A couple months ago I speculated what Zelda might be like on the 3DS, but what about Nintendo’s other treasured franchises? So far Nintendo’s only announced a handful of first-party 3DS titles, those being: Ocarina of Time, Kid Icarus, StarFox 64, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, Nintendogs + Cats, PilotWings Resort, and Steel Diver. Beyond that, however, we don’t know much about what titles might be in store – whether they’re just in the planning stages or already pretty deep in development.
This got me thinking, so I came up with my own list of potential titles that I think are on the Most Likely list for 3DS. Some of them are no-brainers; others might surprise you. Jump inside to see, but be warned: this is all good-ol’ speculation, meant purely as a talking point.
As I pondered what I would include in my forecast, I discovered an amusing trend: a number of the already-announced 3DS titles seem to be the “third” entry in their particular series. We’ve got Kid Icarus: Uprising, Paper Mario (if you count only the turn-based iterations), Mega Man Legends 3, and a rumor suggesting that Kingdom Hearts 3D might be part of the Kingdom Hearts III story arc. What better way to start off my guesswork by looking at the other franchises (and subseries) that have only had two installments so far?
Super Mario Galaxy instantly came to mind. While it’s hard to imagine a Galaxy game without the Wii’s motion and pointer controls, we know that the 3DS has the touch screen and an accelerometer of its own. Given the reasonable success of the previous Galaxy games, a third entry might be a perfect fit for 3D Mario on the new handheld. We can’t leave 2D Mario out of the equation, though, and as it turns out the New Super Mario Bros. series is screaming for its own third game that would be right at home on 3DS.
I have a bit of a hunch that the third “version” expansion to the Pokémon Black & White subseries (okay, so it’s not confirmed, but we all know it’s coming) may also be on 3DS, due to The Pokémon Company’s supposed priority access to 3DS development kits. This could simply mean that there’ll be a head start on an original 3DS Pokémon game, but spreading the series to multiple DS platforms could help boost sales since most expansion versions tend – not surprisingly – to experience a noteworthy decline. Maybe this is just my own wishful thinking for 3D battle effects that we don’t have to wait a few years to see… Either way, we know a 3DS Pokémon is coming.
What I propose next may surprise you – what if the long-awaited Pikmin 3 actually turns out as a 3DS title? Think about it – touch screen functionality and 3D rendering would both enhance the Pikmin experience in ways that Wii control alone cannot. Players could pivot the camera and aim Pikmin using the touch screen while controlling their character with the Slide Pad, and the 3D effect could help gauge the orientation of objects on-screen. A 3DS release might also explain the drought of information we’ve suffered on the title over the last several years.
Aside from these guesses, it’s really just shots in the dark, although Nintendo’s redoubled focus on classic-styled games gives us a place to start. More side-scrolling titles like Donkey Kong Country, Kirby, and perhaps even Metroid are pretty likely, as are a new successor to the StarFox series to follow the 64 version’s remake and a 3DS Mario Party update. Speaking of remakes and updates, I’m still holding out for newer versions of Majora’s Mask and Donkey Kong 64. (As long as they don’t come at the expense of original titles!)
In the end, though, we’ll probably have to wait at least until the 3DS hits the streets this spring to find out more about the projected release calendar, and it’s sure to take the center-stage at this year’s E3. But just in case Nintendo is listening…let’s get crackin’ on that 3DS Mario Galaxy, shall we?