Now wasn’t yesterday a day to remember? Not only did Nintendojo offer you a wealth of content and news coverage from E3 2011 (I will never complain about a news lull again) but Nintendo finally announced the name and design of its next, highly anticipated, home console: Wii U. While we covered all the details and exciting info about this new console yesterday, today we’re going to look back at Nintendo’s performance at E3 2011 and have a chat about it. What did we like? What didn’t we like? Is it just me that misses Cammie? Read on to find out all the answers.
Nintendo’s press conference created clear winners and losers depending on where you stand. On one hand, Nintendo sought (apologies for the cliché) to “win the future” with Wii U, and they mostly succeeded. Although the name sounds more like a liberal arts institution than a system, Wii U is loaded with potential, looks great, and has a superb lineup of third party titles in development. 3DS owners, likewise, have plenty to celebrate, with several high-profile first and third party titles, not to mention the concurrent system update that opened up the floodgates of DLC.
Then there was Wii. Or, rather, there wasn’t Wii. We got a Skyward Sword plug and many minutes of live orchestra, but nothing else. Wii U is probably a year and a half away (Holiday 2012 seems like a safe bet) but Nintendo already seems to have moved on. No new titles and no localized titles. And here I thought GameCube had a rough swan song.
The Nintendo fanboy in me appreciates what Nintendo is doing down the road, but the Wii owner in me feels punched in the gut.
Let’s face it: Nintendo had the most to gain or lose at this year’s E3. Rumors of Cafe– I mean Wii U guaranteed that gaming’s collective eye would be glued to the Big N this year. And for the most point they didn’t disappoint.
Oh, they still talked about widening the audience and creating deeper gameplay. It’s almost cliche for Nintendo to do so now. But unlike the mind-numbing casual-fest that some E3s have been (*cough* 2009 *cough*) this time Nintendo had a little something special for the hardcore gamers. Wii U, while being a horrible name for a console, definitely shows promise as a powerhouse of a console.
Simply look at the number of shooters that Nintendo included in the sizzle reel. If that’s not enough, John Riccitiello coming on stage to tout how good the system will be for EA shows a level of confidence from a major 3rd party that hasn’t been given in years. I also have high hopes that Nintendo has finally gotten their online sorted out as Riccitiello mentioned online leaderboards, patches, and DLC as being supported on the system. Unfortunately Wii U’s lack of hard drive may ruin these dreams.
On the 3DS front, I was really excited until I realized that I’d heard almost all of it before at last years E3. Luigi’s Mansion 2 was a nice surprise, but I wish there had been more new titles. A 3D Pikmin would have been a show stopper in itself. I guess I’ll just have to content myself with knowing Super Mario Bros. 3D is coming this year and it has Tanooki Mario in it.
Of course, all this pales in comparison to the biggest news of the day. That’s right, Nintendo is finally releasing some decent Zelda soundtracks in the US, and we’ll be able to attend Zelda concerts. That makes the Nintendo presser a “win” any day.
The Wii U looks fantastic. The controller looks awesome and I like that you can continue playing on it when you’re not on the TV. The fact that you can draw on it and see what you’re drawing which for someone like me who enjoys cartooning, is a huge benefit. I was wrong on them setting and ate for late 2011, but that doesn’t matter. I’m looking forward to its release in 2012. Nintendo seems to be doing pretty good at least with some of the pimping of their new stuff.
However when it comes to the actual Wii games….not so much. There are very little games that appeal to me enough to up and reserve a copy. Skyward Sword looks like a great game and I’ve been looking forward to its release as I have back in 2010. As a longtime Kirby fan, I’m definitely going to go out and get Kirby Wii. The only other game I’m really interested in for the Wii is possibly Rhythm Heaven but I have some reservations at how well the game will translate to the console rather than the handheld. And for goodness sake, can they please get some better dubbing/lyricists for the songs with words? Granted, 2 of the songs were awesome in Rhythm Heaven but some of them were painful.
Now as for the 3DS, that looks mighty promising. I think I may go broke if I even think about buying most of the games I want. Paper Mario and Kirby Mass Attack (for DS) look like the two I would like the most, other than Ocarina of Time 3D. But there are so many great games on the horizon not to mention the Virtual Console! Hopefully the 3DS will start to gain steam after a pretty slow beginning.
I’m still wondering why the Wii U console was not displayed during the press conference besides being seen briefly in the background of the Zelda HD clip. I personally would have loved to see it presented respectively during the show. My theory is that Nintendo wants us thinking about the controller above all else and not to have us be all googly-eyed over that sleek, pearl white product of the future. Still, throughout the briefing I was terrified that we wouldn’t see the finished machine for another year. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.
Thankfully there was no gloating on Nintendo’s part; though that 20-minute Zelda intro felt a little over-the-top. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Zelda series – but giving it just about as much time in the spotlight as Wii U had just to reminisce about a handful of upcoming re-releases (old news, at that) and a splendid soundtrack was totally unnecessary.
The biggest surprise to me was definitely Luigi’s Mansion 2. I literally knew nothing about it. The thought had never even crossed my mind. After playing it in 2001, I was sure it would never garner a sequel. But well, now it’s on its way. Nintendo made all efforts during the show to make 3DS look like an amazing piece of hardware and succeeded quite effectively, in my opinion.
Nintendo’s showing was certainly strong with a great selection of amazing new hardware and software, but I still was a little disappointed. Every game Nintendo announced and showed had me excited; Kirby Mass Attack caught me off guard and Luigi’s Mansion is one of those games that I think has actually gotten better with age so I am pumped to see it get a sequel… IN 3D!!!!!! (God, I love doing that.)
But what I wanted was more games, especially third party offerings. The 3DS sizzle real was tragically short and was made up of games we already knew were coming. I would have loved to have seen what Square Enix was doing aside from Kingdom Hearts 3D and some more info on Mega Man Legends 3 would have made my day all the more awesome.
The same could also be said for what they showed with Wii U. The various features and tech demos mentioned today have shown that the new controller is definitely capable of a lot more than we initially expected, but I still want more solid game info. Hearing the developers gush about how they love the system is all fine and dandy, but depending on when the system launches, their games could be old news because most of them are coming out on 360 and PS3 later this year or early 2012. At least Nintendo later confirmed that Pikmin 3 has been moved to Wii U and should be ready early in the system’s life span due to how much has already been developed on Wii.
Regardless, Nintendo’s showing this year has given me plenty to look forward to and maybe announcements from third parties will fill in the rest.
Nintendo is definitely the innovator of the industry. How many consoles in a row will they continue to wow me. I don’t know what it is, but at first I was a little put off with the name, but then just remembered that doesn’t matter. However, what Nintendo said, came to fruition. I finally understand the Wii movement and what it means for this console. This console IS an HD Wii, except with yet another form of playing. The graphical prowess of this thing will surely give third party devs a reason to at least port their games over. The official specs haven’t been fully released, but with IBM stating that the CPU is based on the one used in Watson, it’s surely somewhat more powerful than anything on the market now.
As for 3DS, what can I say? Amazing. The games look great and Nintendo is finally adding more to their online modes (and they even found ways to do it Nintendo-style like the Star Fox face capturing). Third parties on 3DS though didn’t seem to show much new. Hopefully, once Mario Kart 3D releases, the 3DS user base will expand exponentially and this will give third parties reason to increase their effort and support. Other games were shown on the showfloor as well like Animal Crossing 3D and Paper Mario 3D. Also, I can’t wait for Luigi’s Mansion 2! Told ya it would come to the 3DS!
The other conferences were decent, except MS seemed to yet again not have any new games. Sure, a bunch of Halo announcements, Gears of War 3 and Forza 4 were shown, but nothing new at all for the core gamer. Kinect is definitely their love from here on out (and maybe acting as a youth game & cable provider), even getting EA and Ubisoft to use it even in places it shouldn’t be (Ghost Recon weapon firing). As for Sony, they sure do have a lot of 1st and 2nd parties don’t they? However, I don’t think any new announcements popped up besides PS Vita news. And, although Vita looks great and is priced very competitively, it’s a huge risk for Sony to be selling at a loss with something they haven’t dominated in at all (handhelds). Their third party support seems to be all talk and no show so far, unlike the 3DS.
Truthfully, I found Nintendo’s conference to be a little underwhelming. It may have been a matter or expectations: I expected to be very suprised during the show, but everything that was revealed about Project Café/Wii U turned out to be…as every rumor predicted. It just felt very typical, which is entirely uncharacteristic of Nintendo. My interest plummeted once I saw the controller was indeed designed to look like a tablet, and while it seemed like it could open up a few neat new gameplays ideas, I cannot fathom how it could benefit most games. When the Wii Remote was first unveiled, the possiblities were immediately perceivable. Here? Not so much. I hope Nintendo has a truely genuis title in the works, because as it stands I am not really all that interested in Wii U.
As for the console’s controller, I think it is very ugly– it looks like the unfortunate lovechild of a uDraw tablet and a Classic Controller. I do not understand why Nintendo chose to position the circle pads so high on its face, but I cannot imagine them being all that comfortable to use. Still, I’ve read it’s surprisingly ergonomical despite its bulky appearance, so they may very well be in the perfect spot. I can’t judge. But I still think it’s ugly.
Aside from that, I enjoyed the conference, particularly all of the 3DS titles on display. Super Mario 3D, of course, looks really awesome (and it even has an unlimited Fire Flower!), and Luigi’s Mansion 2 was a very nice surprise (as was the announcement of a free The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords title this fall). It was also nice to see some more substantial footage of both Animal Crossing 3D and Paper Mario 3D despite their glaring omission from the conference proper. On the Wii front, Skyward Sword is looking more beautiful than it ever has, but it is supremely disheartening Nintendo has not said anything about Last Story or Xenoblade Chronicles (or even Dragon Quest X). OH WELL, I should’ve known not to get my hopes up. *shakes his fist at all of Europe*
Once all the dust has settled and I am sufficiently removed from my initial reactions, I will probably look back on Nintendo’s press conference and think it was a solid event. There are some great games coming out for 3DS, and Wii U is….interesting, I guess? I don’t expect half of the developers paraded during its unveiling to use the controller in a meaningful or innovative way, but it’s nice to see a lot third-party support right off the bat. Maybe my opinion will change once more hands-on impressions trickle in, but until then the only reason I am interested in the console is because of that Zelda tech demo.
I probably could’ve done without the Zelda symphony. Shades of Wii Music never give anyone a good impression, and certainly when I started watching this conference I was a little worried it would go that route, especially since Miyamoto definitely seemed a bit overly excited for the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. Which certainly has its place, but eh– the execution seemed a little off.
But onto the actual conference: like Kevin, I was a bit underwhelmed. Perhaps this is because I’ve never been particularly interested in the 3DS, but even without that interest, you have to admit games like Mario Kart 3D and Star Fox 64 3D aren’t the most fascinating– nor original– games that Nintendo could release for a system they want to be both fascinating and original. When Reggie said that the new Kart game would present a way of driving beyond anything accomplished before, I tried really hard to believe him– but it turned out that he just meant there would be underwater and aerial races, which really don’t seem to add anything to the game right now. (Even Diddy Kong Racing made things different whether you were in a hovercraft, kart, or plane.)
Ah, well. I suppose Nintendo couldn’t be wholly original the entire time, since the company’s clearly been gearing up for Wii U more than anything else. Was I surprised about it? Maybe a little bit. Certainly I’m vaguely excited about the screen sharing functionality– it reminds me of Pac-Man VS and Four Swords with GameCube/GBA functionality– but other than that I’ll have to see more to get really excited. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that Nintendo’s showing us so much, especially in contrast to Microsoft and Sony. Perhaps it’s just that after their shock-and-awe Wii reveal in years past (wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?) the Wii U reveal seems positively boring.
Okay, maybe just a little bit.
I have to admit that I was (maybe unreasonably) a little disappointed in the lack of real games on show for Wii U. These tech demoes or “experiences” were not really what I had in mnd, when Nintendo stated that Wii U would be playable on the show floor. There was no specs given, no titles announced (apart from Lego City Stories) and the console itself, reminds me of the old model Xbox 360. I did like the controller, though the thought of wielding something that size for all games, is something I’m obviously going to have to get used to.
3DS wise, I thought Nintendo did a reasonable job with the new games they had on display. Mario Kart 3D looks fun, as does Luigi’s Mansion 2 and the 3DS iteration of Super Mario seems promising (even if it did remind me of early Sega Saturn “3D” platformers like Gecko) Nintendo’s job was made considerably easier by the lackluster showing from Sony and Microsoft but even so, they did not shine brightly enough for me.
Once my slight disappointment on the lack of Wii U info subsided, I saw things in a different light. Nintendo have to hold certain things back from us and their competition. I only hope that a showing at TGS will rectify the lack of software at E3. I trust Nintendo to make this work, like they did Wii, and come good in the end. One point I will make though is this: if Wii U turns out to be only as powerful as PS3 or 360 after their (what will be 7 years) on the market, I will be extremely disappointed with Nintendo. HD Mario and Zelda are great, but looking to the future, Nintendo could be left behind all over again, unless they get it right, which I have faith they can.
I think my feeling about Nintendo’s press conference are more dependent on what it decided to focus on most than what the company had to offer. While Josh is right, the Wii was majorly overlooked during the conference itself but there’s a raft of really interesting games coming for the system (ranging from Kirby Wii to Mario Party 9, Rhythm Heaven, Fortune Street and the obvious Skyward Sword) that were just completely ignored for some reason. The same happened with 3DS as games such as Paper Mario 3D and Animal Crossing 3D were completely ommitted in favour of a tediously long discussion about the eShop. I understand that Nintendo realised long ago that E3 is a marketing tool and not a fanboy dream sequence but why bake the cookies if you’re only going to give us the brussel sprouts?
On the other hand, I am looking forward to many of the games announced for Wii, 3DS and DS, especially Kirby Wii, Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Kid Icarus: Uprising and Mario Kart 3D. These games (even if they received varying levels of attention from Nintendo) all seem to be exactly what the company is good at: offering up great, imaginative games. Even announcements of games such as Super Smash Bros. 4 and Pikmin 3 for Wii U (and in Smash’s case, also for 3DS) are the kind of thing that E3s are made of for me.
As for Wii U, I’m slightly underwhelmed, like Kevin and Andrew. I know the Wii model of casual gaming makes more business sense but I don’t want to weigh myself in Wii Fit with the New Controller (they haven’t even figured out a name for it) or play golf and see my ball in the sand bunker (even if that was kind of cool.) Everything they offered up was very casual, very minimal. And while it was pretty impressive to see that towering list of developers reveal a slew of super hardcore games, I already have a PS3, I don’t want those games on Wii U. It’s not like I’m against them but at the end of the day, I have a Nintendo console for Nintendo games because Nintendo is the company that makes games better than anybody else. Well at least in my opinion.
I just felt the casual/hardcore balance was off in their reveal. Instead of focussing on a real HD experience for the first time on a Nintendo platform, we focussed on the casual aspects of the tablet. It looks like a oversized Etch-a-Sketch that smashed into a Kindle and while Skyping video calling seems pretty cool, I already have an iPad and a this and a that and everything else I could want. I have enough gadgets that do small things, what I was wanting was the massive experience. The classic Nintendo that I love but blown up and intensified like never before. Which is why those fifteen seconds of Zelda HD were undoubtedly my highlight of the show.
Just don’t pull a Spaceworld 2000, Nintendo.
That’s what we thought but do you agree? Do you see the potential in Wii U or were you deflated by Wii’s lacklustre showing? Let us know in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org!