E3 is back on the menu and Nintendo’s involvement has been confirmed. There are endless possibilities for what Nintendo could showcase. However, expectations can be a dangerous thing and often lead to disappointment, as we saw with reactions to Nintendo’s February Direct this year. While we would love to expect updates on much-anticipated titles like Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime 4, nothing is guaranteed in this industry, especially thanks to COVID-19-related delays in game development. With that in mind, what could Nintendo’s E3 presentation look like through the eyes of some more tempered expectations and educated guesses? Here are five predictions we have for the Nintendo E3 Direct.
The Legend of Zelda
We all were excited to see Eiji Aonuma in Nintendo’s February Direct, just before he let us down gently with the confirmation that we wouldn’t be getting an update on the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. However, in that same segment, he also mentioned that Nintendo would update us on the game later this year, and an E3 showcase seems like the perfect time to do that.
A tantalizing glimpse at the game a couple years ago left us with questions about the return of a humanoid Ganon, a darker tone, and potential underground areas underneath Hyrule. Will the Breath of the Wild sequel be a darker and creative follow-up, much like how The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? In an interview with Kotaku, Eiji Aonuma mentioned that the studio had so many ideas for Breath of the Wild DLC that they just had to make a sequel instead. Nintendo clearly isn’t lacking in creativity, and that bodes well for anything it chooses to present at E3.
Beyond the Breath of the Wild sequel, 2021 is still the 35th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is coming this summer, but we are still holding out hope that Nintendo has more to announce for the big occasion. Switch remasters of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess would be ideal (and are even likely), but remakes of older titles or even a brand new 2D entry wouldn’t go amiss either.
Nintendo Switch Pro
It’s the worst-kept secret in the industry at this point, but will E3 2021 be the time to reveal it? Rumors of a so-called Switch Pro model have been circulating for years, but the recent report from Bloomberg may have been the most convincing evidence so far. According to the report, the Switch Pro will feature upgrades such as Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology to achieve 4K resolution in docked mode. A new CPU and chipset will reportedly enable this boost in performance and primarily be used to improve the graphics of new Switch titles. Reducing the bezel to increase the new OLED screen size to 7 inches would be another fantastic boon for the hypothetical mid-generation refresh.
Whilst Nintendo could choose to reveal the Switch Pro at any time it wanted, an E3 unveiling would result in the biggest reaction from fans and gaming press. We also know that Nintendo has been radio silent on both the next 3D Super Mario installment and the sequel to Breath of the Wild. That could be chalked up to understandable COVID-19-related delays, but is there a chance that Nintendo has been waiting to release at least the Breath of the Wild sequel alongside the Switch Pro as an early system seller? Only one month remains until we might find out for sure.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character reveal
Out of all the potential hopes and expectations for Nintendo’s E3 showcase, this one feels like a sure bet. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate only has two characters left to be revealed in Fighters Pass Vol. 2. Considering that the entire season pass is slated to be complete by December of this year, it stands to reason that Nintendo needs to reveal the next character soon.
Looking back at the response to revealing two characters at E3 2019, I’m certain that Nintendo will want to have a similar impact with a new character reveal this E3. We’ve all speculated to death about who the next characters for the game could be, and it’s hard to predict any rhyme or reason to what Nintendo and Masahiro Sakurai choose. Will the game finally feature Dante from the Devil May Cry series and let players create their dream matchup of Dante vs. Bayonetta? Perhaps Crash Bandicoot or Rayman could join and give the game a comprehensive roster of platforming mascots. Personally, I’m hoping for Master Chief to finish the fight, but knowing Nintendo, it could also be a choice completely out of left field.
An update to Nintendo Switch Online
The Nintendo Switch Online service is underwhelming, to say the least. Although the selection of NES and SNES games is appreciated, these catalogs are rarely updated with anything substantial, and it feels like the service doesn’t hold up when compared to the online offerings of its competitors. Could Nintendo add something new to its online suite to compensate?
After adding the NES and SNES online libraries, the next logical step would be Nintendo 64 games, even though there’s no evidence as of yet that will happen. Having instant access to N64 classics like Ocarina of Time, 1080 Snowboarding, and Paper Mario could add some much-needed value to Nintendo’s online offering. With features like save states and rewinds, these games could feel like meaningfully fresh experiences.
Meanwhile, Tetris 99 and Pac-Man 99 have proven to be addictive fun and unexpected twists on the battle royale formula. Would Nintendo be ready to surprise audiences with the next addition to this unconventional battle royale series it has going? Leakers believe more “99” content is on the way, and I wouldn’t say no to ideas like a Cooking Mama 99, Galaga 99, or even an Ice Climbers 99.
A surprise no one sees coming
Nintendo loves surprises. We all do really. It’s why the “one more thing” is one of the best moments of any given Nintendo Direct. By the same token, indie games and other surprises that are revealed and released on the same day can be great fun for fans watching a Direct. Could Nintendo have a gem in its pocket to drop on us during the day of its E3 presentation? Fans asking for a translated version of Mother 3 has become a meme at this point, but what if Nintendo actually shadow-dropped it during its Direct?
Nintendo has been on a consistent run of Mario-themed sports games in the last few years. Could that mean an unexpected return for Mario Strikers? More notably, a recent rumor suggested that an internal Nintendo team is working on the next Donkey Kong title.
And many of us are tired of waiting for it, but could Hollow Knight: Silksong finally take center stage? Gameplay for Silksong was shown at Nintendo’s 2019 E3 presentation, and Edge recently featured the game along with some new details. If Silksong were to be shown and given a release date, let alone be released on the same day (granted, unlikely), I cannot imagine the reaction it would receive. Part of the fun and frustration of being a Nintendo fan is being hopelessly unable to predict its next move. Hopefully, Nintendo’s E3 Direct will have some pleasant surprises in store for us.
What predictions do you have for the Nintendo E3 presentation?