Compared to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo remains an enigma. Just a few years ago, Castle Mario was a powerhouse of fun, getting families and friends together for some intense nights of virtual bowling. Now, the tables have turned and the once mighty Nintendo appears to be looking for an escape hatch to the burning building that is the WiiU.
General consensus around the web seems to be that Nintendo is getting ready to sunset the WiiU and kick off the reign of a brand new console that no one really knows about codenamed NX. While the extremely limited WiiU release schedule isn’t helping to put an end to those rumors, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the places that I think Nintendo should explore and also a few things that I think will happen for them this year.
Have your own thoughts and opinions on the matter? Where do you think Nintendo is going this year? Are they due to bounce back or are they destined to remain stuck in third place?
For now, here are my Nintendo predictions and hopes for 2016:
A New Metroid For The Masses
Nintendo. I’m not going to let this go until you make it happen. I will not stop.
I firmly believe Nintendo is working on some sort of Metroid game for the NX console in development. I’ve been saying this for a while, but I would absolutely love to see Nintendo return to the traditional 2D side scrolling style of the classic Metroid games with a fresh coat of paint. There’s a huge amount of opportunity in this sector and games like Shadow Complex and even Ori and the Blind Forest have perfected this formula. Hell, I’d even take a completely HD/Remastered/Definitive Edition version of Super Metroid, with updated graphics on par with games these days. Hopefully, Nintendo has something like this up their sleeves, because I firmly believe this would get the fanbase excited.
Mario Kart Evolved
It’s hard to believe that the Mario Kart franchise has already seen eight installments since debuting on the SNES back in the early 90s. I think we can all guess that a 9th version is inevitable, so instead of rehashing the past with newer graphics, the same Mario characters, and courses based on the same material, lets try something a little different shall we?
One of the best things about the stellar Mario Kart 8 came in the form of DLC. It’s here that Nintendo experimented with the traditional formula by adding non-Mario characters and stages to the game. Personally, I feel like this was a huge success and in a new game, I absolutely want them to head further in that direction. I’d love to see Mario Kart open up to other Nintendo franchises, almost like Smash Bros. Give me characters like Fox McCloud, Samas Aran, and other popular Nintendo characters alongside the staple Mario folks. How cool would it be to race through Brinstar, power slide through the Lylat System, or boost over the big tree boss in the Green Greens level from Kirby? We’ve already seen a few attempts at this in Mario Kart 8, so lets just open it up and devote a whole game to it, shall we?
The Amiibo Revolution Continues
This is kind of a two fold prediction, but considering how crazy these things are selling, I can’t see Nintendo putting the breaks on production on these figures. So with that, don’t be surprised to see even more figures come to market touching on some of Nintendo’s other franchises as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more third party characters either after the launch of Shovel Knight and upcoming releases of Cloud and Bayonetta.
The other part of this comes with the Nintendo NX, the next home console that is rumored to be arriving later this year. I’d be downright shocked if Amiibo and NFC functionality didn’t continue into this new console. With Amiibos having launched later in the WiiU life cycle and the incredible popularity they have with fans, Nintendo would be stupid to not only ignore this functionality, but to not expand upon it with NX games. I’m guessing that Nintendo has some pretty big plans for their Amiibo figures and to expand their use in future NX games.
The Legend of Zelda WiiU Is Now Multiplatform
The WiiU Zelda project has been under wraps for quite a while, as only teasers or screenshots have been shown up to this point. As most of you may remember, the game was delayed out of last year and Nintendo went as far as to announce that they would not be featuring the game at all during their E3 presser. Considering the WiiU is starving for meaningful software, why in the world would they do this?
Well, I believe that this game is no longer exclusive to WiiU. As they once did with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, I’m under the impression that this new Zelda game is going to be a dual release for the WiiU and as a launch title for the next console. It would help to not only bolster the NX launch lineup, but it would also satisfy WiiU owners who were promised this game last year. So basically, a win-win for everyone.
Nintendo NX Launch Line Up
One thing Nintendo has struggled at with their recent console releases is making sure to have compelling software at launch as well. Hell, a poor launch lineup can really hurt a console initially, just ask the Xbox One who, while faring MUCH better these days, had a launch lineup that was viewed as weak. Sure, there may be one or two standout games, but there always seems to be a shortage or delay of new games at first which hurts a the system’s momentum.
If the NX launches this year, I feel like Nintendo is going to be ready and present fans with a bunch of great options to go along with the system. Considering how sparse the WiiU lineup has been for the past year, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that behind the scenes, Nintendo was plugging away at launch software for their new system to ensure that they come out of the gate strong.
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this: Where is Mario? Where is Zelda? Where is Samus? Many of the big franchises have been missing for quite a while. The last true Mario game (Super Mario 3D World) was released a few years ago. There hasn’t been a true Metroid game since the divisive Metroid: Other M. As for Zelda, read my blurb up a couple paragraphs. I don’t know, all signs point to the NX having a great launch window.
Star Fox and the Motion Control Controversy
From what I’ve heard, the new Star Fox title cannot be played traditionally, which means the dual screens (tablet/TV) and motion controls are a necessity. I’ve also heard from multiple people that the control scheme isn’t great. Considering that people have been hoping for a new Star Fox game that uses the traditional style game play for quite a while (no more on foot Fox games), why not give players the option to use normal controls as an alternative? I get that Star Fox is Nintendo’s way to really push the motion and dual screen abilities of the WiiU, but that setup just isn’t for everyone. Plus, they’ve waited a pretty long time in order to fully tap into the uniqueness of the tablet controller, with the opportunity to hit the most people probably having passed them by at this point. So what’s the harm in adding an option that allows people to use traditional controls? No one has ever complained about having too many options, right?