Nintendo released a new Nintendo Direct video this morning, and since it was focused on the Wii U, I couldn’t really get my panties in a bunch about them not mentioning Animal Crossing: New Leaf. There was some really good stuff teased, including some really high-profile game announcements. Shame that the release dates are likely to be 2014 or 2015!
It would seem that Nintendo is going to finally address the slow loading times with the planned system updates in spring and summer. So hopefully it won’t take as long to boot up games and return to the Wii U menu in the future. I also like the idea of being able to browse Miiverse from my smartphone. (Browser only to start, with a dedicated app on the way) And while it’s cool that they’re launching a version of the Virtual Console for the Wii U eShop, I wasn’t thrilled about having to redownload games again. Technically, you don’t have to, because you can still play them from the Wii menu, but if you don’t want to go through those extra steps, you’ll be able to rebuy any game you’ve ported over from your Wii Virtual Console Library for the discounted price of $1 (for NES) or $1.50 (for SNES). So that takes a little bit of the sting out of it.
Also, 2013 is the 30th anniversary of the Famicom, so to celebrate, they’re making one NES or SNES game available each month starting now through July at a special price of 30 cents for just 30 days. The prices will return to normal after that. Although the Virtual Console isn’t technically launching until the spring system update, the 30th anniversary celebration starts today with the NES classic Balloon Fight now available in the eShop for just three thin dimes. (Well, virtual ones, anyway!) Over the next months, you can get F-Zero (Feb), Punch Out! (Mar), Kirby’s Adventure (April), Super Metroid (May), Yoshi (Jun) and Donkey Kong (Jul). And for 30 cents each, why wouldn’t you buy them all?
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata admitted that there wouldn’t be any first-party games released for the Wii U in January or February because while they want to release a steady stream of games to support a new console, they also want to make sure that the games are as good as possible. So… apologies, but you’re going to have to wait a bit longer. But there are games on the way, including The Wonderful 101, which they showed more footage of and it still looks pretty cool. There was some teaser footage of Bayonetta 2, but it’s so early in development it was literally just programmers sitting at their desks and showing off wireframe models and limited character animations. Naturally, they’re working on a new Mario 3D adventure (from the team that brought you the Super Mario Galaxy series as well as Super Mario 3D Land), and of course another Mario Kart. Nothing was shown of either of these games, but Iwata claims they will be playable at E3 in the spring.
Then there was footage of a new Wii Party game, which looks like it’s going to be extremely creative with using the GamePad. One of the games in the footage looked like people playing a variation on Twister with the buttons on three separate Wiimotes and the GamePad, their arms all twisting around each other. Also, some mini-games will use just the GamePad, like the foosball game where two people held opposite ends of the GamePad to play. It looks like a lot of fun. Also, the makers of Kirby’s Epic Yarn are bringing the same unique graphical style to the Wii U (with a different character) in Yarn Yoshi. It looks really stunning in HD.
There was a teaser of a new game that Atlus is working on that is a crossover between Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem. Literally just the names of the games and some group cast illustrations. They had nothing else to show, but I imagine that for the legions of fans of these titles, that might be enough for now!
It’s no surprise that Nintendo is working on a new Zelda game for the Wii U. And it’s also no surprise that it’s so early that they can’t show anything. All they can do is talk about how they’re trying to “rethink the conventions” of the series, such as completing dungeons in a specific order or playing by yourself. (Multiplayer Zelda? Color me intrigued…) But what was a surprise is that while tinkering with the graphical style for the new game, they revisited Wind Waker, and are now going to make the wait for a new Zelda game a little easier by re-releasing Wind Waker on the Wii U with a full HD graphical overhaul! It looks spectacular, even if it’s not exactly cel-shaded anymore. Wind Waker is still my favorite Zelda game, so I’m excited to revisit it this fall. (Also excited that it will be playable on the GamePad, so I don’t have to worry about hogging the TV while I play it constantly!)
There was one last game that Iwata presented, and it’s a new game from Monolith Soft, the team behind Xenoblade for the Wii. The game footage looks utterly spectacular, and this time, you can climb into mechs for battle, too! Unfortunately, the really awesome games mentioned here aren’t going to be out for quite some time, but there will still be plenty to play in the meantime, and it bodes well for the future of the Wii U! And if you want to see the footage of these games yourself, I’ve posted the presentation below! Enjoy!