It'sa the future. Wahoo!
2015, eh? Eh? Nah, me neither. But a new year undoubtedly brings an air of optimism, fresh starts and good intentions. At least for those irritating people who don't seem phased by the existence of 7am. Nintendo, however, have every reason to be optimistic about 2015. The release of a new version of 3DS in the West, some decent momentum in sales after the release of Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 8, and a new Zelda game on the horizon.
But what surprises will the year bring? I've taken a long hard look into the nearest crystal cliche, and come up with a list of 10 bold predictions about the year. Call them educated guesses if you will. Don't forget, I got 5/10 of my Microsoft ones right last year, so the chances are that at least five of the following will actually happen. Imagine that. Here we go then...
1. A new Metroid game will be announced at E3
Retro Studios doesn't appear to be working on anything at the moment. Which is why they're definitely working on something at the moment. Something secret. Something that can curl up into a ball. And scan stuff to within an inch of its life. Metroid.
Given that Metroid Prime on Gamecube is still one of the most beautiful games ever made, the prospect of seeing the series return to glory on Wii U in HD is too much for the human mind to comprehend. Imagine the sights. The sounds. Imagine the applause when it gets unveiled at E3. I say it will.
2. Nintendo will actually do an E3 stage presentation this year
I'm bored of Nintendo Directs. The safely pre-recorded format is great if you just want to see products, but where's the atmosphere? Where's Miyamoto coming out on stage brandishing the Master Sword? Exactly. Nintendo knows the need to reconnect with its core fanbase because the fickle mass-market sucked the Wii sweet dry and and moved onto other things.
So, bucking the trend of recent years, I say Nintendo will do an E3 stage presentation. Full of set pieces designed to be turned into memes. A dangerous game, but I think they can do it. Maybe a holographic Mario will come and stomp on live-action Reggie.
3. Nintendo will announce a wearable fitness product at E3
At the time of writing, I'd say 90% of all New Year's Resolutions to exercise more and eat less have turned into exercise less and eat more. But if Nintendo announces a new fitness machine this year and gets it out in time for Christmas, it will be able to catch next year's rush of good intention.
The company has suggested that some kind of sleep/fatigue monitoring device is in the works, but that it isn't a wearable product. I think that's a bluff to disguise a second product. I say some form of Nintendo-branded wearable technology will be shown at E3 and will go on sale in November.
4. But there won't be any new-gen hardware shown at all this year
There will not be a new Nintendo handheld or console shown off this year, even though 3DS itself arguably feels like it's started to wind down already. Even though DS enjoyed 7 years as the primary Nintendo handheld before being succeeded and the slightly-upgraded (and fiendishly cleverly named) 'New 3DS' should sufficiently refresh interest in the console for a year or so more.
And even if it doesn't, I don't see how any Nintendo plan would involve releasing a new - and watch out because I'm about to use some ultra-sexy language here - SKU and then instantly rendering it obsolete with the announcement of a new generation machine. This year will be all about 'New 3DS', not the next 3DS. And Wii U is probably here for at least another two years before we get another console from Nintendo.
5. An online Wii U Pokemon game will be shown
Pokemon has been a handheld adventure forever. Sure, we've had loads of spinoffs and Stadium games on Nintendo's home consoles through the years, but none have offered that core, wonderful, full-fat Pokemon adventure experience. I say this is the year we'll see it. And it'll be online.
Sadly, the days of any home console game offering cel-shaded visuals to replicate the official Pokemon Anime and its characters are long gone. The games seem content to offer that slightly different art style that came in around the time of Black & White. So I think the Wii U game will look like that. But there won't be two versions at launch. Just the one. And the problem of foul language in communication will be solved with preset phrases.
6. Splatoon will be a commercial flop
Everybody keeps saying how much they want to see a new Nintendo IP. Yes, I'm using all of the sexy business words today, I know. "Ooh yeah, try to get a new SKU out of that IP. I love it when your quarter one financials take a 300% upturn." Er... what was I saying? Ah yes...
Nintendo loves to plunder its own back catalogue. But it's done that so well for so long, anything new just feels out of place. Splatoon is new. Splatoon feels out of place. And even though the game probably plays superbly (the concept of using paint to control territory is very clever), I just don't think it'll be appealing enough to hit the top of the All-Formats charts.
7. There will be a new, 500GB model of Wii U shown off at E3
Despite a decent end to 2014, Nintendo still needs to make more money from Wii U and that means a redesign is due. Even without the financial pressures of having a machine on the market that doesn't actually print money like its predecessor did, the White version isn't really viable for anyone who actually plans to use the machine. 8GBs of hard drive space is ludicrous in space year 2015. They don't even sell iPhones that small any more.
So you're left with the Black Wii U. And even its 32GB version is tiny. I think you can just about store Bayonetta 2 on it and then you're done. External USB storage is an option, but let's face it, a 500GB Wii U is much more likely. And it'll have different colours. And a sunroof. OK, possibly not a sunroof.
8. Reggie Fils-Aime will leave Nintendo
Honestly, I am surprised that Reggie has been President of America for so long. Erm... I mean 'chief operating officer of Nintendo of America'. Same thing. Mind you, I think he would make a strong presidential candidate. Not that my prediction is that he'll run for the White House. No, he'll probably leave and be the CEO of some massive company. Or maybe take up professional wrestling in the WWE. That would be amazing.
But in all seriousness, I predict that Reggie will leave Nintendo before the year is out. If he hasn't finished kicking asses and taking all the names, then I'd argue completing that task isn't likely now. And if he has... then his work is done. Time for a new challenge.
9. Shigeru Miyamoto will try to retire, but get frozen in Carbonite
Genius game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, is a lovely man. And even though he clearly loves his work, he has started suggesting that someone will have to take over his work at some point. He is 62 years old, after all. And he must be longing to retire to his allotment and tend to his Pikmin and piranha plants.
So I predict Miyamoto will tender his resignation this year, only for Nintendo to freeze him in Carbonite to stop him getting away. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. When a new Nintendo machine and a killer app to sell it is needed, the Carbonite can be unfrozen and Miyamoto can continue his work. Until he remembers he wants to leave and the whole messy process begins again.
10. The Legend of Zelda on Wii U WILL be released in 2015
Cynical people everywhere say that Zelda will slip. I say it won't. Nintendo needs more than simple the promise of great games in the future. It needs them now. So the 2015 release date for the new Legend of Zelda will become less pencilly, and more pen-y, until it's written so hard in our diaries, the paper can't cope any more and we und up with the world 'Zelda' written on every page from November to the New Year.
What if the game is so big it needs more time? More staff will be allocated to it. So says I. I believe Wii U Zelda will happen in 2015. Which probably means it absolutely definitely won't. Sigh.
What do you think will happen?
Maybe you don't think Nintendo has seen Star Wars. Maybe you have more faith in Splatoon. Maybe you'll sign in and post a comment stating your prediction. Maybe you will - maybe you won't. How should I know? I can't see the freakin' future...
And if you're looking for more, check out We made 10 bold Nintendo predictions for 2014. How did we do? and We made 10 bold Sony predictions for 2014. How did we do?