Monday, June 1, 2009

Nintendo's E3 2009 press conference: Predictions

The time has finally arrived; Time for some predictions! I honestly found it hard to wait so long.

It's that time once again... Time for rampant speculation and oodles of predictions! Yes sir, it's round three of my annual list of Nintendo E3 predictions, and here are this year's group, starting with the most-likely. Read on, and hope that some of the better ones wind up becoming reality!

Mario Wii 2 and Wii Fit Plus: On the weekend, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei let slip word of a new Mario game for Wii, and an enhanced version of Wii Fit they called "Wii Fit Plus", both due to hit this year. These games are going to come out, and they're going to come out soon. Thus, they'll also have to be announced soon. Waiting until Nintendo's Fall conference will be too late, so I'm betting they'll pull back the curtains on both of these tomorrow.

Sales talk, sales talk, sales talk...: Nintendo's currently this generation's #1 company, so of course they're going to brag about this after being last place the previous two generations. This may be the third E3 since overtaking the competition, but I wouldn't put it past them to shove Reggie on stage with a teleprompter full of numbers.

Pikmin 3: After Shigeru Miyamoto said last year that Pikmin 3 is in production, I'm all but certain we'll be seeing it in some form tomorrow. Whether it be a teaser trailer or even just a logo once more confirming its existance, Pikmin 3 will almost certainly be showing up tomorrow, or at least behind doors during the rest of E3 (Hey, it worked for Brawl!).

Wii MotionPlus showcase: Red Steel 2 and Wii Sports: Resort are going to be huge titles, and undoubtedly will be the two biggest MotionPlus-enabled games. It would be foolish for Nintendo not to show them off tomorrow, especially considering the imminence of the peripheral's release. Also, don't be surprised to see a few other games join in on the presentation. I'm sure EA will have something to contribute in their tennis game, and perhaps even more on top of that!

A new Zelda Wii: When Nintendo decided to port Twilight Princess to Wii, they were already planning the next Zelda. This was in 2006. Now we're in 2009, and the memories of Link's last console adventure are beginning to fade, and fans are clamoring for more. Miyamoto even said last year that the Zelda team was hard at work on the next Wii title. If we don't see it tomorrow, we'll almost definitely be seeing it at the Fall conference.

Some third party game will be shown off: Nintendo's been doing their best to help push third-party titles lately, so seeing them show off a game from one of the many developers working on the Wii is pretty much a sure-thing. What the game will be is a mystery, but Red Steel 2, The Conduit and Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage are all likely candidates. Maybe we'll even get to see Bethesda's secret Wii project? Only time will tell...

Next we have two predictions that are equally as likely to come true as they are likely not to. This is basically the "50/50" part of the list. If the announcements in this category happens tomorrow, I won't be any more surprised than I would be if it didn't occur at all.

A new "expanded audience" title: Nintendo just loves their expanded audience; The virtually-untapped market of soccer moms, businessmen, and all other types of people that just don't have gaming as apart of their life. Wii Sports was the first to rope them in, and the "Wii" game label has continued to do so ever since. While I'm not exactly expecting a new installment in the "Wii" series (Besides Sports: Resort, but that's already announced), something may show up. I'd probably consider this more likely, but there's also the above "basically for-sure" announcements; I'm doubting Nintendo will cram so much into their conference. But hey, you never know...

A new Star Fox or F-Zero: Star Fox and F-Zero are pretty much the only two established Nintendo franchises to not have appeared on the Wii so far. It's going to happen sometime for sure. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life. Both of these titles are just begging to take advantage of the MotionPlus, and Nintendo would be crazy to deny them the opportunity.

And now for two announcements that I consider incredibly unlikely. If either of the following wind up being announced, I'm going to be incredibly surprised.

The revealing of the Wii 2: The Wii's selling like crazy in almost every major market, over 50 million are in homes worldwide, and developers are beginning to churn out some truly amazing things for the little white box. I somehow doubt that the Wii 2 will be pulled out of any coat pockets tomorrow. Heck, Nintendo's still yet to release the Wii MotionPlus. They're not about to cannibalize sales of it by announcing a new console with the functionality built-in. It ain't happening tomorrow, folks. As for a new DS... I think I'll let my less-than-two-months-old DSi answer that question for you.

A new peripheral: Every year since the Wii launched, Nintendo has released at least one new peripheral for the console. First it was the Zapper, then the Wii Wheel and Balance Board, and this year it will be the MotionPlus. And no more. There will not be a new Wii peripheral announced tomorrow, or ever. Wii MotionPlus is the end of the plastic-paved road here, and Nintendo themselves has been quoted saying this (I can't find the link myself, but it's out there). If you're thinking we'll be seeing a new chunk of plastic to stick a Wii remote in, think again.

Am I being optimistic with all those "most-likely" predictions? Or am I actually expecting too little of tomorrow? The only ones who can answer these questions are Nintendo themselves, and that answer is... Wait a little longer.

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PS: Just to clarify, I'm not expecting ALL of the first few to predictions to come true. Just stating the likelihood. I've learned better than to keep my hopes too high...

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