While the jury is still out on whether the Nintendo Switch will maintain the strong sales momentum it launched with through 2017, there’s no denying how white-hot the machine is right now across all gaming demographics. New Mario and Zelda games can only carry their platform so far however; which is why the Big N is going to need to pull out all the stops at the industry’s most important presentation.
This may actually be the corporation’s biggest E3 in years, and Nintendo is banking that the console-portable hybrid may finally be the platform that has the goods to deliver on the accessibility that they’ve been so desperate to push onto gaming public -- here are ten franchises that should be included in the showcase to prove that they mean business!
21 years and seven iterations be damned because Sun/Moon is still on fire! Even after 4 months since its release, the Pokémon fever is still running high with the latest generation selling 13.03 million units and counting -- as of February of 2017. Despite Game Freak’s uncanny talent at finding even more ways to polish the tried and true monster catching formula more and more each sequel, the series has managed to struggle with a white elephant in their room full of success and money -- there’s never been a bona fide console entry to the main lineup of the franchise.
The powers behind the critter catching phenomenon have consistently maintained the view that the only way to authentically deliver the Pokémon experience is on portable hardware, because it’s a platform that can accentuate the same kind of excitement that comes with being on a journey.
It would seem that the Switch would finally be able to call the Studio out on their stance, as it’s a machine with plenty of horsepower that can actually leave the confines of a living room.
It would only make sense for Nintendo and company to green light Pokémon’s inaugural console release onto the Switch while the hype is still strong; the studio could even bring back the traditional “third version” option that’s been strangely absent the last few generations with the Sun and Moon iteration, and get even more mileage out of the Alola region.
Let’s hope so at least, because as much as I like Sun and Moon, it’s clear that the 3DS can’t do the series with the technical limitations that it has to work with -- I can’t be the only one who thinks that the 3D engine in the more recent entries are looking ugly as all.
Animal Crossing was taken to new heights when New Leaf dropped back in 2012, and can still be seen plugged into a 3DS even today (I’ve got the street passes to prove it). The thrill of visiting your friends towns, and ruling over the townsfolks with an iron grip is a rush that would fit right at home on the Switch, and there’s plenty of potential for the series to shine on the new system.
Think back to when Nintendo originally released Miitomo on the Apple and Android Marketplace: the company was able to deliver a social experience that was able to work off asymmetric interaction successfully, giving players a channel to network through personalized exchanges and questionnaires with each other.
Miitomo isn’t currently commanding screen time on smartphones the way it did when it first launched, but that doesn’t mean it was on to something. If the Big N found a way to adapt the dynamics of Miitomo within the framework of Animal Crossing onto the Switch, then I can tell you that’ll be a pretty safe bet that the property will see another commercial hit that could even surpass the impact of New Leaf.
In a lot of ways, the Switch is more than just a new system to get excited about, it’s a second chance to make up for the shortcomings of its predecessor, the Wii U. It’s the kind of sentiment that permeates hope that Nintendo will give some other IP’s a second chance as well, and while there are plenty of deserving ones, there’s a particular cult classic from the days of the Super Famicom that’s worth mentioning.
Sutte Hakkun was a puzzle-platformer that was episodically released on the Sattellaview service in the late 90’s before it ended up getting its full-fledged cartridge release on the iconic 16-bit machine in 1999. Players would take on the role of a Hakkunn, a stylized chibi take on the golden age Dipping bird toy, as he traveled to various islands solving color-based physics puzzles through series of levels that get more challenging than the last,
The concept of Sutte Hakkun isn’t too different from the modern day indie puzzle platformers that are available, but it’s certainly another chance for Nintendo to capitalize in that market off the heels of Snipperclips with a franchise that can take full advantage of the Switch’s capabilities.
Imagine a four-player cooperative take on Sutte Hakkun’s mechanics with the JoyCon controllers, assigning each player with a specific color power that only then can use, encouraging some heavy duty teamwork among everyone involved. How about, regular DLC updates containing loads of new levels much the original Satellaview version, or even better: a Sutte Hakkun Amiibo -- the amount of potential is staggering here folks.
Super Smash Bros. Melee may have introduced the West to the craze that is Fire Emblem, but there was another Strategy title that won our hearts over on the littlest widescreen that could, and that games was Advance Wars.
The IP has been quiet for nearly ten years, with absolutely no hint from Nindy on whether or not the franchise will ever make a comeback.
Advance Wars Was Intelligent Systems’ other tactical game that specialized in multiplayer combat, offering a number of ways for groups of players to interact with matches between themselves, and AI giving up to 8 people the chance engage each other at one time. Combat would range between direct engagements, to conquering territory, and undertaking reconnaissance missions, all of these done over different terrains that’re subject to numerous weather condition that can affect the tide of the battle.
All it takes is for Intelligent Systems to notice what SEGA is doing what the Valkeryia games, and apply a similar touchup to Advance Wars for the Nintendo Switch. Fingers crossed for if that does happen that the studio won’t go with Battalion Wars aesthetic from the console versions of the series, because man was that visual style just lame -- here’s to hoping that this series can make an appearance at Nintendo’s upcoming presentation!
Keeping that second chance train going, another present day trend that we haven’t seen Nintendo mess around with much is ARG features with their games; and I feel like there’s one prime candidate for them to experiment with in time for E3.
I’m talking about StarTropics, an old NES series of games that were unique in a variety of ways that were really ahead of their time. The first Nintendo IP to be developed with exclusive Western and European distribution in mind, and it pushed the boundary of puzzle design through elaborate questing and exploration, or even soaking a packed-in prop letter until it gave you the answers you needed to move past a particularly troublesome area.
Instead of it being a Zelda-lite venture, the revamped take on Mike’s quest to save his Uncle Jones can play out like a narrative Point 'n Click that can incorporate an NFC scavenger hunt that doesn’t necessarily have to Amiibo related. Nintendo has dabbled in NFC trading cards with Animal Crossing and Mario before so why not something with StarTropics, or even a special page that you can scan out of an issue of Game Informer (that one is a stretch I know but hey, it isn’t completely farfetched when you think about the company we’re talking about here.)
There’s a lot of charm still left in that Sci-fi island adventure, and I think Nintendo would be remiss to neglect the recent nostalgia that it generated for the game after it was recently bundled with 29 other games on the NES Classic that they released late last year.
I’m about to be THAT guy and just say the thing that we were all thinking the moment we saw Fast RMX on the eShop storefront; “Huh, that looks neat, but man do I wish Nintendo would just bring back F-Zero already.”
Another staple out of the Big N’s first-party offerings that’s been conspicuously missing, F-Zero’s last appearance on a screen was that of a Wii U Gamepad in form of a bogus mini-game that was available to play on NintendoLand... seriously, that was the last time any of us saw it.
Nintendo may be filling that racing gap within the Switch’s library with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sure, but the promise of an F-Zero title that’s capable of delivering even faster speeds on a system that has more processing power is an alluring draw that Nintendo would be remiss to ignore. Add on the promise of Online Multiplayer and combat modes, or a handheld mode that can shift through horizontal or vertical positions during gameplay and you’ve got yourself a modernized return to form for the futuristic racer.
Here’s an even weirder, most likely impossible thought for you: what if Nintendo announces a spin-off of the series that starred Captain Falcon in a third-person shooter? I mean, it’ll never happen, but I think when F-Zero does become relevant again, that prospect along will wash the bad taste that the NintendoLand mini-game left in my mouth.
I always found it strange that for a company that was never shy about getting weird with its games, that they dropped the plans to bring over Captain Rainbow for the Wii over to the states, on the count of it being too weird itself.
How though -- how was there a game that was just simply too bat-shit nutso-butso for Western audiences when we’ve already been treated to the likes of WarioWare, and Muscle March? Well, if you guys aren’t already familiar with the Capn’ then let me rap a little about the prism hero’s game for y’all.
In Captain Rainbow you travel to an island where you can bail Birdo out of jail, help Little Mac lose weight, and become friends with the devil -- literally all those things can be done exactly as they sound. The Action Puzzle game sadly never made it over due to translation issues, and localization obstacles, because as it turns out, a lot of Captain Rainbow’s appeal has to do with its raunchy humor, and the display of such crass could’ve endangered Nindy’s family oriented image here.
The Switch changes that paradigm though, as Nintendo has been marketing the machine to younger adults over kids since it was first unveiled, and Captain Rainbow would be right up the demographics’ alley. All it would take are some tweaks to motion control engine, an addition of a touchscreen interface for a handheld mode, and voila -- you have a potential watercooler discussion among Switch fans come E3.
Ahh Metroid, this franchise is a bit of a touchy topic considering the uproar the last entry Federation Force caused when it released last year. Leading up to that release, the intergalactic bounty hunter has had a spotty record between an absurdly limited run of releases for Prime Trilogy, and the awkward stint that was Other M, leaving all hope that a true return to form for the franchise is all but lost at this point.
But it doesn’t have to be…
Like many of the other proposed choices for Nintendo to consider on this list, the Switch might just be the franchise’s second chance to flourish onto Switch units with a sequel that can be presented in just about any adventure-oriented format. Imagine a brand new side-scrolling Metroid game, one that wouldn’t be another Metroidvania game it would be THE Metroidvania game, one that would feature the most expansive 2D Map seen in the sub-genre that would leave your head spinning faster than Breath of The Wild ever did.
Hell, we could even get another first-person sequel that’s modernized with all the present day polishes from today’s First-Person Shooter with Metroid’s sprawling level design. Dare I say it, we could even try at another 3D action take in the vein of Other M, only without all the flaws and dumb design decisions, and misogynistic undertones.
There’s a lot of gas left in Samus’s tank (I don’t really know if this counts as a pun, and I wasn’t trying to make it one so take that as you will) and Nintendo isn’t blind to the shade that they received over their treatment of the franchise thus far. There’s a future for the property and Nintendo would be smart to sow the seeds of the promise as early as they can with this year’s E3, and signs are pointing to this actually happening when you see how quick they were to shut down the fan project AM2R.
Just keep hope you guys, the last Metroid is surely not in captivity, it’ll be back.
What kind of Nintendo console would it be without an exciting new Mario game? Still, the Plumber has gone to the Islands, traveled in space, and yiffed it up to save some fairy pals from evil turtle dragon; what else could he possibly do?
Hmmm (*watches Odyssey trailer repeatedly), oh, OK, so there’s that; Mario is going to juxtapose his carton-ass self against realistically proportioned human beings, and visit Mexico during the Day of The Dead -- neat.
The reveal of Super Mario Odyssey definitely left us more questions than it did answers, but the promise of an Open-world game is an especially promising one when you factor in the incredible job that was done with Breath of the Wild. From what we can gather, Mario will have his own personal airship for travel, he’ll be able to explore a variety of environments that are inspired by real-world locations like New York, and the South American jungle. He also has a weird new sentient hat that he can use as a projectile for improvised platforming during tricky jumps, and that he’s going to crash Bowser’s wedding with Peach.
The wait for the holiday may not be that long, but that could change once Nintendo spills more of its guts on this Open-World Mario adventure at this year’s E3.
In a world with a bunch Marios, Zeldas, and Pokémon games, it's refreshing to know that Nintendo isn't afraid to treat to an entirely brand new premise game that that they have in the works; just look at Splatoon as an example.
E3 will start at June 14th this year which is just a little over a month away. The Switch's library is slowly growing, and if the big N wants to reassure us that the same issues that plagued the Wii U won't happen to this fancy new machine, they'll have to step it up, and I think they know that more than anybody else at this sensitive stage of the Switch.