Nintendo is on a serious roll.
The company’s latest console, the Switch, is a major hit. The two biggest games for Switch are massively popular entries in the long-running “Super Mario” and “Legend of Zelda” franchises.
And the future looks as big – or maybe even bigger- for the Japanese gaming giant. How does a new Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch sound to you? How about three? Or maybe a new “Smash Bros.” game is more your style?
That’s just the beginning! Nintendo is about to announce tons of new stuff during its annual briefing at E3 2018 – here’s what to expect:
Nintendo’s plans for E3 2018, broadly speaking:
Nintendo’s annual E3 video presentation on all things Nintendo Switch is Tuesday, June 12 at 12:00 p.m. EST / 9:00 a.m. PDT.
As always, Nintendo will broadcast its video presentation on several platforms – Twitch and YouTube are both hosting streams of the event.
The E3 briefing is Nintendo’s annual opportunity to announce major games, further detail upcoming games, and – generally speaking – address its most loyal fans directly. It’s the kind of event where Nintendo might reveal a major new “Pokémon” game, for instance (which happened last year).
It’s a presentation full of surprise reveals intended to wow viewers, and this year is no different. But we do have a few good ideas of what to expect.
Here’s what we know about Nintendo’s line-up:
“Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros.” (working title)
If you’ve never played a “Smash Bros.” game, think of it as a fighting-game version of “Mario Kart.”
Nintendo’s large cast of famous faces – from Mario to Donkey Kong, Pikachu to Princess Peach – take each other down in a simplified fighting format. They each have their own set of moves and traits that map to that character: Pikachu shoots lightning, Mario throws fireballs, Link wields the Master Sword, etc.
Rather than taking players on one at a time, “Smash Bros.” distinguishes itself by throwing anywhere from two to eight players into a match. It’s a chaotic, silly, surprisingly deep fighting-game series with a serious following.
And in 2018, it’s apparently coming back: The series is headed to the Nintendo Switch in 2018.
So far, we can spot Link, Bowser, Pit, Pikachu, Kirby, the two Inklings from “Splatoon,” and Mario – and it looks like Link is represented in his “Breath of the Wild” form. But there are a handful of other character silhouettes in the trailer.
Check out the teaser for “Super Smash Bros.” right here:
“Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion”
Nintendo’s making it’s first major paid expansion to “Splatoon 2” available this summer – it’s called the “Octo Expansion,” and it adds “a hefty new single-player mode.”
The new mode has players controlling Agent 8, an “Octoling,” through 80 new single-player missions. Nintendo’s promising that the new “Splatoon 2” expansion will go into more depth on major characters from the series.
Frankly speaking, it looks rad.
The “Octo” expansion costs $20 and arrives this summer — check it out in action right here:
“Metroid Prime 4”
What is “Metroid Prime 4”? Little more than a logo at this point, at least publicly speaking.
“Metroid Prime 4” is the fourth game in the longtime first-person “Metroid Prime” series. The franchise began life on the Nintendo GameCube, and drew a legion of loyal fans across several subsequent sequels. It’s been over a decade since the last major entry, “Metroid Prime 3,” arrived on the Nintendo Wii.
The next game is said to be in production by Japanese game company Namco Bandai, rather than the studio responsible for the previous three games, though Nintendo has yet to confirm as much.
The reveal tease for “Metroid Prime 4” is absurdly light on details — E3 2018 would be a great place to offer more details:
“Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!”
“Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” are sort of the same game, and sort of not the same game.
One stars Pikachu, the other stars Eevee. In every other way, as far as we know so far, they are identical.
But what are they? Here’s how Nintendo puts it:
“Inspired by ‘Pokémon Yellow,’ which was originally released in Japan on Nintendo’s Game Boy in 1998, these two new titles feature many of the intuitive gameplay functions offered to players in the hugely popular ‘Pokémon Go’ and are designed for players taking their first steps into the Pokémon video game world.”
Given the inspiration, both games are set in the Kanto region, the locale of the original Game Boy games. Instead of random encounters with unseen Pokémon, you’ll actually see the creatures living their lives. And instead of selecting a Pokéball and pushing a button to catch Pokémon, you can flick your controller, the same way you would swipe your finger in “Pokémon Go.”
The characteristic circles from “Pokémon Go” are even part of the capture:
That the games will be familiar to “Pokémon Go” players is no mistake.
Millions of people experienced Pokémon for the first time with the hugely popular mobile game, so it makes sense to ease those new players in with familiar trappings. In the same vein, the games will offer interoperability with “Pokémon Go,” as well as two-player cooperative action.
Both games are scheduled to launch on November 16.
Take a look at “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” right here:
New “Yoshi” game for the Switch.
Like “Yoshi’s Island” for the Super Nintendo, “Yoshi” for the Switch is a platformer starring Yoshi. He can pause to aim and throw eggs at enemies, or he can consume them, or he can leap into the air and butt stomp down. Yoshi is versatile!
In the new “Yoshi” game, you’ll be able to walk into the background, and occasionally switch up the entire orientation of levels. In so many words, it’s a new spin on the classic 2D formula.
There’s no official name for the new “Yoshi” game just yet, but it’s scheduled to launch at some point this year. If Nintendo’s going to tell us about it, E3 2018 is an awfully fitting time for that to happen.
Check out the new “Yoshi” game in action right here:
“Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes”
“Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes” is a surprise revival of the long-dormant “No More Heroes” series.
The franchise is known for being as stylish as its gameplay is brutal, and the latest entry looks to continue that trend – though there’s a decidedly retro twist on the latest entry.
You’ll once again play as Travis Touchdown, and he’ll once again be equipped with his notorious “beam katana,” but what are these bizarre new places he’s going? Rather than a single game, “Travis Strikes Again” is a mixtape of crazy-looking new games.
Check out “Travis Strikes Back: No More Heroes” in action right here:
“Mario Kart Tour” — the first “Mario Kart” game for smartphones!
Here’s everything we know about the recently announced “Mario Kart Tour,” a new smartphone game from Nintendo:
“We plan to release a smart-device application from the Mario Kart franchise, Mario Kart Tour, during the next financial year (from April 2018 to March 2019). We will announce further details at a later date.”
That’s former Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima in a financial presentation from February 1. There are no images, and there’s no indication of how the game will play. We have the statement and logo seen above, and that’s it.
If Nintendo’s previous smartphone games are any indication, expect “Mario Kart Tour” to be a pared-down version of the game you’re used to playing on Nintendo consoles. “Super Mario Run,” for instance, is a simplified version of a traditional 2D Mario game. Perhaps “Mario Kart Tour” will handle acceleration automatically, and turning will be handled by using your phone’s motion controls. Maybe the focus will be on tactically using pick-ups like red shells and banana peels instead of the racing itself.
To be clear, this is purely an educated guess based on Nintendo’s past and how racing games tend to work on smartphones – it’s entirely possible the game is something completely different! Nintendo isn’t offering any details just yet.
A new “Star Fox” game, focused on racing instead of space battles, maybe named “Star Fox Gran Prix”.
File this one firmly in the rumor category, but it sounds like “Star Fox” may be getting a new game – and it may be a racing game rather than a traditional “Star Fox” experience.
According to Eurogamer, a new “Star Fox” game is in the works that features racing rather than space fights. The game may be called “Star Fox Gran Prix,” but those rumors are less credible.
The “Star Fox” racing game is said to be in the works at Retro Studios, the Texas-based studio behind the “Metroid Prime” series (among others). None of this has been officially announced, so it’s possible that there is no such game – but the rumors are sound.
More details on the Nintendo Switch Online service.
For years, Nintendo fans have fantasized about a paid online service that would grant access to Nintendo’s rich, decades-long library of classic games. For years, Nintendo has demurred.
In 2018, that fantasy is finally becoming a reality, through the Nintendo Switch Online service.
Nintendo’s new service costs $20 per year ($4/month, $8/three months), and is scheduled to launch this September. With that subscription price, you’ll get access to a library of classic Nintendo Entertainment System games, the ability to play various Nintendo Switch games online, cloud saves for some games, and voice chat through the Nintendo Switch online smartphone app.
20 classic NES games are planned to launch alongside the service. Nintendo announced the first 10 earlier this year: “Super Mario Bros. 3,” “Dr. Mario,” “Balloon Fight,” “Donkey Kong,” “Ice Climber,” “The Legend of Zelda,” “Mario Bros.,” “Soccer,” “Super Mario Bros.” and “Tennis.”
Even better: Every classic NES game on the Switch will have new online functionality. In some games, you can play co-op online with friends or go head to head, and in all games you can watch a friend play remotely. Friends can even “share” the controller online by handing off control of a game over the internet.
We expect to learn even more about the service (maybe those last 10 NES games?) during E3 2018.
What else? Hopefully lots of surprises!
There are still plenty of Nintendo franchises that could use a spin on the Switch. The most notable ones are obvious: “Animal Crossing” comes to mind immediately.
Then there’s the more obscure stuff: “WarioWare,” “Punch-Out,” “F-Zero,” Nintendogs,” “Dr. Mario,” and “Brain Training.” And that’s before you start talking about really obscure stuff like “Earthbound.”
All to say one thing: Nintendo still has miles of depths to plumb before it runs out of classic characters and game franchises. Perhaps some of those franchises will get surprise reveals at E3 2018? We’ll see!
BONUS: “Fortnite” still isn’t on the Switch, and E3 would be a great time to reveal that it’s in the works.
Why isn’t “Fortnite” on the Switch just yet? Your guess is as good as ours. The console of the moment is definitely the Nintendo Switch, and the big game of the moment is definitely “Fortnite.” They’re two great tastes that would assuredly taste great together.
There could be any number of reasons that the Switch doesn’t have the world’s most popular game just yet. But, in reality, it’s almost certainly in the works.
It would be wholly unsurprising for Nintendo to announce the game as coming to the Switch and then to reveal it’s available right now. Thus far, though, there’s radio silence on such a possibility.