E3 2017 is well and truly underway, with Microsoft, Sony and a range of third-parties having made their pitches to the gaming public. As is now standard Nintendo is saving its show for the opening of the expo, this year in the form of a 25 minute ‘Spotlight’ followed by more reveals, demonstrations and Invitational events from the Treehouse team.

Nintendo comes into its own event with a bit of pleasing momentum in its favour. Ubisoft dedicated a large part of its conference to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (with some help from Shigeru Miyamoto) and the Switch seems to be the lead platform for Starlink: Battle for Atlas. There are some question marks, too, particularly following the reveal of Monster Hunter: World for PS4, Xbox One and PC; we’ve only seen a heavily scripted opening sequence, but it looks like a Western-centric entry that adopts the larger (perhaps open) world standards of modern blockbusters. If Nintendo doesn’t have an equivalent MH announcement from Capcom (like a localisation of Monster Hunter XX) that will raise questions around the franchise on the big N’s systems (more on this below).

With the Nintendo festivities just hours away, in any case, here are five key points we expect to be covered by the Spotlight and early moments of Treehouse reveals.

There’s Something about Mario

Super Mario Odyssey won’t be carrying the show on its own to the same degree as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in 2016, but it will be a key part of Nintendo’s E3. It’s supposed to be a return to the ‘sandbox’ approach seen in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, and will no doubt be significant in scope. The January trailer (above) looked fantastic, but now we’ll see much more.

While the Treehouse will give no doubt give deep dives on gameplay, and it’ll be fascinating to see how significant this game will be to Nintendo’s Holiday plans. Should a release date be announced today we may see whether a special hardware bundle is planned, perhaps with those red / blue Joy-Con hues. Will the game support amiibo, too, and perhaps have its own range? Nintendo is hard to predict right now with its toys-to-life range, on the one hand showing it little love while announcing new figures out of the blue for some games. 

All of that said and done, a full 3D Mario game is always a hugely exciting release on Nintendo hardware. Super Mario Odyssey, after the focused and almost 2.5D approach of Super Mario 3D World, looks like a return to the series’ 3D roots; that will certainly get the blood pumping for fans of the franchise.

A Look at 2017’s Big Hitters for Nintendo Switch, and Some Surprises

Nintendo, it seems more than likely, will have at least one tasty surprise up its sleeve; that’s the norm. We think a Smash Bros. Director’s Cut looks more of a longshot due to the focus on Pokken Tournament, but beyond that most bets are off. Hideki Kamiya of PlatinumGames has been doing what he always does and teasing his Twitter followers (he hinted at ‘The Wonderful 102’, but Kamiya-san enjoys causing mischief on Twitter), and there are all sorts of theories kicking around. Perhaps there’ll be an unexpected Animal Crossing game to tie-in with the mobile app? Will we finally see the Metroid game the fans want, and something new from Retro Studios? Lots of valid theories, and it’s in not knowing that there’s a lot of anticipation (despite the ‘leaks’ that come with every E3 that are mostly nonsense).

Beyond that, though, there are a number of games for Nintendo to touch upon in its Spotlight before extended showcases by the Treehouse, all due in 2017. Fire Emblem Warriors will no doubt get an airing, with the demonstrations over the next few days likely to focus on revealing key characters. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 also springs to mind, while we shouldn’t forget the Invitational events for Pokken Tournament, ARMS (out this week!) and Splatoon 2.

In addition, expect one or two ‘out today on the eShop’ announcements. Nintendo recently did a hefty bit of network maintenance for the Switch, which could indicate preparations for specific releases or simply work to sure up the servers in anticipation of more traffic. There are various enticing theories – could the Virtual Console / GameCube get a sudden airing, perhaps Super Mario Sunshine to tap into hype around Odyssey? Perhaps more realistically, perhaps we’ll get the first content update for Breath of the Wild; we’d love a trailer for the Holiday story addition to this incredible game, too.

Importantly, not everything will happen in the Spotlight; announcements will come in the first hour of the Treehouse stream according to Reggie Fils-Aime, so we’ll need to stay tuned.

The 3DS and New 2DS XL Show The Portable Has Life in It Yet

Of course, last but not least we have the 3DS. We think Switch will be a core focus, but Nintendo will no doubt dedicate a decent amount of Treehouse time to the portable. Perhaps we’ll see some Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon gameplay, while upcoming titles like Ever Oasis and Hey! Pikmin may get a look; don’t forget, either, that Fire Emblem Warriors is also coming to New 3DS.

Nintendo will also show off the New 2DS XL, too, which is due for release at the end of July. All set to take the mid-range spot in the ‘family’ of portables, the big N will look to tie it to upcoming titles as the system to buy this Summer. Don’t forget, too, that a new Kirby title is due on 3DS this year (another one!) so that’s worth looking out for.

There you have it, some of our thoughts on reveals we might see over the coming days. The Spotlight kicks off proceedings at 9am Pacific / noon Eastern / 5pm UK / 6pm CEST, so we’ll have the usual live stream and blog to bring you all the news. See you then!

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