E3 2010: DS Predictions

What’s in store for Nintendo’s current gen handheld?

We all know the buzz around Nintendo’s announcement of the 3DS is reaching fever pitch, but it would be foolish to write off its current DS hardware: DSi is barely a year old, so there’s bound to be a lot of titles to convince DS owners not to abandon the system just yet.

Returning franchises are expected to be the mainstay of DS from now as the majority of developers switch their new IPs to 3DS.

Nintendo’s announced line-up should help DS owners decide to stick with the machine for a bit longer: Pokémon Black and White will be shown off, though likely not playable, and expect a far bigger song and dance to be made of Golden Sun DS owing to the hugely positive reaction it garnered last year.

As usual, the rumours of returning franchises is strong, but rumours of a portable Pikmin are probably wide of the mark. Last year saw Mario and Link return to DS so don’t expect either character to show up this year, but look out for Fire Emblem and hopefully an announcement that Hotel Dusk sequel The Last Window, from the now-bankrupt Cing, is being brought across to the West.

Sega is bringing Sonic Colours to DS later this year but hasn’t announced any other titles for the machine: expect at least one more from them, perhaps even a second Super Monkey Ball title.

Square Enix is showing off a brand new Final Fantasy to the system in the form of The 4 Heroes of Light as well as its recently announced Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, but don’t forget it also developed Dragon Quest IX, which we expect to be a focus of Nintendo’s handheld line-up. Remember also that the company’s European arm publishes Tomb Raider titles, so expect to see a portable Lara Croft adventure announced following previous versions of Tomb Raider Legend and Underworld.

Capcom will have Okamiden and Ghost Trick at the show, with Okamiden playable on Wednesday, so expect First Impressions shortly after. The company hasn’t been the biggest supporter of DS in the West, barring its Ace Attorney and MegaMan titles, so don’t expect any big shocks from them this year.

Activision will likely announce portable versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk for the DS, but will overall offer fewer surprises than almost any other publisher.

Ubisoft might rival Activision in the lack of surprise stakes, though don’t expect the usual deluge of Imagine titles as sales of new titles in the series have failed to match the early impact of Imagine Babies and company. With Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and a new Shaun White this year expect DS versions to be announced, but the resurrection of the Driver franchise is of potential interest: a portable Driver using the COP The Recruit engine could be good.

EA will predictably announce its portable versions of Need for Speed and FIFA 11, as well as showing off The Sims 3. We'll likely get our first look at Rock Band 3, coming to DS for the first time, so expect miniature instruments all over the place.

THQ is due to bring the promising de Blob: Underground to the show, with a new WWE franchise title widely expected for announcement. Considering its sizeable back catalogue of cartoon licences more Spongebob Squarepants and Cartoon Network titles are fairly safe bets.

From other publishers, expect XSEED's Ivy the Kiwi? to steal a few hearts, Natsume's quirky reputation to remain with Rune Factory 3 and the new Lufia title both on display, and Warner Bros. to shout about Super Scribblenauts from the highest rooftop.

In terms of DSiWare software, this will most likely not be a focus for any of the major publishers at the show, so don't expect a wave of new downloadable titles to be announced. Nintendo may acknowledge some upcoming titles in its press conference but there likely won't be many available to play on the showfloor.

It doesn’t look to be a massively surprising show for DS, with only a few big name titles compared to the console’s big focus in previous years. We haven’t heard any rumours of major surprises for DS this year, and although the machine undoubtedly has a few more good years in it, this E3 will likely play out as a pass of the baton to a new generation of hardware.

What surprises, if any, do you think lie in store for the DS at E3 next week? Let us know in the comments.

This article is speculative, taking into consideration available information from various sources. Whilst we've done our best to make accurate predictions please remember we may not be 100% correct, so don't take this as gospel until E3 kicks off.

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