In a bold gamble, Nintendo is focusing on only one thing for E3 2016- The Legend of Zelda.
Up until the past few events, Nintendo has always held a traditional E3 stage presentation alongside the other members of the E3 “Big Three”, Sony and Microsoft. With the launch of Nintendo Direct, Nintendo began taking pages from Konami by hosting a prerecorded special through YouTube, the official Nintendo Direct website, and through the Wii, Wii U and 3DS. The first “E3 Digital Presentation” was held during the 2014 expo; no punches were pulled, as the E3 2014 video contained gameplay trailers for Bayonetta 2, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi’s Wooly World, Hyrule Warriors and Splatoon, and gave Nintendo fans a surprise look at the new open-world Legend of Zelda title.
It’s been two years since Nintendo shocked fans with the Legend of Zelda Wii U teaser. While the not-yet-subtitled Zelda game was initially scheduled to release this year, Nintendo recently confirmed through press and investor releases that the new Legend of Zelda will now release in early 2017; the delay coincides with the confirmation that Nintendo’s new console- codenamed “Nintendo NX”- will release in March 2017, with The Legend of Zelda being a simultaneous launch-title for the NX and Wii U.
Despite a plethora of JRPGs, third-party titles and high-profile Kickstarter games releasing for the Wii U and 3DS this year, Nintendo has decided to forgo their usual E3 presence for this year’s event; Nintendo will only feature an extended playable demo of The Legend of Zelda at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, and nothing more. Though this is the first time The Legend of Zelda will be playable to a public audience, the demo will only be that of the Wii U version. Even with a new console on the horizon, Nintendo will not be discussing nor revealing anything in regards to the NX.
Fans won’t see the usual Nintendo Direct presentation this year, but rather a live broadcast featuring the Nintendo Treehouse team on Twitch, YouTube, the official Nintendo website, and through the Nintendo consoles. Falling in line with the rest of Nintendo’s E3 plan, the Nintendo Treehouse presentation will be devoted solely to The Legend of Zelda. The broadcast will be shown on June 14 at 9am PT.
Nintendo will still host a traditional private presentation for their investors and business partners, highlighting products and business plans through the 2016 Holiday season (late-October through Christmas). The business presentation will be held on June 14 between 9am-10am PT, however with past investment presentations, it’s unlikely that any details from this event will be made public.
The new The Legend of Zelda title will release for the Wii U and NX in March 2017. Nintendo remains tight-lipped about the new console, however design patents and rumors from hardware developers suggest the console will be on-par or more powerful than its competitors, feature support for 3DS games in 2D, with the controller having the ability to function as an untethered handheld of its own.