Well, it's finally here. After 18 months of near-silence and zero footage, Nintendo is going to lift the lid on The Legend of Zelda for Wii U and Nintendo NX (and also show some Pokémon Sun and Moon). It's the Wii U version that'll be on display, due to the ongoing secrecy around the next-gen system, but nevertheless it's an opportunity to see the vision that Eiji Aonuma, Shigeru Miyamoto and the development team have for what is, arguably, Nintendo's most influential franchise.
Normally right now we'd do our 'What We Expect' feature as build-up, but with Nintendo's alternative approach this year and lack of Digital Event we're having to shift focus. There's still plenty to consider, however, with key areas that we'd like Nintendo Treehouse and guests to cover across the day; who knows, there may even be scope for surprises.
Below, then, are some of our hopes for Nintendo's first day of E3 2016.
Detailed and revealing gameplay footage
This is a given, but seems worth emphasizing after witnessing plenty of non-committal trailers and demonstrations so far, though there have been honourable exceptions. The Treehouse format is perfect for diving deep into the show floor demos and, we'd hope, some broadcast-only sections to rock our socks off at home.
It'll be fascinating, ultimately, to see what Eiji Aonuma and his team have been cooking up. Remember this is a game that's evidently got ambitious scope and has also - we'd assume - hit bumps in the road. Back in December 2014 it was announced as a 2015 release, before being pushed to 2016 and now into 2017. Its delay has even led to it being a cross-generation title, but recent comments by Aonuma-san have promised 'something new', also saying that 'the change in flavour will be like going from Japanese food to Western style food'.
What that brings to mind is a less linear approach to storytelling, perhaps a character choice (including gender), and a world that can be traversed freely - even more so than in the game's predecessors. We also just recently wrote about how an innovative Legend of Zelda could give Nintendo a timely boost.
In any case, Nintendo has the time and resources to go into great depth about what makes this game tick, what makes it special, and convince us all why it could be a new high watermark for the series.
While the merits of the approach of Nintendo in this E3 is up for debate, the company has at least ensured that its high-level executives are on hand to spread the good word. With Reggie Fils-Aime, Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma all on board, there's senior glitz to add to the occasion, with scope to go beyond simply showing a gameplay demo.
We've seen in the past couple of Digital Events that Nintendo can produce some pleasing insights into development, mainly through putting its developers in front of a camera in a nice setting. We'd welcome some videos that document the behind the scenes work on the game, though, shots of the team in their natural environment as they talk about creating the world in The Legend of Zelda, outlining the key choices made in development. Nintendo can open the curtain without spilling all of its secrets, while giving fans an insight that's rarely seen of the company.
This should be guaranteed with a Nintendo broadcast, but bears mentioning. This is the first E3 since the wonderful Satoru Iwata passed, and we suspect that won't go unmentioned. What the former Nintendo President brought to the company, however, was a sense of humour and a light-hearted spirit that was always endearing. That carefree undertone to Nintendo is an enduring strength, and should be celebrated.
Thankfully, the odds seem good that Nintendo will have fun in its event. Miyamoto-san has his moments, of course, and Eiji Aonuma has been a delight on some occasions in the past. Who remembers when he did a random Cucco dance in 2014?
Moments like that are golden and can add much to the day. There also seem to be good odds that there'll be videos featuring fans, Zelda moments and so on. After all, it is the 30th Anniversary of the series.
Something new for Pokémon Sun and Moon
Added not long ago, the Treehouse team will be starting with gameplay from Sun and Moon, which is naturally exciting. So far we've been introduced to Starters, Legendaries, the new Pokedex and aspects of the setting and cast. There'll likely be a bit of recap, but it'll be intriguing to see if anything entirely new is shown.
In any case, it'll be exciting to see the game in action outside of flashy commercials.
First of all, it's likely for the best if we all keep expectations under control and not expect Nintendo to whip an NX out of a box at random. Let's be real, that's not going to happen.
So what can happen? Any reveals and unexpected announcements are likely to be modest but could, nevertheless, be exciting. In the past, surprises in Treehouse streams have centred around eShop offerings. First of all, we think it would send the internet into meltdown if Nintendo put the extended show floor Legend of Zelda demos on the eShop; it'd also be the first time the company will have done that with a major release. If Nintendo is confident in the game to the point it trusts players to 'get' it without a rep over their shoulder, it'd be a gesture that would cause a lot of excitement and publicity.
Beyond that, there's always room for surprise eShop releases, whether in the form of small and new titles - the sequel to BOXBOY! perhaps, which is already out in Japan - or Virtual Console classics. It's safe to say that a large and vocal group of Nintendo fans want Mother 3. Again, it would get Nintendo fans flooding social media with positivity. (The comments have also reminded us of the hope for more Mario Kart 8 DLC, which would also go down very well).
An eShop sale worth the hype
Nintendo of America already announced that, starting today, there'll be a week of a 'big sale' on the eShop. It'll be interesting to see what's included, though our suspicion is that it'll be a North American variation of the five year Anniversary sale currently running in Europe. The equivalent promotion in Japan had bigger deals, so naturally North Americans will be hoping that its version will match up to that.
Our suspicion is that this E3 sale will be North America only, in any case, but time will tell.
So those are our hopes for Nintendo's first day at E3. Let us know what you want to see in the comments below; our live blog with the stream starts at 8am Pacific / 11am Eastern / 4pm UK / 5pm CET, with the broadcast starting an hour later.