Nintendo’s 3DS press conference took place earlier this week, and, as expected, it brought to light a veritable wealth of new information. In addition to showcasing some of the console’s most anticipated titles, the event also saw some high-profile game announcements. The staff has already gathered together to share their thoughts on all that transpired, but we thought it best to also devote this news roundup to taking a closer look at some of the more prominent revelations from this past week.
Certainly the biggest surprise of the show was the announcement of Monster Hunter 4 for 3DS. While an entry in the series was long rumored to appear on the console, many had assumed it was the recently-unveiled Monster Hunter 3G (which infamously supports, but does not require, the controversial Circle Pad peripheral that was revealed alongside it). A brand new installment on top of that was entirely unexpected, which made its revelation at the end of Nintendo’s press conference all the more monumental. While the series may not quite be the cultural phenomenon here that it is in Japan, the announcement nonetheless proved to be a crushing blow to Sony, whose PSP was sustained almost single-handedly by the franchise in its homeland. This importance has made the question of exclusivity linger in the back of gamers’ minds since the announcement, but given that Sony’s own press conference came and went with nary a whisper of the title, all signs seem to indicate that it will remain, at least for the moment, solely on 3DS.
The next big surprise of the event came in the awkwardly-titled Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, an original 3DS RPG from Square-Enix. Visually reminiscent of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Bravely Default tells the well-worn tale of a world beset by a mysterious evil, whose malevolent influence threatens to tear the very borders of the land asunder. While this premise may sound standard fare for games of its ilk, what sets the title apart from other role-playing adventures is its use of augmented reality— the demo on display at Tokyo Game Show was crafted expressly to illustrate this feature, showing off an AR projection of an enigmatic woman pleading for help. The game is expected to make liberal use of this functionality throughout the course of its story, making it one of the most unique and innovative efforts yet developed for the console.
Of course, the surprises were not just limited to third-parties– Nintendo itself showed off a few new games at the event, foremost among them being the next installment of its Fire Emblem series. In addition to boasting a new art style, the title is also said to support two player co-op, allowing gamers to team up to attack foes in tandem. Beyond that, no other details on the game have been divulged, though from the looks of it there may be a few more changes to the series’ formula besides just the inclusion of co-operative play.
Also announced was a 3DS iteration of Mario Tennis. Confirmed to be the handiwork of Camelot, the game marks the developer’s first new Mario sports title since 2005’s Mario Tennis: Power Tour. Like Fire Emblem, little about the project is known beyond that it will support gyroscopic controls, but the series’ pedigree makes it yet another game to keep a close eye on.
These games, admittedly, are but scratching the surface of the announcements– the event was littered with countless other titles both new and old, but given the ethnocentric nature of the show, it is clear that not all of them will make it out of Japan. The above four, however, are all but guaranteed to see a western release sometime within the following year, so they were counted especially noteworthy among the revelations. Their unveiling paints a bright vision of the future for the console, whose life thus far has been mired with troubles, and gives 3DS owners (and prospective buyers) much to look forward to in 2012.