But easily the one with the hardest road is Nintendo. The Wii U has had an incredibly rocky start, with several key titles not coming out in a timely manner, poor sales, and little to no connection to a casual audience that has probably moved on to cell phones with their fickle attention spans. I don't think they need to "win" E3, but they need to make a big splash, and remind people that they are a gaming presence to be reckoned with. Here's 8 things they can do to make that happen:
8. Ignore the 3DS: Seriously, the 3DS is fine. It's selling incredibly well, and has a slate of incredible games out just now (Luigi's Mansion is a serious dark horse GOTY contender, Fire Emblem is awesome and the best-selling title in franchise history) with some more incredible games on the way shortly (Project X Zone, Mario & Luigi : Dream Team, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokemon X/Y and oh yeah FREAKING LINK TO THE PAST II!!!). You can have it on the show floor, you can have some closed door conference about it, maybe briefly mention it, but it doesn't need any help here. The Wii U really needs to be Nintendo's focus here for the full conference, they got the 3DS to a good place after a similarly rocky start with a lot of hard work, they need to show they are doing the same for the Wii U.
7. Show a commitment to the Virtual Console/Eshop: Seriously guys, this isn't that hard. Nintendo has a vintage catalog like no other gaming company and is no stranger to publishing and promoting quirky indie fare, yet the virtual console/eshop on the Wii was a complete bust and the 3DS version isn't doing so hot either. Yes getting Earthbound at some point will be nice, but there is plenty of other stuff that Nintendo could release and never has. Indie darlings abound on the 360 and especially the PS3 but are barely existent for Nintendo consoles. This is not a hard thing to fix. You had a pretty solid start with stuff like Trine 2 & Little Inferno, but it's pretty much sputtered since then with little to no explanation. A lot of the best indie games are inspired by Nintendo's early days and would feel right at home on the Wii U.Showing off a slate off quirky download only titiles would show that Nintendo is actually pretty serious about the digital future.
6. Show some new IP: Yeah we all love the old Nintendo titles, and they manage to mostly keep them fresh with lots of new ideas for each major entry. I'm excited about the new Zelda & Mario games that will reportedly be at E3 along with the new Smash Bros. But where's some new ideas in a fresh setting with new characters I've never seen before? The only new franchise I can really think of is Wonderful 101, which looks great, but is also very reminscent of Pikmin. Now, Miyamoto has claimed new IP really spring from new gameplay ideas, which is partially true, but what helps sell those ideas is new places and fresh faces. Wonderful 101 is actually a great example here-It admittedly looks a lot like Pikmin 3, but because Wonderful 101 is something new it holds a lot more appeal to me personally. Sony to their credit has tried a lot of new stuff this generation. It hasn't all panned out, but we've gotten some real gems as well, the Uncharted series key among them. Nintendo needs to show something new along with their venerable franchises.
5. Bring back asymmetrical gameplay: Yeah, remember that big buzzword? The thing the Wii U gamepad was for besides playing without a TV? It was in Nintendoland, which admittedly was a slightly mediocre showing of the technology, but that was more to show possibilities. Since then, nothing. This feature is something no other console is going to offer and Nintendo needs to make that readily apparent. There are a lot of cool possible implementations, not the least of which is shown in the above comic. Nintendo has a really terrible history of putting out some pretty incredible technology and then virtually ignoring it. They can't do that here. Sony & Microsoft are going to be much prettier looking with their more powerful hardware, but odds are most games are going to be iterations of stuff we've seen before. A lot (see Killzone 4). This is Nintendo's real chance to show that they have gameplay experiences that literally cannot be duplicated on other consoles now matter how shiny they are.
4. Show value: I don't necessarily mean a price drop, though that's certainly on the table. The biggest question mark about Sony & Microsoft is pricing. $500 wouldn't be out of the question and leave some breathing room. But $400 isn't either and suddenly Nintendo's system isn't looking too favorable at $350 (especially if Microsoft's rumored subscription model is true). Get some more varied pack-ins, maybe have a digital bundle included for download. A bunch of strong games to choose from also show value as well.
3. Show that 3rd party isn't everything: Here's something Nintendo is already doing that I'm not really seeing Sony or Microsoft do in their recent history or look to be doing in the near future: A lot of exclusives. Aside from the venerable Nintendo franchises you've got a lot of follow ups and new entries we aren't seeing anywhere else. Lego City Undercover is arguably the the best Lego title to date and it's only on Wii U. Monster Hunter 3 is an experience you only get with Nintendo. Want the hot follow-up to Bayonetta? Better get a Wii U. Nintendo has a lot of cash and muscle to use in the gaming world and if they want the Wii U to make an impact, they should get some incredibly solid exclusive titles to show off at E3 that make the system a must buy.
2. But still show that they have 3rd party support: No console is an island. Nintendo is just one company, and while it does have a couple major supporters (mainly Ubisoft), it needs 3rd party support to avoid the massive software droughts that have constantly plagued it's previous platforms and is already plaguing the Wii U even at this early stage. I'm pretty sure everyone getting a Wii U knows you probably won't be getting most next-gen 3rd party titles on it, Sony & Microsoft's systems will just have too much of a graphical edge. But that's not what I'm talking about. 3rd party support doesn't necessarily mean getting GTA V (though that would be a great thing for them) it does mean getting major companies to regularly release quality games for your system. If they can show a good mix of quality first and third-party titles are coming, I don't think people will care so much that they aren't getting the next Call of Duty title.
1. Surprise us: The one thing E3 has lacked for years is surprise. We know most of the stuff before it's going to happen. The worst offender is Microsoft, but Nintendo's last few showings haven't been too stellar either. It can be a huge price cut, a game no one some coming that looks amazing, an exclusive deal for a major franchise. Something to make our jaws drop and say we must buy a Wii U. Nintendo has the ability to make it happen, possibly moreso than any other company at E3. So please Nintendo, really give us something to talk about.
That's all for today. I'm re-evaluating my "things" of the week, but I'll probably do something soon. Expect another post up most likely Thursday with Injustice & Star Trek impressions among a few other things.