E3 2011 Anticipation: Nintendo 3DS

During last year’s E3, no one could compete with this publisher. Nintendo had the attention of every gamer and technology enthusiast in the world. We were enthralled by the promise of glasses-free 3D gaming and we cared about little else.

Fast-forward to March 2011 and it’s a whole different story. The lack of quality games has kept the Nintendo 3DS from flying off store shelves. Sadly, this machine is no longer the talk of the town. At times it almost feels like an afterthought.

But that will change when Nintendo holds its E3 2011 press conference. Oh sure, the Wii 2 will steal the spotlight, but underneath the shiny Wii 2 tech demos and cool technology, there will be a series of games and announcements for a handheld system that’s already released.

E3 Predictions: Nintendo 3DS Announcements

Super Smash Bros.: The handheld fighting game that every Nintendo fan has been waiting for is just around the corner from a worldwide announcement. While it is wholly possible that Nintendo will be too busy at E3 to announce that Smash Bros. is finally coming to one of its handheld platforms, the company is known for unveiling too many or too few games at one time. If history is to repeat itself (and with Nintendo it always does), this will be one of the years when the Wii maker shines. When the announcements start coming, I expect a new Smash Bros. to be at the top of the list.

Another NEW Super Mario Bros.?: Nintendo has two goals at E3: the first is to hype Wii 2, the second is to hype Mario 3DS. However, let’s not forget that Nintendo unveiled New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Mario Galaxy 2 at the same time. Therefore, it’s not unprecedented for the company to promote more than one Mario game at a single event.

Donkey Kong Country: As the number-two 2D platformer on Wii, Donkey Kong Country is a huge franchise for Nintendo. Without much effort, Nintendo could quickly port this game to the 3DS, add some eye-popping visuals, and call it a day. However, if a DKC is indeed headed to the new handheld, I’m betting that it won’t be a remake, but instead designed as a full-fledged sequel.

Big Third-Party Announcement(s): The original DS received some of the greatest third-party games ever made. While the 3DS has been off to a slow start, E3 2011 will probably kick off with at least a few major announcements from companies like Capcom, Konami, Take-Two, Electronic Arts, and/or Activision.

What could those games be? Dead Rising or Devil May Cry from Capcom, Silent Hill from Konami, Grand Theft Auto from Take-Two, Dead Space from EA, and/or a real (read: not crappy) handheld version of Call of Duty from Activision.

F-Zero Returns: One of the great things about the 3DS is that it inspired Nintendo to reexamine old franchises–hence the revival of Pilotwings and Kid Icarus.

In terms of 3D technology, there is no better racing franchise to show off what the 3DS can do than F-Zero. It’s already a fast and attractive game. Now imagine what will happen when Nintendo applies new hardware and new 3D effects to the series. The results will be amazing.

Unless Nintendo plans to save the spotlight for Mario Kart and only Mario Kart, expect an F-Zero-related announcement to come at this year’s E3.

Pokémon Tease: Having just released a new Pokémon game, Nintendo isn’t likely to make any major announcements at E3. In fact, the company rarely uses the American game expo to hype the series. Still, I would not be surprised if Nintendo released a few screenshots or a teaser trailer to promote the series’ first 3DS installment.

However, my bet is that this won’t be a true Pokémon game. Instead, it will be another offshoot.

Fewer Remakes: During the last E3, Nintendo’s focus was on hyping the 3DS’ new technology. Games were secondary, hence the hype for remakes and no mention of the new Mario.

This time around, Nintendo will continue to promote its existing slate of remakes with new screenshots, new trailers, and playable kiosks for E3 attendees, but don’t expect the company to announce more than one new remake, if any. Also, if one is announced, don’t expect it to be as big as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.