Nintendo Direct 2016: What to Expect From Today’s Big Event
Nintendo’s got another “Nintendo Direct” presentation lined up for 2 p.m. Pacific today, making announcements about games that will arrive on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS platforms through this summer. It’s possible, although not 100 percent certain, that it could announce some brand new games today. Here’s what we can expect to be featured, from the dead certs to the far-out rumors.
All But Certain
Wii U: Star Fox Zero, the latest entry in Nintendo’s anthropomorphic outer-space dogfight series, arrives on Wii U on April 22, so it’s quite likely that the company will take up a good portion of the Direct extolling its virtues one last time before launch. Ditto Pokken Tournament, a Pokemon fighting game arriving March 18.
3DS: With the Zelda action game Hyrule Warriors Legends coming to 3DS on March 25, I’d expect one final infodump about that. Square Enix portable RPGs to be published by Nintendo in the spring and summer include Bravely Second and Dragon Quest VII, so expect updates on those as well.
No NX, no mobile: Sorry if you were hoping today would be the day for information about Nintendo’s new NX game console or its upcoming smartphone games—while it’s given us no clues as to what will be in the presentation, Nintendo has said in no uncertain terms that NX and mobile will not be featured.
Wii U: Nintendo hasn’t talked much about Genei Ibun Roku #FE—that’s the RPG born of the unholy alliance of the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem series—outside Japan, where it was released at the tail end of 2015. If it doesn’t show up at all in this week’s Direct, that would be an indication that it won’t be available until after summer’s end. Bandai Namco released a free-to-play multiplayer game called Lost Reavers on Wii U late last year as well, which hasn’t had a U.S. announcement yet.
Other than that, there’s… just not a whole lot more Wii U software that could be talked about. The new Zelda‘s probably coming in the holiday, not the summer, so Nintendo wouldn’t talk about it today. I suppose there might be some time devoted to Mario & Sonic at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, which would be a good time to go to the bathroom.
3DS: There’s a lot of 3DS software that’s already been released in Japan that Nintendo could conceivably announce for an American release today. I’m thinking primarily of Rhythm Heaven The Best Plus, a collection of the best musical minigames (plus new ones) from the acclaimed rhythm-game series. But there’s also a sequel to the downloadable game BoxBoy! that’s out in Japan, as well as a crime-solving Pokemon spinoff called Great Detective Pikachu. Nintendo announced Metroid Prime: Federation Force at E3 last year, and hasn’t said a word about it since.
Shots in the Dark
Wii U: There were two big Wii U rumors going around a while back: One is that a new game in the Paper Mario series might be in the works for Wii U this year. Another is that Mother 3, the sequel to the cult favorite RPG EarthBound, might finally come to the U.S. via the Wii U’s Virtual Console service. (I caution that there’s no actual evidence for either of these.)
3DS: The Great Ace Attorney, the latest in Capcom’s defense-lawyer game series, has been out in Japan since July. While it might be destined to remain locked in Japan forever, it would be a good candidate to release on the 3DS this summer if Capcom wills it to be so. If this happens, it’s likely that, like Ace Attorney 5, the game might be download-only in the U.S. even though it was released on cartridge in Japan.
There was also a purported leak of Nintendo’s 3DS lineup recently, although any unannounced game was referred to by a codename. A few days later, though, Nintendo revealed Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon for the 3DS, and some of the filenames for the images of the game used the codename referenced in this leak. But even if that means the rest of it is true, there’s no way to tell what games the list refers to.
If Nintendo’s NX really is coming out this holiday season, then this could be the last big year for Wii U, 3DS, or both. More to the point, if Nintendo’s going to reveal NX at E3 in June, then it probably won’t have very much attention on its older game hardware at the big show, meaning that if it’s got any bullets left in the chamber for Wii U and/or 3DS, today would be the time to go guns blazing.