Bring ’em on; Infendo’s most anticipated Nintendo games for E3 2008

Dressed head-to-toe in glittering red, white and blue attire and rich with the overpowering scent of freedom and grilled hot dogs, July refuses to arrive quietly.

Forget flipping the calendar page. July kicks down the door, blares Lynyrd Skynyrd records and sets off dangerous fireworks in crowded residential neighborhoods.

July is so champ, even E3 wanted to be a part of it this year. The games industry’s annual media spectacle is two weeks away, and with their plates emptied, hungry Nintendo fans are awaiting sustenance.

Rumors are abound, and because roughly 73 Wii owners seem to care about third parties anymore, the focus will be on Nintendo at E3. We have gathered five of the most highly anticipated and most likely game announcements Nintendo may have in store for E3.

05. Donkey Kong Wii
Video game characters cannot get more star power than Donkey Kong; he is an iconic mascot synonymous with the medium itself.

His efforts have faltered over the last decade, proving even the best characters cannot prosper without the proper environment. But if recent rumors and mumblings are true, Nintendo is ready to provide its banana-loving ape with exactly that.

A new, full-scale 2D Donkey Kong platformer would be the right move for the franchise, and it would also demand relatively little development effort from Nintendo.

After all, the blueprint already exists. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat was one of Nintendo’s best and prettiest GameCube titles, but thanks to the console’s unpopularity and the game’s reliance on a gimmicky peripheral, it went virtually unnoticed. The Wii, however, solves both problems entirely; the standard controller is the gimmicky peripheral, and the console happens to be the industry’s hottest.

By building from the Jungle Beat engine, adding more familiar Donkey Kong Country elements, polishing it with the typical Miyamoto shine and engaging in smart promotion, a new Donkey Kong game could be a very strong performer for Nintendo this holiday and would revitalize one of the company’s most historic franchises.

04. New Super Mario Bros. 2
As with Donkey Kong, file a sequel to New Super Mario Bros. under the “look how little you’d have to do to make us happy” category.

Only Nintendogs and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have sold more copies worldwide on the Nintendo DS than New Super Mario Bros. In fact, it has outsold the worldwide sales totals of Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Sunshine combined.

Alright, Nintendo, let’s assess the situation, shall we? Barring any arguments from the assembly, the evidence seems to suggest people enjoy Mario’s 2D adventures, and given the nature of these games, a sequel wouldn’t necessarily need to be very different from the first. Honestly, I would prefer it didn’t stray from the formula.

Just give us a new Mario game with new levels. That’s all we want. Seriously. Don’t think too deeply about this one. Bowser kidnaps the Princess? Terrific. Mario collects coins and fire flowers? Awesome. He runs from left to right and stomps on Goombas and Koopa Troopas for eight worlds of pure platforming goodness? You’ve taken my breath away, not to mention the $34.99 tucked in my wallet.

Miyamoto could create a New Super Mario Bros. sequel in his sleep, I’d wager, and it would be a guaranteed multimillion seller.

03. Pikmin 3
Motion control and pointer functionality are great, but perhaps the Wii’s most endearing quality is the ease with which it can inspire.

The minute a person picks up the Wii Remote for the first time, s/he suddenly becomes an enthusiastic video game designer. “Imagine this,” they might say, or “Nintendo should totally do this,” they proclaim. Think about Nintendo’s first Wii trailer; it caused the Internet to spill over with ideas and enthusiasm from even the most hardened gamers.

Few Nintendo characters could capitalize on that magic and excitement better than Captain Olimar and his tiny Pikmin.

The established Pikmin gameplay formula seems to lend itself seamlessly to motion control and, most importantly, IR functionality. Moving through lush, garden-like “distant planets” would be silky smooth, and controlling hordes of Pikmin with the Wii Remote would be easier than ever before. Nintendo seems to be aware of the potential, too; in a July 2007 interview with IGN, series creator Shigeru Miyamoto hinted at his intentions for the series:

“I certainly don’t think we’ve seen the last of Pikmin. I definitely would like to do something with them, and I think the Wii interface in particular is very well suited to that franchise.”

Pikmin 3 has every chance to not only be one of the Wii’s most magical games, but also one of its most popular. Nintendo is sitting on an absolute blockbuster. It only needs to make it happen.

02. The Legend of Zelda Wii
We can’t say a whole lot on the matter, but as Blake mentioned in the last episode of Infendo Radio, sources close to Infendo suggest Nintendo may reveal a new Legend of Zelda title for Wii at E3.

But what about the details? Is Nintendo working on another Zelda epic using the Twilight Princess engine, or will they deliver on their promise of changing the series? During a 2005 interview on a Japanese radio show, Shigeru Miyamoto claimed Twilight Princess would be “the last Zelda game as (we) know it in its present form.”

Unfortunately, we just don’t know.

But one thing is for sure. That cadre of fools calling Twilight Princess a “let down” has at least two weeks to play through the entire game and discover how incorrect that assessment is before getting hyped for Link’s next quest, whatever — and whenever — it may be.

01. Kid Icarus Wii
Remember this January post about Kid Icarus coming to Wii? I found it while digging through old articles at Infendo HQ this afternoon.

Buried beneath some dusty game manuals in the closet, I also found an ancient crystal ball, of all things, and…wait, what’s this?

I see a large, intimidating man named Reggie Fils-Aime. He seems to possess a great deal of prominence and brawn. Mounted on a large, empty stage, he is speaking to a massive audience filled with geeks and otaku. They seem to be complaining about something called “storage space.” Reggie threatens them with pain.

Suddenly, he stops. His menacing eyes peer stage left, and with a swift wave of his powerful arm, he introduces a much smaller man. This person calls himself Julian Eggebrecht, and though his accent is difficult to decipher, he seems quite enthusiastic about something.

A screen suddenly illuminates behind him, showcasing a young angel triumphantly soaring through beautifully detailed heavens. Armed with a powerful sacred bow, he fires at enemies and skips across the clouds…with nary a drop in frame rate.

The crowd erupts, and Reggie cackles a spine-tingling, blood-curdling cackle. The ball has grown dim. That is all I can see.

I would recommend taking note of what just transpired. I may not be psychic, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.