Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The key takeaway from Nintendo's E3 2011 presser: Wii U will (probably) rock U

That was ... interesting, wasn't it?

Nintendo's E3 press conference, which took place earlier this morning, began a bit uncomfortably, in my opinion. The Zelda montage and mini-concert was nice, but Bill Trinen talking over Shigeru Miyamoto was not.

Still, I'm sure Zelda fans were happy to hear that The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening will be available for sale on the 3DS eShop later today, and that The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures will be added to the DSiWare store (and given away for free) this fall. Oh, and that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Swords will come with--or be sold alongside, I'm not sure which--a special gold Wii Remote when it's released later this year.

As nice as all of those announcements were, they left me feeling more than a bit antsy. Like pretty much any Nintendo fan, I tuned in to this press conference to hear about new games--especially for the 3DS and Wii--and new systems (more on that in a minute), not to hear about games that were announced and/or released long ago.

As such, I probably looked like this during the first portion of the presser:

Thankfully, Satoru Iwata soon kicked Miyamoto and Trinen off the stage and then showed off a bunch of upcoming 3DS games, including Super Mario 3DSStar Fox 64 3DMario Kart 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising and ... Luigi's Mansion 2!

I have to say, that last one surprised--and excited--me. Also exciting: The Super Mario Bros. 3-ish Super Mario 3DS. It includes airships, Koopa Kids and Tanooki Suits--'nuff said.

Mario Kart 3DS is due "this holiday season" and Super Mario 3DS is due "before the end of the year," by the way. Oh, and Kid Icarus supposedly will be released "later this year," too.

Unfortunately, that was it was far as first-party 3DS games were concerned. A bit disappointing, if you ask me. (Thankfully, new screenshots and trailers of Animal Crossing 3DS and Paper Mario 3DS can be found here. Also, screenshots and trailers of some of Nintendo's upcoming Wii releases, such as Kirby Wii and Rhythm Heaven, can be found here.)

The so-called sizzle reel of upcoming third-party 3DS titles was similarly lackluster. Here's hoping more will be revealed in the next few days.

Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime, along with a little help from Iwata, wrapped things up by, finally, unveiling the company's next controller, er, console (I think), which will be called ... Wii U.

Huh. I have to admit, when I first heard the system's name my face (likely) looked something like this:

Actually, that look remained on my face while I watched a video that showcased the tablet-like Wii U controller--which looks a lot like the uDraw peripheral recently released for the Wii--and some of the things it'll seemingly be capable of when it launches next year.

As you've likely already heard, the controller has a 6.2-inch touch screen in the center of it. Located around said screen are a pair of analog circle pads (like the one found on the 3DS), a traditional d-pad and four buttons. The controller also includes a pair of shoulder buttons and a pair of triggers, an inward-facing camera, a microphone and a speaker. Oh, and an accelerotmeter and a gyroscope.

Basically, the thing includes everything but the kitchen sink.

What will all of those things allow you to do? I'd tell you, but it would require more paragraphs than I'm willing to write at the moment. May I suggest watching the video of Nintendo's presser that can be found at e3.nintendo.com?

What I am willing to say is that I'm intrigued by some of the things the Wii U controller seemingly will bring to the table. I like that I'll be able to continue playing games when my husband comes into the room and wants to watch the latest episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County or The Weather Channel. I also like how the controller's screen will be able to give me a different view of the action taking place on my TV.

The possibilities are endless. Of course, that's what we said about the DS and Wii. As was the case with those systems, it will be up to both Nintendo and third-party developers and publishers to make all of those possibilities become realities.

Thankfully, third-parties seem to be interested in the system--which, by the way, is capable of HD graphics that appear to be at least on par with those that can be produced by the PS3 and Xbox 360--at this point, and a number of them have already promised to support it with their top-tier games. (Aliens: Colonial MarinesAssassin’s CreedBatman: Arkham CityDarksiders II, Dirt, Ghost Recon Online and a new Tekken all were shown during an end-of-presser trailer.)

As much as the last third of Nintendo's E3 2011 presser excited me, it also confused me quite a bit. For instance, I'm still somewhat unsure what the Wii U is capable of in terms of graphics. I'm similarly unsure what to expect from Nintendo in terms of first-party games for the system, as the only ones mentioned during today's conference were New Super Mario Bros. Mii and a new Smash Bros. sequel.

Hopefully Fils-Aime, Iwata and Miyamoto will shed a bit of light on those subjects and more in the coming days. In the meantime, I'll continue to consider the possibilities of their company's oddly-named console.

See also: 'The many faces of Sony's E3 2011 presser' and 'Yeesh'


Viewtiful_Justin said...

You forgot announcements about a new Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii! That made me pee a little. I'll admit that Mario Kart Wii turned me off entirely when I bought it, but the new one looks SO FUN!

And I've watched that SMB3DS video on my 3DS so many times now...I just giggle seeing Mario in his fat li'l Tanookie suit...

On a sad note, it looks like Animal Crossing is sticking with the uber creepy tall kids...ick. But it looks like you can finally change shoes! And...swim? And maybe harvest honey from bees?

All-in-all, fun announcements. The Wii U has me making siren noises and laughing. I love that they're getting with it, graphically speaking. I'll be interested to see how it all works and what the price point on something that crazy is.

Bryan Ochalla said...

I mentioned the Smash Bros. sequel in the second-to-last paragraph, Justin! Still, I didn't say it was coming to 3DS, too. I'm guessing they'll be two different games that somehow link up? It'll be interesting to hear more about it/them...

As for Super Mario 3DS -- yeah, Tanooki Mario in this game is sooooo cute. Right up there with Cloud Mario in Galaxy 2 :)

Ugh. Don't even get me started on those tall characters in Animal Crossing 3DS. Oh, well, I've obviously lost that fight. I do like that the trailer for the game seemed to point to a few more additions, but I sure hope that's not all that's going to be new in the game.

Finally, RE: Wii U -- the more I think about it, the more excited I get about it. Really, there are soooo many possibilities here. I can't wait to see what Miyamoto and Nintendo's other geniuses do with it, not to mention third-party devs.

Unknown said...

Oooh this is by far the best way to wake up! I get to read about all the stuff that was revealed while I was sleeping (it's a lot to catch up on, though!)

I'm going to give my mom a call and see what she reports–she's probably gotten to try the Wii U first hand!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Is your mom at E3, Anne? If so, I'm jealous!

Yes, take your time and read up on all that was announced today. Hopefully there'll be more to report later tonight and tomorrow :)

Unknown said...

Yes yes, my mom is there! She works for IBM and was the project manager of the Nintendo project (as she calls it), which was really the group that was working on the chip for the Wii U

So she was at the Nintendo Press Conference! She just arrived Monday night, though, so she wasn't there for Microsoft or Sony's events. Not that she really cares about them, haha (she's not really a gamer, anyway)

I'm going to tell her to hit up Capcom and Atlus's booths and maybe check out the Vita or else she'd just wander around the Nintendo stuff

Bryan Ochalla said...

So, you've known about Wii U all along? Oh, now I'm *really* jealous.

Can you ask your mom to spill the beans on the chip that she worked on? Don't worry -- I'm kidding. Mostly ;)

As for the Atlus and Capcom booths -- yes, tell her to hit them up. The Sony booth, too!

Unknown said...

Aw, no, Nintendo didn't even tell my mom anything about the Wii U (supposedly, who knows how much truth *she's* telling!). I did know they were working on their next system for a while, though.

Just talked the her, and she says she demoed the U in the VIP room today :) Apparently the controller is very light, doesn't feel awkward in your hands

If you're curious, IBM just released their official statement about their mircroprocessors in the Wii U: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/34683.wss

Bryan Ochalla said...

Yeah, I was guessing she wouldn't be able to tell you -- or esp. me! -- much. Still, it's cool that she got to work on it. Anyway, thanks for sending along the PR related to IBM!

Viewtiful_Justin said...

My bad. I didn't see that, I guess.

Did you see that Pikmin 3 was in development for the Wii, but now it's gonna be on Wii U. That burns.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Yeah, I saw that last night. It's sad, but it makes sense. After it releases games like Kirby Wii, Rhythm Heaven and Zelda: Skyward Sword, I think Nintendo is done w/ the Wii.

Gadgets and Gizmos said...

Most likely because of the processing power it takes to stream the video to the controller's screen. So that's why the Wii Remote is sticking around next gen as well. Works for me, since I don't play much local multiplayer, and if I do... well, I have four Wii Remotes sitting around for people to play.

Bryan Ochalla said...

You're talking about why Nintendo likely won't be selling Wii U controllers separately, right Gadgets and Gizmos? If so, I agree. I'm OK with that, too, as it sounds like using Wii Remotes for local multiplayer works well enough. Also, if Nintendo really does push the online abilities of this console, people will be playing a lot of online multiplayer -- which means they'll all get to use their own controller :)