Nintendo took the stage today in front of tons of hungry fans during this year’s E3 event. Fans huddled together to see what announcements the gaming giant had for us, and there were plenty. The conference can be described best as short and sweet, though some fans left with a bit of a bitter taste in their mouths. Let’s take a look at what all we saw, and what we know about the conference.
It started off with the announcement for Pikmin 3 on the Wii U. It will utilize the motion and touch controls of the Wii U gamepad to offer simpler controls. It will now be easier to order your Pikmin around while exploring the vast world before you.
We learned that the Wii U will introduce Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon video for entertainment options when it launches. The system also has a redesigned gamepad that’s included bigger analog sticks for easier use. It’s got grips on the back as opposed to a flat surface, and the front-facing camera is right in the center of the pad. It’s become much more user-friendly since we’ve last seen it.
Also announced is something Nintendo calls “Mii Verse.” This virtual hub serves as a meeting place, much like the PlayStation Home feature on the PS3. Players can congregate here, send text/written messages, and post updates on what they’re doing. It brings a social aspect to the system.
Nintendo wanted to focus on their lineup for the coming year, and wasted no time in announcing some core titles. The focus was on the Wii U, so we’ll look at those first.
New Super Mario Bros. U was announced, which takes the Mario Brothers franchise to the next level. It will include multiplayer like the current Mario Brothers title on the Wii, but it will include new features for the Wii U. Players can use the gamepad to help each other, for example, placing blocks in certain areas to allow friends to glide through levels faster. The game will also feature special Yoshis which will each have their own special abilities to help players complete levels.
Next up was Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. This game was probably my most favorite reveal from Nintendo. The game will perform much like the current console versions do, however, it will offer up more support and interactive gameplay using the gamepad. Players can utilize the gamepad to control remote Batarangs, scan areas, spray out explosive gel, and track Batman’s upgrades. The Wii U makes the game look and feel much more like you’re in the game, and provides a brand new experience for fans.
Fans of the Scribblenauts series will enjoy Scribblenauts Unlimited, as it was announced today. The game will let the player make use of the gamepad to select and place items together for use in the game’s world. The game will be rendered in HD and players can look forward to much larger levels that can be explored. Multiplayer mode will be introduced, allowing players to work together to complete tasks and challenges.
Then came a montage that showed more titles to expect this coming year for the Wii U:
No detail was released during the events on each of these titles, but they’ve been confirmed to release on the new system.
Wii Fit U was showcased, offering off TV play using the Wii U gamepad. Players can track their progress and assist each other during workouts using the compatibility between the system and the gamepad.
SING was up next, which is a working title at this point. It’s a karaoke/dance game for the Wii U that uses the gamepad and includes a microphone. Players can see the lyrics on the gamepad’s screen and sing along with today’s great hits. It’s being released as more of a friendly party game.
ZombiU was detailed, albeit previously announced by Ubisoft yesterday. The game will be, in my opinion, most likely the best game to launch for the system. It’s an FPS set in a zombie apocalypse setting. Players will use the Wii U gamepad to utilize the inventory, moving items around and swapping out weapons. They will also use the pad to interact with the in-game world, such as typing in a key code to open a door. ZombiU is very dark, and gory-looking. The game is really different, which makes it very interesting on the system. Nintendo and Ubisoft may have something great here.
While the Wii U was the conference’s main focus, the 3DS wasn’t left out completely. Some new titles for it were announced, such as:
To end the conference we were introduced to LEGO City Stories. The game will be on the Wii U and it looks to be an open world LEGO title where you can explore. There’s a unique Grand Theft Auto feel to the game, which is odd yet interesting. Players can solve crimes and take action to the streets with the game.
Finally we were shown something called Nintendo Land for the Wii U. This game is an interactive theme park for the system that will include attractions and more. Players will control their Miis and engage in mini-games based on the 12 rides in the park. Rides include Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, Donkey Kong Crash Course, Animal Crossing: Sweet Days, Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, and Takamaru’s Ninja Castle. Details were shown on Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, where players will be in a Pac-Man-like maze and need to use flashlights to damage the ghosts chasing them. There will be multiplayer support and players can use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to play the games. It will launch alongside the Wii U this holiday season.
That about wraps up the Nintendo press conference. I was a bit upset not to see a new Metroid title, and it looks like other players were too. Still, Nintendo is hard focused on bringing us first party titles that hardcore fans want to see. I have to admit that the conference, while not the best, has made me more excited for the Wii U. I’m looking forward to seeing what the system can do, and I really want to play ZombiU.