E3 2011 – Nintendo Press Conference recap
During their press conference, Microsoft showed off Halo 4, Gears of War 3, and even a full ten minute presentation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Sony showed off 3D games, new PlayStation Move titles, and a new HD handheld, PlayStation Vita. After these two great press conferences, Nintendo had to come out with something big.
No pressure, Nintendo.
Maybe it didn’t start off that big. A full orchestra sat below the stage and started playing a montage of Legend of Zelda music as the main screen showed video clips of the various Legend of Zelda games, all the way to the new Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, all in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the series. Shigeru Miyamoto appeared on stage and announced several promotional events and items for the Wii to celebrate the 25th Anniversary. First off was the announcement of a Legend of Zelda: Symphony Tour that will go around the world this year. He then announced a gold Wii Remote with the Triforce symbol for the release of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Finally, two CD soundtracks were announced. The first was that of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for free to those that register the 3DS version of said game with Club Nintendo. The second is the CD soundtrack for the Legend of Zelda: Symphony tour.
It wasn’t all about goodies. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D was announced to hold both the original game plus the Master Quest (a harder version of the game), and a boss battle mode in which you can replay boss fights within the game. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was announced that the game will only be played with the Wii Motion Plus. Finally, Legend of Zelda: Four Swords was announced as a free download next month to the DSi platform hoping to strike up four-player Zelda goodness.
As he left the stage, Satoru Iwata appeared on stage and talked about the innovations Nintendo has taken with DS, Wii, 3DS, and then hinted at their new console, but didn’t bring out any details. The room darkened as the giant screen began to show CG movies about Mario Kart 3D, Star Fox 64 3D (complete with a small mugshot of Peppy saying the iconic “Do a barrel roll.”), Super Mario, Kid Icarus, and ended with a new Luigi’s Mansion. Reggie Fils-Aime was next on the stage as they showcased the five games you just saw.
Mario Kart 3D looks just like the other games in the series, including bringing back previous levels. But one of the cool aspects shown off was for the first time, you can customize your own racing karts. This way, players can get the right balance of having the karts look cool and perform just the way they want to. Star Fox 64 showed that you can use the motion sensors in the 3DS to fly your Arwing around instead of just using the control pad. It will also have four player multiplayer and will stream a video of yourself while flying, so you can taunt players you just killed, or watch them when they get crashed.
Then a new Super Mario was teased, complete with gameplay footage this time; it looks to be a mix of the old Super Mario Bros. style with a bit of Super Mario 64 influence. The different power ups are there, including the Tanooki suit from Super Mario Bros. 3 and the Fire Flower. Kid Icarus came back showing off the same gameplay as last year but confirmed the game is entirely voice acted. It will also have 3 on 3 team multiplayer. Finally it was something that some of us were excited to see: Luigi’s Mansion 2. This time Luigi is hunting ghosts in multiple mansions, not just one. Gameplay looked almost the same as it’s Gamecube version. All of the titles, with the exception of Luigi’s Mansion 2, will be coming out by the end of this year.
Nintendo then showed montages of other games made by 3rd party developers: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries, Mario & Sonic at the London Games, Ace Combat, Tetris, Cave Story 3d, Resident Evil Revelations, Driver: Renegade, Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 3D, and finally Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D. No dates were given for any of those titles. Reggie returned to talk about the recently updated 3DS firmware and the eShop channel. He started by letting people know they could get a free, remastered in 3D (yet still 8 bit) copy of Excitebike. He also talked about the Pokedex, also free, on the eShop channel for Pokemon fans.
Nintendo had most of us once the 3DS games started pouring in. But now it was time for Nintendo’s latest system, what had been refereed to as Project: Cafe for the past month. The name of the console: Wii U. A video was played showcasing the controller, what looked to be a controller fused with a tablet. With the Wii U, it features HD, 1080p visuals but the rest of the specs of the system was not released. As for a date, 2012. It was shown that you can either use the controller as a secondary screen, like the touch screen on the DS; to use it to amply a game, like a sniper scope in a shooting game; or even use it to continuously play your game if the TV needs to be used for someone else. All the information we know is listed here.
It has been confirmed that Darksiders 2 will be made for the Wii U. And the crowd went wild when Iwata announced that a Super Smash Bros. game was being worked on for both the Wii U and the 3DS and will be able to connect with one another. The Wii U will also accept the original Wii peripherals such as the remote and nunchuck and all Wii games will work on the Wii U. Other games shown for the Wii U by third party developers were Aliens: Colonial Marines, Ghost Recon Online, Metro Last Light, Tekken, and Ninja Gaiden 3. Even EA joined on stage to talk about how amazing the Wii U could be to their franchises like Madden NFL and even Battlefield 3.
With Nintendo’s conference over, many people left amazed by the Wii U, but still had loads of questions–questions that Nintendo will answer when they feel the time is right.
We’ll stay on top of an Wii U and more 3DS information as it comes out.