We all had our own dream of what could have happened yesterday. We’d been feverishly predicting the likes of F-Zero, Zelda, and a Star Fox-Metroid crossover for weeks, but how did yesterday compare? Were we wowed by Nintendo Land? Did we care that Retro were a complete no-show? Read on as the staff share their reactions.
I’m keeping it brief mostly because I only caught half of the conference (wrenched my back this morning, slept it off later than expected). But basically, I’m pretty pumped up for the Wii U. I’m glad to see Ubisoft so into it. I’m probably one of the few people in the world who doesn’t get the whole zombie obsession so the ZombiU probably wouldn’t appeal to me. Assassin’s Creed III looks pretty spiffy, though why a Civil War setting? Nintendo Land looks like it’s gonna be fun, but there jury is still out on that one for sure. I got to say that the MiiVerse is probably what I think will be the best part.
Also, Wii Fit U is gonna include a pedometer. Well, looks like I have no choice but to get this. Pikmin 3 looks pretty awesome and the addition of the Rock Pikmin sounds mighty promising. I think I need to wait and see with the 3DS to form an opinion of if Nintendo succeeded or failed miserably. They seemed to be kind of middling for the most part right now.
Nintendo had me in the palm of their hand, I was ready to be fully engaged in my purchase for Wii U, and, in the beginning, everything was going as I had hoped. Pikmin 3 looks marvelous (although I wish it was a surprise, rather than having Miyamoto already confirm that it was going to be at the conference…), and New Super Mario Bros. U looks good as well. I’m already impressed by MiiVerse and the controller, so all that Nintendo needed to do was bring on the games, which, in retrospect, they did fairly well on. Scribblenauts Unlimited and Lego City Undercover both looks surprisingly awesome (seriously, that Lego game looks sweet!), and I’m pretty stoked for ZombiU and Nintendo’s lineup of 3DS games.
Towards the end of the conference, I was starting to get anxious for the unraveling of Retro Studios’ next project, will it be a new Metroid? Starfox? F-Zero? Zelda? What could it possibly be!? Instead, causing what I assumed to be a small intermission between the previous announcement and the upcoming super-mega-awesome reveal, Nintendo announced Nintendo Land, which, honestly, I’m excited for and will pick up the day I get my Wii U. Still, Nintendo Land is great and all, but that’s not what I’m here for, so when Reggie began a sentence with words similar to “but, before we go, let us all take one final look at…”, I leaned forward in my chair in excitement, this was it, the super-mega-awesome reveal I had been waiting for! To my despair, Reggie continued the sentence to what I can only recall to being something similar to this “…a stupid, worthless fake display of fireworks, see ya guys later!”. No!!! What a terrible ending! Nevertheless, the show wasn’t all bad, and I cannot wait to hear more about the Wii U and what Nintendo has in store for us.
Nintendo really did have a decent conference. Most of the press conference showcased actual video games instead of home media or mobile services, and neither Usher nor Flo Rida was anywhere to be seen. But I just can’t help but feel a little let down. Maybe it’s my own fault for thinking Nintendo was going to tease something new besides Nintendo Land.
In a post-conference interview, Reggie said that Nintendo only wanted to showcase games that were going to be available at the launch and/or launch window of Wii U. I understand where Nintendo is coming from by not showing us stuff that is 3 years away from release, but when you’re launching a new console, getting us excited for the future is critical! The least Ninty could have done was tease the Retro project, whatever it is. Sure, we might get some juicy reveals as we get closer to the launch of Wii U and I hope we do. But E3 is the best time to reveal that kind of stuff! Nintendo was poised to dominate E3, and while the conference was not bad, it could have been… more.
And another thing: I’m a lifelong Super Mario fan, but Nintendo really needs to cut back on the amount of Mario games they push at once. If New Super Mario Bros. U comes out this year, that means we’ll have FOUR Mario titles by the end of 2012. It’s a little crazy to have both New Super Mario Bros. 2 and U launching so closely.
But I mostly loved the show, I really did! Pikmin 3 was great! Miyamoto’s entrance was quite adorable with the Pikmin, and it reminded me of the opening of a stand-up comedy special. It’s about time we got to play with the Pikmin again, and the HD footage looks positively gorgeous. I’m also glad that we got a firm release date and final name for Paper Mario: Sticker Star. I really dig the Wii U console too. It looks so nice and clean, and the new controller is just sexy.
And of course as always, Reggie is too cool. Here’s some of my favorite choice quotes from the Regginator:
“I like French food!”
“Even though I was focused on beating Mr. Miyamoto, I heard some of you laughing. Don’t try to deny it; I heard you. Yes, my body was ready.”
I’m rather pleased at Nintendo’s presentation as a whole. Nintendo Land, the apparent successor to Wii Sports and Wii Play, shows off the GamePad in attractive ways, all while keeping to Nintendo history a bit more faithfully than the Mii-centric offerings of those two games. If this generation is anything to go by, Nintendo Land might be the strongest (and least “feels-like-improvisation”) experience on the console.
But of course, I hope it doesn’t. Creators outside of Nintendo need to take up the baton. We’ve known of Ubisoft’s close backing of Wii U for some time now, and the dev’s ZombiU looks perfectly monstrous. Just as Sony had me gaping at their extremely promising, mature single-player games, Nintendo here answered with thunder of their own. ZombiU‘s slightly rounded photorealism and kick-ass use of the GamePad seems a winning formula. I love how smoothly the perspective shifts from the first to third person. And I can anticipate the jitters arising from feeling as if two eyes aren’t enough–any attention spent on one screen leaves the other ripe with potential threats (see scanner). At best, many of ZombiU‘s moments will be predicated on this organic type of challenge. It’s not your character who’s too slow or tunnel-visioned. It’s you.
Let’s turn the page with Pikmin 3. How I’ve missed this franchise. So jocund, so unique, so full of the feeling that one is building something worthwhile. More than anywhere else, Nintendo’s reasoned leap to HD is welcome here. A view of the earth from so close should shine thanks to it. Apparent support for up to three off-world protagonists only sweetens the deal.
Though I do hope that the game feels complete when played alone–a hope that extends to Super Mario Bros. U. It’s in HD, great. It supports five-player wackiness, great. But I want something extraordinary even when it’s only Mario on screen, something wrought out of the pride that Nintendo in many ways pioneered the side-scroller. A lot of that is going to depend on the mechanics, and a lot of it is going to depend on the degree of difficulty. But most if it will depend on the game’s developers not seeing the game as a five-player frenzy by default.