After more spotlighting of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and several other Wii titles due by year’s end, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata stated people should no longer worry about Wii’s library drying up soon. Yet this wasn’t what people wanted to hear about. Instead, the truly anticipated highlight of Nintendo’s 2011 Tokyo Game Show press conference followed after the Wii promotion: 3DS details. Let’s get it out of the way first: the maligned circle pad add-on received not a single mention or photo, in spite of its appearance within the pages of last week’s Famitsu. Instead, the leaked, souped-up version of Wii’s Monster Hunter Tri, Monster Hunter 3G, was shown off, and the biggest, conference-capping surprise was Nintendo’s announcement of Monster Hunter 4, a brand new title in the series being developed for 3DS.
November and December 2011 Japan release dates were confirmed for Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, and Nintendo also showed off Kid Icarus: Uprising, Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Paper Mario, as well as new Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem games. On the third party front, several titles likely to be Japan-exclusive were covered, such as another entry in the Love Plus series, and Square Enix has a brand new RPG property also in development. We could rattle off more details, like racing as Lakitu in Mario Kart 7 or actually controlling the camera in Super Mario 3D Land, but we’ll get to what really drives us: our reactions to the games and the evaporation of the add-on circle pad until a quiet website post after the conference. What gives, Nintendo?
I’ll be blunt here– this event was nothing if not predictable. (Mostly.) We knew that Nintendo mainstays like Fire Emblem and Mario Tennis (maybe less so for the latter) would reach the 3DS, and sooner than we might have expected. The last few months, what with the price cut and Ambassador Program, have necessitated as much. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, however. Having more games on 3DS (and Wii) is never a bad idea. It’s just that Nintendo needed to provide a little bit more oomph into their conference– which, as previously mentioned, arrived in the form of Monster Hunter 4. (And new content in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for 3DS, but maybe I’m the only one counting.)
Wireless multiplayer makes us all as excited as Red Link; lack of online makes us madder than Blue.
Now, nothing’s been said on whether Monster Hunter 4 is a 3DS exclusive– I’d wager a nickel it ain’t– and it’s certainly not the type of game to test the waters, so to speak, of the 3DS userbase post-price cut. Capcom for its part seems rather confident, actually, which is more than we could say for Mega Man Legends 3, and with Resident Evil: Revelations coming up it seems like Capcom and Nintendo are not the most unlikely of bedfellows right now. It’s too bad that the rest of the 3DS library seems rather Japan-focused. Anyone up for some Culdcept? Sorry, you’ll have to import for that.
Nevertheless, more and more the Japanese video game industry seems willing to support 3DS, which is something that didn’t really seem likely pre-price cut. I’m loathe to say this means Vita will have to play catch-up even more, but I will say I’m looking forward to that flashpoint when 3DS comes into its own. As predictable as this show was, it certainly makes 3DS look better than it has in a while.
Even if Nintendo completely ignored the circle-pad shaped elephant in the room.
Well, Nintendo finally seems to have kicked its 3DS line-up into gear. Predictable, most definitely, but nice to see all the same. I was hoping for a couple more new franchises (which we did get, sort of), but Nintendo still seem to be clutching the tailcoats of disgruntled 3DS owners rather than enticing more new customers in by primarily relying once again on their core franchises instead of really breaking out and announcing something utterly new and unique for a change– although Monster Hunter 4 might certainly go some way in drawing away some wayward PSP owners. If they can get that out before Vita hits stores, I think Nintendo might have a serious win on their hands.
Snake is actually an avid fan of 3DS. It’s why he’s promoting safe circle pad use.
What I’m most surprised about, though, is how Resident Evil: Revelations and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, games which we’ve known about for a long, long time, are now going to support the newly dubbed additional “3DS Expansion Slide Pad”. Although it wasn’t specifically revealed at the press conference itself, it’s since come to light from Nintendo themselves that that’s the deal. This leaves me with one question: was this second circle pad even envisioned when development began for those games? Probably not given the amount of press coverage Nintendo has given these two at early demos and preview events before 3DS was even launched, but this announcement just completely baffles me. Does this mean I’m going to have to actually buy this monstrosity and subject my beautiful 3DS to this head-brace of add-ons, or will I be able to escape and manage without it? Either way, it’s yet another sign of 3DS’s sloppy planning.
But ranting aside, I’m quite intrigued by Square Enix’s new title, Bravely Default: Flying Fairy. It’s nice to see Square are still continuing their long-time tradition of mashing relatively random words together to make up a title, but in all seriousness a new RPG franchise for 3DS can only be a good thing in my books. I’m disappointed that Kid Icarus: Uprising has been pushed back again until next year though, but a November release for Super Mario Land 3D will definitely tide me over until then.
If i’m being honest, I don’t think the TGS press conference could have come sooner for Nintendo. It was a great chance for Nintendo to map a clearer vision of the future for their flagship handheld, which has become decidedly muddy in the past few months.
I suppose the major news was that there was no news on the second analogue or slider pad (until after the show), which has been all but confirmed by Nintendo themselves. Although this may be seen as an odd move I am not surprised. The last thing Nintendo would have wanted was to put focus on the system’s short comings, so instead (correctly) heaped attention on the games in development for the 3D handheld. Monster Hunter 4 was quite possibly be the biggest title announced, or shown during the conference, as if the game is exclusive (even timed exclusivity) then it will cause a major ripple over at Sony HQ just in time for the release of their powerful competitor, Vita.
New details on Mario Kart 7 (including a playable Lakitu) and the almost imminent Super Mario 3D Land were welcome, but expected additions. As was the news that Skyward Sword would be 60-100 hours’ worth of adventuring, with boss battle challenges amongst the features to entice players into replaying the game once the quest has been completed. Overall it was a good showing from Nintendo, one which has distracted us from the apparent shortcomings of 3DS and beckoned us into a new beginning (of sorts), and if this is anything to go by, then the future of Nintendo’s precariously balanced 3DS looks to be in good hands.
It seems my fears were unsubstantiated– not only was there no mention of a 3DS redesign during Nintendo’s press conference, but the circle pad accessory was not even publicly acknowledged until after the show, when it was quietly posted on the company’s official website. I am hoping this silent treatment is indicative of the peripheral’s non-necessity and not a foreshadowing of a future iteration of the console, but it may yet be too early to say that with any sort of certainty. Still, it was personally relieving to see its existence downplayed to the extent that it was.
Surprise: Rathalos wants to join the 3DS party.
Undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the event was the unveiling of Monster Hunter 4. Truth be told I initially mistook it as simply more footage of Monster Hunter 3G (I must admit I’m not all that familiar with the series), but its significance was not lost on me– this is precisely the kind of game Nintendo needed to solidify 3DS as the dominant platform of Japan (and, hopefully in due time, the rest of the world). With Monster Hunters 3G and 4, a new Tomodachi Collection, and the inevitable new generation of Pokémon titles, PS Vita is all but dead on arrival in the land of the rising sun, which warms the cockles of my fanboy heart.
Outside of that, nothing was particularly surprising save for the announcement of a new Fire Emblem (which boasts a noticeably different art style) and a new Mario Tennis. Still, it was nice to see some more footage of my most-anticipated games– Super Mario 3D Land looks better and better each time it is displayed, and I’m ecstatic that the DSiWare port of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords will be enhanced with new content and a single-player option. The conference may have indeed been predictable, but it was more than enough to restore confidence in 3DS as a viable platform and assuage any fears about Nintendo’s direction.
I’m not too sure why Kevin’s fears are “unsubstantiated,” as it seems almost a certainty that a dual-analog redesign for 3DS is in the future for many a Power Player. That being said, the fact that it was not mentioned seemed more like Nintendo was either a) trying to ignore all of the talk, or b) just hoping everyone will let the whole situation pass by without comment. I would bet that it’s the latter, and would bet just as much that it won’t happen. (And it didn’t.)
We can just hear it now: “CAMELOT!”
I agree with everyone else that the return of Mario Tennis is a surprise, albeit a welcome one. I’m also quite hoping that Camelot is in charge of the development now that they are no longer working on a Golden Sun follow-up. Also, I think we can all agree that the introduction video needs to be a least twice as awesome as the fantastic intro from Mario Power Tennis.
I’m also looking forward to the new Fire Emblem game, although true fans of my work will know that I would have far preferred a new entry in the Wars series. As for Monster Hunter, it’s hard to believe that everyone in Japan can be that wrong, so maybe it’s finally time to try that series out. Especially as I’ll almost certainly buy the analog stick add-on cradle or new version of the system by then.
Nintendo’s press conference left me hanging with one major question– why am I sitting here listening to a bunch of people I can’t understand? The I remembered that I am a total nerd and hopeless Nintendo addict and went on with the evening.
As for the conference itself, I had to remind myself that it was clearly targeted toward the Japanese market to really put all the whole thing in perspective. Many of the announcements probably would have got me excited if I were a prepubescent Japanese girl, but there were still a few bits and pieces the poked through my calloused shell of space marine fantasies and reminded me of what Japan has to offer. First, I have to give props to Square Enix, after watching the extended trailer after the conference I finally understand just how awesome Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is, and I am excited to see that they are pursuing fresh, and visually impressive, ideas with Bravely Default: Flying Fairy. However I once again must question the entire nation of Japan why they enjoy throwing together random English words. Bravely Default just doesn’t make sense. Is somebody in the game defaulting on a loan in a manner that can somehow be considered brave? Or is this just a nonsensical choice of words?
Man, we don’t know what a brave default is, but we think it looks good all the same.
Of course the biggest news came in the form of Monster Hunter 4, but I have to remind everybody not to open the champagne yet. Yes, the series is huge in Japan where it will be a massive hit no matter what, and yes, the trailer showed off a few major gameplay ideas that have me intrigued, especially the greater mobility for your character and at least some level of destructibility in the environments. However, we must remember that the series was the cornerstone of PSP for years in Japan, it kept the platform relevant but did little to boost the amount of quality software on the system and had a negligible impact on its success in North America and Europe. This one victory isn’t all of a sudden going to drive EA, Activision, Ubisoft and other western developers to embrace 3DS.
On a personal level, what was most compelling to me was the strength of Nintendo’s offerings. Every time I see Kid Icarus I am even more impressed with every facet of its being, Mario Tennis was probably my favorite Mario sports spin off so I am pumped to see it coming back, and Super Mario 3D Land appears to be much more expansive and imaginative than I initially expected. Oh, and I can’t leave out Skyward Sword — good lord, does that look amazing. As per usual, Zelda sits atop my most wanted list.
What’d you think of Nintendo’s presser? Tell us your thoughts and opinions below!