Nintendo Direct Recap: Nintendo declares WAR!
JD | On 17, Apr 2013
The declaration of war came in the form of a new episode of Nintendo Direct. Though the North American episodes of Nintendo Direct are usually hosted by Reggie Fils-Aime, the episode this morning was hosted by Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, along with Mario and Luigi.
The presentation started out normal enough with updates on Mario and Luigi: Dream Team and Mario Golf. Shortly thereafter, a new Mario Party title was announced for the 3DS, the upcoming New Super Luigi U DLC was detailed, a release date was given for the upcoming Donkey Kong Country Returns for 3DS.
From there, it was time to focus on new announcements.
Up first, a new Yoshi’s Island. Originally released for the Super NES in 1995, Yoshi’s Island is a sidescrolling platformer where your goal is to protect the baby Mario on Yoshi’s back. This release was followed by Yoshi’s Island DS, released in 2006. The third installment is “coming soon” to the Nintendo 3DS.
After that, Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move, a downloadable only title, was announced. The objective of this game is to place tiles on the bottom screen to make a path that Mario can travel safely to the goal on the top screen. The challenge comes in the form of limited tiles, guiding multiple characters, and guiding the characters through large levels. All in all, there’s 180 levels across 4 different modes. If you get bored of those, head to the 3DS shop where you can share levels that you’ve created and download creations by other players. Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move will be available May 9th.
The news then shifted over to the Wii U. The Spring system update will arrive next week and aims to improve the loading times between menu transitions. Not only that, but you’ll now be able to transfer data between two USB drives, install software while you play other games, and automatically download software updates. You’ll also be able to download and install software even if the system is off.
The Wii U virtual console will also be available next week (finally). After it launches, games such as Excitebike, Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros 2, Ice Climbers, and many more will be available. NES games will range from $4.99 to $5.99, with SNES games ranging from $7.99 to $8.99. If you previously purchased the game for the Wii and wish to purchase it again for the Wii U, the NES version will be $1, and the SNES version will be $1.50. GBA and N64 games will be eventually making their way to the Wii U virtual console.
Also launching with the update is Wii U Panorama View. This feature will allow users to have full control of the camera as they travel to some of the world’s most exciting destinations. There will be a demo available next week, and when the full service launches, each destination will be $2.
And then, just as casual of a tone as if he were announcing a Wii U vitality sensor: it happened.
For years, fans have asked for it. In 2008, the ESRB rated it. Then.. nothing. Rumored to be held up in copyright hell, many said it’d never happen. “Ha! When hell freezes over!” many exclaimed.
Earthbound is coming to the Wii U virtual console by the end of the year.
Originally released for the Super Nintendo in 1994, Earthbound is actually the second entry in the Mother series (Mother was released on the Famicom (NES) and Mother 3 was released on the Game Boy Advance in Japan). Initially unsuccessful, it was quickly clearanced out of most stores. After it disappeared, it received a cult-like following, and prices for the game skyrocketed. Nintendo has been teasing fans for years, adding Earthbound characters, stages, and even remixed themes in Super Smash Brothers games.
Nintendo didn’t give fans a chance to recover from shock. They immediately went into a demonstration into minigames included in the upcoming game and Wario, which will be released on June 23rd. They also announced a recent update to Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, allowing games to be played on the gamepad and allowing gamers in North America to join gamers in Europe, and vice versa. They also showed off gameplay from Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins for Nintendo 3DS, launching April 21st.
For those of you still without a 3DS but aching to get one after today’s announcements, Nintendo unveiled an Animal Crossing: New Leaf themed 3DS XL today, launching June 9th. The system comes with Animal Crossing: New Leaf pre-installed and has a suggested retail price of $219.99.
As if all of this goodness wasn’t enough, Nintendo announced that, for the first time, the Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons will be heading to the eShop. Just like the physical versions, the two games are interconnected. You can start with either game, link them, and continue your quest on the other. Doing this unlocks new quests and allows you to travel back and forth between the universes. Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons will be available on the eShop on May 30th.
A few other games were briefly touched on: Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (Available 2014), Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (Available 2014), and a few games that make up a series known as “The Guild” in Japan from Level-5: The Starship Damrey, Bugs vs. Tanks, and Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale.
Shin Megami Tensai IV is headed to North America. Every copy of the game in the initial shipment will come the soundtrack, strategy and design book, and a slipcase. The game launches on July 16th.
At the end, Reggie Fils-Aime appeared and decided to turn everyone’s world upside down.. again.
A new game set in the same universe as Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was announced for the Nintendo 3DS. The game features an entirely new storyline and new dungeons designed to take advantage of the capabilites of the 3DS.
Make no mistake about it, Nintendo knew exactly what it was doing. Today’s Nintendo Direct, nestled firmly between the PS4 reveal and the next Xbox reveal, was designed to focus attention on the 3DS and the Wii U. It’s a brilliant play, and one that took the gaming world by surprise. The presentation was Nintendo’s way of saying “We see you, we hear you” to gamers and critics alike, and Nintendo did what Nintendo does best: It delivered a slew of great looking first party games and had a few ace-in-the-hole announcements as well.
Today’s Nintendo Direct showed that Nintendo isn’t resting and is working hard to bring quality games to the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Reggie said it best in an interview with CNet’s Don Reisinger in November 2012: “It’s likely that faster processors and pretty pictures won’t be enough to motivate consumers”. With today’s game announcements, that quote has never been more true.