Nintendo has unleashed a torrent of news for its new Wii U console (review
), focusing on upcoming titles (of which there are plenty) while also addressing some of the performance issues of the Wii U.
The good news is that buyers of Nintendo’s latest console won’t be bereft of titles to look forward to and play in the coming months. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained in his Nintendo Direct broadcast that players can anticipate titles that will appeal to both long-time gamers as well as newcomers.
A prime example of this is the announcement that the company will be resuscitating The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and giving it a fresh coat of HD paint, along with updated graphics and lighting.
The game, which is set for launch in August, is the forerunner to a new HD entry in the Legend of Zelda series. That game’s launch however, is not coming this year, but rather is currently in development for launch hopefully in the not too distant future.
Its’a me! Mario!
Additionally, there is plenty of Mario in the pipeline as well – as Iwata revealed that a new 3D Mario action game is also on its way, with the Nintendo EAD Tokyo Software Development team that created the Super Mario Galaxy games for the Wii and Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS at the helm.
Similarly, players can also look forward to a new Mario Kart title for the Wii U. Both Mario games will apparently be playable at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, so we expect more details will be revealed then.
If that was all that Iwata announced, we would have been happy. However, Nintendo’s president was far from finished.
Also forthcoming: a Yarn Yoshi game from the team that created Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and which features the titular dinosaur as the lead character in a game of his own (for a change) on the Wii U; a new instalment in the Wii Party franchise, and a new title from the Xenoblade Chronicles team.
Additionally, there is also Bayonetta 2 (currently still in development) to look forward to, as well as a new instalment in Super Smash Bros.
Iwata then turned his attention to the implementation of social features for two of Nintendo's titles: Wii Fit U and the upcoming Pikmin.
Wii Fit U Communities will enable players to create user communities on Miiverse from within the game, a feature which company envisions community members using to discuss exercises, BMI or weight changes and encouraging each other to reach their fitness goals.
Pikmin 3 Photos, meanwhile, will offer players the opportunity to use the Wii U GamePad as a camera to share the same perspective as Pikmin, take close-up pictures of landscapes and creatures in the game and then share these in Miiverse. Apparently, similar functionality for other games is also being planned.
“The fun of video games is not only just playing games, but also sharing experiences together with people – even though they live far away, their skill levels are different or their experience does not happen at the same time,” Iwata explained. “We want Wii U to be the system that brings everyone together,” he added.
Keeping up to date
Nor was the Wii U system itself neglected by Nintendo – users can look forward to two major updates on the way, which will shorten the time it takes users to launch software or return to the menu screen, as well as introduce a wide range of functionality, such as Virtual Console capabilities. The company elaborated that the service will launch right after the autumn update and will include a selection of NES and Super NES games, with Game Boy Advance games to be added in the future.
The prices for NES and Super NES Virtual Console games for Wii U will be the same as they were for the Virtual Console on Wii. People who have already purchased the Wii version of a certain NES or Super NES Virtual Console game and transferred it to their Wii U console will be able to buy the enhanced Wii U version of the same game for the reduced price of €0.99 / £0.99 for NES games and €1.49 / £1.49 for Super NES games.
Worth noting though is that the South African eShop, at this time, only supports the download of free content.
Furthermore, players will also able to browse Miiverse from their smartphones after the first system update in a couple of months time. While the experience will initially be browser-based, apparently a dedicated Miiverse app is in the works.
To the point
In short, Iwata’s address was a tour de force of anticipation, which to us, made it very clear that Nintendo is pulling out all the stops to ensure its latest console is a hit, not just at launch, but more importantly, further down the line as well.
It’s certainly a smart move, considering the fact that the next iterations of Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox are looming. Quite clearly, the console wars is one game Nintendo is playing to win a place in one’s living room – and given the slew of unique and exclusive titles recently revealed, they may do just that.