Nintendo's E3 presence is always a big deal, even though the company's actual presence at the event has been diminished since 2013. On that fateful year, Nintendo decided to showcase its upcoming games via a video presentation in lieu of a traditional press event – and doing so only built up its E3 hype.
In fact, Nintendo even had a diminished video presence at E3 2016, opting to focus on its preview of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild instead. It was a good gamble, as Breath of the Wild wound up being the talk of the show.
So, what's on Nintendo's plate for E3 2017? Look forward to a return to a more "traditional" Nintendo presence at the show (for what that's worth): A Nintendo Spotlight video will stream through Nintendo's official E3 channel on June 13, 2017 at 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET. A live Nintendo Treehouse broadcast follows the Spotlight, wherein Treehouse staff will go hands-on with some of Nintendo's upcoming releases.
There are several other games we're guaranteed to see – and many we'd like to see.
What a Successful E3 for Nintendo Would Look Like
People generally like to see Nintendo goof around a bit with their presentations: E3 2014 was sandwiched between Robot Chicken sketches, and 2015 utilized actual Muppets of Shigeru Miyamoto, Reggie Fils-Aime, and Satoru Iwata to announce Star Fox Zero. Given 2016's low-key E3 presentation (not to mention the fact Nintendo is currently riding high on great Nintendo Switch sales, whereas nobody knew what to make of the company's fate at this point last year), it'd be nice to see Nintendo have a little fun again.
We already know Super Mario Odyssey is a major focal point for Nintendo's presentation this year, and any news about Mario's upcoming 3D adventure is sure to be crowd-pleasing. We've seen very little new information about Super Mario Odyssey since its January reveal; the title is still mysterious enough that it's already practically guaranteed to be one of E3 2017's biggest attention-grabbers.
That said, Nintendo will really steal the show if it combines its new Super Mario Odyssey info with some surprise reveals. Pokémon Stars was a no-show at the June 6 Pokémon Direct, but it might still take centre stage at E3. And given the enduring popularity of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, information about the upcoming story-based DLC would generate a lot of gab.
People are interested to see how third parties intend to support the Switch, too. While most of us have made peace with the fact most upcoming triple-A games won't be getting Switch ports, we're intrigued by the unique ways in which developers want to support the system – even if it's through upgraded ports of previously-released games and oddball titles that are nevertheless loveable. As it turns out, "You can play this low-tech PlayStation 4 game on your Nintendo handheld" is a compelling sales pitch.
Also, I imagine Pokémon fans want to hear more about Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Sure, neither are Pokémon Stars – but we don't know a lot about the games at this point, and Pokémon is Pokémon.
Finally: Metroid. Just say "Metroid," Nintendo. I guarantee a glowing chorus of angels will descend from Heaven and shower songs of praise upon the convention center's Nintendo booth as soon as you do so. Just don't follow up the word "Metroid" with "Federation Force 2," or else the angels will instantly twist into the Fallen and hack apart your booth with flaming swords.
The One Thing We're Hoping to See
Okay, but seriously.
We're probably not going to hear about a new entry in the mainline Zelda series for quite some time, but "smaller Zelda games are often incredible" is a scientific fact. I think I speak for most USgamer when I say I'd love to see another "upgrade" of a classic top-down Zelda game in the vein of A Link Between Worlds. How about a remake of Link's Awakening for the Switch and / or Nintendo 3DS? I'm ready. I'm so ready.
I will also accept a remake of Zelda II: Adventure of Link.
What We're Expecting
Super Mario Odyssey: Mario's upcoming 3D adventure for the Nintendo Switch is already confirmed to be front-and-center at this year's show. We should find out more about the game's setting, story, and gameplay mechanics. We might learn an exact release date, too.
Splatoon 2: With Splatoon 2 coming on July 21, we can expect an almost-complete version of the game to show up on the show floor. Don't forget about the tournament, either!
ARMS: Nintendo's unique brawling game is likewise done, and we'll be seeing the game on June 26. It'll almost certainly be on the show floor.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle: Love it or lump it, this Mario / Raving Rabbids RPG crossover for the Nintendo Switch is 99.9% likely to be a real thing. Pro level challenge: Wait for the official reveal until you decide you hate it!
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: The next installment in the excellent Xenoblade Chronicles series is supposed to come to the Switch this year, but we know very little about it. Logically, we should learn more about the game at E3. Hah! Logic.
Fire Emblem Warriors: This Musou Fire Emblem title is likewise coming to the Switch later this year, so don't be surprised to see it at E3. Actually, given how gung-ho Nintendo is about Fire Emblem these days, don't be surprised if we see an entirely new Fire Emblem game too. There's been rumors that Nintendo's planning to re-make older Fire Emblem games in the vein of Shadows of Valentia.
Indie games galore: The Nintendo Switch is turning out to be a very robust platform for indie developers, and no doubt we'll see the fruits of some of these "Nindies" [tiny shudder] at E3. Keep a special eye out for Steamworld Dig 2, Runner 3, Flipping Death, and Stardew Valley with a brand-new multiplayer option.
See you at the show!