Earlier Ricky D posted his 10 Nintendo predictions for 2016, but with the limited known quantities releasing for the company’s consoles in the near (or far) future, this year has more potential for surprise than most. For that reason, ten just isn’t enough, so here a few more predictions for Nintendo’s 2016, some of them less crazy than others (and nothing about NX, because that’s too easy):
Metroid Prime: Federation Force releases and is awesome
No beating around the bush on this one- the Federation Force seen at last year’s E3 was not the Metroid game long-waiting fans wanted or deserved, even going so far as to inspire a petition to kill the game in development. The result? Neither hide nor hair was seen of the title in Nintendo’s big November Direct, a conspicuous absence that got me curious. Like most people, I was not pleased with the footage shown, especially the strong focus on what seemed like at best a mild diversion, the Blast Ball mini-game, and frankly, the cartoonish look of the Federation Force themselves didn’t help suck me into the world of this mission-based multiplayer shooter. But by hardly mentioning Federation Force in the slightest since its epic failure, what Nintendo has done is make me want to see it again. This withholding can’t be simply because they get off on it; they’re obviously working hard with Next Level Games (the talented folks behind Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon) on making the concept and presentation more appealing. I think this means a beefier story campaign, with less of an emphasis placed on the online multiplayer aspect, as well as a more Prime-like art design to the visuals. The gameplay will be sharp and addictive, with a cool spin-off story taking place in the somber Metroid universe, involving your trooper coming across and possibly assisting Samus Aran herself (who had already been confirmed to make an appearance, though my guess is her role will be upped). Because of my faith in the developer, and the vanishing act the game has pulled that clearly has been orchestrated for it to make a strong reappearance, I believe Nintendo will come through and deliver an amazing experience unlike anything else on the 3DS. With Blast Ball. At the end of the day, Metroid Prime: Federation Force may not be what I was looking for, but so few of the Nintendo games that have surprised and delighted me over the years have been. That’s why staying positive on this one, which bodes well considering my next prediction…
Retro’s new game won’t be Metroid, regardless what system it’s for
It’s been a long time that everyone has been waiting to find out what one of Nintendo’s premiere developers have been working on, and though speculation has run rampant, everyone (including our own Ricky D) keeps coming back to the franchise that really put Retro Studios on the map: Metroid. Their handling of Samus’ introduction Of course, fans would be just as happy (if not more so) with a AAA 2D entry in the beloved series, but with absolute silence on all fronts, and job postings not revealing anything specific other than that there’s a game being worked on, your guess is as good as mine. Except for one thing: every year there are predictions (read: hopes) that Retro will give us another slice of heaven, but every year the faithful are rewarded with disappointment (even if it’s in the form of and excellent Donkey Kong Country Returns sequel). I’m sick of losing this office pool, and I’ve decided to join the dark side of pessimism. A new game from Retro will be announced at this year’s E3, probably for the NX, but it won’t have anything to do with Metroid. I believe there’s a bigger chance of seeing Diddy Kong on a go kart again than Samus shooting space pirates on a gorgeous alien planet, and because of all the scarring I’ve endured already attempting to will a new Prime game into existence, it won’t hurt that bad. Partly because I’m tacking this addendum onto the existing prediction: I believe whatever game Retro does put out, whether from a familiar franchise (likely) or not (nope), it will be a blast to play. With Retro, that’s an easy call.
A new game starring Linkle will be announced
I said this before on the NXpress Podcast, but I think that Linkle is going to be huge. When I first saw her in the Hyrule Warriors Legends trailer, I knew Nintendo was onto something. Mock me all you want, say her name is dumb (all Nintendo character names seem dumb at first, until they become ubiquitous); Linkle will be a game-changer. I mean big, people. Well, at least big enough to get the first title in what should be the start of a new franchise, which I bet will be announced during Nintendo’s presumed digital presentation. What form this new game will take is anyone’s guess, but I my intuition tells me that it won’t be anything like the traditional Legend of Zelda games, at least not at first. Nintendo’s attempts to appeal to female gamers have usually tended more toward the cutesy side, so my suspicion is that there’s some sort of action-lite puzzler in the works. While I’m not sure whether this will take place in a side-scrolling environment or otherwise, it’s a safe bet that the game will be for the 3DS, where the audience skews slightly younger and the budgets for such an experimentation are less risky. Nintendo will be looking to feel out fan interest for this one, so I expect something geared toward casual players, very family-friendly and accessible. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Nintendo has done very well with games like that in the past (Kirby’s Epic Yarn, anyone?). And with so much potential on the line, I have the utmost confidence that Linkle will make her solo debut in quality. With her introduction coming March 25th, and maybe even a possible cameo in the new Zelda for the Wii U (it would be great promotion!), 2016 could very well be a big year for Linkle.
Virtual Boy games on the 3DS
Okay, I’m going to say right off the bat that I have no idea if this is technically possible (from what movies tell me, isn’t pretty much anything?), but with the completely unpredictable and sometimes baffling way Nintendo has handled the Virtual Console up to this point, staying mum on the games fans are crying out for in North America (Metroid Zero Mission, anything N64 or DS) and instead giving us stuff we didn’t even remember existed like Bayou Billy (my apologies to the game’s fan) this crazy idea actually seems like the next logical step. Now, as someone who actually owned a Virtual Boy back in the day (you can hear more of my thoughts on that here), I don’t necessarily consider this to be a bad thing. I remember loving Mario’s Tennis and Virtual Boy Wario Land, and being able to experience those red-and-black worthies without risking the kind of strain that occurs when lasers are shot into one’s eyes would be a great way to celebrate a part of Nintendo’s past that will eventually be completely forgotten otherwise. The 3DS is the perfect vehicle for this, and frankly its Virtual Console could use the boost. Except that the thing is, this prediction also comes with a disappointing second part: the Virtual Boy games that will be available won’t include those titles I’ve mentioned above, but instead Nintendo will promote such memorable software hits as Teleroboxer, Nester’s Funky Bowling, and of course, that seminal masterpiece, Waterworld. Get ready to save those stupid Atollers and shoot some Smokers in 3D! So many Smokers in 3D…
Another HD Remaster (or two) is announced for the Wii U
2016 will be the last year of the Wii U, and so far the nearly blank calendar of the release schedule is reflecting that. Nintendo still needs to sell software in order to bridge the gape between consoles however (whether NX comes this year or next), but as many of their resources will be tied up making sure that the launch of their next generation delivers top-notch quality right from the start, the easiest way to keep the flow of games trickling out is to have some remasters to fill in the gaps. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is clearly an example of this, with Star Fox Zero not releasing until May, and though the company has said it has some titles already finished (like Pikmin 4), the rest of the year is a complete mystery. My guess is that they really have next to nothing coming out for Wii U, and therefore wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo turns to their back catalog to milk even more nostalgia out of us willing fans. The question is, what will game or games will get the special treatment? Super Mario Galaxy is a popular choice, but with those games releasing in their original version for the Wii U Virtual Console, I doubt their chances. My gut tells me that Super Mario Sunshine makes the most sense to be polished up (and not just in visuals, I hope), as it’s the only entry in the main Mario franchise that can’t be purchased through download, and remaking it would allow them to get around the inconveniences associated with putting a Gamecube game on the Virtual Console. Of course, I would gladly also accept Metroid Prime, Luigi’s Mansion, or even more, Kid Icarus: Uprising from the 3DS (please let it be this). In the end though, it’ll be something out of left field that I didn’t even know I wanted until I see it in all it’s visual glory. Like Pokémon Snap. You can always dream, people.
So those are my additional picks, and I’ll try not to say “I told you so” too much come December. What are your 2016 Nintendo predicitions?