What games are Nintendo showing at E3 2019? Freshly minted Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser has said that “Games available this holiday season will be the focus of our booth”, as has been the case for the last few years.
Show attendees will have the chance to get their hands on Pokémon Sword and Shield, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Luigi's Mansion 3 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order - all playable on the show floor, plus 'more' that haven't been announced. Tantalising!
Below we've collected everything we expect the Kyoto company to bring to the show, plus big third-party Switch titles and a few games that will likely arrive next year or beyond that might make an appearance at this year's show.
We've also added a section for the biggest rumours doing the rounds at the very end. Some may be spurious or wishful thinking, but with Sony and Microsoft signing 'memorandums of understanding' and the Microsoft console-exclusive Cuphead coming to Switch, nothing is totally impossible.
Without further ado, let's all jump aboard the E3 Hype Train...
The big one. Scheduled for this holiday season, we're itching to find out more about this one following its reveal last September. We know almost nothing about it, with no gameplay or details revealed except its existence by the racoon we all love to hate, Tom Nook. While we wait for a deluge of juicy deets in Tuesday's Nintendo Direct, here's the reveal trailer again to whet your appetite:
With the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield now confirmed for launch on 15th November, it's also been confirmed to be playable on the show floor. Expect lots of hands-on details involving dynamaxed Pocket Monsters, the Breath of the Wild-alike landscapes and the best newly-revealed Pokémon, Corviknight. Yep, he's definitely the best, so there. Check out the video below with the lovely Alex and Zion discussing the recent Pokémon Direct to see just how excited we are:
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With the game arriving on 28th June, you can be sure that this'll be on the showfloor. There's an invitational tournament streaming on Saturday 8th June from 11:00 PT (14:00 EST / 19:00 BST / 20:00 CET) which pits members of the Mario Maker community against the best courses Nintendo Treehouse could come up with. With the game so close to launch, we don't expect Nintendo to spend much time (if any) on it in the Direct itself, unless of course there's some stunning new detail to reveal like Super Mario Bros. 2 DLC ‘playstyle’ or Waluigi mode which turns everything purple.
Coming from PlatinumGames, the makers of Bayonetta, this is shaping up to be a tasty little treat fusing the outlandish combat of the witch's gameplay with grittier, neon drizzled environments. You take control of two characters at the same time here, both members of a special police task force that has assembled to combat an alien threat. Directed by Takahisa Taura, the designer of the acclaimed Nier:Automata, it's scheduled for release at the end of August, so we wouldn't be surprised to see this in a playable form at the show. At the very least, you can expect to get a shed-load of new details.
Still scheduled for release this year, a playable demo of this third-person shooter was released in February which left many gamers a little underwhelmed. Developer Marvelous has supposedly taken much of the feedback they received onboard and we'd hope to get an update on the game's progress. It certainly looks the part, with players controlling huge mechs and causing chaos - let's hope the gameplay can be tweaked to match the frenetic energy of the visuals.
Another game scheduled to release soon, we'll be playing Fire Emblem: Three Houses come the end of July. As such, we don't expect a huge focus on it at E3 - more details, certainly, but the complexity of Fire Emblem's systems and narrative doesn't lend itself to huge presentations or a noisy show floor. A little hands-on time would still be welcome, though; we can't wait to try out the game's new interactable battlefield elements and discover the relationships between the characters and factions of the game's large cast. Raise the drawbridge!
This adorable-looking remake of the Game Boy original had us salivating from the moment we saw it in motion. It's playable at the show and you can be sure we'll be getting more details about the changes that have been made to update the 1993 original. Multiplayer? Launch date? Plasticine-looking amiibo line? We can't wait to find out more.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC
Yep, we've already had Challenger Pack #1, but there are four more to come and we expect #2 to drop very soon. Rumours abound as to who it could be, with the smart money being on a Dragon Quest tie-in. The Banjo-Kazooie rumours just won't go away, either, although perhaps that is simply wishful thinking on the part of old-school Rareware fans. Regardless, we expect to find out very soon indeed.
Believe it or not, this second sequel is the series' HD debut (the first game was a GameCube launch title and the second came to 3DS). This cute spook-em-up sees Luigi once again confronting ghouls in - you guessed it - a mansion and it's looking absolutely beautiful from what we've seen so far. A mid-October release in time for Halloween seems like a no-brainer, but we'll have to wait and see what Nintendo has in store.
Playable at the show (and in Best Buys across the US), this exclusive sequel was a surprise announcement when Nintendo revealed it, with Team Ninja on development duties. A reboot rather than a strict follow-on, you needn't worry if you missed out on the two previous entries of the action RPG series and you may recognise the cast from those little arthouse films Marvel have been putting out every so often - the characters' appearances are heavily inspired by their MCU counterparts. It's coming out on 19th July, so while it will likely not be a focus in the Direct, you can be sure it'll pop up on the Treehouse stream.
This indie rhythm roguelike crossover carries the ungainly official title of Cadence of Hyrule - Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda and it's coming out in June. There are rumours that it could drop early during the show itself, but regardless, we're sure it'll feature somewhere. Combining the original procedurally-generated dungeon crawling of Brace Yourself Games' Crypt of the NecroDancer with a Link to the Past/Minish Cap visual style, plus that infectious Zelda music, we're desperate to get this downloaded ASAP. Not long to go...
A bit more in the 'maybe' category, this one. We've only really seen a logo for this sequel to Hideki Kamiya's intricate and critically-acclaimed hack and slash action adventure starring the eponymous witch, and we certainly don't expect the game to release this year, but some gameplay footage and more details from developer PlatinumGames would be very welcome. The company won't want to take the limelight away from Astral Chain, but we'd expect to hear something about this Nintendo exclusive this year.
A Game Freak game that isn't Pokémon? Curious! Giga Wrecker Alt. might not have set the world alight, but this developer’s output is invariably interesting and the reveal trailer for Town has us intrigued. With Pokémon Sword and Shield hogging the limelight, we don't expect a huge blowout of details on Town - then again, Pokémon is always casting a big shadow, so some more footage and a proper title would help this turn-based RPG get a little attention of its own.
While it may be a port of a game released in Japan two years ago, this looks like it'll earn that addendum to its already cumbersome title and truly be the 'definitive edition' when it releases at the end of July. It'll include optional orchestral music, new plot points, and a 16-bit graphical mode similar to the one in the Japanese-only 3DS version which enables you to flip between the two graphical styles. As one of the most beloved RPG series in gaming, the release of any DQ game is cause for celebration, and this one is shaping up to be a real winner on Switch.
The freshly announced 2.5D sequel to Playtonic's crowdfunded success, the original 3D platformer was a spiritual successor to the Rareware platformers of old. We wouldn't be surprised to see this new game crop up at some point during the show. It appears to be channelling the Donkey Kong Country series and from what we've seen it's another fine effort from the British studio of Rare veterans. One to keep an eye on, for sure.
Following the shock of the 'impossible' port of DOOM courtesy of Panic Button, the studio is back again bringing Bethesda's blood-pumping, appendages-out FPS to Switch. This time, however, it's releasing day-and-date with other platforms and it'll surely benefit from being a target platform from the very beginning of development. The first game was an utter joy, partially enhanced by the sheer surprise of having it running really well on a handheld system. It raised the bar for Switch ports and we're eager to discover if this sequel can match it. We'd wager it'll take that bar, rip it from its housing and deposit it pointy-end-first into an imp's eye socket.
Panic Button's been busy again with a Bethesda shooter, and we're similarly excited to see if this Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus spin-off game can live up to the excellence of BJ's debut Switch outing. Developed by MachineGames, here you play as his daughters and journey to Paris to find him. It's set in an alternative 1980s, so expect plenty of nostalgic nods and strange historical juxtapositions when this arrives at the end of July.
This has been out in Japan since December last year and is coming to the rest of the world on 12th July. Therefore, there's no reason this won't be playable at E3 2019 and if its sandbox gameplay is anything like as fun as the original game, we'll be very happy to see it.
An action RPG from Tokyo RPG Factory (the developer behind I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear), Oninaki was revealed in the February Nintendo Direct broadcast but that's pretty much all we've seen from it so far. It's scheduled to be released this summer, so we'd expect a huge info drop at E3 - the reveal trailer certainly looked intriguing.
As is customary around E3 (or any other time of the year, frankly), the rumour mill is working overtime. We could see a sequel to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle from Ubisoft. Perhaps we'll get to try out Mario Kart Tour following its closed public beta a few weeks back. Anything from Retro Studios would be wonderful, although it's still too early to expect Metroid Prime 4 news.
However, recent developments with companies you could never imagine talking to each other have led to speculation reaching fever pitch. Didn't you know? Banjo's coming to Smash. The Master Chief Collection is also on its way to Switch, as is Rare Replay and GoldenEye 007. The Witcher 3 is also a dead cert for Switch port...
The list of rumours goes on and on, and it's hard to discount many of them, certainly when taken in isolation. We live in stange times, and Cuphead coming to Switch shows that doors we assumed would always be locked shut can very easily be opened given the appropriate business circumstances. So while it's important to keep expectations in check, we can also expect E3 2019 to throw us a few curveballs.
Not a bad lineup, and that's only the big ones we know about! A few surprise showings and the customary 'one more thing' and E3 2019 is shaping up to be a very good one for Nintendo. What are you looking forward to the most? Let us know with a comment below.