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Nintendo at E3 2016 – everything you need to know

Zelda leads the day, but what about the NX?

Nintendo is about to have a very interesting E3 – and whether that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen.

Granted, Nintendo has been gradually pulling away from the usual E3 routine over the last few years, ditching the massive live press conference in favor of annual live stream video events that have been widely well-received by fans. That’s happening again this year.

But as for the company’s actual show floor presence, it’ll be The Legend of Zelda… and potentially little else. Seriously! Nintendo has three booths worth of Zelda demo stations planned, which is great news for Zelda die-hards but not the best sign that Nintendo has a lot more coming for the Wii U‘s golden days.

And what of the Nintendo NX console that is reportedly releasing early next year? Like we said, it’s going to be interesting – and here’s what we know so far.

Zelda. Zelda? Zelda!

Zelda. Zelda? Zelda!

The Legend of Zelda has been by far the most anticipated Wii U game since Super Smash Bros. released in late 2014, and the release has continued slipping off into the future. It was originally supposed to release last year, and then in April, Nintendo pushed it into 2017.

Luckily, if you’re excited about Zelda, it’s closer than ever: Nintendo will have wall-to-wall demos available at E3, letting attendees have a romp around the gorgeous-looking open world and get a taste for what is likely the Wii U’s final significant release.

For some fans, it’ll be the game that satisfies that potentially questionable console purchase, so it’s a very big deal. However, The Legend of Zelda is also supposed to release on the NX at the same time as Wii U, and that version reportedly won’t be on display.

No NX? Really?

No NX? Really?

In fact, the Nintendo NX reportedly won’t be at E3 at all – which seems totally bonkers. Nintendo says that its next console, which will sport a brand new gameplay approach and not be a direct Wii U successor (that’s a faked controller mock-up above, by the way), will release worldwide in March 2017. That’s nine months away, and we haven’t seen the thing yet.

Why would Nintendo pass up a chance to debut its next big thing at the industry’s biggest annual event? One possibility is that the console isn’t quite ready to be shown: a rumour last week claimed that Nintendo was pushing back production to accommodate some level of VR support, which would put that March 2017 release target in serious doubt.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Nintendo is setting us up for a huge surprise, which would be absolutely delightful. The Wii U, like every other Nintendo console, has had some truly wonderful games – it just wasn’t very appealing hardware, or widely supported by other developers.

We’d love to see Nintendo bounce back with a better concept and win back the support of third-party creators, but the company swears we’re not seeing the NX next week. What a shame, if true.

What else?

While The Legend of Zelda might have Nintendo’s only presence on the show floor, the company plans to showcase Pokémon Sun and Moon, as well. The Nintendo 3DS duo, which release on Europe on 23 November, will get time in Nintendo’s live stream event on Tuesday, 14 June – it airs at 5pm London time.

Nintendo’s Treehouse: Live streams will continue into day two and spotlight a couple of third-party games for Nintendo platforms, including Monster Hunter Generations, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. There will also be a Q&A on Pokémon Go for Android and iOS.

Paper Mario: Color Splash for Wii U and Metroid Prime: Federation Force for Nintendo 3DS are both on Nintendo’s release schedule for this year as well, but curiously, neither is mentioned in its E3 schedule.

As for anything else, Nintendo is staying mum for now – which means either the company really is taking E3 2016 super easy, or it has big, big surprises in store. We’re hoping for the latter but are resigned to believe it’s the former.

If true, it could be an incredibly quiet rest of 2016 as Nintendo gears up for the NX launch and release, but hopefully the downtime results in a better next generation ahead for Nintendo fans.