And so Nintendo finish off the big three’s press conferences. Last year Nintendo gave us a inoffensive and cute press conference with the awesome announcement of the Nintendo 3DS (well when Kid Icarus Uprising was announced). However it was marred by too much talking about themselves and not giving the third-party much room to breathe. Was Nintendo’s keynote speech at E3 2011 an improvement or have they let them selves down?
It all began fantastically with Legend of Zeldathemes being played by the Zelda Orchastra while a video was being played of all the Zelda games in chronological (released) order, including Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Then Shigeru Miyamoto came onto the stage (along with his translator) and what followed was a bundle of Zelda announcements. Basically if you’re a fan of the series then by the end of it your knees would have been quivering and a change of pants would have been in order.
It was all to do with the Legend of Zelda celebrating its 25 Anniversary and it started with the announcement of the Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening being the first game available for the Nintendo 3DS e-shop, which opened today. This was followed that next weekend the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D will be released. Providing you can hold the portable system still, the 3D is absolutely beautiful; you’ll waste quite a lot of time just running around locations because the 3D is jaw dropping. Additonal features include the famous Master Quest and a boss challenge mode. September is the next wait for a Legend of Zelda game to make it’s way to the e-shop but it may just be worth the wait, as it’s the Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords – the mutiplayer Zelda game that appeared on the Game Boy Advance – and will be a FREE download.
As for Skyward Sword, no concrete release date has been mentioned, but Miyamoto did say around the holiday period, which could be November or December. To celebrate the release, Nintendo have planned special gold Wii-mote plus to be available with the game.
Lastly, Miyamoto gave us news about the music of Legend of Zelda. First the Legend of Zelda Symphony will be holding concerts around the world in the fall (Autumn) and second there will be two music cd’s that Legend of Zelda fans can get their hands on. The first one is the Ocarina of Time 3D OST which is only available to a select number who manage to register the game at Club Nintendo and the 2nd will be tracks preformed by the Legend of Zelda orchestra.
To close, Miyamoto brought on stage people he has worked with, thanking them, his staff and the fans.
Now, if you wasn’t a Legend of Zelda fan, this was a throat clearing “get on with it” part of Nintendo’s keynote speech. But for everyone else, this was a lot of fun. I forgot to mention that Miyamoto had some fun with the orchestra as he got them to play several of the famous jingles that occur in the games (two of them being when you get an item). The only surprising thing was that Skyward Sword didn’t get a huge mention nor did we see any gameplay. I know they did that last year but they had problems then and it would have been a nice reminder about the game. Oh well, what we got – and heard – was still pretty awesome.
Satoru Iwata came on stage and talked about reaching audiences new and old, breaking the boundaries that divide gamers and preluding to revealing Nintendo’s Console/Controller hybrid the Wii U. I’ll be honest and say that these kind of talks bore me a bit so I didn’t take much in.
After Iwata’s speech, we got some funky video game reels (DO A BARREL ROLL!) that preludeds to what Nintendo were about to show us in terms of games we could expect to appear on the Nintendo 3DS. After this, Reggie-Fils-Amie came on stage and my feed goes down due to Nintendo’s official site going heywire for a moment. When it’s sorted I’m watching the end of Mario Kart…So this is the part where I search YouTube…Okay I’m back ans as Gerrard Winter alluded to, it’s pretty much Mario Kart with no vast differences…Which is how we’ve liked it since the series first started on the SNES. As long as it’s no where near the quality of Mario Kart 64 or Mario Kart: Double Dash, we’ll like it just fine.
Next up is Starfox 64 3D and the main talking points were the 3D tilt controls, where if you tiled the 3DS left, right, up and down, your Arwing will respond and go in that direction. With the 3D on this is probably not advisable but it could still be a fun novel feature, especially as some of us do tend to throws ourselves in the direction we want to move to avoid an attack in games. The other talking point was the mutiplayer (which wasn’t exactly a strong point in the original Starfox 64 but nevermind) where you can now not only see your oppopnents faces but see their reactions as the images will be small video screens instead of still picture. If you want to see your friends make a sad face in fuzzy quality, this is the feature you have been waiting for. Everyone else will just buy the game so they can ride the landmaster again.
Super Mario 3D (what is it with these creative titles?) is shown next and Reggie tells us “This is the first 3D Mario adventure created from scratch for a portable system, and once you’ve played Super Mario 3D, I think you’ll agree it incorporates quite a tale.” BAZINGA! *ahem* this looks like a combination of Mario 64 and New Super Mario Bros. The Tanuki suit is one of the main focuses of the game and even the enemies can now weird the power of the Japanese racoon as we saw a Goomba take a swipe at mario with a Tanuki tail. About time the little dudes got an equalizer. As usual, it should be a very good Mario game that will help the 3DS attract a huge range of audiences.
Kid Icarus: Uprising looked badass last year and continues to look badass this year. It is still my #1 reason to get a 3DS and the trailer (despite Pit’s accent being a tad annoying) just made me more excited for it. It looks to have a set of badass characters, the mutiplayer, which pits a team of angels against each other, looks very enjoyable and the game overall looks amazing. The AR feature also looks to be another good novel feature. I still don’t think you can tell how much I want this game.
Now seeing Luigi’s Mansion 2 was a very pleasant surprise. Though the original wasn’t a great game (seriously stop kidding yourself) it was still fun and bringing it to the 3DS instead of the Wii was the right move as the original felt short and a bit lacking (especially for a launch title). Hopefully Luigi’s Mansion 2 will be a bit more meaty and have some very nice secrets. As for the gameplay, it looks to continue the fun of being a Nintendo version of the Ghostbusters. Just one reveal and it’s already a near-purchase title.
Reggie doesn’t have time to go through any other titles, but he does give us a tasty video that briefly shows the following games: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Ace Combat 3D, Tetris, Cave Story 3D, Resident Evil: Revelations, Driver Renegade, Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 3D and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
Now something for Pokemon fans. No it’s not a new Pokemon game (surely you can’t have completed Black/White and caught ALL the Pokemon by now?!). Instead Pokedex 3D is almost a meta-game extension of Black and White where you have to fill up a Pokedex (which looks to be more detailed then usual) by swapping with people either using AR cards, spotpass or any other means (possibly direct trading). You can also take pictures with your Pokemon. I won’t judge that last feature. Pokedex 3D is only availble in the e-shop and (thankfully) it’s free.
Now it’s time for the most confusing part of E3, let alone Nintendo’s keynote speech. The introduction of the Wii U, Nintendo’s newest console (I think). Before the unveiling of the new system, Reggie talked about how the Wii got it’s name because it was a console that was catered for everyone and introduce the Wii U as a system that is great for everyone and perfect for you. Then came the picture of the Wii U…Well actually it was the controler. It looked like a SNES pad that had gained fifty pounds and had additional buttons. In the middle was a screen that would be the main focus of the Wii U. We were then treated to a video to demonstrate the Wii U.
We see someone walk through the door and act like a douche in telling him it’s time to watch some baseball (this is why you get two TV’s folks). Instead of glaring at him, Wii playing dude *shrugs* says okay and we’re set to watch baseball…Except the camera pans down and we see the Wii playing dude pick up the Wii U controller and resume playing Super Mario Bros. Mii (I know the title due to hindsight) He now becomes the Wii U playing dude. If your a quick observer you’ll notice he was never playing on the Wii but was actually playing on the Wii-U! He was just looking at the big screen instead of the Wii U controller.
Now we get set to see it’s features such as being able to draw, use the screen to play games such as Wii Sports, use the screen as an aiming device when attached to the blaster peripheral which shows it is backward compatible, use to monitor your weight, make video calls, share pictures and videos by just flicking the content to the TV screen and browse the internet on TV by using the screen. Oh and you can play Othello, just in case you were hoping for exciting games. Yes you can also play Nintendo Wii games using that. Nintendo haven’t forgotten to include that part yet. The Wii U will be available in 2012.
Iwata comes on stage and goes more in-depth about the Wii-U such as how you can play games and that it is NOT a portable games machine. we then hear from Miyamoto his thoughts on the new system. Iwata then talks about third-party support but before we get to that, we hear a bombshell of an announcement that a Smash Bros. game is being developed for the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS! This gets the biggest reaction from the crowd though Iwata kind of lets us down by nothing even having any concept art. He best not be trolling.
More talk about the Wii-U from Reggie with him telling us “Stating that Wiiu will play the way you change games is a pretty bold assertion, so this week we’re providing pretty tangible proof.” which leads to Reggie announcing that E3 attendees can experience eight interactive experiences, not games, to see the potential of the Wii-U. Well 3DS tech demos worked a treat last year so I guess it’s an effective strategy to showcase the Wii-U. We are then shown a pretty CG video of a bird flying through an area of Japan, picking a sakura flower form a tree, dropping it into the lake which seems to signal a huge fish to jump out of the water. I guess this was to show how good CG intros could be on the Wii U. That or a new Sega Bass Fishing game from Sega is being worked on.
A few games are revealed to be for the Wii U. The first one is the aforementioned Super Mario Bros. Mii, which seems to just be Super Mario Bros. Wii but this time you can have your Wii play alongside Mario and crew. Shield Pose where you swing the Wii U controller left and right blocking arrows and hope to God you don’t swing to hard and take out a window. Chase Mii is a multiplayer game with one player holding the Wii U controller and is tasked from running from up to four people who play using the Wii-mote. However, the Wii U player has the advantage of being able to see where everyone else doesn’t get that luxury. Lastly is Galactic Fighters, game with “”galactic fighers” shooting up at a ship, while the pilot in the ship is shooting back down.” Reggie says the game is hard but addictive and right now I’ll take his word on it.
We get a glimpse of Lego City Stories and instantly I get the impression it’s GTA Lego. Just without the violence and sex. If it at least allows some sort of carnage in a Lego cute way then I will start to look forward to Lego City Stories.
We now get comments from third-party developers, telling us why the Wii U is awesome, which leads to some kickass reveals of games being available at launch for the Wii U; Darksiders 2, Tekken: Wii Successor, Batman Arkham City, a new Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online. I expect there to be more revealed in the coming months but this is a fantastic start. Tekken: Wii Successor and Batman Arkham City would be on my list of games to purchase with the new system. We are treated to some videos showcasing some new titles as well as those that have been revealed; Darksiders 2, Dirt, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online, Metro Last Light, Tekken and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge (working title). The last one got a huge “whoop” from the crowd. It also seems that Nintendo is starting to embrace mature games as we saw just as many violent games that are available for the Nintendo Wii!
EA’s John Riccitiello came on stage to give a talk about how Wii U will make their games better. Nothing much here except that it seems Nintendo is really hoping to gain more third-party support it seems.
Reggie is out and he finishes the presentation by talking about Nintendo’s recent gaming systems (Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U) and to check out the Nintendo Network and that’s everything. Amazingly the keynote speech was just over an hour, around 30 minutes less then Sony and Microsoft’s and yet it seemed to contain just as much info, if not more.
Conclusion: Well Nintendo says Wii U but it felt like “Wii Me” as Nintendo did what they did last year; focus mostly on themselves and only give the third party support a tiny bit of attention. As a result we mainly saw games from Nintendo themselves and though there was more their party mention then last year, it felt brief compared to Nintendo’s own products. Also the Wii U was so confusingly presented that only now are we beginning to realize fully what the damn thing is. Still, what did hit the spot hit it pretty damn well, with the 3DS games looking fantastic, especially Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Kid Icarus: Uprising, while the Legend of Zelda section just plain awesome. Also in hindsight, the Wii U does show promise (though Nintendo can thank the third-party games being shown). Nintendo still know how to charm and their conference was the most fun. As such it was (just about) the best show out of the big three.