E3 is like gamer Christmas. We gather and find out all of the amazing games that have been kept secret for so long. Giddiness ensues when Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo bust out major surprises and stun us all. We analyze E3 like NFL fans dig into every shred of info for the Super Bowl.

In recent years though, Nintendo has become a bit of a wild card. This reality has not set in for fans and bloggers. As predictions and wish lists hit the internet, each one seems to miss a few Nintendo keys. Since Nintendo began doing the Nintendo Directs they have drastically changed their E3 style. Let’s take a look at Nintendo’s recent E3 reveals to help us understand what Nintendo will likely be showing in 2017 and beyond.


2016: Nintendo focuses on already announced Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Sun and Moon. Nintendo covered several other already announced titles like Mario Party, Paper Mario the following day.


2015: Nintendo focuses on Super Mario Maker that comes out September 11th. Nintendo revealed Star Fox Zero, Hyrule Warriors Legends, Metroid Prime Federation Force, Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival, Mario and Luigi Paper Jam, Mario Tennis Ultra Smash.


super-mario-maker2014:  Super Smash Brothers were the focus, specifically the Mii fighters. Amiibo also took center stage as Nintendo announced that Mario Kart and Smash Bros. would interact with it. Yoshi’s Wooly World and Captain Toad Treasure Tracker were announced along with an unknown game called Splatoon (who would have known!). Zelda BotW was shown via a trailer. The biggest reveal at the time was considered Mario Maker.


2013: Nintendo shows off Super Mario 3D world. Mario Kart 8 is set for release in Spring 2014. Wii Party U and Wii Fit U delayed. Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 were set for upcoming release. Donkey Kong Country Returns was announced. Xenoblade Chronicles was announced. Super Smash Bros. announced for Wii U and 3DS.


Looking back over the last four years gives a pattern for Nintendo. Nintendo has tended to focus on one game for the majority of their show the last several years. None quite as all encompassing as Zelda last year when it was basically the only game shown. In previous years there was a main focus on one game followed by many minor titles.

This stems from the Nintendo Directs. Now, Nintendo does not wait all year to announce all their news at one time. Instead they release announcements periodically. Why? I think this is two fold. The first reason is that it keeps Nintendo in the conversation more than was previously the case. The second is that they can then direct (pun intended) people’s attention to an upcoming game. In the case of E3 (essentially a Super Nintendo Direct) they are highlighting their biggest game of the year that is set for release that holiday time period.


Is that going to happen for E3 2017? You betcha! Check out Nintendo’s latest announcement about their Directs. “Nintendo’s activities at E3 kick off with a Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017 video presentation featuring a closer look at Super Mario Odyssey and new details for Nintendo Switch games launching this year.” They are spelling it out. Super Mario will be the focus this year. The other games will be those launching in 2017, and maybe a title in winter/spring if they mean calendar year rather than 2017. So we are likely to get looks at Fire Emblem Warriors, Splatoon 2, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

There will likely be a surprise or two. Unfortunately though, based on previous years, this is likely to be a spin off game. Games like Mario Tennis, Wii Party U, Metroid Prime Federation Force, or Hyrule Warriors. These games can be revealed as filler for the Switch’s release calendar and will not take the focus away from the headliner, Super Mario Odyssey.

Nintendo is unlikely to reveal any big hitters that we have not heard of yet. The only way a big game could sneak in is Zelda with discussion of new DLC for Breath of the Wild. Temper your expectations for a Metroid Prime sequel, the next Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, or even Donkey Kong Country.

Next year will be the year to expect big reveals, as the Switch enters its second year at E3 and will likely have no Mario or Zelda headliner. Till next year Nintendo Fans, when I will be anxiously awaiting a Metroid Prime and the Mario Kart 9 reveal.