On the 23rd, Nintendo aired their latest Nintendo Direct presentation, revealing many of their plans in the coming year for the Wii U. Here is a run down of what was discussed for those who don’t have the time to watch it themselves.
Wii U updates and Miiverse
Iwata opened the presentation by giving a quick explanation of the Miiverse for those who don’t understand it, as it seems to be something confusing for those who don’t already own a Wii U. He then revealed that two major updates are planned for the Wii U to be released in Spring and Summer, in response to criticism that the load times are too slow. These updates will significantly improve loading times for launching software and Wii U menus.
He also adds that the Spring update will have additional features for the Miiverse. These include: the ability to create user communities; more than one community per title on the Wii U; usability improvements; and additional filtering functions so posts can be found more easily and don’t get buried. Miiverse will also be compatible with smart phones, and a phone app is planned to come soon. Nintendo TVii, which is available in America and Australia, will also be coming to European countries soon, hopefully including Australia as well.
The Virtual Console will become available after the spring update, bringing us classic NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) and SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) titles, and future plans to bring GameBoy Advance games (HELL YES!), complete with Miiverse compatibility and the ability to play the games on the Wii U GamePad. Unfortunately, as all titles are being redeveloped, customers who have already bought Virtual Console games on their Wii’s will have to pay for them again. HOWEVER, if you have performed the data transfer to get all the Virtual Console games onto your Wii U, Nintendo will have a special discount price. Otherwise, all titles will be the same price as the Wii’s Virtual Console games. Personally, I’m looking forward to playing some of my favourite GameBoy Advance titles again, such as Metroid Fusion or Fire Emblem.
Famicon 30th Anniversary Sale
As of the 24th of January, Nintendo have begun trialling the Virtual Console with a special sale, celebrating the 30th year anniversary of the Famicon in Japan. Every month through to July, a new classic title will be available for 30 days for 30 cents. The titles for the months are as follows: Balloon Fight (NES) in January; F-Zero (SNES) in February; Punch Out! (NES) in March; Kirby’s Adventure (NES) in April; Super Metroid (SNES) in May; Mario & Yoshi (NES) in June; and Donkey Kong (NES) in July. Personally, I don’t think there is any excuse to NOT take advantage of this sale as most of those games are classics. If you own a Wii U and have never played Super Metroid, you MUST buy it.
Game Trailers and announcements
Iwata explains that no new Nintendo games will be released during February and March and asks fans to be patient. He then updated viewers on the development progress on certain big titles coming to the Wii U. Iwata revealed a new trailer for The Wonderful 101 by Platinum games, set to release after March:
Then a development trailer for Bayonetta 2:
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In regards to E3, he revealed that the next instalments for Smash Brothers (3DS and Wii U) will be present, as well as playable versions of a new 3D Mario game (developed by the team behind Galaxy and Marioo: 3DLand) and a new Mario Kart.
He then revealed several new games coming to the Wii U. A new title with Yoshi as the lead is in development by the team behind Kirby’s Epic Yarn, heavily supervised by Takashi Tezuka, who directed Yoshi’s Island (SNES) and Yoshi Story (N64).
A teaser trailer for a new collaboration between Atlus and Nintendo was then shown, revealing Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem (now THIS is something to get excited about!). He also hinted collaborations with Nintendo will be more frequent in the future.
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Eiji Nomura, producer of The Legend of Zelda, stated that they were “rethinking the conventions of Zelda” and hinted that the next game may not have a linear dungeons format (free roam?), and may have multiplayer action, though this is not confirmed at this stage. I’m not sure how I would feel about multiplayer, but being able to do the dungeons in any order is certainly an interesting idea, not seen since the original Legend of Zelda on the NES.
As the new Zelda game will take a long time to develop, a HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is also in development. It will be released in the Fall (tentative) to tide over our Zelda cravings and will have Miiverse compatibility and can be played on the GamePad rather than the television.
The final game revealed currently in development, is a new a title from Monolith Soft, which will be a spiritual successor to their Wii title, Xenoblade Chronicles (but with giant robots!). From the teaser trailer, the game already looks amazing and has a gorgeous sound track!
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One last thing…
But the Nintendo Direct wasn’t the only big news this week. It was confirmed earlier this week that Project X Zone (pronounced Project Cross Zone) for 3DS is being localised in North America, Europe and (wait for it) Australia! The game is a Capcom/Sega/Namco Bandai cross over strategy-RPG with an action based battle system.
To name a few, characters come from games including: Megaman X and Devil May Cry (Capcom); Valkyria Chronicles and Virtua Fighter (Sega); and Tekken and .Hack (Namco Bandai) among many others. You just don’t understand how excited I am to be able to play this game, but if you want an idea, either play Super Robot Taisen on the DS, or watch the extended trailer below (I recommend starting from 3:15 or later):
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This year may very well be the year of Nintendo if they keep up a stream of amazing titles for the Wii U, but we will have to wait and see. Is there any news in particular that has you excited? I want to see more of the Monolith title and to get my hands on more Project X Zone! In the mean time, I think I’ll play some Balloon Fight.