Nintendo E3 Predictions
Fox McCloud from Star Fox, KK Slider from Animal Crossing, Samus Aran from Metroid and a Mario Amiibo Nintendo

As ever in the gaming industry, Nintendo exists in a separate bubble to Sony and Microsoft. Its Wii U is not selling nearly as well as the Xbox One or PS4 but it is certainly clawing its way back, even if it is moving from being an abject failure to just a regular failure.

That is in terms of sales at least; when it comes to quality first party line-ups, the Wii U has bettered the bigger consoles consistently. Not one PS4 and Xbox One exclusive can match Super Mario 3D World or Mario Kart 8, not one. Nintendo's games have always been the sole reason to buy its console and this E3 will be about keeping its recent quality going.

In terms of what we see from Nintendo, the likely games to feature are not nearly as exciting as the beloved series that might turn up – which could well make its show the one to beat if it can supply enough surprises. It certainly did so in 2014, beating the competition with its online Nintendo Direct broadcast and live Treehouse show from LA.

What though does Nintendo have up its sleeve for E3 2015?

Let us start with the elephant in the room. The Legend Of Zelda for Wii U has been delayed until 2016, with Nintendo saying the game will not be at E3 2015. This is sad news and greatly reduces the company's line-up for 2015, much like Uncharted 4's delay has done for Sony, meaning it will be Star Fox taking its place as the big game for 2015 – at least that we know of.

There is a chance Nintendo could string a surprise Zelda trailer on us, and it would be a thoroughly welcome one, but for now we should take the company's word that the open world adventure will not be heading to E3. The game could well be shown behind closed doors, though.

Star Fox
Shigeru Miyamoto playing the new Star Fox at E3 2014 Nintendo

As for Star Fox, we really do not know much about it. Shigeru Miyamoto showed off a basic Wii U demo in 2014 (above), which was little more than a proof of concept, but at the Game Awards in December it was revealed that the game would be out before Zelda, back when Zelda was pencilled in for 2015.

We know basically nothing about the game other than it will feature space battles reminiscent of Lylat Wars on the N64, which is to be expected. A big info dump including gameplay is the minimum requirement for E3.

Mario Maker and Yoshi's Wooly World are two first party titles set for 2015. Neither looks set to spark much imagination but Mario Maker has oodles of potential and Wooly World has those darling little knitted Yoshi Amiibo. More on Nintendo's successful toy range later.

Further details regarding past games coming to the Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console seem likely and you can expect to hear more DLC plans for Super Smash Bros. Fighters are certain, hopefully some stages too. More Mario Kart DLC following the successful model already established would make perfect sense as well.

From Japan we can also expect to hear a lot more about Xenoblade Chronicles X and Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, and hopefully some firm Western release dates. Attendees at the 2014 show and subsequent directs like Art Academy, Devil's Third and Miyamoto demos Project Guard and Project Giant Robot may also appear.

So about those Amiibo. The little figures with near-field tech and applications within Wii U and 3DS games have been Nintendo's biggest triumph since the Wii and many more should be announced at E3, likely tying into future Smash Bros content, Star Fox and other unannounced games.

Quite what those unannounced games might be is really anybody's guess but there are suspected candidates and candidates more likely to appear than others. One popular suggestion is Animal Crossing on Wii U, which makes perfect sense and has huge potential for Amiibo support, a 2015 release would also help remedy the absence of Zelda.

Metroid Prime
A screenshot from Metroid Prime Nintendo

As it did a couple of years ago, speculation is rife as to what Retro Studios has been up to. The US team behind Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country Returns has not been seen since Tropical Freeze was released over a year ago. It will be working on something new and the timing is right for it to be revealed.

What could it be? Nintendo fans everywhere want to see Metroid return and Retro is the best candidate for making that happen. Five years on from the last game in the series, though, it may be time for a reboot or refresh of some kind – not necessarily another Metroid Prime.

Another North American team of Nintendo's is Next Level Games, whose last game – Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, was released over two years ago – whatever it has been working would be a good shout and, like Retro, its game could easily be on either Wii U or 3DS.

Advance Wars is another series many would love to see return but it seems less likely than Metroid or Animal Crossing. The series seems a good match for Nintendo's mobile endeavours, which we might hear more from at the show. At the very least we should see Nintendo's replacement for the Stars Catalogue, which is being made with its new mobile partner, DeNA.

No, Nintendo's next console – codenamed NX – will not appear. They've said they won't be talking about that until 2016.

Another series to throw in as a possibility is Paper Mario, which would probably be heading to Wii U if anything given it hasn't been long since Sticker Star on the 3DS.

My final big prediction for Nintendo's E3 is a fairly obvious one: Pokémon Z. Red and Blue had Yellow, Gold and Silver had Platinum, Ruby and Sapphire had Emerald, so X and Y should in theory get Z. Pokémon is sure to appear in some form and this makes sense.