Toys to Life @ E3 – amiibo Predictions
No I didn’t forget to post this article, YOU forgot to post this article. Ahem. Well, Nintendo are in a bit of an awkward spot at this year’s E3, aren’t they? They’ve all but killed off the Wii U, but also aren’t in a position where they’re willing to start talking about their next console, the NX. From the sounds of things, their E3 appearance is more out of obligation and expectation than anything else, and so they won’t have the number of announcements that they’ve had in previous years. Nonetheless, it’s still possible for there to be some amiibo-related announcements snuck in there. With the amount of space Nintendo have booked out I’d be surprised if they didn’t have any amiibo on display. Let’s take a look at what might be to come tomorrow morning.
Smash Bros. Figures
There’s still a handful of amiibo from the Smash Bros. line that we don’t have release details for yet – Cloud, Bayonetta and Corrin. With the success of the Smash. Bros line I doubt that these remaining figures will disappear without a trace like the second wave of Super Mario amiibo did. We already know these figures are coming, so it’ll be easy for Nintendo to just sneak in a release date while playing a game on stream.
This year is the 30th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. Zelda Wii U was meant to be the big anniversary game, but it got delayed until next year. With how big this game is for Nintendo and their fans, there’s a very good chance that it will feature a new line of Zelda amiibo. Zelda is one of Nintendo’s top franchises with a memorable cast of characters that could become figurines. We’ve already got a Wolf Link amiibo from Twilight Princess HD that is confirmed to interact with Zelda Wii U in some way, so the game definitely has amiibo support. I would be very shocked if a flagship game that is effectively confirmed to support amiibo didn’t have an accompanying set of amiibo. You could argue that all the main characters have amiibo already, and thus new ones might not sell, but you could say the same of Kirby. Kirby got its own line of amiibo, where 3 of the 4 figures were variants of existing characters, and it’s fair to say that the series of games isn’t as big as Zelda. With the big focus on Zelda in the Treehouse stream, I’d definitely bet on seeing amiibo.
The Wii U release schedule is looking pretty poor at this point. I’m not expecting huge megatons from E3, but I do feel that there’ll be a game with an amiibo focus revealed to make up some of their losses with figure sales. Not a Skylanders/Disney Infinity style game, mind you – I’m thinking more along the lines of a small, eShop-exclusive game. Something akin to amiibo Festival or Mini Mario & Friends. Such a game would be easy to slip into a stream, and would draw the eyes of Nintendo fans purely for boasting amiibo focus.
Let’s be honest, most usage of amiibo in games is very minimal and tacked-on. While some games like Smash Bros. and Splatoon have significant features or content that tie in with the figures, there’s plenty of games that just use them to unlock things quicker, like customisation items in Pokken Tournament. Most of, if not all, the games that appear on the stream will use amiibo in some way, but I imagine most of them will have lacklustre usage that is only there to draw the attention of amiibo fanatics.
I was going to talk more about how I expected another Skylanders collaboration like Nintendo had last year, with DK and Bowser appearing as guest characters in the series. Nintendo still have a heap of recognisable characters that could fit in with other Skylanders, like King K. Rool, Ganondorf and Inklings. But then Sony came out and said they made a deal with Activision for timed exclusivity on a Crash Bandicoot Skylander and now I’m not so sure. It’s possible that Activision want their fingers in all the pies, but exclusivity deals are definitely less appealing when everybody gets one.
So I’m not expecting any new Skymiibo, as cool as they would be. But I don’t feel as if collaboration is off the cards entirely. Shovel Knight has set a precedent for third-party amiibo lines, and from all reports it was a successful partnership. I expect another third-party amiibo will come sooner rather than later, though I’m not confident in claiming who it will come from. One candidate worth considering is Playtonic’s upcoming Yooka-Laylee, the Kickstarted spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie. Playtonic are developing the Wii U version in-house, and the game’s Kickstarter campaign embraced its Nintendo roots with a special N64 cartridge-themed version of the game. With that in mind, I could definitely see the game launching with an amiibo of the titular pair, although I’m not convinced that Nintendo will be showcasing the game at E3.
amiibo on NX
The NX will be the elephant in the room at Nintendo’s presentation. Everyone was expecting it to be unveiled at E3, but Nintendo seem reluctant to talk about it. While it won’t be covered at E3 in detail, Ubisoft showed it’s possible to at least mention the console without meeting a grim end at the hands of Nintendo’s legal ninjas. I expect that there’ll be a brief mention that amiibo will be compatible with NX to set aside fears that all this plastic you’re purchasing this year won’t go to waste in the future.
Nintendo’s first day of Treehouse streams begins at 2am June 15th AEST. Are you expecting any new amiibo from E3? Which ones are you hoping for?