Nintendo is arguably the world's most prolific game creator; capable of churning out hit after hit and focusing their efforts on a lineup of exclusive series that are known the world over. Despite these efforts, however, Nintendo has been in dire straits as of late. The Wii U's lackluster sales have been the subject of much scorn from investors, speculators and critics alike, leading some to call for current company president Satoru Iwata's resignation.
If Nintendo has proven one thing however, it's that they can turn a poor launch into a worldwide phenomenon, as they have with the 3DS. This isn't a Summer of trials just for Iwata, but for Nintendo as a whole. What can they do to turn the tides at this E3? We at TAY have some ideas.
Quick question, when was the last time you heard anything about Yarn Yoshi? Or Project X by Monolith Soft? Even Bayonetta 2, a game that's been in development for almost two years has gone quiet since February... and wait does anyone remember the Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem game being produced by Intelligent Systems and Atlus?
In typical Nintendo fashion, they rarely release information about their games while they're being developed, but results have shown that whenever Nintendo talks about an upcoming game the world always listens. Supporters or haters will always have a say, just look at the following Masahiro Sakurai's daily developer column has gained. As a result the game has remained on everyone's radar, unlike some of the aforementioned games. Heck, even I forgot that there was a SMT X FE game in the works. I'm not saying that each game should have a daily column, those take a lot of dedication, but at least once a month we should see a developer diary to remind people of the project's existence.
Just look how Hyrule Warriors went from a being a Dynasty Warriors clone to becoming a beacon in the Wii U's 2014 list of upcoming games. Hopefully we'll hear more about this quintet of Wii U games, and even get a release date for what could be a major factor in turning the tide for Nintendo's struggling home console.
No single company in the history of gaming can claim the rights to as many well known characters as Nintendo. The Big N has been producing star-studded adventures and cult hits for decades. The sad part is that many of these well-known characters don't often get a chance to shine outside of Smash Bros. cameos or WarioWare mini-games. If Nintendo really wants to catch the public off guard and reel in some long-lost fans they need to produce some new titles featuring classic heroes.
While Mario and Link have been going strong since the 1980's there are plenty of series that deserve another shot at the spotlight. My pick? Star Fox. The famous flying ace managed to get a solid entry on the 3DS with an updated version of Star Fox 64, but it's time for a completely new arwing adventure. We already know that space shooters look stunning in 3D, and I'm sure Nintendo could find some fantastic way to incorporate the Wii U's added screen if the occasion arose.
Aside from Star Fox it would be nice to see F-Zero or Earthbound officially back in action.
To date, Nintendo has released 86 titles on the Wii U's Virtual Console; just over 20% of the 402 available on Wii. The Virtual Console is Nintendo's strongest exclusive, but there's no point in staggering releases of 20-year-old games. DS games are a great start, but Nintendo needs to re-add third-party consoles like the Sega Master System, Turbografx 16 and Genesis to the mix, and that's to say nothing of the arcade titles that are also missing in action.
Besides the titles that are currently available on the Wii, Nintendo should be working on deals to bring even more content to the Virtual Console. It's easy money for gamers looking for a retro fix. A bigger, badder virtual console for Wii U would be amazing, perhaps adding Gamecube and Dreamcast support.
Nintendo has always been the go-to company for retro gaming, given their amazing back catalog of titles. Wii U owners would likely snap up these titles during the sadly frequent droughts the console has been experiencing.
Wait, didn't you just say Nintendo needed to bring back a classic franchise? Yes. Yes I did. But Nintendo needs to cover all their bases in this world of overly-whiny gamers. It's no secret that Nintendo sticks pretty close to its guns. You know, Mario, Pokèmon, the occasional Kirby. They don't usually stray too far from safety. In my opinion, it's been far too long since their last prominent new series. As much as I love Rhythm Heaven and Rusty's Real Deal Baseball they aren't going to sway the core Nintendo gamers and keep them at bay.
What Nintendo needs is something completely new. Fresh! Hot out of the oven! A new character to keep everyone guessing, a new way to play that only Nintendo could ever imagine, a game that's so unexpected that the power of our collective jaws hitting the floor will cause devastating activity on the Richter scale. If there's anything the Wii U needs right now it's a game that utilizes the gamepad in a meaningful way. What better way to prove that Nintendo's newest console is still relevant than by releasing a game tailored to the systems main feature?
There's a reason Nintendo has shown off tech demos for most of their modern consoles; it's a system seller, and Nintendo has no better system seller in their arsenal than Zelda. With nearly 18 months of silence since Wii U's launch, and two-and-a-half years since Skyward Sword's release gone by, the time is right for Nintendo to remind their fans what it is they've been waiting for.
Zelda hasn't been just a showcase for what Nintendo hardware can do in the technical sense. Much like his older cousin Mario, Link's outings often serve as a way to highlight unique features of Nintendo's hardware, from the touchscreen-only Phantom Hourglass, to the somewhat controversial use of Wii MotionPlus in Skyward Sword. It's doubtless Nintendo will use its next iteration of Zelda to highlight the Wii U's unique features in a way that makes sense, something the console is sorely lacking right now.
If Nintendo wants to rekindle excitement for the little gamepad that could, they need to show Link's latest in some form at E3, be that in teaser, trailer or gameplay.
Nintendo may have fallen out of favor with almost every major publishing company here in America, but their influence back in Japan is still palpable. In order to bring back confidence to the developers and publishers alike, Nintendo must prove the Wii U is not a flop, and they should use that influence in the land of the rising sun to their favor.
But first we should look back to the story of the 3DS and analyze what Nintendo could do to save the Wii U. In 2011 the "overpriced" 3DS was released, Nintendo was expecting a successful launch, yet the portable was accused of being a gimmick, many in the industry wondered if the success of the DS went to Nintendo's head. The Kyoto-based company admitted their mistake and after a price drop and a couple of major releases, they were able to turn their fortunes. The Wii U already saw a price cut, unlike the portable they have failed to capture the attention of any major developers, yet.
This is where I believe Nintendo should exploit their huge influence back home and persuade the major houses to produce games for the Wii U. Get back Square Enix, keep working with Sega, and build on the relationship Sakurai has developed with Bandai Namco. It's important that Nintendo work in tandem with the developers to get the best out of the system, helping them through the arduous process of developing for a Nintendo console.
Just imagine the consequences of Square Enix producing anotherBravely Default-esque success, but this time for the Wii U, or what about getting Capcom to release the canned Megaman Legends 3, a new F-Zero produced by the same team that brought us F-Zero GX for the GameCube... the list could go on and on, we just have to hope Nintendo manages to gain the support, in the same vein they did with Platinum Games and Bayonetta 2, and get the ball rolling until the Wii U comes out victorious.
If there's just one thing to take away from all of Nintendo's years in the gaming industry, it's to never count them out. The legendary minds in Kyoto are responsible some of gaming's greatest moments in history, and even after nearly 30 years are still capable of surprising us.
While none of us are sure what this year's E3 holds for Nintendo or anyone else for that matter, one thing is clear— for The Big N, the stakes have never been higher.
Fan Favorite and New Franchise sections written by GiantBoyDetective. Previously Announced and Take Back Japan sections written by Nach. Virtual Console and Zelda sections written by Steve Bowling.
What do YOU hope to see from Nintendo this year at E3? Can the Wii U be saved? Let us know in the comments below.