E3 2011: Nintendo Announce The Wii U, More 3DS Games & Zelda Anniversary Details

After a solid, if unspectacular, first day of E3, it was left to Nintendo today to occupy the lone conference spot. We expected a reveal of their new console, and we got it, along with a few more surprises. Below is my view and opinions on the conference as a whole.

Nintendo

  • To open up, we have an orchestra playing the theme tune to the upcoming Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword, along with a montage video celebrating the 25 years of the Zelda franchise. A very nice and unique opening to the conference.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto then made his way to the stage, and he hyped the 25th anniversary of Zelda. He invited the orchestra to play some little tunes from the Zelda games, including the noise for solving a puzzle, opening a chest and the Fairies theme. He then explained how Nintendo will celebrate the 25th anniversary. First of all, the Game Boy version of The Legend Of Zelda: Links Awakening is announced as the first Game Boy title to be put on the 3DS Virtual Console market, and that is available for download NOW. He then hyped up Ocarina Of Time 3DS, which is set for release later this month. Then the big one: The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure will be made a free download for the DS later this year, so don’t chuck your old model away just yet. Finally, to celebrate Skyward Sword, Nintendo are releasing a Golden Wiimote, and a symphony orchestra will be touring the world playing tunes from the Zelda franchise, with CD’s available for sale later on. A really nice celebration if you ask me.
  • The Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, then came to the stage. He talked about how casual and hardcore players have been split over the last few years, and how Nintendo’s new console can provide a deeper and wider appeal. He then trolled the arena by saying the announcement would come later.
  • Reggie then made his way to the stage, and gave out details on five new heavy hitters for the Nintendo 3DS which would then be playable after the conference
  • Mario Kart 3DS – This was promised as a Mario Kart like you have never played before, and it sure looks that way from the trailer shown. For one thing, the karts can fly and go underwater, showcased at various points on the tracks. It looked outstanding in motion, very close to the Wii version, and offers customisation of karts from preset items like big tyres and such, and there was a wide range of tracks from Mario Kart Wii and beyond. The release date is set for the end of this year
  • Star Fox 64 3DS – A title that was revealed a while back, this remake of the N64 classic allows you to use either the standard controls on the 3DS, or use the handheld as a gyro controller to fly. You can also put your face in the game to replace the pictures of Fox and the gang, and see your mates reactions in real time. Set for release in September. And yes, they made use of the barrel roll line made infamous by Peppy.
  • Super Mario 3DS – The first 3D Mario made from scratch, this was another title that looked outstanding on the 3DS. Classic Mario gameplay with graphics borrowed from the Galaxy games, it confirmed the return of the racoon suit, as well as the Koopa Kids as villains that Mario must battle on the way.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising – The big 3DS surprise of last year looks great in motion as Nintendo aims to revive the classic series. It was revealed in the trailer that you can battle other players in a multiplayer mode, and there was also a small teaser for something to do with cards. Expect its release before the end of the year.
  • Luigi Mansion’s 2 – Really quite unexpected, but this sequel to the Gamecube launch title is more than welcome. We have been promised several mansions to play through this time round. Not much more to reveal here, watch this space.
  • We then got a quick roundup video featuring some upcoming third party games for the 3DS – Resident Evil: The Mercenaries, Ace Combat 3D, Tetris, Driver 3D, Pac Man and Galaga, Tekken 3D, and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D. A strong lineup to counter the announcement of the PS Vita yesterday
  • Reggie then gave everyone a reminder that the E-Shop for the 3DS was up and running, and that you would receive a free 3D Pokedex application if you performed a system update. I’ve seen it on a friends 3DS; it very nice and worth the download.
  • And then finally, we get to the crux of the conference, and E3 as a whole really: the reveal of Nintendo’s new console. Reggie talked about how The Wii catered for individuals, and how the new console with cater for everyone. The console is revealed to be called WII U.
  • We get a video showing off the controller, and I have to say it’s a big old thing. It has a 6.2 inchtouch screen, analogue sticks, rear buttons and triggers, gyro control, rumble features and an inwards camera. Its also rechargeable straight out of the box, and is compatible with all the peripherals for the Wii. Impressive stuff indeed
  • We then get another video showing us everything that the controller can do. It can stream games straight from the console to the controller screen, you can draw on the controller and have the effects felt in game, use it as a motion sensor and get different views on games, use it to make video calls; the list went on and on, and the many uses were very smart indeed.
  • Iwata returns to the stage and says that the Wii U will be capable of running 1080p HD graphics. He also makes a quick mention of Super Smash Bros for the 3DS and Wii U, which got a big cheer from the crowd.
  • After a very beautiful tech demo showing a bird swooping around a Japanese spa, Reggie talked about the games which have been confirmed for the WiiU.You will be getting Batman: Arkham City, Lego City Stories, Tekken, Ghost Recon, Darksiders 2, Ninja Gaiden 3 and Assassins Creed. This was followed by the CEO for EA taking to the stage and talking about the possibilities of the new partnership between EA and Nintendo. When EA get involved you can pretty safely assume that third party support for the Wii U is guaranteed.
  • Reggie closed off the show, and we got a sneak peek at some names of new games that hadn’t been mentioned in the conference. This included two new Kirby games and Animal Crossing plus Paper Mario for the 3DS.

Here it is...The Wii U. Invading your living room from 2012 onwards

Summary

Nintendo had everyone beautifully set for their conference due to the hype around Project Café, and what we got was a conference which will no doubt split the internet. First off, the Zelda and 3DS stuff was handled brilliantly, they have showcased the games and people know they are coming, which may cleverly make people forget about the Vita for the time being. The big reveal of the Wii U is bound to cause a stir over the next day or two; Nintendo have kept their powder dry over the specifications of the console unit, so we do not know yet whether the boasting of being more powerful than its rivals will come true or not. Certainly having third party support at last is a huge bonus for Nintendo and I am pleased for them, but surely they could have come up with a better name; Wii U seems a bit…weak for me. Overall, we would have to say that out of the big three though, Nintendo have won this round at E3.

There is more news bound to come out of E3 in the next day or two, and I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated. In the meantime, I would recommend checking out Gametrailers for demos and videos from the show floor, and enjoy what is left of E3.

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