It's now 2016, and hopefully the beginning of an exciting year for Nintendo and its fans. With various big games, products and reveals either dropping out of 2015 or always being planned for this year, we're set for what could be a bumper 12 months.
Your humble writer will be looking ahead at what could be to come this weekend, but as a New Year's Day treat a number of the Nintendo Life team have written down some of their biggest hopes for the year. Some obvious topics come up - such as NX, of course - but there are a few varied wishes in here too.
So, without further ado, let's get to it.
In terms of what I'm looking forward to in 2016, it's the NX by far. I think Nintendo has been committing most of its resources to ensuring that it'll have an amazing lineup at launch, and I'm just really excited to see what the various studios have been working on recently. And, of course, I'm very excited to see the hardware itself. The launch of new hardware for any gaming company is quite an event, as it's something that only happens once every six-ish years. There have been rumours floating around that it'll be some kind of hybrid console and while I'm not sure that I believe them 100%, I do think that there's a bit of truth to be found behind every rumour. Considering that this is not going to be a continuation of the Wii brand, something completely new, I know that it'll be surprise, whatever it is.
Another thing I'm looking forward to is Zelda U. The launch of a new console Zelda is always a big deal, and I find it hard to believe how long it's been since Skyward Sword. I'm especially hyped for this one though, just from how much I've enjoyed the recent Zelda games. Skyward Sword wasn't perfect, but it introduced and refined a lot of ideas that I'm hoping to see in the next big Zelda. Additionally, I thought that the non-linear approach to progression and the new item system in A Link Between Worlds was a big step forward, and I'm hopeful this will be expanded upon in the next Zelda. We still haven't seen any footage of it since that Miyamoto and Aonuma demonstration a while back, but I have faith that the world is going to be more expansive and immersive than ever before.
It's not likely to happen, but what I would love to see in 2016 is the game Undertale ported to a Nintendo system.
WAIT! Hold on. I know some of you might be howling. Yes, this is the game that blasted through the GameFAQs "Best. Game. Ever." competition and flamed the rage of gamers who believe it cursed the sanctity of an Internet popularity contest. Let's forget about all that. It's meaningless.
Take Undertale on its own merits and what you have is the most successful attempt to capture the spirit of the Mother series outside of the games themselves. Others games have tried, and some of them are quite good, but none of them captured my laughter, imagination, and awe the same way EarthBound did when I was 12. All this, and it still manages to march to the beat of its own drum.
Undertale is tailored more for computer operating systems and would likely need some finangling to achieve some of the same effects on the Wii U or 3DS, so I'm not holding my breath. Still, it became my favourite game of 2015 and is well deserving of a spot in Nintendo's library.
I may have a slight amount of Zelda fatigue after the release of both Majora's Mask and Tri Force Heroes on the 3DS this year, but that doesn't mean I'm not excited about Link's special 30th anniversary in 2016. The next entry in the long-running series is likely to be the biggest adventure yet; this could very well be the Wii U swansong, so it would be nice to send the system out with a bang.
In terms of my 2016 dreams – I'll take a new F-Zero. If the release of FAST Racing NEO on the Wii U eShop taught me anything, it's that Nintendo needs to release a new entry in the speedy series featuring Captain Falcon and co. Preferably Criterion Games – the creator of the Burnout series – can handle the development, even if this has already been ruled out.
Of course, I'm also looking forward to whatever Nintendo announces in regards to the NX and I hope we'll see all the key franchises return in this new area of development for the company. As for the more immediate future, I'm hyped for the release of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow on the 3DS Virtual Console. It's still hard to believe this is actually happening. Gotta catch 'em all!
My hope for 2016 is to see the beginning of a return to form for Nintendo. 2015 was a pretty weak year for them, and the new year has lots of potential from the start, with titles like Star Fox Zero and Pokken Tournament on the horizon and more distant releases like SMTxFE (or whatever it will be called when it's released in the west) and possibly the next Legend of Zelda game.
Obviously, a lot is riding on NX. The Wii U was announced without a killer app and little fanfare, and Nintendo can't afford to half-bake their next product. Hopefully Nintendo's various development studios are working on great games to release alongside (or soon after) the NX's launch. And I'd love to see a game that uses amiibo in a truly meaningful way.
The year 2016 is a year of uncertainty for Nintendo. Actually, Nintendo as a company surely knows what will happen and what they will reveal, but fans are currently in the dark when it comes to much of what's to come. When will we see the NX? When will Zelda for Wii U launch? What titles will Nintendo focus its DLC sights on now that Smash Bros and Mario Kart are behind them? Will Nintendo's mobile efforts pay off in the long run?
It's exciting and it's frightening all at once. The NX is a big chance for Nintendo to move into the not-so-gimmicky world of powerhouse consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One. Not that Nintendo has ever needed outstanding graphics or processing power to put out quality games, it's just exciting to think about what they could do if they harnessed those abilities as well. I want the NX to be powerful, full of first and third party games, and affordable.
As far as titles we know are coming in 2016, I truly hope a strong competitive scene develops for Pokken Tournament. It seems like a nice middle ground between classic fighting series such as Street Fighter, and arena based takes like Smash Bros. As someone who was lucky enough to get my hands on the game in Japan, it is currently my most anticipated release of the new year. Keep on announcing those characters, Nintendo.
The year ahead may be the best in Nintendo history. It could be the worst. Either way, I'm excited for the ride.
2016 Hopes and Dreams? Is it too late to say Knuckles and Bomberman in Smash4? Ha - sorry for being delusional!
In all honesty, I think 2016 screams nothing but Zelda U (barring the NX of course). An obvious choice, yes, but just because the latest iteration to the LoZ series is on its way, it doesn't mean it'll live up to all of our expectations. I for one was on the side of the fence that didn't particularly enjoy Skyward Sword, it wasn't my sort of Zelda at all. So what I'm trying to get at is here's to hoping 2016 brings us an iconic and impactful Ocarina of Time-esque entry to the franchise that'll set the benchmark and have us talking for decades to come.
Aside from that, I really do hope Nintendo learn from their previous mistake with the Wii U in that we get some awesome titles to launch with the aforementioned NX, such as Super Mario Galaxy 3 or something of the sort. It definitely needs to start off with a bang, especially as speculation suggests that the new console will be launching around the holiday season. If it's not asking for too much, a new F-Zero would be absolutely fantastic too!
And you know, maybe a new Mario Party that's actually reminiscent of the first two instalments (that being fun and competitive)...
For me, 2016 can be summed up in two letters: NX. As a lifelong Nintendo fan, there are no better years for me than those when I get to take the wraps off of a new console. Obviously, we don't know much of anything about the Wii U's (and 3DS'?) successor yet, but we should be learning all about it in the next 12 months.
E3 is but a scant six months away and it would make sense for The Big N to show their wares there. It's hard to believe we'll be seeing what NX is all about as soon as Summer! Is it a portable/console hybrid? Can it keep up with the PS4? It's an exciting time to be a Nintendo fan.
Let's not forget that before then we also get Star Fox Zero and Twilight Princess HD, too! I'm a little wary of Star Fox Zero; my time playing it at E3 left me with some doubts, but I'm confident Nintendo can turn it around. As for Twilight Princess, it's my least favourite Zelda title, but that still puts it above many, many other games for me and the prospect of replaying it after so many years is exciting to say the least.
It seems news on the Wii U and 3DS fronts has grown somewhat quiet in the last few months; I'm okay with that. Nintendo seems poised to start revealing to the world what their plans for the future are in earnest next year. The last few years have been mostly expected announcements with few truly surprising developments. 2016, however, is more of a question mark. The stuff we know about extends only a few months into the year; whatever Nintendo has planned for us in 2016, I'm sure it'll be a great year.
Mother 3. Like many, all I really hope for is that Nintendo takes the time to release this game outside of Japan so that the rest of the world can see how the story ends. They've already taken the time to put out Earthbound Beginnings, and now we just need the final piece in order to bring this silly, heartbreaking trilogy to a close.
I'm hopeful. I don't know if that hope is misplaced or not, but after seeing the game hit the Japanese Wii U eShop, I can't help but think it's on Nintendo's mind. That someone there will see the fan outcry for this game to exist and finally jump on it. There are so many people out there who love this series and want to see its final chapter as a proper Nintendo release.
So I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful because Earthbound Beginnings was something I never expected to happen, but it did. Now I want to be surprised by the release of Mother 3 in 2016.
2015 has been both a quiet and a loud year for Nintendo. Content for their current systems has been fairly light, whereas they dropped bombshells by announcing Nintendo IP on mobile and the development of NX. Core Nintendo games received poor ratings (see: Mario Tennis, amiibo Festival, Devil's Third), but the big N also produced stellar titles like Splatoon and Mario Maker. And amiibo. Lots of amiibo.
In a perfect world, I'd like to see Nintendo outline a truly unified account system where we have access to games we've digitally bought in the past. The NX would be the combination platform that has been rumoured that combines both home and handheld, and would contain decent hardware that can at the very least match the PS4 and Xbox One. The console would be backwards compatible with Wii U titles so that all those fantastic Wii U games won't be lost forever, imprisoned on a console that so few bought, by utilizing the second screen of a handheld component as a controller.
Wishful thinking aside, whatever 2016 brings, something tells me Nintendo will manage to put a smile on my face. Because, well, it's Nintendo, and they've been putting a smile on my face for almost 30 years.