Given how notoriously secretive Nintendo is, Nintendo Directs and their reveals and updates are always exciting. And of course, there’s something particularly special about an E3 Direct. Now that it’s been confirmed that Nintendo’s E3 Direct is going to happen on June 15, what exactly can we expect to see at the show? That’s what we’ll be trying to unpack here, as we go over the list of games that may end up taking the spotlight. Some of these are quite likely to show up, others, slightly less so- but all of them at least have a chance.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD 2
Let’s start with the one that’s on everybody’s mind. The unnamed sequel to Breath of the Wild is, without question, Nintendo’s biggest and mostly highly anticipated upcoming game, and there’s very little chance that we don’t get to see the game in action. Regardless of whether the game launches later this year or some time in 2022 (the latter is way more likely), there’s almost no way Nintendo won’t show it off at E3. The question is, will we see gameplay? Will the game be officially named? That remains to be seen, but we definitely hope so.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER AND TWILIGHT PRINCESS HD
Nintendo’s celebration of Zelda’s 35th anniversary has been far more muted than what they did for Super Mario last year. Sure, we’re getting Skyward Sword, and Breath of the Wild 2 is in the works, but that’s not nearly enough. The demand for a compilation of The Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD on the Switch is well documented, of course, so could we see announcements for these as well? There’s definitely a chance. After all, rumours earlier in the year suggested that those two would be announced in the Summer, and while it’s possible that Nintendo holds off on that until Skyward Sword HD is out, there’s also a chance that they look to make a splash at E3 instead.
SUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE’S NEXT DLC
This one is sort of obvious. Since Smash Ultimate launched two and a half years ago, it’s taken the spotlight at more than a few major events to unveil upcoming DLC characters. The game’s still got two more characters left to dole out before its post-launch support comes to an end, and we’re expecting (or hoping, at least), that one of them gets announced at E3. There’s no telling who that character will be, of course- but we can tell you right now, it ain’t gonna be Goku.
NEW DONKEY KONG
Everyone’s favourite tie-wearing gorilla has been MIA for some time, but if rumours are to be believed, Donkey Kong is going to be coming back soon. The Super Mario Odyssey team at Nintendo EPD is apparently working on a new Donkey Kong game that’s slated for a late 2021 launch and allegedly likely to be revealed at E3. Nintendo’s current Holiday 2021 schedule is looking a little light in terms of releases, and Donkey Kong sure would fit nicely in there, so here’s hoping this is true.
POKEMON LEGENDS: ARCEUS
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is surprisingly close, with a release set for January, so it goes without saying that we’re going to be seeing it soon. But how soon? The Pokemon Company likes to do updates and reveals on its own, generally with Pokemon Presents broadcasts, but it’s not like they have an aversion to E3 or anything like that. So might we see a new gameplay trailer for Legends? It’s not unlikely, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for this one.
POKEMON BRILLIANT DIAMOND AND SHINING PEARL
Of course, Pokemon Legends is not the only major Pokemon game coming out soon. The long-awaited Gen 4 remakes, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, are going to go first this November, which means they’re even likelier to be shown off in some capacity. Again, it’s hard to say whether a big blowout will be saved for a dedicated Pokemon Presents or not, but we’re expecting at least a new trailer for the remake duo at Nintendo’s E3 Direct. It’s not guaranteed to happen, but the chances are pretty high nonetheless.
NO MORE HEROES 3
Travis Touchdown has been waiting on the sidelines for his time in the sun for a while now, but his comeback is right around the corner. No More Heroes 3 is launching this August, and frankly, it’s a little surprising that there’s still so much of the game that we nothing about. Given how little we’ve seen of the action title, it’s probable that Nintendo will end up premiering a new trailer with gameplay footage at their E3 Direct.
SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI 5
Oh SMT5, you elusive game, you. Announced so long ago, MIA for most of that time, and still we’re wondering just when the hell we’re gonna get to see it in action, much less play it. Atlus confirmed halfway through last year that Shin Megami Tensei 5 would indeed be launching in 2021- but what’s the situation right now? Honestly, with COVID and given the fact that we haven’t heard anything since then, who the hell knows? If SMT5 is indeed coming this year, the time for a proper gameplay reveal has to be coming soon, and where better to do it than at E3?
NEW 2D METROID
We’re not quite sure that Metroid Prime 4 will be at E3, but the series may not be entirely absent. Rumours of a new 2D Metroid game have been doing the rounds for a long time now, and most recently, Nintendo insider Zippo claimed that this new 2D Metroid game, apparently developed by Samus Returns studio MercurySteam, had nearly wrapped up development, was targeting a 2021 launch, and would be unveiled at E3. Given how many times people have been wrong about Metroid in the past, we’re not 100% sure about this one, but still- somehow, we’re still optimistic.
SUPER MARIO PARTY 2
In the aforementioned report where Zippo claimed that a new Metroid game would be announced soon, the insider also stated that a Super Mario Party 2 was also in the works, and that an E3 announcement would be followed by a late 2021 launch. Given how ridiculously well Super Mario Party sold (and continues to sell), it makes sense that Nintendo will want to cash in with a sequel. Of course, Nintendo’s opaque way of doing things doesn’t necessarily align with what makes sense, so you can never be too sure- but this announcements, if it happens, wouldn’t be entirely surprising.
MARIO KART 9
This one is so much more unlikely to happen, but given how big it could potentially be, it still deserves to be brought up. The insider Zippo also mentioned that a new mainline Mario Kart game is in the works, targeting a late 2021 or early 2022 launch. Now, of course Nintendo is working on a new Mario Kart game. That’s obvious. But is it really coming out this soon? That’s where things get murky. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s sales refuses to slow down. It’s sold over 35 million copies by now, and if you take the original Wii U release into account, Mario Kart 8’s collective sales are approaching the 45 million mark. Nintendo doesn’t really need to release a new game in the series right now- but then there are these Switch Pro rumours, so maybe they want a new Mario Kart game to boost hardware sales for that? We don’t know- we can see both arguments. An E3 reveal is simultaneously possible and impossible, so we’re just going to have to wait and watch.
Announced earlier this year, Splatoon 3 is due out some time in 2022, and as one of the few upcoming Switch exclusives that’s been officially unveiled, it’s a pretty likely candidate to make an appearance at E3. Of course, it’s still not guaranteed to do so- depending on how far away the game is from launch, Nintendo might want to wait a while before showing it off again. But we’re hoping for some gameplay footage and new details on the campaign and multiplayer.
XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is over almost four years old at this point, and though Monolith has been working on other things since then (such as Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition and support work for various other Nintendo games, including Breath of the Wild 2), it still feels like the time for them to unveil their next game is approaching. And that next game is probably going to be Xenoblade 3, right? The series has been quite successful for them, so there’s absolutely no way they’re going to put it on the backburner any time soon. On top of that, a new Xenoblade game would also be a great way to show off what that rumoured Switch Pro is capable of.
PROJECT TRIANGLE STRATEGY
Square Enix is clearly going to capitalize on the potential of its HD-2D brand of games, and with Project Triangle Strategy scheduled for a 2022 launch, it’s possible that they’ll want to show it off a little bit more. It’s been some time since we last heard about the game, so it’s possible we end up seeing a new trailer at E3. Of course, Square Enix has its own show planned as well, but seeing as this is a Switch exclusive title, the Nintendo Direct might be the better place to showcase the game.
RESIDENT EVIL OUTRAGE
The incessantly leaked Resident Evil Outrage is all but confirmed at this point, but when exactly can we expect to see it? The leaks have stated that an announcement was planned shortly after Resident Evil Village’s launch, and E3 week seems like the perfect time for that reveal. With rumours suggesting that the game is going to be a Switch timed-exclusive release, the Direct might be where Capcom reveals the game. Of course, they might just do it at their presentation as well. Meanwhile, if the game isn’t a Switch timed-exclusive, this whole discussion becomes moot, since in that case, Capcom will probably keep Resident Evil’s PlayStation marketing exclusivity going.