So Nintendo’s E3 conference just ended moments ago. How was it? Not bad at all! A few WTF’s were thrown in, though.
- 3DS lineup is still looking amazing, with yet more impressive games being added.
- Mario Kart 3D features kart adjustment (monster truck wheels for example) and transformations for aerial and underwater track segments.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is fucking beautiful and comes with a golden Wii Remote as a pre-order bonus!
- Register The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D on Club Nintendo to get a sountrack!
- Kid Icarus: Uprising looks pretty fun, features full voice acting (surprisingly) and competitive multi-player. Also features a weird guy; can’t say much more about that.
- Star Fox 64 3D can use the 3DS’s gyroscope for piloting and can display players’ faces in multi-player games.
- Luigi’s Mansion 2 officially announced! The GameCube classic is finally getting a full-on sequel!
- Super Mario 3DS features aesthetics very similar to those of the Super Mario Galaxy series, while introducing a different idea of what “Mario in 3D” gameplay means. While Super Mario 64 and later 3D Mario games play essentially nothing like the 2D Mario games, this one seems far more like those except on a 3D plane.
Of course, the big news was Nintendo’s new console:
- The final name of “Project Café” was revealed as being “Wii U”. Stupid name? Of course. At least it makes sense, because…
- Wii U seems more like a more powerful Wii with new functions than an entirely new machine. Either that, or it simply has extensive backwards compatibility.
- Wii U at least matches the power of the 360 and PS3, also displays in HD. The extent of said “HD” is unknown; it’s hard to say whether it’s only powerful enough to run most games in 720p like the PS3 and 360 or if it can really dish out full-HD graphics in 1080p.
- The bulk of the Wii U package is the controller, which does indeed feature a large 6.2 inch screen and full controls. Yes, it’s basically a tablet with a whole bunch of features.
- Not sure if “Wii U” is the name of the tablet controller or of the new system; probably the latter. Oddly enough, the actual system was barely shown; it basically made a cameo on a shelf in a video showing people playing a game. Looked like a rounder Wii, pretty much.
- Able to stream audio and video from the system to the controller, essentially making it possible for all Wii and Wii U games to become portable. The maximum distance between the controller and system is unknown, but Satoru Iwata (Nintendo of Japan President) claims there is no delay. Can also interface with games being played on the TV to add extra features.
- Several big series traditionally not associated with Nintendo are making the jump to Wii U, including surprise announcements like Ninja Gaiden, Tekken, Darksiders and even Batman: Arkham City!
- A new Super Smash Bros. game is in development for both 3DS and Wii U! *GOES INSANE* Iwata wouldn’t go into details, jokingly stating that doing so would likely result in taking the spotlight away from Kid Icarus, as both games are made by Masahiro Sakurai’s company, Project Sora.
- Wii U is set for release in 2012; that’s all we know so far.
The conference was pretty good, at least matching Sony’s, but Nintendo’s own games are what really made it great as usual. As for Wii U, despite the still questionable name (I’m seeing a pattern here), is certainly an odd yet very interesting direction. The question now is whether or not third party developers will take full advantage of all it can offer. Based on previous experiences, they probably won’t, but let’s hope for the best.
Edit: I just wanted to share a video that simply left me breathless. On the E3 floor, several tech demos are currently playable to show off the Wii U. One of those is an absolutely gorgeous Zelda “game” rendered in real-time and in HD (maybe even full-HD?). It’s simply stunning! Check it out on Kotaku by clicking this link.
Edit 2: Here are some of the Wii U’s specs released by Nintendo (and taken from Siliconera):
- The controller sports a 6.2” touchscreen.
- Yes, you can play games on both a TV or on the controller.
- It will be compatible with all Wii controllers, including Wii Remotes, Nunchuks, Balance Boards, and Classic Controllers.
- The console will include internal flash memory for storage, but you’ll also be able to plug in an external hard drive.
Size: Approximately 1.8 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide and 10.5 inches long.
New Controller: The new controller incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 touch screen and traditional button controls, including two analog Circle Pads. This combination removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. The rechargeable controller includes a Power button, Home button, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It includes a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus.
Other Controls: Up to four Wii Remote™ (or Wii Remote Plus) controllers can be connected at once. The new console supports all Wii™ controllers and input devices, including the Nunchuk™ controller, Classic Controller™, Classic Controller Pro™ and Wii Balance Board.
Media: A single self-loading media bay will play 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs for the new console, as well as 12-centimeter Wii optical discs.
Video Output: Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite.
Audio Output: Uses AV Multi Out connector. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI.
Storage: The console will have internal flash memory, as well as the option to expand its memory using either an SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive.
CPU: IBM Power®-based multi-core microprocessor.
Other: Four USB 2.0 connector slots are included. The new console is backward compatible with Wii games and Wii accessories.
The lack of any mention of GameCube support likely means that backwards compatibility for it has been dropped, much to this author’s chagrin. Hopefully GC games will be downloadable from a new online service, perhaps even playable in full HD!