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Nintendo at E3 2018: What to expect

Nintendo is going all in on Super Smash Bros. this year

Nintendo is bringing back its familiar Nintendo Direct video presentation for E3 2018. But beyond a pre-taped stream, we can only speculate on the breadth of what the company will show off. We know what Nintendo’s E3 centerpiece is this year — Super Smash Bros. — and we know that it will include Switch games only. But for the rest of its lineup, we’re left to speculate.

That goes for Nintendo’s Treehouse Live event as well, which kicks off immediately after the main E3 stream. The company’s hosting roster traditionally shows off other games, including ones for Nintendo 3DS, on the showfloor during a weeklong livestream.

We’ve drummed up our list of what to expect to make an appearance during the Nintendo Direct E3 2018. Follow along below, and we’ll all find out how close we came on Tuesday, June 12 at 9 a.m. PT.

Big Nintendo Switch games

Super Smash Bros. for Switch: Like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey at previous E3s, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch will be the star of Nintendo’s E3 2018 show. We expect to get our first look at gameplay, as well as at least a few character reveals. With the game slated for later this year, Nintendo may even drop a release date during the presentation. (Also: Is this a new game or an update of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U? Nintendo should clarify that for us during the Direct too.)

Mario Tennis Aces: Mario Tennis Aces will launch just two weeks after E3 2018. Its inclusion in Nintendo’s presser won’t excite many of us, especially after the game’s trial period runs a weekend before the start of E3. But Nintendo is in the business of making money, and we’d be surprised if the company didn’t make time to show off its latest big release. (Mario Tennis Aces looks pretty dang good, at least, so we won’t quite mind.)

Splatoon 2’s Octo expansion: A major expansion is coming to Splatoon 2 this summer, right around the game’s first anniversary. We were treated to an intriguingly odd teaser for it during Nintendo’s previous Direct presentation, so we’re bound to see more gameplay and hear more about it during the E3 2018 event. Again: If Nintendo has something it wants to sell, now’s the time to sell it.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker: Toad is heading to Switch (and 3DS!) in July, so we’d hope to see him and his cute lil’ pickaxe at least make a brief check-in during the Direct. It would serve as a good final reminder that, hey, you’re getting another chance to play this Wii U gem — don’t miss it.

Yoshi for Nintendo Switch screenshot Nintendo

Yoshi for Switch: We know a Yoshi game is due out this year; Nintendo told us so in one of its Direct presentations earlier this year. E3 seems like a good time to finally nail down a release date for this one, as well as show some more of the new stuff Yoshi’s latest adventure has to offer. (We’re hoping for some more adorable amiibo.)

Fortnite: A big ol’ 4chan leak pointed to Fortnite heading to Nintendo Switch, with its debut coming during E3. It’s smart to take 4chan leaks with a grain of salt, but this one makes a lot of sense: Fortnite is the biggest game in the world right now, and Nintendo would be unwise to not work with Epic Games on figuring out how to make a Switch version happen. Plus, dataminers have even found code suggesting that Fortnite’s already set to go live on the eShop ASAP. Had it not been for the leak, Fortnite may have been the big surprise announcement — but at the same time, it’s no surprise at all.

Fire Emblem: Nintendo owes us some gameplay for its first proper Fire Emblem game on Nintendo Switch. The company announced the game in January 2017, and since then, things have been quiet on Fire Emblem for Switch. With a 2018 launch still presumably planned, Nintendo’s E3 presentation is the best time to show off this game.

Metroid Prime 4: We got the faintest tease of Metroid Prime 4 during last year’s E3 Direct. We’re going to stay optimistic here and propose that we’ll get more details about Samus’ first outing on Nintendo Switch, whether that’s as simple as more details on when it will launch and who’s making it — or, better yet, a gameplay trailer.

Don’t forget Nintendo 3DS

WarioWare Gold: WarioWare is finally back this August. Perhaps there isn’t much more to say or show beyond the general pitch for the franchise; if you like quick microgames, WarioWare is the place to go. But we’d still love to see a bit more of what those offerings are, should Nintendo have time during one of its streams.

Luigi’s Mansion: Luigi’s Mansion is getting shrunken down to handheld-size with a Nintendo 3DS remake due sometime this year. Beyond seeing how the upgraded GameCube game looks on modern hardware, Nintendo has said and shown little from the 3DS title. Maybe we’ll get a release date.

An updated Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story: One of the most acclaimed entries in the Mario & Luigi role-playing series is relaunching on 3DS in 2019. We’d love to get a better sense of when, as well as see more from its expansion: Bowser Jr.’s Journey.

More remasters and remixes?

super mario maker booklet Image: Nintendo

Wii U games find new life on Nintendo Switch: Nintendo has already set a precedent that it’s open to bringing older Wii U titles back to Switch, with games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe leading the charge. Considering the success of those games, and Nintendo’s upcoming roster of other re-releases, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there are more on the way. Could Super Mario 3D World find new life on Switch? What about Super Mario Maker? (Or, least likely of all, cult-classic Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE?)

Keeping Nintendo 3DS alive with old hits: The list of Nintendo 3DS games above is mostly full of remasters. It’d make sense for Nintendo to keep the ball rolling with those, whether it’s revamping GameCube titles (we humbly request Kirby Air Ride) or even relaunching older 3DS ones.

Nintendo Switch Online details

A release date?: Nintendo still owes us a specific launch date for its online service, as well as more details on how it will work for specific games. It makes sense to launch Nintendo Switch Online alongside Super Smash Bros., which will surely be one of the biggest games on Switch. But we also imagine Nintendo might dump everything we need to know on us in the middle of the night a few weeks ahead of when the service goes live.

... and probably not Mother 3

Sorry to Chris Plante, author of one of our other E3 speculation pieces: There is very little chance we’ll see anything about Mother 3 during the Nintendo Direct. But a boy can dream, can’t he?