E3 Nintendo Conference - June 5th, 2012
Lots of info today, with a hefty focus on the Wii U, the new GamePad table controller and the functionality thereof.
|Love the black finish|
Nintendo opens in its usual manner with Shigeru Miyamoto and some augmented reality Pikmin. Immediately, they tell us that Wii U will be a complete entertainment system; you don't even need your TV!
The first game presented to us is Pikmin 3. We're quickly introduced to Pikmin building bridges with materials found in the environment and the new Rock Pikmin who will help to break down obstacles. The GamePad will show the overall map of the area while the TV gives a closer look at the action. We see four leaders (none of whom are Olimar) for multiplayer and the new Challenge mode, to see who can collect the most fruit. You'll be able to watch your previous runs to better learn routes and strategy. Pikmin is a deep game and Nintendo sees this as a step toward the 'rebirth' of focused gaming.
Reggie Fils-Aime comes out and tells us that Wii U is all about the games and new experiences. Wii U will change three facets of life: Gaming, your social interactions and entertainment/TV. The GamePad will serve as a social window, with a big focus on what other players are doing. The GamePad will also lead to the concept of "asymmetric gameplay", or in other words, one player performing one type of gameplay on the GamePad and the others with a different objective with the 'normal' controllers. The system will allow for two GamePads to be used simultaneously, but the frame rate will drop with a second one active.
The Miiverse mentioned in the E3 Nintendo Primer will consist of Miis on your system, your system/gaming friends and those that you've played with online. Screen images from the game you're playing can be posted to the Miiverse, as well as emoticons, texts and hand written messages. While not at launch, this will be available on PC via browser and on smartphones, presumably via apps for each platform.
Reggie tells us that he's constantly told that Mario games are needed at system launch (and let's be fair, they are). He then introduces New Super Mario Bros U, based off the New Super Mario Bros Mii tech demo from last year. No mention is made of a release date, and as of now this is not slated as a launch window, but I'm sure it will come soon after (EDIT: An 'Iwata Asks' video has confirmed this WILL be a launch title). We see Mario's new flying squirrel suit, colored baby Yoshis (red turns into a balloon and blue shoots bubbles at enemies). A fifth player can play along with the four Marios (Luigis, Toads and Miis as well) via the GamePad and activate various things on the stages, like blocks, vines and more. This is referred to as "Boost Mode" and Nintendo is encouraging players to try for speed runs using all the tools at hand.
|Bubble baby Yoshis|
Next is a cavalcade of third party information, with a huge focus on Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition which introduces a ton of gadget and inventory ability on the GamePad screen. You'll aim the batarang with the GamePad's gyroscope among others. The next focus is on Scribblenauts Unlimited, which will bring the series to a home console for the first time. This time around, Maxwell explores an expansive world, not just a series of levels from a menu. You can also create an item and name it, then share it with friends. Maxwell will get a full story this time around, which always helps to draw you in a bit more. The rest of the third party rundown gives us a few seconds of footage for:
- Darksiders 2
- Mass Effect 3
- Tank Tank Tank
- Tekken Tag Tournament 2
- Trine 2: Director's Cut
- Ninja Gaiden 3
- Aliens Colonial Marines
Which is a great showing from various developers to put minds at ease that the Wii U will prove a 'core' gaming experience for those that felt (and justifiably so) that Wii dropped the ball on that front.
Wii Fit U is introduced - You'll have new activities like trampolining and luge, using the Wii Fit Balance Board. You'll also get to use a pedometer and send information to the game via the GamePad's infrared port.
Next is "Sing" from Freestyle Games, which will use the GamePad to show lyrics while you face your friends (instead of the TV) and they dance along. The crowd was pretty dead for this, as there's going to be a small audience for this type of thing.
Now it's time for the 3DS information, and no, there's no new model announced...at least not yet. We start strong with New Super Mario Bros 2. Raccoon Mario soars like we remember, but the main focus is on coins. There are flowers that grant the ability to turn bricks to coins, gold koopas to kick that leave a trail of coins and more. This seems a little more Wario-ish, but it's intriguing. Paper Mario Sticker Star gives you the Paper Mario RPG action you've missed, with the ability to rip stickers right off of the environment and use them as actions and commands in battle. Luigi's Mansion shows us new mansions that Luigi will explore and new ghosts to fight. New Super Mario Bros 2 comes to us August 19th, while the others will be out at the holidays.
|Strong focus on coins - Maybe we see Wario and Mario in a platformer?|
Third parties will mainly be slated at Wednesday's showcase at 6PM (EST), including Castlevania Lords of Shadow, Epic Mickey, Scribblenauts Unlimited and Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Drive.
Ubisoft is introduced as the company who has run the gamut from the hardcore players to the newbies. Rayman Legends and ZombiU are showcased, and another focus on 'asymmetrical gameplay', a phrase I'm sure we'll hear a lot this week and in the coming months before the system's release. Just Dance 4 will allow the GamePad holder to change up the choreography on the fly and ZombiU will use the GamePad for almost everything: Sonar, inventory, scanners, a sniper rifle, hacking doors, all in real time with zombies after you.
Ubisoft's continued lineup for Wii U includes Assassin's Creed 3, Rabbids Land, Your Shape Fitness 2013, Rayman Legends, Sports Connection and Avengers.
The show ends with NintendoLand. They dedicated about 10 minutes to what amounts to the Wii U's equivalent to Wii Sports. The software is intended to teach the various uses of the GamePad and the different actions you can take with it. The different areas, visited by your Miis, will be themed with Nintendo franchises including Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing.
|If not packed in with the system, it's a shame.|
Wednesday's showcase is where the 'hardcore' can hope to see some new software or some new information on things announced. I'd like to hear more on this coin focus for New Super Mario Bros 2, the function of the baby Yoshis in New Super Mario Bros U and more info on the new Scribblenauts. This is that exciting time of year where we can predict things and some can actually occur - fingers are still crossed for any info on the next Super Smash Bros, both on Wii U and 3DS.
|Game and Wario was quietly announced; Warioware is always an excellent way to show off how a new device works|
Stay tuned to the Geek Asylum for more e3 news and reviews!