Early this morning, Nintendo held yet another Nintendo Direct event. I love the excitement these events generate from the sheer mystery of what will be announced… Anyway, the focus was on the Wii U and there were some big announcements regarding the system itself and future titles. Thus, this wrap-up will be divided accordingly.
Wii U Improvements
A few updates are coming to Nintendo’s newest console this Spring and Summer:
- Games will launch faster.
- Faster Wii U menu load times. I spent some time with the system recently and this will be a very welcomed addition.
- Virtual Console support confirmed for the Wii U this Spring.
- For the first time ever GameBoy Advance games will be included. I can has Final Fantasy VI Advance?
- There will be discounts for Famicom games (.30 cents each) as well as Wii U Virtual Console titles already purchased for the Wii ($1.00-$1.50).
- Some Miiverse improvements including filtering and navigation.
- Smart phone support for Miiverse is scheduled for this Spring.
- Pikmin 3 will allow you to take screenshots with the Gamepad to share on Miiverse. Hilariously zoomed in images of Pikmin enemies were shown.
No new games in January and February. Considering January is pretty much over and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is coming out in March, I can live with this.
Platinum Games, who are working on two titles for the Wii U, took center stage:
The Wonderful 101
This game looks bizarre, colorful, and hilarious. I can’t wait to see more. I can’t believe The Wonderful 101 features an obese character who doesn’t appear to be for comic relief!
While this “trailer” doesn’t show much in the way of gameplay, it does suggest that Bayonetta 2 will be bigger and more dramatic (is that even possible?) than its predecessor. Perhaps the team is better able to spread their wings now that the title is an established IP?
First Party Games
Of course Nintendo is pumping out them first party games.
- First game screens of new Smash Bros. to appear at this year’s E3
- A new 3D action Mario game is in development for Wii U, along with a new Mario Cart. Both will be playable at E3.
- A Wii Party roulette game featuring numerous mini-games is in development. It will be the most technologically advanced drinking game to date.
- New Yoshi game by the Kirby’s Epic Yarn crew, for all you Yoshi fans. He’s the only driver I use when I make an embarrassment of myself by playing Mario Cart.
After this, it was back to 3rd party development with a shocking collaborative title:
Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem
Allow me to say what we’re all thinking: “Whhhhhaaaaaaaa?” While the trailer reveals nothing, we can gather that character from Shin Megami Tensei and characters from Fire Emblem will be brought together in some way. Collaborative games are kinda gimmicky, and the story almost always requires some mumbo jumbo about dimensional portals. Still, Atlus proved with Persona 4 Arena that we can expect a high level of quality from any game that Atlus puts their name on.
After this, Nintendo dropped the Z-bomb. That’s right: Zelda news. Few things cause Nintendo fans to quiver with anticipation like another game with Link, the Master Sword, and all that jazz. Not surprisingly, a new title for the Wii U is in development. What DID surprise me was the new direction for addition to the series:
Mission for the new Zelda: Rethink the conventions of Zelda (Eiji Aonuma mentioned capturing the “real essence of the franchise”)
Aonuma explained two big traditional elements of Zelda that may be done away with as part of this re-imagining:
- The need to complete dungeons in a certain order
- Zelda as a single player experience
Could the Zelda franchise be taking one step closer to a Dark Souls play-style? Sure sounds like it!
In other Zelda news, my favorite title in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, will be receiving a Wii U HD remake.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
This is awesome news, and definitely another feather in the cap of the Wii U. This system seems to be gathering an awful lot of feathers lately… This HD remake will feature upgraded graphics, tuned up gameplay (whatever that means), and Gamepad functionality.
Finally, the X-bomb was dropped: a new Monolithsoft title. Holy shit, you guys. After the glory that was Xenoblade Chronicles, I am PUMPED for whatever this is:
Did you see the part where the guy got in the mech THEN CUT OFF SOME MONSTER’S TENTACLE? OMG. What. Remember what I said about feathers earlier? I think Nintendo just shoved a live goose in the Wii U’s hat. NINTENDO GOOSE HAT IN HD!
One thing was clear from today’s Wii U Direct: big things are coming to the Wii U, in the form of system improvements and highly desirable (and exclusive) games from surprising sources. They may be late to the HD party, but Nintendo’s unique direction is already setting it apart from competitors in a refreshing way.