The last of the 'big three' press conferences is almost upon us. Set to deliver where last year's E3 confused Wii U announcement did not, Nintendo has to come onto the E3 2012 stage with purpose, a demonstrable intelligence for its audience and, most importantly, with a desire to entertain from the get go.
As with our coverage of the Microsoft and Sony press conferences yesterday evening and early this morning, we'll once again be showing the Nintendo conference live just below. The keynote begins at 17:00 GMT so be sure to keep your screen trained to New Rising Media for the entirety. We'll be live-tweeting the entire event with the hash-tag #NintendoE3, and you can also join in the conversation below.
Nintendo needs to place a firm focus on the Wii U from the very first second of its 2012 conference. Last year was more or less an embarrassment for the company that has until now done wonders in presenting new hardware with an understanding of what its audience wants, and along with that delivering enough showiness and glamour to really capture the limelight. E3 2011 was an example of how not to reveal your next-generation console, with many of those watching at the time (including ourselves) a little confused as to what the Wii U actually was.
Turn the clock back a little further instead to the introduction of the Wii and it's easy to see why we all became utterly spellbound by the machine. The innovation and uniqueness of its motion control was at the time fascinating, and it'll be telling if the company can match that same feeling with the Wii U.
A 'pro', dual-analogue gaming controller for the console has already been revealed before the main conference in a pre-E3 video released direct from the company and introduced by Satoru Iwata, ensuring Nintendo's next-gen console will be a better fit for core gamers. Iwata, too, went on to introduce “Miiverse”, a kind of Wii U social network for players that will likely garner more screen time in the main event.
With Nintendo's president promising a presentation dedicated “almost entirely” on games for Wii U, you better believe the company has a whole bunch of in-house, third-party and cross-platform titles lined up to show; some entirely new, others rumoured or loved classics. Picking up from where last year's event left off, Nintendo needs to be able to demonstrate it has a strong catalogue of third-party titles coming the way of its next-generation machine, what with Wii's motion controller working against it entirely in the long-run of this generation, where established cross-platform titles struggled to find a home on the best-selling console of the same few years. Assassin's Creed, Call Of Duty, Battlefield, FIFA, Splinter Cell... Whichever titles are coming, the Wii U needs to be able to accommodate them. With the pro controller and signs of strong support from the company behind the console – the Wii U has been confirmed to be backwards compatible with the Wii - it looks to be shaping up well.
Nintendo being Nintendo, E3 2012 will undoubtedly bring with it some of the company's favourite characters. A new Mario game wouldn't be a huge surprise, while a new Zelda is already in the works so a hint towards the project from the design team behind it would also make sense. Pikmin 3, meanwhile, is guaranteed to be shown off after a confirmation earlier in the year by Shigeru Miyamoto – the game was revealed to be in production by Miyamoto as far back as 2008, so it's about time – and last year's reveal of Luigi's Mansion for the 3DS will likely bear fruit this with a public showing. Don't put it past them to bring back Metroid, either.
The 3DS will quite rightly be a supporting role in this year's conference, with Nintendo instead ready to pump as much hype into the Wii U as possible. Still, the 3D handheld that has done favourably when compared to its predecessor, the DS, will likely not be entirely written off by Nintendo in this year's plans, so expect something to come its way. Nintendo, it's over to you.