It feels like an age and a day since we last had a Nintendo Direct - at E3 the big N opted for a Treehouse Live approach, while if we ignore some Japanese Culdcept Revolt broadcasts we need to go back to 3rd March for the last 'typical' Direct. Crikey.
It's nice to have it back, then, and this one is set to be focused on the 3DS. Nintendo (particularly NoA) has been adamant in emphasizing that a certain thing called NX will not feature - it said "NX will not be discussed or revealed in this broadcast". It also nailed that down by emphasizing that the broadcast will focus on 3DS games in a tweet.
So let's get this in early - no NX. We know it's tough to accept, and there's always a faint glimmer of light in the darkest of places, but everyone will be happier if they're not 'disappointed' at the absence of NX. Besides, surely Nintendo has grander plans for the big next-gen reveal than a two minute trailer at the end of a Direct.
What we do know is that, as has been the case in recent broadcasts, Nintendo of America and Europe are doing separate streams. There's also quite a lot the company could potentially cover for 3DS, in addition to extra topics linked to the portable in some way. So, as is tradition, we're going to have a stab at predicting some of the potential details we can expect. Most are sensible suggestions, while a couple are perhaps too hopeful - a Nintendo Direct without a bit of blind optimism is a sad thing indeed.
So, let's get on with it, shall we?
Release dates and trailers
This will be the meat of the broadcast, ultimately, and this is certainly not a revelation. During E3 we already saw quite a lot of the 3DS, some titles with fixed dates and others with release windows. The likes of Mario Party Star Rush and Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past are candidates for new trailers, and perhaps even 2017's Ever Oasis. Various other titles are on the way that could be shown in some form - Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, Rhythm Paradise Megamix (in Europe), Yo-kai Watch 2 and others. Maybe Dragon Ball Fusions is also a possibility, as it recently picked up a rating in Brazil.
Downloads are likely to get a focus too. It wouldn't surprise us if the 3DS-only rule is broken to also throw in a few Indie efforts coming to Wii U as well, though the 3DS isn't short of titles on the way. We'd bet a lot of money on Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice having a slot of its own, too.
Oh, and Pokémon Sun and Moon, that's a decent bet for a segment of its own.
Also, and not strictly 3DS but we'll throw it in there as a maybe, we're still waiting for more on the Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem mobile games, but they may get a Direct of their own in the coming weeks / months.
An eShop sizzle reel and a downloadable surprise
Picking up on part of that last section, it's probably fair to say there'll be a Nindie sizzle reel and perhaps some mini-profiles on upcoming download gems (with various 3DS options at Nintendo's disposal). Nintendo of America has already had a head start on this as it warms up for a Nindie focus at PAX West, having already confirmed its Summer Jam promotion and a whole load of release dates.
Nintendo of America will probably reiterate that Summer Jam promotion, and a European equivalent wouldn't be a surprise. With their release in about a month, EU viewers are likely to also see a little more of the upcoming 'Nintendo eShop Selects' titles in the region (Wii U games, but surely an opportunity that won't be missed), namely SteamWorld Collection and FAST Racing NEO + DLC. For this writer, in any case, the traditional Nindie sizzle reel is one of the best bits of a Direct.
Finally, we may be due an 'out now' surprise for the eShop. We'll also mention the game you'll all be bringing up in the live chat, too - Mother 3. It'd be great if this is confirmed for the Wii U (where the GBA Virtual Console lives, and again breaking from the 3DS focus) just so we could all get on with our lives.
Hardware bundles and a potential 3DS price drop
The 3DS isn't finished yet, but few would argue that it's not now heading into its twilight. Pokémon Sun and Moon are sure to give it a lift, and in the Holiday bundle category we would expect more tie-ins with these games - some have been confirmed earlier in the Summer, but additional 2DS bundles are surely on the cards.
Beyond that, some extra bundles (perhaps with evergreen titles) seem likely, as that's the norm. It'll be interesting to see if there's a price drop, too. The 2DS has already gone down to $79.99 in the US, but with the portable family's momentum continuing to decline Nintendo may opt to give it an extra push with more attractive prices on New 3DS models. If we assume that the console has 12-18 months left as a front-line Nintendo product (and that's arguably generous) then a drop now - well ahead of time for the Holiday season - could be a smart move.
Now five months old but having lost most of its momentum, My Nintendo is due a push and a refresh of new rewards and reasons for us to care about it. In a small piece of news today Nintendo extended the validity period for Gold Points, which is a small start, but what the service needs is content and a reason to spend our points.
With the service having slowed down and gone quiet, it wouldn't be surprising if it's been getting re-calibrated and had new rewards prepared behind-the-scenes. Nintendo wouldn't have to stick rigidly to 3DS while talking about My Nintendo, but an exciting addition to the rewards and some improvements would be a welcome pick-me-up for the loyalty programme.
It's only five months old, remember, so Nintendo is likely to still be seeking the right balance, and may try a couple of announcements to get us all engaged with the service once again.
[Update: a small batch of rewards has been posted on the European My Nintendo page to start off the month]
Localised details and some context on the 'New Galaxy' system
Yep, we're obsessed with this bizarre system, mainly because there's little rhyme or reason to it. In North America we expect it to be mentioned as 'out now', and in Europe we may or may not get localised release details. What we really want is some context though. As it's neither a plain colour or themed on an existing franchise, we're curious whether it's actually tied, somehow, to another product.
Earlier today we joked a little about its appearance at a Style Savvy: Fashion Forward PR event, and perhaps it could be tied loosely to Pokémon Moon. In our wildest dreams it's really a tease for Super Mario Galaxy Collection on New 3DS, but that's an extremely long shot and pure fantasy. If that were to happen this writer's live blog would lose all coherence.
Ultimately it's probably just a random design released to confuse and baffle followers of the company. Yeah, that's most likely.
We're not convinced it'll be a dominant topic, but there are some amiibo to promote, such as the 'Super Mario' additions on the way that'll work in Mario Party Star Rush. Any leftover Smash Bros. characters (such as the previously confirmed Bayonetta) may also be addressed, too.
We're starting to think that the guaranteed cash cow of Pokémon amiibo Cards to be used in Sun & Moon isn't going to happen; we'd love to be proven wrong. That range, if it were to be revealed, would be a huge announcement.
One final 3DS surprise
Look, we're optimists, and are ever hopeful for the 'one more thing' part of a Nintendo Direct to send the internet into meltdown. The hope for a big reveal of some sort is contingent on two things - that there's a major project yet to be revealed still waiting in the wings, and that this is the last full 3DS-focused Direct (in the near future, maybe ever) outside of addition Pokémon broadcasts.
With the apparent March 2017 release of NX, the consensus - based on logic and / or rumours - is for a late September or October reveal of the new system. Outside of its Holiday releases the 3DS will struggle to dominate the Nintendo spotlight again once the NX has been unveiled, simply due to human nature of looking to the next generation and largely moving on from the old. With that in mind, this could (and we're speculating) be the last big Direct for the 3DS. If that's the case, a surprise title - whether new or a port - would be a fitting send off, whether due for the Holiday season or 2017.
Consider this a bit of a long odds prediction, but we'd naturally love for it to happen.
That's it, the broad areas that we think could feature in the 3DS Nintendo Direct on 1st September. Remember, it's going down at 7am Pacific / 10am Eastern / 3pm UK / 4pm CET, and we'll be live blogging and covering both the North American and European streams here on Nintendo Life. We hope to see you in the chat!