Okay, all you really need to know about today’s Nintendo Direct video announcement was that they finally revealed a firm North American release date for Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
Although, if you really want to know what else was covered, you can make the jump and I’ll run it all down for you. (And include the video itself if you want to see any of it for yourself)
Host Satoru Iwata was accessorizing his suit with a Luigi cap because 2013 is apparently the “Year of Luigi.” Except that it’s really just Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. All the other titles stick him in his supporting role as usual.
Shigeru Miyamoto himself actually made a rare first appearance in a Nintendo Direct to talk (through a translated voiceover) about Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. The graphics look terrific, with impressive lighting effects, and the puzzles are appreciated. But the combat seems a little complicated, and I recall playing a demo of it a couple years ago at E3 that left me with the same impression. There’s also multiplayer co-op where you and up to three people can work your way up through a tower of ghosts. It also supports online play as well as local, which is a welcome addition.
There’s another Mario & Luigi adventure RPG on the way, subtitled Dream Team because Luigi’s dreams are the setting of the game. Of course, Mario’s name still comes first! The dream would could be kind of a cool backdrop for the action, though. We’ll find out this summer. Mario Golf World Tour looks pretty nice, too, and the fields ought to be cool in 3D. That’ll be out this summer, too. Luigi is also second-best with the release of the New Super Luigi U DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U on the Wii U eShop. Still, it’s said to be an expansive adventure for Luigi, and should be out sometime this year.
Tying Luigi into Link is kind of an awkward transition, but it lets them segue into a Zelda announcement. No, there’s no new games being announced — they did that last time — but they’re creating a Miiverse community for the Wii U dedicated to the Zelda series. This is a first, because typically, Nintendo only launches the communities when a game is released. But they realize everyone loves the Zelda series and wants to post about it, so they’re giving it its own community even before there’s a game.
Then Nintendo swapped hosts as they talked at great length about Fire Emblem Awakening and all the DLC. There’s free DLC out now that’s going to start to cost you soon, and then there’s lots more on the horizon. They go into great detail about each one and how much it costs and what it contains. Just check the video.
Because the most important announcement was stuck away right in the middle of everything: Animal Crossing: New Leaf launches in North America on June 9. That’s just 115 days from today! (I may have installed a calendar countdown widget on my phone’s home screen — don’t judge me!) There wasn’t really a whole lot of new information revealed, although I found myself strangely excited about the fact that you can choose to build your house anywhere, and not in a handful of pre-determined locations. It’s a bit sad that you arrive as the new Mayor, though. I was kind of hoping there’d be an election.
They’re also tying Animal Crossing into Style Savvy: Trendsetters because they’re actually releasing a Gracie Grace line of clothing in the game! Which is so clever and awesome I almost can’t stand it. There are also more download fashions on the horizons, including one from a Japanese doll like called Liz Lisa or something. I don’t know. I’ve never heard of it.
Then it’s over to the Wii U, where they showed some new footage of LEGO City Undercover, but didn’t really say much more about it we didn’t already know. That’s still scheduled for March 18. And on April 21, you can play the 3DS prequel The Chase Begins (Get it? Because his name is Chase?) set in the same world but with a totally different story. This will naturally force me to play both of them.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge just got an update that featured new characters, and later this month will get another free update that features new costumes and missions. Free is always good!
That Google Maps Street View app called Wii Street U is now available in the eShop, and it will be free for a limited time. So snatch it up now, because as nifty as it looks, I can’t imagine that it would be worth paying for.
Then they announced some 3DS eShop games starting with HarmoKnight, a musical platformer. You jump and attack in time with the music… like the Pokémon theme tune. That’ll be out on March 28 with a demo on March 14 if you want to try before you buy. Kersploosh not only has a great title, but as you’re controlling a stone to avoid obstacles as it plummets down a well, it should make good use of the 3D effect. That’s out on March 7. Mario And Donkey Kong Minis on the Move will be in the eShop “soon” with lots of puzzles and mini-games. Dylan’s Rolling Western: The Last Ranger is a sequel to the action tower defense game with new wrinkles and gameplay elements that will be out April 11. Natsume’s Harvest Moon and Legend of the River King are coming to the Virtual Console “in the coming months.”
The Wii U eShop has less to announce, though. Basically nothing. Well, except that they finally launched that promotion that lets you get 10% points in credit back on any digital games you buy. Just go to ddp.nintendo.com to set up your account and track your points.
Moving on to third-party games, they mentioned the Zombi U bundle that we already reported on. Also some sequels: BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, Zen Pinball 2 (a free download with trial tables — you’ll only pay for the full table), and Toki Tori 2. Over on the 3DS, you can look forward to Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate on March 5 (although I’m not sure how I feel about the cel-shaded graphic style). Capcom will release Monster Hunter 3 for Wii U and 3DS on March 19, and there’s even connectivity between the systems. You can play cross-platform with each other, and even continue your Wii U hunt on your 3DS when you go out. I’ve actually never played a Monster Hunter game, but they’re so popular, I may have to download the demo on February 21 to see what all the fuss is about. March 19 is Need for Speed Most Wanted U, with touchscreen controls to enhance your racing experience. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is coming March 26, but no way can the FPS measure up to the adventure game. The DC Comics fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us is due April 16, and the footage just reminded me how much I hate the costume designs. I do appreciate that some of these games are specifically mentioned as having the off-TV GamePad screen play. It’s a great feature I hope more games use. Oh, and Disney Infinity showed off some more footage, and it looks neat, but I don’t know how I feel about games that make you buy little toys.
At the end, Reggie was standing in the Nintendo World Store to close things up, and I loved the moment where Luigi comes out behind him and then slinks away in shame when Reggie says they’re not done yet. Although I don’t really get Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D as a big grand finale. Is it really that big of a deal that they’re rebuilding the game in 3D for the 3DS? Maybe I’ll check out the 3D video they put in the eShop to see what all the fuss is about.
The full video of the Nintendo Direct is below, so feel free to check it out, especially if you want to see footage of some of the games I mentioned. There are a few things I’m excited for, but honestly, it all pales in the shadow of Animal Crossing!