Nintendo absolutely crushed it at E3 2017, announcing multiple big-name games for the Switch and even giving the 3DS plenty of love. For this year’s event, Nintendo will once again forgo the traditional press conference in favor of a prerecorded video presentation focused on the Switch. It will be tough to top last year’s spectacle, but it looks like the company will try its best. Here is what to expect from Nintendo’s E3 2018 presentation — and stick with Digital Trends for complete coverage of E3 2018.
Nintendo announced a Super Smash Bros. game for the Switch earlier this year, but the only elements it revealed in its initial teaser trailer were the inclusion of the Inklings, Mario, and the Breath of the Wild version of Link. We haven’t seen the game in action yet, and Nintendo’s presentation will be the first time we actually get to watch our favorite Nintendo — and presumably third-party — characters duke it out on the console.
We’ll likely see a few other studios’ characters make an appearance in the game, including Shovel Knight and even Ubisoft’s Rabbids, along with fighters from more recent Nintendo franchises. Along with the characters and gameplay, we will likely get the official name for the game during the presentation. We’re hoping it’s more creative than Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, though Super Smash Bros. Switch does roll off the tongue a little more easily.
Pokémon fans have been eager for a new, main entry in the series ever since the Switch was announced. Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! will answer that prayer for many, but might leave a few old-school fans scratching their heads. The series goes back to its roots in the Kanto region, making it a sort of cover of the original Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow. The turn-based combat of the handheld RPGs, however, has been replaced with the more kinetic controls of one-time AR breakout hit Pokémon Go, where you flick the Joy-Con controller to toss a Pokéball with accurate timing. Players will also be able to jump in with friends and hunt cooperatively.
Along with Let’s Go, Nintendo announced a major overhaul to the Pokémon Go Plus peripheral, the Pokéball Plus. The original was a wrist-mounted device linked to your phone that vibrates when you’re near Pokémon in Pokémon Go. The new Pokéball Plus is an actual, keychain Pokéball that lights up, vibrates, and makes sounds to reflect the Pokémon held within. Players will also be able to use the Pokéball Plus to port their Pokémon from Let’s Go into Pokémon Go, though Nintendo has not shared the particulars of how this will work. Nintendo has also announced that a more traditional Pokémon RPG is in the works, but we doubt it will make an appearance at the show.
Nintendo showed off its upcoming Yoshi game extensively at last year’s E3 event, giving us a chance to check out the game’s diorama-like environments and platforming gameplay. We know there will be interaction in the background and foreground of the levels to make use of the papercraft aesthetic, but a few details remain secret.
The first, of course, is the title. With the shift to a mostly paper world, we expect Nintendo to announce a paper- or cardboard-themed name at its presentation this year. As Yoshi isn’t the largest of Nintendo’s franchises, it’s possible Nintendo will choose to release the game during one of its slower months, such as July or August. The game is planned for a 2018 release, and we expect a final date announcement during the show.
Releasing less than two weeks after E3 2018, Mario Tennis Aces is shaping up to be one of the best Nintendo sports game in quite some time. During the presentation, we expect to get a good look at its various modes and possibly an introduction to its story mode, which is included in a Mario Tennis title for the first time since the Game Boy Advance era.
Gameplay thus far has mostly focused on direct capture footage, but Nintendo will likely show off motion control action using the Joy-Con controllers, as well. As it harks back to the early days of Wii Sports, it could give prospective players a nice dose of nostalgia.
Square Enix launches the Switch-exclusive old-school role-playing game Octopath Traveler in July, and E3 will be the last chance for Nintendo to show it off before it’s out in the wild. A demo was released several months ago that gave players a taste of a few characters’ abilities and storylines, but elements have been changed since then in response to player feedback.
We expect there to be a second demo available after the show that gives a look at different characters and the improvements that have been made, but just showing off the gorgeous Octopath Traveler visuals for a few minutes will be enough, frankly.
One of the more “mature” games to release as a Switch exclusive, PlatinumGames’ Bayonetta 3 has largely been kept a secret since it was announced late last year. We’ve seen no gameplay and have no idea where or when the action title will take place, but it’s likely we’ll see both of these grievances remedied at Nintendo’s presentation.
As Bayonetta and its sequel have already been released on the Switch, the presentation also gives Nintendo a great chance to show off the improvements that have been made. From resolution to visual effects, expect Nintendo to push Bayonetta 3 as a technical showcase for the system.
At last year’s E3 presentation, all we were given for Metroid Prime 4 was a logo and the name. The game is reportedly being developed by Bandai Namco instead of Retro Studios — more on that in the next item on our list — but we don’t know when the game is set or if it will play similarly to the first three games.
Metroid Prime 4 is likely still in the early stages of development, so we don’t expect to see any gameplay at Nintendo’s presentation. At most, we’ll get a pre-rendered trailer hinting at the story and its universe, and we won’t be surprised if the first three games are announced as remasters for the Switch to tide fans over.
Retro Studios isn’t handling the new Metroid game, but that doesn’t mean the studio isn’t tackling a Nintendo space franchise. It was reported in early May that Retro is currently working on a Star Fox racing game titled Star Fox Grand Prix, which appears to blend the series’ air-based vehicular gameplay with open-ended areas reminiscent of Diddy Kong Racing.
Thus far, we’re still skeptical, but if it’s real, there is a good chance Nintendo shows it off during the presentation. The game sounds like it will be easier to demonstrate than the Wii U’s Star Fox Zero, which used a convoluted control scheme that looked almost as bad in videos as it was in real life.
Nintendo hasn’t announced a 2D Mario platformer for the Switch yet, but it would be the perfect game to supplement Super Smash Bros. this holiday season. One New Super Mario Bros. title has released on a Nintendo system since the DS, and they typically launch early on in the console’s life span.
Given the similarities between the various New Super Mario Bros. games, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Switch’s version is an enhanced port of New Super Mario Bros. U, but we’re crossing our fingers that it is a completely original title.
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