E3 2014 - Follow Along With Pokecharms

  • Doctor Oak

    Doctor Oak Overlord

    e3.
    It's that time of year again, and as usual, we've got our own special brand of coverage of the glitz and glamour of the gaming world's equivalent of Christmas.

    Throughout the conferences, we'll be discussing the events live in the chatroom, so drop by to be part of the action. We'll also be covering any relevant news from Nintendo's conference, and at least some degree of Pokemon news expected, you'll want to keep a close eye on our news posts on Tuesday.

    The easiest way to follow along with us, is to check out our E3 2014 mega thread, but I'll be copying its contents into the posts below for easy access. We've got dates, times and streaming locations for all the main conferences, as well as a traditional roundup and analysis of what to expect from the Big 3's conferences. To avoid splitting the discussion, however, this news thread will be locked - so please head over to the main thread itself for the full on-going discussion and reaction throughout the show.

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  1. Doctor Oak
    E3 2014 is just a few days away now, so here's the annual discussion topic with the usual mainstay features of just where the hell you can watch the all-important conferences next week and my predictions for the Big 3.

    Times listed are local (Pacific) and UK (BST). Convert as necessary.

    Make sure to join us in #Pokecharms during the conferences to watch along with us.

    Monday

    Microsoft:

    9.30am PDT/5.30pm UK – Xbox One/Xbox 360/Xbox.com/Windows Phone - Just hit up whichever's easiest and watch live.

    EA:
    12pm PDT/8pm UK – EA's Website, Spike TV or Twitch.Tv (and the Xbox One Twitch app).

    Ubisoft:
    3pm PDT/11pm UK– Youtube (Beware: Contains Aisha Tyler)

    Sony:
    6pm PDT/2am UK– Selected theatres in North America, Ustream, Playstation.com

    Tuesday

    Nintendo:
    9am PDT/5pm UK - Nintendo E3 Direct


    Notable games confirmed to be at this year's E3:

    • Assassin's Creed Unity
    • Batman Arkham Knight (Delayed to 2015)
    • Battlefield Hardline
    • Call of Duty Kevin Spacey Advanced Warfare
    • Disney Infinity 2.0
    • Dragon Age Inquisition
    • Fable Legends
    • Far Cry 4
    • Forza Horizon 2
    • Halo 5 Guardians (coming out 2015)
    • Killer Instinct Season 2
    • New The Legend of Zelda Wii U
    • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)
    • The Sims 4
    • Sonic Boom
    • Star Wars Battlefront
    • Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One)
    • Super Smash Bros (Wii U/3DS)
    • Tetris Ultimate (Ubisoft)
    • Tom Clancy's The Division (delayed to 2015)
    • The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt (coming out 2015)
    It's also fully expected that Ubisoft will be announcing a second Assassin's Creed game to come out at the end of the year on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC to go along with the next-gen only (and PC) release of Unity. Its codename is Comet.

    EA is also announcing "nearly half a dozen new games", which is expected to include at least one other Star Wars title as well as a confirmed new not-Need-For-Speed Criterion game. Mirror's Edge 2 is also confirmed to have "updates" at the show, but there's no confirmation that we'll see anything more on the game as it's been dark since first announced last year. There's also a fairly strong chance that EA and Bioware will be announcing a next-gen update of the Mass Effect trilogy in advance of an imminent Mass Effect 4. It's probably unlikely that ME4 itself will appear at the show, but some form of official announcement about its existence is probable.

    Rockstar has also been of considerable focus this year as there are a number of rumours swirling around re-releases of their existing games, let alone any new ones. Red Dead Redemption is supposedly finally on track for a PC release, while GTA V is fully expected to launch on both the next-gen consoles and PC within this year. There's not much hope for either a new game being announced this year, or even any sign of Agent, but right now it'd be a surprise if there wasn't any news from them at all.

    I'll be updating the below posts with my predictions for what we'll see from the Big 3. Check back soon to see what to expect.
  2. Doctor Oak
    E3 2014 Predictions Sony

    If you were to ask the Internet (though, really, I'm not entirely sure why you'd want to) if there was a definitive 'winner' of last year's E3, the resounding answer would be Sony. Not only had Microsoft managed to upset the apple cart with some thinking so forward they forgot to go back and actually work out what they were actually doing well enough to explain it properly, but Sony took full advantage of their position as the later conference and dropped bomb after bomb on Microsoft's parade. The PS4 would not require frequent online authentication, there'd be absolutely no limits on trading or selling physical games, and by dropping the PS4's camera from the console package, the system came in at $100 cheaper.

    However, the common agreement between those not frothing at the mouth with fanboy fever that week was that Microsoft had outshone Sony in the games department.

    This year, Sony don't really have the fanboy-baiting bombs to drop outside of the fact that their console has sold more than the other one. That means it's got to be all about the games.

    One game that Sony have specifically called out in advance of their conference is Bungie's upcoming Destiny. It's expected that the game will feature in a demo played on stage. There's not a lot more to see about the game that tells us what we won't already know - but Sony are keen to make the most of having Bungie on board with their machine this time.

    It's also fairly certain that Naughty Dog will be bringing their next game to the show - which is most likely Uncharted 4, though a rerelease of last year's run away success The Last of Us on the PS4 is imminent, so it'll get a bit of attention itself.

    The former launch-title Driveclub is also due out at last this year, though there's not much new to show there either given that the decision to delay it was a very late one. It might also lack a bit of lustre against the newly competing Forza Horizon 2.

    One game we haven't seen an abundance of yet is The Order 1886, a PS4 exclusive set in an alternate-history Victorian London. The game sort of has the vibe of a steampunk Gears of War, but it certainly won't hurt Sony to have a competitor to the upcoming actual Gears of War. The game was very recently delayed into next year, however, so this is unlikely to be its final E3 appearance.

    Sony's kept very quiet on what's going on with its other studios otherwise, so it's hard to put a marker on what surprises we may see in terms of new games at the show. It seems somewhat unlikely that Sony would be ballsy enough to try and announce a follow up to the Playstation All Stars Smash Bros clone in what is, very much, the year of the real deal, but it'd be fascinating to see them try...

    Kratos, however, is very much expected to be bringing along more Godly chaos in his first PS4 game. There are also rumours that a possible collaboration with Dark Souls' developer From Software will result in a PS4 exclusive (currently) called Project Beast.

    Sony will almost certainly be featuring a CoD rivalling playthrough of Battlefield Hardline. Much like CoD, Battlefield will be a multiplatform release - but it seems that in an effort to combat the usual attention that CoD gets at Microsoft's conference, EA will be partnering with Sony to give Battlefield its airtime - though the impact is possibly lessened by the fact that it's been the worst kept secret in E3 history for a while.

    The main Sony announcements, however, will almost certainly revolve around their two biggest upcoming innovations.

    Project Morpheus is Sony's answer to Oculus Rift, and while support for the Rift instead of another proprietary solution may have been preferable for gamers (and Oculus VR), Morpheus allows Sony to control the development process and you can be guaranteed that there will be some exclusive software detailed for the hardware during the show. My money would ordinarily be on something from Media Molecule, though they have stated that they won't be showing anything new this year.

    Playstation Now is, well, Gaikai but for Playstation, since they own it now. The idea is that using cloud networking, Sony can open up its library for effective 'backwards compatibility' without the tricksy technical issues of either physical or software emulation. If they pull it off, it'll effectively be the Netflix of gaming - and exclusive to Sony. A pretty major coup given that piggybacking off Gaikai means Sony have been given a hefty headstart with any such service over Microsoft or (if we're aiming for massive flights of fancy here) Nintendo.

    The fact that cloud gaming is nothing new, however, and that neither Gaikai nor Onlive have so far demonstrated that they've been able to get past either the core latency issues or the crappy Internet connections of the world problems that invariably dog the idea of passing input from one machine to another and streaming HD video content back in return, make Playstation Now a tricky prospect for Sony to sell without shooting themselves in the foot at some point. The Beta program is beginning very soon, so it won't take very long for gamers to tear the system apart if Sony walk into E3 with unrealistic demonstrations of what the system is capable of in a controlled setting. The service is a live bomb in their hands, and handling it badly at E3 will cause it to blow up in their faces dramatically.

    You can also expect a bunch of Indie games, but given that Nintendo and Microsoft both now have well-advanced Indie programs, and that "being the home of Indie" didn't really do all that much for them on the PS4 in terms of software sales or critical reception, it's probably unlikely that it'll be as heavy a focus as it was last year.

    What about the PS Vita?!!?!

    I'd love to make a prediction about the PS Vita that shone it in a good light - but there's just no indication right now that the software is going to be there to do that. The system is actually doing a lot better these days, thanks in large part to the fact it compliments the PS4 extremely well as a method of playing your PS4 games away from the TV, but the upcoming software currently slated for it is the now-usual fare of Indie games and ports. Rockstar could upset that by announcing a follow up to the PSP 'Stories' games on the console, but given that the overwhelming trend for exclusive Vita games is an inevitable 'HD update' on platforms where it'll sell better, it seems like it might be more logical to skip that expensive stage altogether...

    Overall, I predict that Sony will struggle to bring much to discuss to the table in terms of games. Project Morpheus support could end up being the biggest upset they bring for the night - especially as Microsoft just don't have any answer to it yet. There's a lot of work to do to follow up last year's explosive conference, though, and I'd think there's just not enough ammo in their reserves to manage it this time.
  3. Doctor Oak
    E3 2014 Predictions Microsoft

    This past year has literally been all change for Microsoft. Following some stinking bad press after last year's show, Microsoft had a few hard months ahead of it, eventually resulting in a step-back from the majority of its policies for the machine it had announced at E3 - culminating in the recent withdrawal of Kinect as a mandatory part of purchasing the console. The head of the Xbox division stepped down pretty quickly after the E3 debacle, and the company as a whole elected a new CEO - one who was faced with almost immediate calls to spin the Xbox division off and sell it to the highest bidder.

    This year's E3, really, is about setting the message straight for Xbox. Gamers were dismayed when the system was originally revealed because so much of the night was dedicated to highlighting its non-gaming features. It was a stupid, petty reason to get uppity about a games console (did they think it WASN'T going to play games?), but it highlighted the central issue the Xbox One has faced since that day - Microsoft had no idea how to communicate to the audience they were talking to (it's unlikely that people looking for a media centre box were streaming that event, after all...). Phil Spencer, however, does. Since taking over the lead of the Xbox division, he's communicated directly with gamers about many things that matter to them about the Xbox. He's also made the statement that this year's E3 is all about games, games, games.

    In fact, so loaded is their E3 conference, Microsoft claim, that they've spent the best part of the past few weeks spilling out plenty of E3-standard reveals well in advance. From dropping Kinect and competing penny-for-penny with the PS4, to detailing the upcoming Sunset Overdrive and revealing Halo 5 (the latter of which will not be heavily featured at E3 as it won't be out until late next year). They've even detailed what apps will be coming to the console over the next year, including Twitter integration. They spent about 20 minutes on stage going on about that when they revealed it for the 360...

    Microsoft promise plenty of new exclusive titles to be announced at the show, as well as new multi-platform titles shown first on Xbox. Like Sony, however, there's a fair amount of what's going to be on show that will be at least a year off. Quantum Break was recently confirmed to have moved into 2015 - and is teasing more reveals at Gamescom in August rather than E3, so may not even be more than part of a general sizzle reel - Halo 5 was announced for 2015 and Black Tusk's Gears of War revival has only been in development for a few months and is unlikely to be present in any form other than a pre-rendered trailer.

    What we can expect, however, is a shitton of Halo to go along with the wait for Halo 5. Along with a new 'digital feature' being filmed right now in Belfast of all places, there's pretty certainly a Halo game (or more) coming this year to fill the gap on Xbox One. Originally starting out as a pretty solid report that Halo 2 was being remade for its anniversary this year, as Combat Evolved was for its on the 360, that has snowballed into a number of reports indicating that there'll in fact be a re-release of all 4 main series Halo games on the Xbox One this year. It's pretty certain that we will be getting some updated Halo action on the Xbone this year one way or another, but we'll have to wait until Monday to see just what that'll entail for sure.

    There's a possibility of a new Conker game, following up the foul-mouthed rodent's adventures way back on the N64. After Microsoft renewed the domain name and Phil Spencer took the time to compliment a Twitter commenter on their Conker avatar, tongues were set wagging all over the internet. It's probably reading a lot into nothing, but there's definitely a kernel of reality here. Last year's Killer Instinct revival was a strong and effective use of the IP that Microsoft has owned for some time through RARE - and there's a lot of affection for those IPs waiting to be tapped back into with some quality titles. RARE itself is effectively a completely different studio with only the name having hung around since their Nintendo days, but as demonstrated by Killer Instinct, those IPs can be taken up by any other capable studio. RARE themselves, meanwhile, may be looking ahead to a new Viva Pinata project now that they have wrapped up Kinect Sports - but if that's the case, don't be expecting a lot from this year's E3 as they'll be no further into development with that than Black Tusk is with Gears.

    Lionhead, post Peter Molyneux, will be detailing their upcoming Fable Legends online multiplayer game - presumably with the first in-game footage of it in action. Hopefully it's enough to revitalise the franchise after a number of lacklustre performances since the Xbox original.

    The other Microsoft franchise we may well hear from at the show is Crackdown 3. After teasing the game way back in the initial Xbox One reveal last year by having a tile for it on a dummy home screen, Microsoft came clean with the news that there was no active development on the game yet - and that they hadn't even determined a studio to work on it now that Realtime Worlds is no more (though Spencer is keen to keep the series developed within the UK - perhaps even taking advantage of the recently cleared tax breaks for passing certain cultural criteria). There's absolutely no way that this game could possibly be any sooner than late next year, or even later still, but announcing its active development would be a big step for Microsoft that could only score them points.

    Of the other publishers, you can expect plenty of Activision's Call of Duty to be played for the first time on stage (again) - though Sony will be competing head to head with some live Battlefield Hardline demoing later on, and a healthy amount of love from EA and EA Sports. I'm unsure as to whether Microsoft will really be showing off any of EA's key new titles from their own conference beforehand - but you can expect plenty of Xbox One timed exclusives and extra DLC one way or another.

    Something Microsoft will be acutely aware of is their impending Japanese Xbox One release later in the year. They will be attending the Tokyo Game Show just beforehand, but it certainly wouldn't hurt for there to be something for that audience at E3 - especially since the same games will get a decent reception back home as well. Microsoft's tactics with this last time revolved heavily around JRPGs and Hideo Kojima. I'd consider it likely we'll actually get a decent dose of both - with the new Metal Gear game on the way, Microsoft are going to want to make the Xbox One the system of choice for it one way or another. We already know that Final Fantasy XV won't be at the show, but that doesn't stop Square Enix from bringing other titles to the Xbox One, or from follow ups to the Xbox 360's attempts at sparking some JRPG life into its market such as Mistwalker's Blue Dragon or Lost Odyssey games. All of these are traditionally Sony's home turf, especially in Japan and it's really up to Microsoft to chase this hard if they want to ever find an inroad into the market there. A new and exclusive iDOLM@STER game probably wouldn't hurt them in Japan, either....

    Rockstar have been appreciative of Microsoft's large wallet in the past, and it's hard to deny the positive effect for the show if they pull off a stunt with them again (though I doubt anyone will be getting tattoos for it this time), but short of bringing Agent back from the dead on Xbox One, I'm not sure there's a lot that can be brought to the table from Rockstar that'd be mic-dropping level. Even showing off an updated GTA V would be somewhat limited by the game being three quarters of a year old and in no way console exclusive.

    What could be interesting from Microsoft is if we see more than just Xbox on show at the event. Spencer has also made a point recently of recommitting the company to PC gaming - despite the recent purge of Games For Windows Live. This is unlikely to be in the form of yet another client - or even the holy grail of cross-platform cross-play, but might we see the return of Age of Empires at the show? A new game in the series is rumoured to be in development, and it'd be something of a coup for Microsoft to include such a high profile play for the PC market in their show (afterall, none of the other big 3 will be). It's possibly a long-run, but if we were ever going to see any PC focus from Microsoft at E3, it'd be with this game and this year.

    Outside of games, Microsoft will have a lot of information about the Xbox One's media centre side, despite it being something of a PR poisoned chalice at the moment. So long as it's balanced out by a lot more gaming content, though, I think they'll have a good response. Either way, Microsoft's big entertainment content push begins this summer, with the documentary surrounding the infamous Atari ET landfill kicking things off in a series called 'Signal to Noise' following a somewhat softer launch providing interactive coverage of the Tennessee Bonnaroo music festival just after E3 between the 13th and 15th of June. Microsoft is pushing this exclusive content hard, with an Entertainment Division set up specifically to develop and produce such content. Some will be on both conventional TV, such as the collaboration with Channel 4, as well as the Xbox platform - but some of it will be completely exclusive. It's both a sign of exactly what the people pushing Microsoft to get rid of Xbox feel is the wrong path for the company and the biggest, boldest way that those in the Xbox division can justify that path if they make it a success. It actually couldn't be more crucial to the future of the Xbox itself that this endeavour succeeds - so Microsoft need to support it 110%.

    There's an outlying chance that Microsoft will combat Sony's Morpheus focus with an announcement either of their own VR headset or a collaboration with Oculus Rift. The latter is arguably the best deal for everyone involved - but the Facebook purchase may have thrown a spanner in those particular works. It'd certainly be good for both OR and Kinect, though - as the latest Oculus Rift kits require a camera for tracking your movement, and Project Morpheus requires not only the PS4 camera, but a full set of Move controllers. Having an actual gaming reason to own a Kinect, even if it requires further hardware may be the lifeline the Kinect needs once it has to go it alone next week. It is highly unlikely that Microsoft WON'T have an answer to Morpheus, but they may not feel it necessary to expend much time and energy on it this year when neither the Oculus Rift, nor Morpheus, will be strapped to any consumers' heads for some time to come.

    The key thing is that Microsoft's show should be a reversal of 'TV, TV, TV' from that fateful announcement show last year. I reckon that so long as there's enough new content on show, they'll get the sway of popular opinion. Phil Spencer is a genuine enough front-man to guarantee that if they pull it off. If they mess it up, though, they've got a lot left to lose.
  4. Doctor Oak
    E3 2014 Predictions Nintendo

    Despite not even playing by the rules for yet another E3 and going it alone in a Nintendo Direct the morning of the show floor opening up to the gathered press, it's probably safe to say that the biggest focus of this year's E3 is on Nintendo.

    Nintendo have a lot to prove this year, following a pretty horrid time both financially and in the press over the failure of the Wii U so far. The 3DS has never been doing so well - especially with yet another Pokemon title due for it this year - but that really doesn't take away the core danger that Nintendo faces from the fact that their primary home console just isn't selling.

    Mario Kart 8 is at least doing its part to turn that tide - with an impressive 1.2million copies worldwide in one weekend and a 666% uptick in Wii U sales as a direct result of its release (the numbers alone there, however, should paint a pretty sore picture of what the Wii U's normal sales were at before hand). We know that there are other titles that will sell consoles as well, but the danger is more that - once this initial sales spike has passed - that the console sales will bottom out again until the next spike. That's a pattern we realistically can't identify until next year following the release of Smash Bros later in the year, but it's a risk that will reflect Nintendo's third party offerings at this year's E3. Until the console can be demonstrated to be finding its feet and selling through in a more consistent manner, it will not get the third party support that it desperately needs to escape the position it's currently in.

    All Nintendo can do, then, is make sure that there are more reasons to buy a Wii U over this next year than Mario Kart and Smash - which is why this year's E3 is the most important they've had in a very long time. Especially when both Microsoft and Sony are likely finding themselves with a somewhat bare cupboard at the end of this year now. This is, without a question, Nintendo's last, best chance to get the Wii U off the ground.

    We already know that they'll be revealing the new Legend of Zelda title for the system, though we're also acutely aware that it won't be available this year, either. Whilst a strong demonstration of it can only help sales in the meantime, it won't have the same effect as actual software hitting the system. Hyrule Warriors, whilst it may serve as a decent stopgap for Zelda fans already owning a Wii U, is also unlikely to shift consoles in and of itself.

    One game that will bring a lot of noise to the Wii U, however, is Bayonetta 2. It was enough of a system seller that plenty of early adopters cited it as a reason for purchasing the system in the first place - but it's been frustratingly absent since. There's possibly a bit of politics to this, as Platinum's other Wii U title, The Wonderful 101, whilst fantastic, also sold about 5 copies thanks to the low user base. It's possible that Bayonetta has been deliberately held back until Mario Kart and Smash Bros led the charge in console sales so it could fare better. It's supposed to be making its way out during this year at some point, so really Nintendo needs to announce a late 2014 date for the game and give it plenty of air time. The same can really be said for Monolith Software's X - an effective follow-up to the Wii's Xenogears title. There are a lot of users hungry for that content and a 2014 release is what the Wii U really needs to get them on board and keep momentum going. We can also expect a bit more info on the Yarn Yoshi game we saw announced in a Nintendo Direct at the start of the year, which hopefully will make its way into this year's releases - though you're never going to hear realistic stories of people setting out to buy a Wii U because of it.

    One thing Nintendo has somehow managed to not capitalise on with the Wii U is its inherent ability to be a Skylanders competitor platform. It's expected that this will finally change this year, as Nintendo have promised to start utilising the NFC capabilities of the Gamepad, as well as integrating IR technology into 3DS games to take advantage of a similar tech there. The NFP (Nintendo Figure Platform) teases the idea of getting a Mario, or other Nintendo character figurine and utilising it across multiple games on both systems. It's expected that Smash Bros will be utilising this tech in some fashion, but no Skylanders killer would be complete without Pokemon...

    The Pokken Fighters trademark has been floating around from TPCI for months now, and has popped up most recently in European trademark filings, indicating that a worldwide release of something is imminent. The rumour is that rather than simply being a 3D battle sim, or even a Tekken-style fighting game as previously theorised, it would in fact be Pokemon's answer to 'the Skylanders problem'. Pokemon Rumble U first dabbled with this concept last year, but it was never very well supported, even in Japan. With Nintendo making a sincere push behind the concept with its Nintendo Figure Platform, it's reasonable to imagine that Pokemon would lead a separate charge on a more direct line.

    Either way, with Disney Infinity 2.0 coming out this year, it's clear that such products are vitally important not only for the child-friendly demographic that Nintendo are the undisputed kings of, but for tapping into the collector habit-purchase that Nintendo should already be well aware of from the success of the Pokemon TCG. Expect the NFP to be pushed hard - at least if Nintendo have any sense at all.

    It's hard to say much more for the Wii U. It's safe to say that there will not be any real third party support on show (Sonic Boom, a late Watch_Dogs and the not-next-gen Assassin's Creed don't really count for much, especially since Sonic Boom is only happening because of a deal with Sega.) There may well be some new titles announced that we won't be seeing for a while - and there's always a chance we'll finally get that Retro developed Star Fox, or a new F-Zero - but the real focus has to be on selling Wii Us this year by keeping the momentum up following Mario Kart's success. If Nintendo can't achieve that by setting out some solid dates for these titles (and more?) throughout this year, the console is unlikely to be in any better a position next E3.

    We can be pretty certain that there'll be a fair amount of 3DS love on show, though. It's pretty certain, especially given today's CoroCoro leak that there'll be a fair amount of attention paid to Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire - with some real first footage of the game. I'd suggest the likelihood is that we'll get a proper trailer of the game, followed by some in-depth footage detailing what to expect. A lot of the ground covered will have been spoiled by CoroCoro - but I wouldn't be surprised if they held some secrets back for the Direct knowing that it's unlikely CoroCoro wouldn't upstage them at some point anyway.

    With Pokemon Art Academy, the Streetpass-focussed Band of Thieves & The 1000 Pokemon and a probable reveal of whatever the Pokken trademark is in relation to, along with OR/AS, it's probably safe to say we'll see a Pokemon themed segment of the show. Ideally, for the sake of the Wii U, this needs to culminate in a big new Wii U Pokemon title to finally get people on board (Pokken?).

    There's also the recently confirmed Western rerelease of the original Phoenix Wright trilogy on the 3DS - but hopefully that'll simply be a gateway announcement to a Western release of The Great Ace Attorney - a new Ace Attorney game set in the Meiji period (1886-1912) in America Japan. The game's not due in Japan any time soon, so even if it makes it Westward at all, it won't be for a while - but it'd be satisfying to see a release confirmed at all.

    Nintendo are holding a 90 minute private press meeting for an unannounced 3DS title, which undoubtedly means a big new 3DS game is forthcoming - but it's hard to say what, given that most major franchises are now well represented on the system. There are rumours that it may involve a major new Metroid title - what would be the first since the Wii's Other M - or that it could be a major title released as part of the Nintendo Figure Platform. Either way, it's not guaranteed to be part of the Nintendo Direct show, but we'll definitely find out more by the end of Wednesday when the press meeting is over.

    Something we should definitely expect for both the 3DS and Wii U, is to find out just when we'll finally get to play the new Smash Bros. on both systems. We know from the recent Smash Bros Direct that the 3DS will come first at some point this summer - but the Wii U date is a bit more nebulous. Either way, we should definitely have answers by next week. Along with a number of new fighters, stages and features, I'd imagine.

    There's an outlandish possibility of Nintendo announcing new hardware in terms of a system that unites both their Wii U and 3DS systems into one, but while it does seem like such a consolidation of their platforms is an inevitable path, it's probably unlikely that we'll see any such movement towards it this year. Whilst a fully compatible hardware upgrade for the Wii U could be beneficial (it's helped a massive amount in their handheld spaces), the real focus should be on getting the system moving as it is. Should that fail by next year, however, I'd struggle to see many more avenues available than taking the Wii U as we know it out the back and giving it the Ol' Yeller treatment.

    There's a strong software lineup waiting to happen, though - and who knows what else Nintendo's elves have in store to make it even better - but the important thing is to get that lineup moving out the door and into people's homes. Shigeru Miyamoto once opined that "A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever", but a delayed game that no-one plays because it took so long to come out that the system itself collapsed doesn't really matter whether or not it's good or bad in the end. If Nintendo wastes the time they have now to capitalise on the best chance the Wii U has to find itself, it could be a fatal blow.
  5. Doctor Oak
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