It’s almost here, adventurers, the biggest gaming news event of the year: the Electronic Entertainment Expo! E3 2018 begins right around a month from the day this post is, er, posted, and I’m pretty excited to see what’s coming in the future for gamers everywhere. Historically I have approached E3 pretty seriously here on Adventure Rules, trying to live-tweet events when possible and sharing my thoughts on each show that I watch. These posts, though, are reactionary – I simply share what I think of what has already happened. This year, I want to try something different: I want to predict what’s going to happen.
Now I am primarily a Nintendo gamer, so the predictions you are about to see will apply exclusively to Nintendo’s show. I don’t follow the other companies enough to think I have anything intelligent to say about them. I may check out their shows during the event (particularly Bethesda and Square Enix, and maybe Sony), but right now I have no confidence that I can predict anything about their shows. Well, I do have one prediction: whatever Square Enix game you are currently waiting impatiently for will not come out in 2018.
With the ground rule now firmly established, let’s jump right in to my Nintendo E3 2018 predictions!
PREDICTION #1: LITERALLY EVERYONE WATCHING THE PRESENTATION WILL ROLL THEIR EYES WHEN THE 3DS SECTION STARTS
I’m not typically the guy who puts down the 3DS. Even counting home consoles, it has been one of my favorite gaming devices I’ve ever owned. Amazing games came out for the 3DS, and even after the release of the Switch I have found certain games which drew me back to the inferior handheld. However, as much as I love the 3DS, the time has come for the big N to move all of their big franchises to the new kid in town. It’s time for the 3DS to retire comfortably and enjoy long vacations interrupted only by the occasional bout of back pain.
Alas, while I feel that way and I think plenty of other folks do too, Nintendo seems not to be finished with the 3DS. During their last Nintendo Direct, they confirmed that there is at least one video game coming to the handheld in 2019. What the heck? Having a few final titles to wind down 2018 as the final year of the 3DS makes sense, but stretching out the retirement party that long feels pretty ridiculous.
I will say this: I’ve heard it proposed that some of these games we are seeing are titles that started development before the Switch took off, as a sort of emergency back-up plan in case things went south with the new console. I somewhat understand that as a possibility – at the very least, I’m not educated enough to refute the idea that development cycles would last long enough that it is sensible for a back-up game to land as far away as 2019. But regardless of why we’re still seeing 3DS titles, I think that this particular portion of Nintendo’s E3 presentation will be met with a pitiful sigh rather than enthusiasm.
PREDICTION #2: HISASHI NOGAMI WILL BE WEIRD AS HELL AND IT WILL BE AWESOME
I know virtually nothing about Splatoon – it isn’t a game I am particularly interested in. Shooters aren’t my thing and especially those where the focus is on online multiplayer. However, I think the lore of Splatoon is really interesting, and perhaps the most compelling lore of all is that of Hisashi Nogami, who shows up to big events in a lab coat and sunglasses and acts super weird while he talks about this quirky and compelling series.
I expect Splatoon 2 stuff at E3 for a couple of reasons. For one, while we have a potentially leaked release date for the Octo Expansion, there’s no official confirmation of when the paid DLC is going to be released. Additionally, the semifinals and finals of the Splatoon 2 world championship will be held at E3. With new content to show off and a championship trophy to hand out, someone from the Splatoon crew has to have a presence at E3, and no one has more presence than this impressive fellow. I will legitimately be excited for the Splatoon parts of the presentation just to see what kind of shenanigans he gets up to.
PREDICTION #3: A TEASER TRAILER WITH NO GAMEPLAY WILL BE SHOWN FOR POKEMON SWITCH
Last year at E3, while Nintendo was showing off more information about Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, they also took a moment aside to say “hey, PS, there will be a main series Pokemon title coming to the Switch.” Ever since then, while members of the Pokemon fandom have desperately clamored for news, GameFreak and the Pokemon Company (I honestly don’t know how that whole relationship works) have remained largely silent on the title. I suspect that we’ll finally see a trailer at this E3.
A few years back, E3 was the chosen time to reveal that remakes of generation three were coming to the 3DS. We now know these games as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. They were shown off during the presentation in a trailer showing the legendary Pokemon Kyogre and Groudon erupting forth from the too-much-waters of Hoenn. I anticipate something similar for Pokemon Switch. We’ll get a cool cut scene and maybe a general release date (holiday 2018, probably in November if the last two titles are any indication) but we won’t see gameplay just yet. That might be saved for a Pokemon-exclusive direct; or rather, a ton of spoiler-filled Pokemon videos that leave no secrets for the full game. Hopefully they figured out how to pull on the reins of the marketing guy this time!
PREDICTION #4: WE WILL NOT SEE METROID PRIME 4 IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY AT E3 2018
Okay, this one is a little risky, and I truly hope that it doesn’t come true because I am excited for this game and can’t wait to see what to expect from it. However, for no particular reason, I just have this gut feeling that Metroid won’t have a meaningful demonstration at E3. I think this feeling comes from my belief that this title won’t be released until 2019. With Smash Bros, Fire Emblem, and Pokemon all slated for this year, we’ve got a lot of big titles coming down the pipe. As a result of that, my guess is that Metroid will sit on the backburner so that titles with a more imminent release date can stand in the spotlight this E3. Speaking of Smash Bros…
PREDICTION #5: FAN RECEPTION OF THE NEW SMASH BROS WILL BE MORE MIXED THAN USUAL, WITH A LOT MORE NEGATIVE REACTIONS THAN PAST TITLES
BUM BUM BUM! As excited as everyone is about the new Smash Bros right now, I think that once this game is shown off during E3 that a lot of folks are going to come away disappointed. Why? Hype and expectations, adventurers. They are setting us up for some serious disappointment.
The prospect of a new Smash Bros game is really exciting, and the fact that this one is – by all appearances – a brand new entry rather than a deluxe version of the last game increases the excitement even more. The thing is, I have heard a number of folks express the thought that this will probably not be as “new” as we might like. And honestly, I agree. For my example, I look to Splatoon 2. Now I’ve already stated earlier that I know rather little about the Splatoon franchise, so I can’t say much from personal experience. However, I’ve read the opinions of many who felt like Splatoon 2 is still basically a deluxe port of the original game, just with a few cool new features or modes. It begs the question of how different a sequel has to be from the original to be a true sequel, but ultimately I think that folks expecting a totally revitalized Smash experience from the upcoming Switch title will be sorely disappointed.
PREDICTION #6: ANIMAL CROSSING FANS WILL NOT BE HAPPY AFTER THIS DIRECT IS OVER
Animal Crossing has become the new Mother 3, and I expect that trend to continue at this E3. If it doesn’t, though, at least my wife might be excited by something that happens in the Nintendo presentation!
PREDICTION #7: WE WILL ALL NOD POLITELY WHILE NINTENDO TALKS ABOUT THEIR MOBILE PLANS
Okay, so maybe I’m just jealous because my dumb Windows Phone can’t run 90% of the apps that the rest of the world can use. Just like I have to accept that Nintendo Labo isn’t my thing but it’s really cool for other people, I have to accept that while I will never be interested in mobile games, there are folks out there legitimately having a good time with titles like Pokemon GO, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. I won’t be surprised at all if we hear a little more about Mario Kart Tour at E3, and who knows, maybe a Zelda mobile title will finally show up. Link’s Augmented Reality Crossbow Murder Simulator, or something.
PREDICTION #8: WE’LL GET CONFIRMATION OF A SWITCH PORT FOR ANOTHER MAJOR WII U TITLE
Super Mario Maker Switch has to be a thing, right? Regardless of whether or not that’s the new port we hear about, I am very confident that Nintendo will announce another Wii U game getting the Switch treatment. A lot of people roll their eyes at the whole port thing, and I get it to a degree, but here’s the thing: regardless of your opinion about Nintendo’s porting strategy, it is making them some serious money. Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze both sold gangbusters on the Switch compared to the Wii U. Even some indie titles that got a Switch release along with versions on other consoles are performing better sales-wise with Nintendo. There’s a magic to the Switch and its portability that makes the whole idea of paying for a game you’ve played before palatable. Besides, only like 7 people played these games when they were on the Wii U, so now the world at large can finally appreciate them for how great they are.
If Super Mario Maker doesn’t turn out to be the game, I personally would like to see Paper Mario: Color Splash. While I’m still a little grumpy after Sticker Star, I’ve actually heard good things about Color Splash and the screenshots/footage I have seen suggest that Intelligent Systems once again captured what was magical about the older Paper Mario games – at least the humorous writing part of it. Naturally I’d prefer a brand new Paper Mario title that is a proper sequel to The Thousand-Year Door, but hoping for that is like joining the Animal Crossing fans up in prediction #6.
PREDICTION #9: FIRE EMBLEM SWITCH WILL HAVE A RENEWED EMPHASIS ON ROMANTIC SUPPORTS AND CHILDBIRTH
Fire Emblem Echoes was a nice break from what has now become the new Fire Emblem formula: a weird cross between a dating sim and Pokemon where you breed the ultimate warrior child with your smokin’ hawt waifu. I think there are valuable aspects of Echoes for future Fire Emblem titles to keep – the excellent graphical/audio presentation and brilliant translation in particular – but ultimately what brought the series back from the brink was the incorporation of a support system that allowed players to play matchmaker with their party members.
If we’re being honest, I only think that one of these things is a bad thing. Having a support system which allows a large variety of characters to have conversations and flesh out their stories is really cool. While I loved the fully-voiced supports in Echoes, I hate how they were shorter than what I’ve come to expect from support conversations and how most characters only had one or two partners to converse with. I know that’s more like the classic Fire Emblem, but what drew me to Path of Radiance was learning more about the characters through the support conversations. Those conversations had meaning and gave incredible definition to the characters – I’m okay with seeing that trend continue, and for expanding the number of characters who can have such conversations with each other.
The kids thing, I’m ready to be done with that for longer than just one title. I wouldn’t mind it so much if the concept wasn’t shoehorned into each game, a weird limb artificially grafted onto an otherwise healthy organism like a punishment in a China Mieville novel. If we could get a Fire Emblem title that took place over the course of two generations, and it naturally worked the passage of time into the game and placed an emphasis on legitimate parenthood instead of faux monster breeding, that would be cool. But honestly, I think we haven’t had quite enough distance from the idea just yet. Still, despite my personal feelings about it, I expect to see it back in the game this time around.
PREDICTION #10: EVEN IF NINTENDO’S PRESENTATION IS GREAT, SONY AND MICROSOFT FANS WILL THINK THEY ARE IRRELEVANT AND SHOULD STICK TO MAKING PARENTS PAY OBSCENE AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO BUY THEIR KIDS CARDBOARD
I think this one speaks for itself, right? Internet toxicity is never gonna go away. But what CAN be different is that you, personally, can choose to let other people love what they love and not troll them for their console preference. I may end up watching presentations other than Nintendo’s, and chances are I won’t see much that I’ll be particularly impressed by or excited about. What I need to be careful about is being overly critical of it – variety is the spice of life, and without a number of unique systems to add weird and wacky games into the hobby, gaming wouldn’t be very exciting at all. So let’s all agree to make E3 even better by just being happy that our friends in the other console kingdoms have something to be happy about, eh?
That’s it for me today, adventurers! I’d love to hear what your predictions are for E3 this year. Do you think mine are off? Do you hope any are true – or not? What game are you most excited to see or most hoping for? Let me know in the comments, as I am really excited about the event and would love to talk about it with you!