Could Nintendo Be Planning a Huge E3 Surprise?
Super Mario Odyssey

Nintendo’s laid out its E3 plans and schedule, and it’s about what anyone might expect. The online presentation, the Treehouse Live stream and some cool tournaments for Splatoon 2 and ARMS are scheduled. The thing I’d like to focus on specifically here is the Nintendo Spotlight presentation. Generally, when Nintendo has a video event, its description is either really vague or really specific. For example, the recent Nintendo Direct focused on ARMS and Splatoon 2, and the Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct that was literally all about Fire Emblem.

This year, the Nintendo Spotlight, according to the official press release, is about upcoming games for the Nintendo Switch in 2017, including Super Mario Odyssey. Now, we already know about Super Mario Odyssey and its plans for the 2017 holiday season. Word on the street before the Switch launched was the game was more or less done, so all that was left was a strategic launch date. What’s interesting to me is how the press release specifically mentions only the Switch, and only 2017.

Obviously it could mean nothing or be purposefully deceptive, not unlike the Splatoon 2/ARMS Nintendo Direct I mentioned earlier. That ended up being about a whole ton of new and interesting Nintendo news well beyond those two games. But it wasn’t as specific at this. Also, the Treehouse Live bit specifically mentions it will be showing off both 3DS and Nintendo Switch games.


To me, this means that this year’s E3 Nintendo Spotlight is going to be more laser-focused than before, in a way that’s actually kind of uncanny for a show like E3. Usually, even outside of Nintendo, E3 is all about laying things out and getting people talking. That means a lot of games are announced well before they’re ready, much less coming out the same year of the show. But Nintendo is like, “Yo, this is about 2017.” If that’s it, that could be a hint that this year is going to be even more loaded than it already is.

Nintendo historically likes to hold back announcements from E3 to show at other events. In the Wii U era, things were a little messier. Nintendo had way too few releases spread way too thin, so you ended up with situations like Yoshi’s Wooly World being talked about in perpetuity until everyone was sick of it. But if E3 is all about games for 2017, then they can spread it out, maybe serve some surprise announcements and have plenty of room for games like Fire Emblem Warriors and Xenoblade 2 that are still scarce on information. Then, subsequent shows can be all about 2018 or later.

Super Mario Odyssey

On the other hand, it could be another gotcha moment. Nintendo could be like, “Actually, just kidding. Here are some megaton bombs, ya dang nerds.” It could show off a bunch of crazy new stuff for 2018 and later. That said, Super Mario Odyssey is clearly the marquee game of 2017 and E3, and there’s nothing in the video game world like a brand-new Mario game. It could be the sole focus of the show, similar to last year’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and people would probably still walk away happy.

What do you all think? Is Nintendo about to make up for a few years of consecutive disappointment with a concise, meaningful presentation of games we want to know more about? Will Reggie gut-check us all with a major surprise or two? Or did I just waste my time on goofy conjecture because I’m a shameless Nintendo geek? We’ll find out in about a month. I’m excited.

Lucas White
Lucas White

Writing Team Lead
Date: 05/15/2017

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