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My Highlights of Nintendo’s Direct Livestream Conference

Last week was Nintendo’s first ever live online conference. Before the show we were aware that there’d be no new Wii U information, which considering the amount we got at E3 only 3 weeks ago, seems fair. There were, however, plenty of 3DS and Wii announcements- a few in particular caught my eye.

Animal Crossing 3DS
4 years after its previous Wii iteration, the wildly popular Animal Crossing series is set to hit Japanese shores on 3DS this Autumn- and a sneak preview was released last night. A short game-play video was shown, implying that we’ll be seeing a full trailer shortly, but so far the game is looking great. The visuals are looking sharper than its 2D 2005 counter-part, and the multiplayer seems as fun and varied as ever. Unfortunately no EU or US release dates were given, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Fire Emblem 3DS
Only a little tid-bit concerning the global release of Fire Emblem, it seems they’ve dropped the Awakening from the title for western audiences, but it was enough to get me excited for some solid, tactical RPG-action on the 3DS. We got some Japanese gameplay and screen-shots, and a confirmation that North America WILL see the game in early 2013.

New Super Smash Bros
A somewhat unsurprising, yet nonetheless welcome, announcement from yesterday’s conference was the news that Namco Bandai are developing the next instalment in Nintendo’s much loved franchise- Super Smash Bros. The development will be, of course, spearheaded by series-creator Masahiro Sakurai.

The game is being produced and directed by two of Namco’s best and brightest, Kenya Kobayshi of the Ridge Racer series and Yoshito Higuchi of Tales of Vesperia, respectively. It seems that Namco Bandai is fully prepared to tackle this project and make a game that hopefully will capture the magic and pure-enjoyment of the series. A statement from Sakurai also suggests that we will be seeing a port of the game on the 3DS (or the original Wii), he said simply that there ‘will be versions for two different systems’.

Pokémon Dream Radar
Nintendo’s latest AR experiment for the 3DS comes in the form of Pokémon Dream Radar. The ‘game’ itself looks interesting, but nothing too advanced. It does, however, raise some old questions concerning a sequel to fan-favourite N64 title, Pokémon Snap. The old IP seems to be the perfect game to reboot for Nintendo, both on the 3DS or with the Wii U’s tablet.

Professor Layton
Fast becoming a DS flagship franchise, Nintendo announced that they would be releasing the next Professor Layton on the 3DS this November. The new game, entitled Professor Layton and The Miracle Mask, is receiving full support by Nintendo and will receive day-one DLC, players may download one free Puzzle a Day for an entire year.

3DS Resize
Entitled the Nintendo 3DS LL in Japan and 3DS XL in America, this updated version of the 3DS was unveiled at last night’s conference. The new model has 90% bigger screens than the current generation, and comes in three colors: white, silver (not in America), and black. As predicted, there is no second analog stick.

This new version will boast improved battery life, supposingly now lasting between 3.5 and 6.5 hours while playing 3DS games. Those those of you playing old DS games will see 6-10 hours of battery- the current model only achieves 5-8 hours. The 3DS XL’s battery will take around 3.5 hours to charge.

Set to release in North America on August 19, 2012, the same day that New Super Mario Bros. 2 launches in stores, the new system will cost $199.99–less than the original 3DS cost on launch day, and substantially less than it costs now.

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