If it still happens and Nintendo's there, what will happen at the big show next June?
So E3 2019 was pretty cool, right? Now it's old news and we're ready to start the hype cycle for E3 2020, coming to Los Angeles in June 2020. Nintendo will potentially be there again, though after Sony pulled out this year, anything can happen. Assuming Nintendo does make it out to the show, what will they do? Will Zelda and Mario be there? How many games? What announcements? What NES games will be on Switch Online then? How about Metroid? Well, we tried to get to the bottom of it with our very special Way Too Early E3 2020 Predictions.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is an E3 2020 Centerpiece
Neal Ronaghan: With Nintendo setting it up in E3 2019, I think the plan as of now is for the sequel to Breath of the Wild to come to Switch in late 2020, so that means Breath of the Wild 2 will probably be the focus of Nintendo’s E3 2020 presentation. I expect zombie Ganondorf to be made life-size, ambling around their booth as Nintendo reveals Disney Imagineers aided in the design.
Justin Berube: I mostly agree with Neal about Breath of the Wild 2 being the big 2020 Nintendo release for Nintendo Switch. I do, however, think the new hook for this game will be a new co-op mode allowing Link and Zelda to team up. For those looking to play solo, I feel Link, or Zelda, will be summonable in a way similar to Wolf Link in the original Breath of the Wild.
John Rairdin: Justin is right that you’ll be able to play as Zelda, but not because the game is co-op. Ganondorf will use Link’s body to facilitate his rise thus it will be Zelda’s turn to save him. This will also be Nintendo’s excuse for why Zelda has to gain powers that Link would have already had. Nintendo’s catchphrase for this year will be “girl power” but no games other than this and Metroid will have female protagonists.
New 3D Mario Maybe Gets Teased or Is Already Out?
Neal Ronaghan: With Breath of the Wild 2 seemingly being a major part of our theoretical E3 2020, I don’t think Nintendo’s Super Mario Odyssey follow-up lands in holiday 2020. Modern Nintendo doesn’t need to have a holiday season with both mainline Mario and mainline Zelda. However, as 2017 proved, you could do a year with both. The optimist in me will point to how the 3D Mario team has often been machine-like in their development and cranked out games in consistent and record time. Maybe we could be playing an Odyssey follow-up in early 2020? But more realistically, a new 3D Mario is teased at E3 2020 in a similar fashion as Breath of the Wild 2, with an eye towards a 2021 debut and maybe a featured role in E3 2021 (if that even happens).
Pokemon Will Be There, As They Always Have Been and Will Be
Neal Ronaghan: In 2019, Pokemon Sword & Shield was at E3. In 2018, Pokemon Let’s Go was at E3. In 2017, Pokken Tournament was at E3. In 2016, Pokemon Sun & Moon was at E3. Feels like a safe bet that Nintendo will show off Pokemon at E3 2020. The big question is what will it be? It could be a third/fourth entry for Sword & Shield, maybe Let’s Go to Johto, or a major spinoff. Let’s get weird: Pokemon Snap 2 in 2020?
Justin Berube: Pokémon will be at E3 in some form. I personally think the sequel/updates to Sword and Shield will show up. Maybe called Striking Sword and Stable Shield. The big thing about these updates is that every Pokémon will be transferable to the games. Also there is a good chance the upcoming Detective Pikachu game will be seen as well.
Square Enix Is a No-Show for Switch Games in 2020
Carmine Red: Pain from third-party abandonment runs deep in Nintendo history. Square Enix really delivered for the Switch in 2019, with huge tentpole remasters, multiple shadow drops, and wide representation. But next year it'll be a full 180 and they'll have practically no Switch games to show while featuring content for other platforms extensively. It may be for scheduling reasons or some other rational non-doomsday reason, but it'll cut Nintendo fans to the quick all the same, and become the new betrayalton.
Bayonetta 3 Shows Up, But Not in Much Force
Neal Ronaghan: Bayonetta 3 is nebulously in development right now and by the end of this year, it’ll be two years since its announcement. My suspicion is Nintendo will update the status of Bayonetta 3 in a Nintendo Direct following Astral Chain’s August launch. Let’s say a trailer pops up this September with a “2020” date at the end. Then Bayonetta is a part of the E3 2020 Direct and makes an appearance at Nintendo Treehouse Live, but isn’t playable on the show floor. It’ll cause widespread panic that Bayonetta 3 is getting delayed, which will be true as a Bayonetta 3 could likely hit stores in early 2021.
Justin Berube: I think Bayonetta 3 will actually be playable at E3 2020 and release around September of the same year. I expect Nintendo to push this game hard, and may even bring back the Bayonetta booth model for fan photos in their booth.
Splatoon Will Never Leave Us, But Splatoon 3 Won’t Be Ready Yet
Neal Ronaghan: Splatoon’s competitive scene has made it a mainstay of Nintendo events. With Splatoon 2’s Splatfests ending in July 2019, it’s high time for Nintendo to churn out Splatoon 3. On one hand, I’d be shocked if Splatoon 3 doesn’t launch by summer 2020, but on the other, Nintendo has been pretty good on the Switch of making their sequels count. Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Animal Crossing: New Horizons both seem to deviate far enough from their predecessors that I think Splatoon 3 will go the same route. With that in mind, Splatoon 3 might not be out until mid-to-late 2021. Nintendo won’t sit idly by though, as something Splatoon related could hit in 2020. Maybe Arzest is working on a Splatoon spin-off (Hey Splatoon, anyone?) or Koei Tecmo is experimenting with Splatoon Warriors. Splatoon has been extremely successful for Nintendo and I could see the logic in expanding the brand into other genres.
Justin Berube: I have two theories on Splatoon’s E3 future. If Nintendo has some upgraded Switch coming out in 2020, I can see Splatoon 3 launching but needing the more powerful system. So the Splatoon sequel will be a way to push the upgraded console especially in Japan. If a Switch Plus or something isn’t releasing in 2020 I expect a Splatoon spin-off much like Neal. Splatoon X Advance Wars sounds fun to me, telling the complete story of Captain Cuttlefish!
Konami Reveals a New Castlevania
Neal Ronaghan: Konami revealed a new Contra at E3 2019. Too bad it’s not a side-scrolling Contra game like the ones that make up the great Contra Collection that is out now. They also had a Castlevania Collection out in May, so with that in mind, I think Konami reveals a new Castlevania game at E3 2020, but it’s a 3D one heavily inspired by Castlevania 64 and we’re all like “c’mon guys!” But at least in this fanciful world, it’ll be revealed alongside the shadowdrop launch of Castlevania Collection 2, which will be headlined by Symphony of the Night’s Nintendo system debut.
Matt Zawodniak: My big boss prediction is that after Rondo of Blood finally came to the west for the first time in the Castlevania Requiem collection, Konami will make a classic-style Castlevania as a direct sequel to Rondo of Blood. It’ll create a new branch of the timeline - the “Richter is defeated” timeline - where you hunt Dracula as a grown-up Maria.
People Will Know That Nintendo Crunches As Much As, If Not More Than, Other Game Devs
Carmine Red: A popular storyline of E3 2019 was Nintendo claiming, via NOA President Doug Bowser, that they attempted to avoid development crunch when making games and that was the real feel-good reason for Animal Crossing's delay, among other things. The internet ate it up this year, but by next year they'll know the dark truth: this was an excellent PR framing of the delay that doesn't reflect the fact that Nintendo developers, especially in Japan, work as long hours, or longer even, compared to some of their more egregious industry counterparts. By E3 2020 news will have come out with all the dirty details, and there will be a new subtext to stories about the company.
Nintendo Announces a Streaming Service
Carmine Red: The entire service will just be what you use to play those free NES games you get from Nintendo Online instead of downloading them directly.
Matt Zawodniak: And we still won’t have Netflix.
Paper Mario Craft Another Kerfuffle of Feelings
Xander Morningstar: About every four years, Paper Mario comes and steals my heart in some way. It’s about that time for another one to show up, and I highly suspect it will be in 2020 based on past release schedules. Will it be a new formula? Will it return to the RPG system? Will it continue the trend of disposable attack items in combat? I suspect it’s time for another Paper Mario to create controversy, and I am ready to eat it all up.
Nintendo Continues to Believe We Only Remember NES Games
Jordan Rudek: Adding to their output of NES games on the Nintendo Switch Online service will be NES Remix Online, a reimagining of the three previously released NES Remix titles. While fans have been clamouring for an SNES Remix, let alone SNES games on Switch, Nintendo is going to double down on the generation they think people have the most nostalgia for. NES Remix Online will introduce multiplayer challenges, online leaderboards, and titles never been seen in the Remix series. NES Remix Online will be available exclusively to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers and it will be shadowdropped during E3 2020, singlehandedly killing any interest people might have had in PS5 or Xbox Scarlett.
E3 2020 Looks a Lot Like E3 2016
Donald Theriault: Assuming E3 actually happens next year - I’m still one giant Press X To Doubt on that one - the presence of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlet / the 8K Twins will suck all of the oxygen out of the room. Nintendo fans will demand to see what should be Next Level Games’s Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3, a Fire Emblem Echoes: Genealogy of the Holy War, and select press and partners will have their opportunity to be briefed. But Nintendo’s booth and only playable game will be The Legend of Zelda: Death of the Wild. And while most people will be perfectly content to wait in ungodly long lines to dick around with Link on the plateau again, I won’t be found within 3000 miles of the LACC.
Mario Golf 2020
Justin Berube: Currently updates to Mario Tennis Aces are coming to and end and Camelot will be up to something. I figure it’s time for a long overdue console version of Mario Golf and we will see it in some form at E3 2020. Mario Sports will never die!
2D Metroid Comes to Switch
Justin Berube: Sadly, Metroid Prime won’t be coming out in 2020. That said a new 2D Metroid will be coming to Switch in its absence from MercurySteam. This game will be the long awaited sequel to Metroid Fusion and also go into more details regarding the secret ending from Metroid: Samus Returns.
John Rairdin: This will just be a straight port of Metroid: Samus Returns. Nintendo will missprint the name in marketing material as “Return of Samus.”
Super Mario 3D World Returns
Justin Berube: No, not a new game, but it will finally be revealed that Nintendo will bring the Wii U title Super Mario 3D World to Nintendo Switch sometime in 2020. It’s hard to let a year go by without a new Mario game, and there is no reason for Nintendo not to double dip and finally earn some money back off a game that clearly didn’t perform as intended on their previously released home console.
Ubisoft Will Announce a Star Fox Game
John Rairdin: After the failure of Starlink: Battle for Atlas, Ubisoft will attempt to regain some of its lost investment by reusing the engine and some assets on a full Star Fox game. It will be open world and feature a strong focus on pre-rendered cutscenes. It will have a few rail-line levels but they will be short and feel tacked on. The Starlink Arwing can be used to unlock the SNES Arwing.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Will Receive Fighter’s Pass Season 2
Matt Zawodniak: So far the Fighter’s Pass for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has received some heavy-hitting third-party characters in Joker, Banjo-Kazooie, and the Hero from Dragon Quest. I think the Fighter’s Pass scheduled to be finished by February will be entirely characters belonging to other companies, setting up a new Fighter’s Pass next year to fill out the roster with even more Nintendo All-Stars. If I were to take a guess, I’d say there are some obvious picks: the highly requested Geno from Super Mario RPG, and the barely-too-late Rex from Xenoblade 2. Oh, and of course what’s a new batch of Smash characters without Fire Emblem? The three main lords in Three Houses each have a weapon type that hasn’t been used in Smash yet. But let’s be honest, it’ll probably be the player avatar that uses a sword.
There Will Be A New Fire Emblem Remake
Matt Zawodniak: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia was an excellent remake of the second Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem Gaiden. Most curious is the ‘Echoes’ moniker before the subtitle, leading many to believe there will be more remakes entering into the Echoes sub-series. Personally I’d most like to see a remake of Genealogy of the Holy War - regarded by many to be the best Japan-only game in the series. However, Valentia’s director Kenta Nakanishi has said he’d most like to do a remake for Roy’s game, The Binding Blade.