The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is the biggest yearly event in the video game industry, bar none. It’s when all the major game makers take the stage to show off the most exciting games in their lineup for the coming months and years. Everyone who’s anyone in the video game industry will be there.
This year’s E3 presentations take place June 14 – 18, during which time we’ll see a torrent of news coming from the likes of Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Bethesda, Square Enix, and more.
But Nintendo is hardly a company to follow in the footsteps of others. Instead of giving a traditional press conference, the company will host its third annual “Nintendo Digital Event” — a pre-recorded presentation fans can watch online.
Nintendo is in a strange spot this year. Wii U sales have been sluggish for years, but Nintendo isn’t ready to set it aside just yet. A slate of great-looking games is heading our way before Nintendo shifts focus to its next console, dubbed NX, about which we’ll hear more next year.
In the meantime, we hope to get a good look at the following upcoming titles during E3.
1. Zelda Wii U
Nintendo has already said this game wasn’t going to come out in 2015, as it had originally planned. That’s not surprising, based on how little of the game we’ve seen so far. Basically all Nintendo has shown has been a few glimpses of the open world (which does look gorgeous).
At E3 this year, we’d love to get a look at some of the game’s dungeons and more of the enemies. Maybe some puzzles and bosses if Nintendo is feeling generous. We’d also like a more specific release window. This could end up being one of the Wii U’s last major titles, so we’ll take all the information we can get.
2. Mario Maker
If you’re a fan of side-scrolling Mario games (and who isn’t?), Mario Maker will be like the gift that keeps on giving. That’s because it will offer an online platform for creating, uploading, downloading, and playing user-made levels.
In fact, that’s the whole premise of the game. It gives you tools to craft whatever kind of levels you can dream up, and lets you upload them so other players can try them out. You can even change the art style on the fly to make it look like four different Mario games: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros.
Based on how well Nintendo’s 2D Mario games sell, Mario Maker ought to be a big hit when it launches later this year.
3. Yoshi’s Wooly World
The fabric-based art style of this game makes it look like the levels are literally sewn together. That means you can expect to have Yoshi pull zippers to reveal secret areas and unspool coils of yarn to navigate treacherous paths.
The game is being developed by the makers of the similarly stylized Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which is known for its boundless creativity and its very low difficulty level. It’ll be interesting to see if this new game follows the same path. Perhaps Nintendo will give more details at E3.
4. Star Fox for Wii U
A new installment of Star Fox in high-definition is something fans of the series have wanted for years. We don’t know much about this game yet, but as long as it lets you barrel roll through treacherous interstellar environments and shoot down enemy ships with a team of animal pilots, we’re on board. Since Nintendo still says it’s on pace to release this year, you can expect to get a good look at it during E3.
5. Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem
This unlikely crossover is composed of two game franchises that are big in Japan, and have gradually been gaining mindshare in the U.S. over the past few years.
Shin Megami Tensei is a series of role-playing games centered around going out to battle and collect demons — think of it like a mature version of Pokémon. Fire Emblem is a series of turn-based strategy games that pit small armies against each other on grid-based playing fields.
The weird thing is that the trailer above looks nothing like either game. Whatever the game ends up being like, we’re hoping to find out more in June.
6. Xenoblade Chronicles X
The Wii role-playing game Xenoblade Chronicles was one of the best RPGs of the last console generation. This is a spiritual successor to that game that features many of the same elements that made the original such a blast.
The plot kicks off as an alien war in 2054 makes Earth unlivable, the surviving humans strike out among the stars to settle on a planet called Mira. The only problem is that the aliens are hot on their tail. RPG fans will definitely want to keep an eye on this one as Nintendo (hopefully) unveils more information at E3.
7. Yo-Kai Watch
As the saying goes, Yo-Kai Watch is big in Japan. Actually, it’s huge. This 3DS game series came on the scene in 2013, but it has already spawned an anime cartoon and countless licensed toys and products that you can find in just about any store in Japan.
Like Pokémon, Yo-Kai Watch puts you in a modern-day setting and has you collect creatures you can summon to fight against other creatures you encounter. Called “yokai,” these collectibles are basically ghosts that you can trap as you play. Will this game sweep the West as it did the East? It just might. And there’s no better event for Nintendo to show more about it than E3.
See our predictions for Sony and the PlayStation 4 at E3 here. If you’re curious about Microsoft and the Xbox One, check here. For our E3 predictions for Ubisoft, EA, Square Enix, and more, follow the link.