Wii seems likely, although don’t rule out a release for the 3DS to show off a new control scheme. Naturally fans will be hoping for the usual Kid Icarus, StarFox and F-zero reinventions but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
As for the 3DS, anything at this point is pure speculation. Many seem to be talking up Mario Sunshine as a possible launch, if not for any other reason than its predecessor, Super Mario 64, debuted with the original DS back in 2004 and if the graphics prove to be gamecube quality there’ll be no trouble in making the conversion. I for one would like to see this but I don’t think it’s very feasible, for the very simple reason that Nintendo is in a much stronger position than it was 6 years ago. Back then, the gamecube was still trailing the PS2 and the Xbox and the unimpressive roster of DS launch titles was systematic of a company without direction. Now they have the freedom to take greater risks, so a Mario remake seems an unnecessarily lazy option to me.

I do however expect a major Mario title, if not for launch then certainly within the first year. In the obligatory trailer showing off upcoming titles, I anticipate a side scroller in the vein of New Super Mario Bros. or Mario Kart. Some people expect Animal Crossing, which doesn’t seem that far-fetched given the four years since it appeared on DS. However, unless they give it a radical makeover, I can’t say that I would be entirely pleased with this as a launch title.

And finally, anyone thinking we’ll see the Wii 2, think again. 

1 comment:

  1. What a comprehensive post Steve, anychance of such a investigate report on Microsoft and Sony's presence at E3?