Once more, June has arrived. Alongside it, come the hopes and expectations the gaming universe tightly couples to the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo, where a generation that has been sadly scarce of spectacular games will attempt to bounce back. With Nintendo’s yearly E3 Direct set to happen on June 16th, it is time to look into that crystal ball to see what lies up ahead. First, let’s glance towards the games that are sure to make an appearance either within the presentation itself or on the show’s floor.
With Fire Emblem Awakening, the franchise that had been a major Nintendo staple in Japan for years broke through in North America. What had been relegated to a niche market blew the locks keeping it restricted and became critically and commercially acclaimed. Fire Emblem If, therefore, arrives as the most intensely anticipated entry in the series’ history. Given its Japanese launch will occur a couple of weeks after this year’s E3, Nintendo will have a very complete version of the game to display in its booths; however, as its arrival in the American and European markets will occur next year, it is questionable the Direct presentation will put much of a focus on the title.
The greatest question surrounding Fire Emblem If, one that rises as being far more important than the eventual tweaks and improvements the installment will deliver, is the format of its commercialization. Japanese players will be able to pick between two versions containing distinct adventures, and – upon doing so – the other journey will be made available through reasonably priced DLC. That approach, though, might end up being executed differently in North America since it is doubtful that, despite its recent popularity surge, Fire Emblem will have enough force to sustain two versions stateside.
With a release that is expected to take place by September, Mario Maker will undoubtedly be one of the event’s stars. The general concept that will power the game has already been established, but – as exciting as allowing players to create their own Mario-style sidescrolling levels is – the real meat of the title is still clouded by fog. On the impending direct, then, it is natural to expect Nintendo will shed a light on the supports and infrastructure that will make that idea stand and give it enough legs to transform it from a simplified development tool to a full-fledged game.
Everything about the game remains excitingly obscure. The full power and capabilities of the creation interface is still unknown, and going full-out in that specific area will be key to the game’s success. Moreover, creating a solid online platform that is loaded with different effective ways to display the thousands of maps that will be created is an equal must, and options that allow players to grade levels and give creators their deserved feedback are absolutely necessary. Also largely awaited is the reveal of brand new art style choices (hopefully with a number of coats of paint that will be unique to Mario Maker and a collection of designs reminiscent of classic Mushroom Kingdom adventures) and a single-player mode.
Following the uninspired New Island, Yoshi is looking for rehabilitation with Wooly World, a game that looks towards the Kirby’s Epic Yarn art style and borrows it to put it to good use. Good-Feel’s solid track record in the development of sidescrollers, which aside from the aforementioned Kirby adventure also features the great Wario Land: Shake It, automatically makes Wooly World a deeply anticipated effort. The downright mesmerizing visuals that emerge from the placement of the fabric-inspired visuals on a machine that can produce high definition graphics is bound to be the cherry on top of a glorious platforming package.
After a low-key first semester whose highlight was the launch of the fun Splatoon, the Wii U walks into this year’s event as a system that desperately needs an extra push. Consequently, Yoshi’s Wooly World, much like its home console peers that are bound to show up, will receive considerable attention from the Big N both during the presentation and in the exposition pavilion. After being strangely absent from E3 2013 following its announcement early that year, the game will be back in full force as it tries to catch the eyes of the world and garner as much attention as possible before its yet-to-be-announced North American release date.
Ever since its reveal in January 2013, Xenoblade X has been moving towards its release with a speed that is worthy of its impossibly gargantuan size: slowly, but with each of its forward motions sending shock waves across the Nintendo fanbase. The exaggerated reactions, however, are more than justified. Its Wii prequel was dubbed by the media as last generation’s greatest JRPG and one of the finest efforts ever made within the genre, and Xenoblade X aims to top it with flair. The organic and technological themes of its predecessor are intact even if now they are mixed inside the same world instead of being segregated to the bodies of two opposing dead giants. With humanoids riding on top of epic mechs, Monolith Soft will hit E3 2015 looking to mesmerize.
The biggest news expected out of the Xenoblade X showing – more than epic cutscenes, flooring battle sequences, and environments that extend far beyond what the eye can see – is its release date. Since the game is already out in Japan, all that remains separating X from its finish line is the diligent and invariably incredible localization work by the team at Nintendo’s Threehouse. As what is destined to be the biggest title of the Wii U’s lifecycle in terms of sheer scope, Xenoblade X will storm E3 looking to impress and show that, in spite of its shortage of power when compared to other current generation platforms, the system is capable of housing games that match the monsters put out by Sony and Microsoft.