Nintendos presence at E3 has been some what lacking since their departure from the big presentations that we get from the likes of Sony and Microsoft. Opting for a small group of gamers presenting the ‘Nintendo Treehouse’ is meant to give it a more personal touch, and while I can appreciate the notion, it seems to fall a bit flat.

All the announcements lack any suspense or weight when it’s a small group of people in a room, compared to the large theaters and spectacles that build up so much hype for other games, even though Nintendo has possibly the strongest lineup of first-party titles compared to any publisher. But even with all these strong contenders for what could be amazing games, a lot of Nintendo’s recent releases have been very lacking. The Wii sold amazingly but due to it’s controller scheme had very few strong titles that made it a worthwhile purchase for serious games. This only got worse when the Wii U was announced which was a confusing release of an even stranger control scheme, which led to the Wii U having only 205 games released in its short lifetime. By comparison, the PS3 had 1433 games released over its long lifespan.

This year may be different, however. Back in October, Nintendo released a trailer for its Nintendo Switch console, a straight forward portable gaming console. No gimmicks, no waving your hands around or relying on a touch screen, it was a super powered Game Boy. Not only this but it could be docked and played like a conventional console. The hype only increased when Zelda, Breath of the Wild got announced as a release title and the console would be sold for a competitive price. Nintendo could be back on track to making solid games.

So here we are, last E3 Nintendo could only speculate on what the Switch was (called NX at the time), but a year later its available to buy and things are looking good for Nintendo with high sales and solid console. But as the PSP and Vita told us, a console is only as good as the games its has, so what can we hope to expect from Nintendo this year?
We already know of Super Mario Odyssey, probably the biggest game Nintendo has come. I’ve been very off on Mario over the last few years as I felt Mario games were just repeating the same routine. The same generic snow, fire, desert, mushroom kingdom levels. But this game inspires hope for me, a Mario game that’s about a big adventure in new lands. It’s refreshing to see, and for once I’m interested in a Mario game.

Pokemon Stars has been rumoured for some time. After Sun and Moon came out on the 3DS, Nintendo would release an updated version for the Switch. Much like Yellow, Crystal, Emerald and Platinum, the game would feature a mixed story from the Sun and Moon games while adding a mixed variety of Pokemon from each game. Whether this game uses a fully remaking of the game for the Switch or if it’s just an HD skin for the game remains to be seen. A fully 3D Pokemon game has been on fans wishlist for years and if released Nintendo could have a truly great game on their hands if done correctly.

Another rumor that’s been floating about stems from the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe port of the Wii U edition, with all DLC, which has been called the definitive way to play, so it would make sense for Nintendo to port other Wii U games to the Switch and finally do what the Wii U teased, but could never do – play full games on the go. The rumour that Nintendo would start selling Gamecube games on the Switch too has also been floating around for a bit too. The Gamecube boasted some of the best games ever made, and been able to play these on the go would be a dream for some people. Whether any of these ideas would actually come to fruition is a long shot as it took Nintendo long enough to get certain titles on its virtual console.

Nintendo has already confirmed that the 3DS will live on, even in the shadow of the Switch. However, there doesn’t seem to be much going for it. We’ve got a Fire Emblem game and a Monster Hunter game coming out, but that’s all really. There doesn’t seem to be any strong games being released for it, with all the main focus going to the Switch. I doubt very much that Nintendo will promote the 3ds much at E3, even with the release of the new 2DS XL, but no doubt they’ll support it for some time to come.

How about Nintendo’s other characters? We should expect some details on Breath of the Wilds DLC, which includes a hard mode and a cave of trials, nothing too amazing but Nintendo has confirmed they’re working on an original story, what this entails? no one knows. The game’s map leaves a lot of room for what the story could be, so it’s going to be interesting where they go with that one. Donkey Kong is due for a new game as Tropical Freeze was last released in 2014. But I feel DK may be going down the rinse and repeat that Mario went through – generic platformer. If they were to show off a game like Donkey Kong 64 for the Switch it might make it a worthwhile purchase, but the collectathon style of game that DK64 was might not sit so well with gamers today. A game that I feel is long long overdue for a solid release is the Metroid series. The ‘Federation Force’ game wasn’t a proper Metroid game, and the release before that ‘other m’ lacked any feel of a Metroid game, so the last ‘true’ Metroid game was Metroid Prime 3 back in 2007. We’re overdue for one, and it’s probably the biggest on my wish list.

As for 3rd party games, Nintendo has shown off a large number of developers supporting the Switch. During the presentation at the start of the year EA showed off FIFA, and Sega have since announced Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces would be coming to the Switch too. With the Switch released and selling well, we’ll get to see how developers respond not only during Nintendos tree house but during their own conferences too. We could possibly expect services like Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu to be announced too.

sonic mania

Finally, wild cards. There’s really not much in the rumour mill to say Nintendo is going to announce anything drastic. The only rumoured device is a SNES mini. But like the NES mini it will be a small cute style SNES console and hold a number of SNES games, and much like the NES mini, it will probably sell out very fast. Aside from that nothing much comes to mind, stuff like a Netflix mini series based on one of Nintendos is possible but unlikely, and usually a bad idea.

It’s difficult to say exactly what will happen as Nintendo aren’t as predictable as other companies, they take things differently and don’t have the same fanfare as everyone else. But whatever the case they’re onto something with the Switch, and I hope they announce some solid games that make them a proper contender to the PS4 and Xbox One.