Nintendo ate their Wheaties this morning. I am not usually one to love Nintendo, and the patronizing choices they make concerning their core fanbase. However, it seems Nintendo may indeed be taking a different road with their fans in the Wii U generation and give them games they want to play, and not Carnival Games 47: Carnie Harder. Rated E for Everyone! After letting way too many of the games that were supposed to be in the Wii U’s massive “Launch Window” slip, the house that Mario built held a Nintendo Direct today. Nintendo Direct, for those of you who don’t know, is a press conference in which we usually hear Nintendo President Iwata wax poetic about how Grandma is loving her new Wii Sports 2: Electric Boogaloo video game disc. He then will make one or two announcements, which will garner some attention and then promptly disappoint.
Today appears to be a new day for Nintendo. Today’s Nintendo Direct was so packed full of video games that it was unreal. Nintendo was going through a checklist of their best and brightest, and even confirming that whatever was not announced today that people care about, will be spoken about at E3. Is this the same company that released no games on their newest handheld for so long that they actually had to apologize and give the early adopters a load of free old games? It’s the same name of that company, but they couldn’t be acting any differently. Today’s presentation was confident and I think it is genuinely a positive turn for Nintendo. With the games from the launch window eventually coming around before E3, and the stuff that was announced today, we may be able to get excited for this company again. Let’s go over some of my personal highlights of what was announced.
The Wii U Virtual Console: It appears this will only be having NES, SNES and eventually GBA games on it to start. However, because of the promise that these games will be able to be played entirely on the Game Pad, I am totally fine with that. The N64, and Gamecube both had really odd controllers that may not compare favorably to the more standard button layout on the Game Pad. Also, if you own any of the games on your Wii VC that you are downloading to the new Wii U service, it receives a heavy discount. I find it unfortunate it is not free, but I get that a lot of tech probably had to go into making these games Game Pad accessable. On top of this, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NES, Nintendo will be making certain classic games available for a month. The first is Balloon Fight, it’s available now, and it’s 30 cents. I have no idea if the other games on the list will be too, but Super Metroid is on that list. If you can get that game for 30 cents, thank Nintendo.
New Trailer for The Wonderful 101: This Pikmin/Viewtiful Joe-ish type game looks really good. The trailer shows off some great mechanics involving the Game Pad, and the game itself just looks really polished. This game seems like it may be one of the main reasons to own this system. Just watch the trailer.
New Yoshi game made by the people who brought us Kirby’s Epic Yarn: This game looks cute as hell. There’s not much in the way of details right now, so we’ll leave it at that.
Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem: What the hell? This is probably one of the weirdest things I have heard of in games for a while. We have no gameplay details yet for this odd cross-over game, nor do we even know what kind of game it is going to be. My guess is a Tactics RPG; it seems to be the best fit for the companies. I just recently fell in love with Shin Megami Tensei thanks to Persona 4, and I have liked Fire Emblem for a long time now. This game has great potential.
New game by Monolith Soft: This looks like it has the same art direction as Xenoblade, only in HD. However the gameplay looks like Monster Hunter with mechs that turn into motorcycles. With how well Xenoblade was (finally) received in the west, I don’t think Nintendo is going to hesitate localizing this title for Western audiences. The most interesting part of this video; at least to me, comes at the very end. That red X. It looks very similar to the X featured on one of my favorite games of all time: Xenogears. If this is meant to hint at the idea that this could in some way tie in to the events of the PS1 classic, I will be overjoyed.
The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker being remade in HD- This is big news. It was announced that a new Zelda was being made, that is trying to shake up the conventions of Zelda, but it is taking longer than originally planned. However, in the meantime, Wii U owners will be getting the pretty Zelda: Wind Waker with an HD coat of paint. Now, after seeing screens, this is not a simple port. It seems Nintendo is redoing the graphics, top to bottom to give an experience that will feel new.
Now on top of the stuff described above, which is honestly a lot, there is more. Bayonetta 2 trailer, Lego City: Undercover trailer. Also we will be getting information at E3 about the next Wii U Mario game, and the next Mario Kart game. What makes me really happy about all of this is the amount of quality third party content. Nintendo has always delivered on their own titles, at least when they make them, but the love from other companies was not there so much for the past decade. However this seems to be changing, at least in the short term. Add this on top of the new Pokemon X and Y announcement made recently it honestly it seems Nintendo is realizing they were a giant in video game content generation for decades, and there is absolutely no reason they cannot be again.