When Nintendo US boss Reggie Fils-Aime told Gametrailers.com last week that Wii-owners can expect "a big game for the holiday" the Internet blew up. And why not? When Nintendo does take the time to make games tailored towards its more hardcore fans, they usually turn out stupendously well. So, with speculation hitting critical levels VideoGamer.com asks what exactly has Nintendo got up its sleeve?
Let's back up a bit and examine what Reggie said in more detail. "I'll tell you this," he said. "We're going to have great new content maximising all of our key franchises. It's going to be a great second half.
"There's going to be a big game for the holiday that gamers will want. All I can tell you is what we announce during E3 is going to be fantastic. The gamers are going to be excited and the expanded audience is going to be excited. We're gonna have great content."
Food for thought, eh? So, what can we glean from Reggie's comments? He mentions "great new content maximising all of our key franchises". Let's have a think about what Nintendo's key franchises are.
The obvious ones are The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, Metroid, Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. But Nintendo also has some extremely popular franchises that haven't seen big releases in recent times, including Donkey Kong, Wave Race, Star Fox, F-Zero, Pokemon and Pilotwings. And let's not forget, Nintendo has established some key new franchises that have been extremely popular with, as Reggie puts it, the expanded audience, including Nintendogs, Wii Sports, Brain Training and Animal Crossing.
So let's go through them one by one. How about a new The Legend of Zelda game, announced at E3 this July, for the Wii this Christmas? We here at VideoGamer.com certainly think this is possible, although we would find it odd that Nintendo would reveal such a blockbuster title only four or five months before release. There have been Internet rumours however, that Retro Studios, of Metroid Prime fame, is working on a Legend of Zelda spin-off, and that it will be announced at E3, which correlated with Reggie's comments. Could Reggie be talking about a Zelda FPS for Christmas 2008? Perhaps. We're certainly pumped for a new Zelda game, in whatever form it comes. Despite hugely positive reviews, we felt that Twilight Princess wasn't the best title in the illustrious series. This Christmas will be exactly two years after Twilight Princess came out as a Wii launch title. We reckon that's just enough time for the bods at Nintendo HQ to have concocted a stellar new Link adventure.
We seriously doubt Reggie's talking about a completely new and proper Super Mario title since Galaxy was only released in November 2007. Nintendo is surely not going to have such a game ready so soon. What about a new Metroid game? The Metroid Prime series was brought to an end with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, released in November last year. Because of this, we think a brand new Metroid game is also unlikely. And if Retro Studios is hard at work on a new Zelda title, we doubt it's got a new Metroid title up its sleeve.
While the Mario Kart series is extremely popular, it's highly unlikely a new game is planned for a Christmas release. Mario Kart Wii is, of course, coming out in the UK on April 11. And despite the fact that Super Smash Bros. Brawl still hasn't received a UK release date, it's surely going to come out this summer. Another SSB title so soon would be ridiculous.
We think a completely new, proper Donkey Kong game is a good shout for Christmas 08. There hasn't been a proper Donkey Kong game since Rare's 1999 Donkey Kong 64 on the Nintendo 64, so the series is ripe for an update. Rare, of course, won't be developing it, since it is now owned by Microsoft. But that doesn't mean it can't happen!
There hasn't been a new Wave Race game since 2001's Wave Race: Blue Storm on the Game Cube, which received on the whole positive reviews. Again, there's no reason why a fresh Wave Race on Wii can't be in the works. We'll apply the same theory to Wii versions of Star Fox (Star Fox: Assault, Game Cube, 2005), F-Zero (F-Zero GX, Game Cube, 2003), Pokemon (Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, NDS, 2007) and Pilotwings (Pilotwings 64, Nintendo 64, 1997), too. All these titles are ripe for a full, home console Wii release. All would be more than welcome by Nintendo fans.
Let's not discount the new breed of Nintendo casual games. We reckon Wii Sports 2 is more than likely for Christmas 08, with new sports as well as revamped versions of the old ones (better not mess too much with bowling though). And how about Nintendogs for Wii, and another animal type for DS, let's say Nintencats? You'll of course be able to wirelessly transfer your pet from Wii to DS, taking it on the move. You better believe there'll be more Brain Training titles. Fingers crossed, too, for Wii Animal Crossing.
Reggie specifically says that one big game in particular is sure to please Nintendo's more hardcore fans. We'll go out on a limb here and say it's going to be a new Zelda game. It may not be a Zelda game in the traditional sense, but we reckon it will be a Zelda game nonetheless. But Reggie also talks about Nintendo's entire second half of 08 line-up maximising its key franchises, pleasing both gamers and the expanded audience. Based on this, we reckon Nintendo will announce Donkey Kong Wii at E3, and could also be ready to reveal Wii versions of Wave Race, Star Fox, F-Zero, Pokemon and Pilotwings. And we expect Nintendo to shock the world with a Wii Sports 2 announcement, Wii versions of Nintendogs and Animal Crossing and, most likely of all, even more Brain Training.
What we do not expect, however, is a completely new IP from Nintendo specifically for hardcore gamers. That's not really Nintendo's style these days. Ah well. Only four months to go till we find out what exactly Nintendo has up its sleeve.
What games do you think Reggie is talking about? Let us know in the comments section below.