Console launches are always a special time for gamers but it always seems that whenever new Nintendo hardware is getting set for launch the internet goes wild with speculation, hopes and ideas. At last year’s E3 Nintendo introduced us to the concept of the Wii U and its controller, now it was time for a true reveal. What wonders did the big ‘N’ have in store for us at their pre-E3 press conference? Read on to find out.
Nintendo kicked off their show with what many fans were both expecting and hoping for - an announcement of Pikmin 3 for the Wii U. The conference began with an amusing skit with Miyamoto backstage, with all of his Pikmin helping him get ready for the big show. After making it on stage to an enormous round of applause, Miyamoto went straight into Pikmin 3 gameplay - no beating around the bush with an announcement trailer with no gameplay.
Pikmin 3 appears to have the same gameplay that fans have come to love about the series. This time around, no Captain Olimar (reasons for which Nintendo has yet to reveal). Instead, Pikmin 3 will feature up to four-playable characters, as well as four player co-op, with one player on the Wii U’s Game Pad and the other three using Wiimotes.
Another cool feature was the movement of the onscreen map and HUD to the Wii U Game Pad’s screen. Not only does this un-clutter the screen to allow more attention for the gorgeous art-style, but also to allow for easier micro-management of all of your various types of Pikmin with the touch screen capabilities (tangent: RTS’s for the Wii U have the potential to be amazing).
Afterwards, Miyamoto pulled out a Pikmin plushy from his pocket, and motioned that he was about to throw it to the audience. The crowd went crazy, but it turns out Shigeru psyched everyone out. Buzzkill, Miyamoto. Buzzkill.
New Super Mario Bros. U
With every new Nintendo platform announcement immediate attention and speculation turns to what will happen with the next Mario title. Last year’s New Super Mario Brothers Mii tech demo seems to have evolved into a full fledged release titled New Super Mario Brothers U. The video they showed demonstrated a host of new power-ups including a flying squirrel suit, Baby Yoshi, and one that seemed to allow players to encapsulate foes within bubbles. The game supports four players just like past titles. They also showed off an ice level, a cloud level, and one unusual level that seemed reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh’s painting Starry Night with the moon in the background. They also stressed Miiverse integration into New Super Mario Brothers U. Real time comments will appear letting you know what others think of specific levels, allowing them to offer advice or high scores for comparison’s sake. No specifics about a release date were announced; fingers crossed that it releases on or close to the launch day of the Wii U.
Lego City Stories Undercover
The other big Wii U title that showed up in a more evolved state since its original reveal at last year’s E3 was Lego City Stories Undercover. This game, developed by Traveler’s Tales, seems to be an open world Lego game where you assume the role of all-round excellent officer McCain. The trailer they showed went over really well among those in attendance. The gameplay consists of platforming, melee, arresting criminals and going undercover in order to solve crimes. The game features voice acting in an apparently humorous story complete with vehicle sections as well as traditional Lego block building gameplay. They also announced that a special Nintendo 3DS version of Lego City Stories Undercover will be available as well, complete with its own unique storyline and missions to enjoy. The trailer ended with officer McCain assembling a bunch of green blocks into a pipe from Mario’s universe which he subsequently traveled down complete with appropriate sound effects.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Nintendo’s focus was almost solely on Wii U titles during their press conference. A separate event dedicated solely to 3DS games is scheduled for Wednesday night and will be streamed online as it happens. However, they did make time for a Nintendo of America representative to show off three first party Nintendo 3DS titles set to launch this year. The first was New Super Mario Bros. 2, which was the second 2D Mario title announced within the span of a few minutes. Still, Nintendo made a point to stress that the Wii U and 3DS titles would offer unique experiences. New Super Mario Bros. 2 emphasizes gold coins. They showed stages where Mario collected a ridiculous amount of coins and power-ups such as a golden flower that seemed to transform regular blocks into, you guessed it, gold coins. The game looked as fun and tightly executed as any other Mario platformer but it makes you wonder if you will need at least 1000 coins to earn a 1-up or else you’ll find yourself with a ridiculous amount of lives.
Paper Mario Sticker Star
Next they showed Paper Mario Sticker Star, set to launch this holiday season. The game continues the role-playing within a whimsical shoebox diorama-like world. Not only does the world gain more depth on the Nintendo 3DS thanks to the 3D screen but Nintendo also revealed that stickers will play an essential role in the gameplay, hence the title. Mario will pull stickers off of nearby surfaces and use these as the basis for his battle commands. The demonstration showed the player employing a boot sticker in order to stomp on some Goombas and a giant fan in order to influence the wind in your environment.
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon
The last 3DS title they showed was the new Luigi’s Mansion game, newly titled Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon. This time Luigi will have to traverse multiple mansions and you will have tactical strategies to lure and trap insidious ghosts. Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon will also be released this holiday season. Afterwards Nintendo presented a sizzle trailer showing off some of the third party titles headed to the 3DS. The montage featured games such as Kingdom Hearts: Dream, Drop, Distance, Scribblenauts: Unlimited (see below), and Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate.
Warner Bros. continued the Wii U love with a demo and trailer for Scribblenauts: Unlimited, a game that promises to take the already very ‘creative’ concept of the original games to a whole new level. Now you will be able to create your own words and items and not only use them in the game but share them with friends and bring them into their games. No release date was mentioned but a Nintendo 3DS version was also teased.
Wii Fit U
Nintendo also showed off their latest entry in the Wii Fit series, creatively titled Wii Fit U. The new game will use the same Wii Balance Board that came with the original but also come packaged with the new Fit Walker, a pedometer-style device that will allow you to track your workout outside of the house and transmit it directly to the Wii U Gamepad. Of course the games will also feature a whole new slew of physical activities and Mii based games to keep you working towards those Nintendo brand biceps. My body is ready. Is yours?
We already know about a lot of different Wii U features but a karaoke machine? Well Nintendo sure thinks so with the upcoming SiNG. The game will attempt to bring a Wii U style and interface to the classic ‘drunken’ art of karaoke. The lyrics will be displayed on the Wii U controller and group parts on the TV screen so your party can really come to life.
A quick note: Nintendo also put to bed the rumours that the Wii U would only be able to support one tablet controller, although no games in the current line-up showcase the ability to use two Wii U gamepads.
Nintendo’s final announcement of the day was for the Wii U launch title Nintendo Land. A theme park… themed game that will feature attractions based on 12 different Nintendo franchises like Animal Crossing, Zelda and Luigi’s Mansion. From the demo and trailer that we were shown it seems that the attractions serve as individual mini-games based on the various series. A demo was shown for the game based on Luigi’s Mansion which played like a sort of reverse Pac-Man where four players (using Wii Remotes) were trying to track down one ghost player using the Wii U Gamepad. No date was given for launch but Nintendo promised to have Nintendo Land available at launch for the Wii U and we were told they would be revealing more information on the title during E3.
Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition
Nintendo promised a plethora of third party support for the Wii U, and we got our first look at the various ports coming to the console, and Warner Bros. started it off with Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition. Featuring not only a new set of armor for Batman, but also incorporation of the touch screen into Batman’s gadgetry. With the new touch screen controls, players will now have more precision over Batman’s moveset, such as Batarang and explosive gel placement.
Third Party Stuff
Nintendo continued their showcase of third-party support with a montage featuring upcoming games such as Darksiders II, Avengers: Battle for Earth, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, as well as ports of Mass Effect 3 and Ninja Gaiden 3. Mass Effect 3 seems like an odd choice, however, as Wii U owners will doubtfully have a way to experience the whole series on the console.
Ubisoft focused a lot on their Wii U support at their press conference yesterday, and continued to show off their support during Nintendo’s conference today. We got a montage showcasing the new Rabbids, Rayman Origins, Assassin’s Creed III, and Just Dance 4.
Ubisoft also showed a bit more of Zombie U, the Wii U exclusive zombie game announced yesterday. It was a good showcase of what a core first person shooter game could like on Wii U, but there’s a little concern, as the Zombie U trailer had a bit of a “2005 Killzone 2 trailer” look to it, and may have been pre-rendered.
So that’s our wrap-up of Nintendo’s pre E3 press conference, and remember to keep your browsers locked to gamrReview.com for further E3 2012 coverage.