E3 2013 is now tantalisingly close, and 48 hours from the time of writing Nintendo will broadcast its pre-expo Nintendo Direct presentation, which will be focused on Wii U releases for Fall, Winter and beyond. It's a break from the usual live presentation, but nevertheless we can expect three days of substantial information drops, footage and teases from Nintendo, all designed to get us and consumers excited about the company's systems and games.
So the hype generators are going through their final maintenance and checks, and many are anticipating footage of massive franchises on the Wii U and, let's not forget, the 3DS. Nintendo's unlikely to let the expo pass without giving some love to the portable system, though much attention will of course be on the Wii U and the games that will — we hope — bring the system to the top of various Holiday shopping lists.
We will, of course, be covering everything in exhausting detail, with some of our staff preparing to encamp themselves in Nintendo Life Towers and exist on little but tea, coffee, and pizza, while we also have exciting coverage from LA planned.
So before the madness begins, three of your humble writers have decided to share their expectations below.
For the third time in as many years, I have the same thought going into E3: this is probably Nintendo's most important show ever. In 2011 it was because we were seeing Wii U for the first time; in 2012 it was because Nintendo had to sell everybody on the idea of the system a few months before launch. Now Wii U is out and, despite many owners adoring it, is struggling on the marketplace; E3 2013 finds Nintendo needing to prove that the system is viable, can be reinvigorated and is a solid prospect for fun and hi-jinx into the foreseeable future.
Nintendo is in a difficult position with Wii U due to a wide range of factors that we've discussed here on Nintendo Life multiple times, but if there's anything that years of covering Nintendo has taught me it's that nothing is a foregone conclusion. 3DS flailed, only to be revived stupendously; while the handheld and the console markets are very different indeed, I have a good feeling that Nintendo is a few steps away from beginning Wii U's great turnaround.
So I'm counting down the days to the reveal of the new 3D Mario. I'm hoping to see Retro's game, whatever it is. I want to see the first footage of Bayonetta 2, Smash Bros., more of X, Yarn Yoshi, Sonic: Lost World. And of course, E3 would be nothing without its surprises – I'm crossing my fingers for a game or two completely out of left field, a big third party exclusive or collaboration. I'm also excited to see how the Nintendo Direct format compares to the conference experience; we've seen huge information drops in Directs positioned at far less critical times of the year, so I can't wait to see what's up Iwata's sleeve for the E3 edition.
Despite the absence of the live presentation, in some respects the Nintendo Direct is more exciting, from my perspective. As they're pre-recorded we can expect it to be well-paced and full of information, perhaps unlike last year's presentation where Reggie was making strange quips about French food and the intricacies of Nintendo Land were being laid out in bizarrely thorough detail. If this is anything like the Wii U Direct back in January, it could be quite a ride.
Wii U is clearly the focus in the first broadcast, and I'm still hoping that one Nintendo Direct on Tuesday isn't all we're getting; ideally there'll be another one the day after to focus on the 3DS, even if it'd just give more details on games we know about with the odd surprise. More footage of The Legend of Zelda 3DS over the three days is an absolute must, surely.
In terms of what I'm hoping for on Wii U, it's that the games being shown off, notably 3D Mario and Mario Kart — which both seem likely to arrive this year — show an exciting level of polish and, in the case of the former, innovation. The outstanding creativity of Super Mario Galaxy is what made me buy a Wii, so I truly hope that Nintendo's teams have found an idea for something truly special, rather than a by-the-book 3D Mario with shiny visuals; considering the standard set by the Galaxy games, that's quite a challenge! Like Mike, I'm particularly keen to see one or two previously unannounced surprises, and hopefully they'll be exclusives that push the boundaries again, perhaps with a fresh IP for good measure. Ideally the Wii U eShop won't be ignored; it's been surprising to date that Nintendo hasn't published a single game on the platform (and New Super Luigi U isn't even exclusive to the eShop) so that's a gap to be filled. Maybe, just maybe, the Virtual Console will be spruced up with additional platforms.
And Monolith Soft's X, I'll take any and all coverage of that available, please.
Finally, I'm going to say it and willingly incur some wrath, I think that not only will the Wii U White Deluxe model be confirmed, but a price drop of $50 would also be a smart move. If the Deluxe is $299 alongside limited numbers of the Basic at $249, then it'll set the Wii U up nicely against PS4 and Xbox One which, rumour has it, will both be available for less than $400 with the rival manufacturers making a loss on each system. Nintendo has to make the Wii U the less expensive option, so whether announced at E3 or — like the 3DS price drop reacting to the Vita in 2011 — in a few week's time, I think it's a strong possibility. Maybe early adopters will even get a goodwill Ambassador gesture, if we're lucky.
This year's E3 is all about one thing: Wii U. I'm fully expecting the presentation to be dominated by Nintendo's home console as it attempts to gain some traction in the market. I think the 3DS was more or less covered during the recent Nintendo Directs and although I'm sure there will be something to show for the handheld, I fully expect this to centre around Wii U.
The thing I want to see from Nintendo this year is the same thing I've wanted to see for a few years now: Star Fox. Seriously, I was just starting secondary school when Star Fox 64 came out and I am still to this day waiting for a proper sequel to it. Nintendo keep on toying with the idea - the Arwing sections in Star Fox Adventures, the 3DS remake, and yet still no sequel. I'm thinking Retro Studios is working on it, after all, who better to resurrect an old franchise, right?
I'm also looking forward to seeing some of the new Super Smash Bros. game. There'll be some new characters shown off I imagine. I'm thinking Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening will get revealed - he'll most likely replace Ike - and perhaps a Baby Mario and Baby Luigi combination similar to the Ice Climbers; that'd be pretty awesome.
I'm a big Mario Kart fan too and I'm thinking we could see some of it during the presentation. It'd be nice to see that third exclusive Sonic game too. The good thing about E3 this year is that if people like what they see, they can go buy a Wii U. It'll be the only home console at the expo with that luxury and I'd expect sales to spike during and after the show.
As for the 3DS I hope Nintendo finally does it - announce Majora's Mask already! I'm thinking GBA games on the Virtual Console will get the go-ahead too. I've always said Mario Galaxy 3D will emerge eventually as well, but I think Nintendo will save that for another time. The 3DS schedule is pretty packed - something should be saved for 2014 at least!
So those are some of our E3 hopes, but what about you? Let us know what you want to see in the comments below.