Weeks of incessant speculation can now come to an end. Nintendo revealed their big surprise, and it wasn’t what most people were expecting. The “Wii U” will be Nintendo’s next step in creating a new generation of games that stress the idea of “cross-platform.” But is the controller/console what gamers wanted? Shigeru Iwata himself stated during the conference that the company has not had a console that appeals to all gamers. With the Wii U however, they hope to expand to a wider demographic of gamers and provide deeper game experiences. Here is a list of the announcements made:
Zelda 25th Anniversary
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – The classic Gameboy title is available in the 3DS store today.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS – This has been highly-anticipated for quite some time. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more gameplay in the upcoming days.
Legend of Zelda: Four Swords – The game will feature 4 player co-op and will be a free download for Nintendo DSi owners.
Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword – Will feature Wii motion plus support and will release this holiday season. A special gold Wii remote will also be available at launch which mirrors Link’s sword. Additionally, a free soundtrack of Ocarina of Time songs will be given for the first players to register the game first with Club Nintendo.
Mario Cart – car customization will be a new and definitely welcomed addition to the franchise.
Star Fox 64: 3D – The game will have motion control similar to the Playstation’s “six-axis” as players will be able to turn the system to control the starship.
Super Mario 3D – Nintendo simply cannot go a year without a Mario title.
Kid Icarus: Uprising – This game generated a lot of buzz at last year’s E3, and the trailer shown today had a lot of good-looking gameplay. The game will also feature a multiplayer mode where a team of 3 must defeat the team’s “angel.”
Luigi’s Mansion 2 – The Gamecube classic is back on the 3DS with several new mansions to be explored.
– From a video detailing the games currently in production for the 3DS, we were able to see two Resident Evil games, a Driver spin-off, Teken, Ace Combat, and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
“Virtual Console” service – a service that will allow players to download classic games that appeared on Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and even older Nintendo console systems like the NES. It was also announced that Excitebike is to be given away for free to 3DS owners via the service.
Pokedex 3D – A free app available for players that have enabled the 3DS update. The goal of the game will be to register all of the Pokemon, and you’ll also be able to upload your registered Pokemon to real world backdrops and pictures.
– Well folks, here it is. This is the one E3 announcement that was supposed to knock our socks off. The technology behind it is fascinating, though we won’t see much of it in action. The Wii U will be backwards compatible with the Wii and with it, you’ll be able to play games on the TV or just on the controller itself. The console will feature a 6.2 inch touchscreen, 2 circle pads and touch pads, a camera, microphone, speakers, and 4 shoulder buttons. It will have the ability to make video calls and share videos from the controller directly to the TV. The most interesting feature by far will be the ability to get new views and perspectives while playing games. For example, the trailer shows a golf demo in which the player puts the Wii U on the ground. The golf ball appears on the Wii U surrounded by sand. The player then uses the Wii remote to tee off and the ball travels virtually from the Wii U to the TV where you will see the ball fly and then land. Pretty cool. Here are some images of the controller and the console, respectively:
Wii U games currently in development:
- Darksiders 2
- Batman: Arkham City
- Assassin’s Creed
- Lego City Stories
- Ghost Recon Online
- Aliens: Colonial Marines
- Metro: Last Light
- Ninja Gaiden 3: Razer’s Edge
- Battlefield 3
– A Super Mario Smash Bros. game was also announced for the 3DS and Wii U but not yet detailed. It was said that players will be able to connect gameplay on the two systems in some way.
Verdict – B+
This one is very tough to call, but in my mind Nintendo’s press conference fell just short of Sony’s. The number of 3DS titles announced were great. Some of the most beloved franchises like Star Fox and Mario are clearly still getting the center of focus at Nintendo’s studios. However, that very concept is becoming increasingly hackneyed. Nintendo is unquestionably the leader when it comes to innovation in the gaming industry. They make timeless classics that stand the test of time by updating them in unique and creative ways. But really, how long must we play the same franchises year after year and when will it be time to create new characters and introduce them to the Nintendo family? Also, Wii owners were essentially told today that the system has already reached the end of its lifespan. No new announcements regarding Wii titles and the company are already focusing on the word every console fears: backwards-compatibility, which basically means people will be playing its games on a newer, better system. The Wii U really has endless possibility though, and the demos we were shown only verify that Nintendo is constantly innovating this industry. My only issue was that Nintendo doesn’t have any actual games to show off yet, only interactive demos to showcase the console’s capabilities. It seems to me like the company unveiled it a little bit too early. What will help to attract the more “hardcore” gamers though, are the arrivals of some of the biggest titles from some of the biggest developers. With names like EA Sports and Battlefield 3 on board, it will certainly be interesting to see how they utilize the new technology and capabilities of the Wii U. Whether or not it will strike a chord with gamers will be what determines whether the Wii U has as short a lifespan as certain previous Nintendo consoles.