E3 2012 is about to begin, kicking off an out-of-control rampage of top-tier titles and generally sweaty enthusiasts storming Los Angeles - hopefully avoiding the Stanley Cup final hooligans. We've already covered what to expect and hope for from Microsoft and Sony at their respective press conferences in the coming days, but now it's time to put Nintendo under the microscope.
What has happened to the Wii U since its somewhat awkward reveal last year? And more importantly, will Reggie walk onstage with a Vitality Sensor triumphantly in hand? Probably not, but here's quite a bit to look forward to.
For quite some time, it's been clear Nintendo planned on using E3 2012 as the Wii U's true coming-out party. The company has been very secretive since its initial unveiling, and many important questions remain unanswered. While we probably won't hear a firm price point or release date, we should get a clear picture of its hardware functionality and launch software in the works. Legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that long-anticipated titles Pikmin 3 and a new Mario entry will make appearances on Wii U at the show. Hopefully Nintendo has much more first-party support in store to truly generate hype behind the new console's fall launch. While making third-parties successful on the system has been a major emphasis so far, it seems Nintendo has already missed the boat on this generation - a year-old Arkham City won't move many units.
How can they do that? Well, catching Wii U's touchscreen up with modern multi-touch functionality would be a good place to start. I'd also love to see a concerted effort to make more than one Wii U controller work per system - having one player hog the key role, while everyone else waits patiently with Wii Remotes, simply won't be an attractive proposition for many households. In terms of unknown software, I'm willing to bet Nintendo will reveal that a handful of other marquee franchises (Zelda, Donkey Kong, and so on) are heading to Wii U.
Alongside Wii U, Nintendo will surely make their portable platform, the 3DS, a large part of the press conference. After an initially lackluster commercial and critical reception, 3DS seems to have some momentum coming off a successful holiday season, one which featured flagships releases such as Super Mario 3D Land. We already know Luigi's Mansion 2 is well underway, as well as some form of Animal Crossing and Zelda offerings. Will that be enough to combat the growing perception dedicate handhelds are going the way of the dinosaur? Legions of Nintendo fanbots will cry foul, but only time will tell.
Keeping all of that in mind, it's clear Nintendo has a ton of ground to cover with its media briefing on Tuesday morning. The company is in a bit of an awkward place trying to appeal to enthusiast gamers late in the console cycle, while at the same time struggling to recapture the runaway success of the Wii's cultural phenomenon. It seems like an impossible task for any company, but if anyone can pull it off in an entirely unexpected way it's Nintendo.
Stay tuned to Gaming Union's extensive E3 2012 coverage over the next few weeks for everything Nintendo and so much more.