Analyst puts his E3 chips on Fox McCloud

It’s easy in poker. Just watch his eyes and call his bluff.

There’s a problem when trying that with Michael Pachter, though. His eyes glow with unwavering confidence and intensity 24 hours a day.

A gaming analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities, Pachter spoke Friday with GameSpot about what to expect from the “big three” gaming companies at this year’s E3, Nintendo included.

He cracked his neck, glanced at his cards and, with his stone face and cool hand, threw his chips on, of all things, a Star Fox resurrection.

But Pachter’s words are less a prediction than a postulation. After a casual-focused showing at last year’s E3 prompted fury from fans and an apology soon afterward from company president Satoru Iwata, the analyst believes Nintendo is faced this year with an obvious need to appease the hardcore audience, preferably with its strongest IP.

“Last year, they focused on Wii Music, and this year, they have to focus on the hardcore,” says Pachter. “It’s been three years since the last Zelda and two years since Mario, so they have a lot to work with.”

Of course, sales data suggests Nintendo doesn’t “have to” do anything at E3 other than stay the course—despite a vocal post-E3 uproar, the Kyoto-based juggernaut had another record-breaking year at retail.

Yet Pachter echoes a sentiment widespread among dedicated gamers, and he thinks Nintendo can perhaps address it by reaching backward.

Or, more fittingly, upward.

“Maybe something from the distant past, like Starfox or GoldenEye,” he suggests. “Who knows? E3 is the right venue for them to cater to the hardcore, as the entire hardcore fan base is paying attention.”

In only a few more weeks, we’ll know if Fox is back inside the cockpit. This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo will be held June 1-4.