With E3 2017 now in the history books, it’s time to look back at the announcements from the biggest video games conference of the year. Overall, E3 2017 seems to have left gamers this year feeling meh. Just meh. By no means was it a terrible show, it just left everyone feeling underwhelmed.
That’s the price we gamers pay for the abundance of fantastic titles we have to play. Nevertheless, this year was especially important for Nintendo. Their latest console, the Nintendo Switch, was released only a few months ago and, by all accounts, the console seems to be a success. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is being heralded as one of the greatest games of all-time, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the fastest selling Mario Kart game ever, and hype is through the roof for the fall release of Super Mario Odyssey.
While the Switch is on a hot-streak at the moment, it’s up to Nintendo to keep the momentum going. Their E3 showing this year promised a few interesting titles for 2017 and 2018. Everything from a crossover between Mario and the Rabbids, new Kirby and Yoshi games, and the long-awaited return of the Metroid Prime series.
These titles show potential to make the Switch a must-buy for gamers, but I would like to offer my top five games Nintendo needs to make to boost the Switch into the stratosphere.
1 – A new Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing is one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises and yet there hasn’t been a home-console entry in the series since 2008. Nintendo have shifted the series to its hand-held platforms in recent years, which has alienated the home-console players. The Switch provides the perfect opportunity to re-introduce home-console gamers to the world of Animal Crossing while not alienating the hand-held players who have enjoyed the series for the last 10 years.
Animal Crossing, as series, lends well to being played on the hybrid console. The idea of being able to pick up and play for a quick 10-minute session is ideal for the world of Animal Crossing. But also being able to sit-down for a longer play session on your TV works as it harkens back to the original entry in the series. The Animal Crossing series is primed for a Switch entry.
2 – Super Mario Galaxy 3
Now Mario has had 3D entries since the release of Galaxy 2, he even has one coming in the fall in the form of Super Mario Odyssey. Yet, there is still no conclusion to, in my opinion, the greatest platformer series of all time. Both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are unparalleled achievements in gaming. Both games scored well into the high 90s on Metacritic but the series still hasn’t had a third entry.
I know some will say the Galaxy’s series thunder has been taken away by other 3D Mario platformers, but I say Galaxy 3 would be in a class all its own. Gorgeous visuals, a bombastic full-orchestra soundtrack, and incredible level design would be the ideal fit for the Switch. Being able to take a full home-console like experience on-the-go would be the perfect selling point for gamers. As shown by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s sales numbers, Mario still sells. With that in mind, Galaxy 3 would make the perfect addition to the Switch library.
3 – A proper new entry of Super Smash Bros.
The Switch’s launch line-up left much to be desired. To fill out the library, Nintendo released ports of old Wii U games to the Switch, such as Mario Kart. One such port could be Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. However, I would contest simply porting over the old version of Smash and instead I ask Nintendo to take the time and make a proper new entry into the series.
While the last Smash Bros. was a fantastic game, it left many features out. The most obvious exclusion was the story mode called Subspace Emissary. A story mode is no-one’s reason for buying a fighting game, but its exclusion means there’s less content for gamers to consume. Less content means your game has a shorter shelf-life than other, more-substantial gaming experiences.
Nintendo must make a proper full-bodied entry of Smash Bros. if it hopes to compete alongside the likes of Tekken, Mortal Kombat, or Street Fighter.
4 – Big third-party support
This one has always been an issue for Nintendo. They’re very protective of their family-friendly brand image, which makes working with outside developers difficult. However, if Nintendo wants the Switch to have a competitive game library and widen the Switch’s appeal, they must be more open with third-party developers.
I understand the Switch simply doesn’t have the processing power to handle modern AAA titles. But, it can still court third-party developers to make some semi-downgraded versions of their latest titles for release on the Switch. Nintendo could even reach out to developers and offer to fund their games, much like how they did with Platinum Games to have Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U.
It wouldn’t be easy. Nintendo’s history with third-party developers is notoriously bad. Plus, outside developers have no real incentive to work with Nintendo since Sony, Microsoft, and Valve all offer a much more developer-friendly environment. Still, Nintendo should pursue as many third-party developers as it can, if it hopes to satisfy Switch owners between Nintendo’s big releases.
5 – Netflix-style Virtual Console
Now this entry might be a bit of a cheat, since it would be more than one game, but Nintendo should absolutely be creating a Netflix-style virtual console platform for the Switch. Both the Wii and the Wii U had virtual consoles as a way of distributing their classic titles. However, that old model was flawed because the asking price for these 20 plus year old games widely varied from $5 to over $20, depending on which country you were in. On top of that, the old virtual consoles used a point system, meaning X amount of dollars would get you X amount of points. The whole system was simply too complicated and too unevenly priced.
If their partnership with DeNA is any indication, Nintendo is trying to change how they approach online sales. The goal of this partnership should be to establish a Netflix-style approach to their classic titles. The Netflix approach would be a way to avoid the issue of pricing their old games as well as a way to offer dozens, if not hundreds, of titles instantaneously to all Switch owners.
While it wouldn’t be the first attempt at a Netflix-for-games (did anyone use PlayStation Now?) it could be the first one to succeed. This would be due, in part, to their library of games have a much smaller file size than their contemporary counterparts. Compressing 16 or 32 bit game wouldn’t compromise the game in the same way it would to a 1080p 50 gigabyte game.
As an extension of the virtual console, Nintendo should be investing heavily in online services for the Switch. The Switch looks and acts like a tablet, yet there is no way to surf the Internet, watch YouTube videos, or even stream Netflix. Both Wii and Wii U had this functionality and yet still months after release, the Switch has zero online applications. Hopefully this is quickly remedied as Nintendo readies their online push.
So there you have it, the top five games Nintendo should be making for the Switch. Do you agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments down below or tell me your picks on Twitter @CBloodRojas.