The big news from Nintendo’s press conference this morning was the announcement of the company’s new console system, the Wii U; much time was focused on trumpeting the features of the Wii U’s controller, which looks like a chunky tablet with a 6.2-inch screen. Nintendo also recognized Zelda’s 25th anniversary and showed off some 3DS titles. President Shigeru Miyamoto, Global President Satoru Iwata and American Nintendo head Reggie Fils-Aime all spoke during the presentation.
Zelda’s 25th Anniversary
The event began with a Zelda retrospective, and a few announcements regarding Zelda. Link’s Awakening will be available by the end of the day worldwide on Nintendo’s eShop, and Legend of Zelda 3D launched next week, complete with an improved frame rate, better graphics and a new sense of realism. Master Quest mode and Boss Challenge mode will be included. In September, the DS Zelda title Four Swords will include four-player cooperative and be offered as a free download. And this holiday season, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will come out; around that same time period, Nintendo will offer a special promotion in the form of a gold Wii remote.
Nintendo also announced a series of 25th anniversary symphony concerts for each region around the world, starting in fall. Fans of Zelda can also expect two music CDs to be released; the soundtrack to Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time will be offered as a gift to the first people who register for Club Nintendo, and the second, based on the symphony concerts, will be released in conjunction with Skyward Sword.
Headline titles announced by Fils-Aime this morning include five key ones:
Mario Kart: described as “a tricked-out version you haven’t seen before,” is due out this holiday season.
Starfox 64 3D: with turn and tilt movement for control, along with group play that allows you to see the faces and voices of other pilots; the 3DS will record your reactions. This one’s due out in September.
Mario 3DS: This was billed as the first 3-D adventure created from scratch for a portable system, due out before the end of 2011.
Kid Icarus Uprising: with 3v3 multiplayer action and augmented reality, this one will be out in the vague time frame of “later this year.”
Luigi’s Mansion 2: This newly-announced title is “not a simple revision,” but a truly new game with several new mansions. No date was announced.
Titles from third party developers shown briefly during the conference included: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Ace Combat 3D, Tetris, Cave Story 3D, Resident Evil: Revelations, Driver: Renegade 3D, PacMan and Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 3D and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
Fils-Aime called the upcoming library for the 3DS “unprecedented” and noted that this week’s system update unlocks 20 new 3-D trailers; at this time, downloads for the system will include classic portable games for Game Boy and Game Boy Color, along with classic console titles. For a limited time, players will also get a free 3-D version of Excitebike, Also available for Pokémon Black and White players in the eShop: a free and enhanced Pokédex 3D, allowing you to check out your Pokémon in 3-D and collect more using their individual AR markers or via SpotPass. You can even drop them into real-world backgrounds.
Nintendo’s rumored console now has a name: Wii U. This system, said Fils-Aime, is one “we will all enjoy together but also one that’s tailor-made for you.” And it comes with a spiffy new controller that features a 6.2-inch screen. This controller lets you switch from playing a game on the TV to playing it right on the small screen seamlessly. You can also draw on it, use it as an independent gaming device, use motion to control games, and aim with it. The trailer showed a player putting the controller on the ground as the virtual tee in a golf game; another showed a player using the controllers to throw ninja stars into the air, which then appeared on the TV screen.
It’s said to work with Wii Fit without your TV. The controller is also backward compatible with the Wii and peripherals, and includes a gyroscope and accelerometer for full tilt control. It has a camera, a web browser and shares pictures with your TV. The controller, which features two analog circle pads, ZR and ZL buttons, L and R buttons and a + control pad, is due out in 2012. We’re looking forward to seeing the specs on this one!
Nintendo announced a new Smash Bros. game for the 3DS and the Wii, and noted some tech demos that would be available on the show floor. This included a Super Mario Bros Mii demo, in which your Mii plays alongside Mario, and a Chase Me multiplayer demo that allows you to compare the operation of a current Wiimote with the new controller in a game where you’re trying to stay away from the other players.
Another game announcement near the end here was Lego City Stories from TT Games, a title for the Wii U and 3DS that promises open-world action and plenty of Lego vehicles. Other games Nintendo is touting for the Wii U: Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online, Darksiders II (available at launch), DiRT, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Metro: Last Light, Tekken and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge.
And finally, EA CEO John Riccitiello made his first joint appearance with Nintendo to announce a partnership between the two companies, and hinted that EA Sports titles and Battlefield might be something you’ll see on the future Nintendo system.
For additional information on Nintendo’s E3 appearance, visit e3.nintendo.com.
Did you see the press conference? What do you think of Nintendo’s new console and its game announcements? Let us know in the comments below.