In the second Nintendo Direct of the year, Satoru Iwata – the president of Nintendo – has highlighted upcoming titles releasing on the Wii U.
And there’s a lot to be excited about – for Nintendo fans, anyway.
The broadcast started with Iwata describing the Wii U’s Miiverse functionality in detail, for those that haven’t quite got it yet – showing off how players can request help, state how they feel about the game or even draw a picture by posting a message on the Miiverse with games such as Trine 2 and ZombiU.
They’ve also added a verification system – much like Twitter’s – so that developers and other corporations can be authenticated; these verified users can share videos and links through the Miiverse – such as challenges for players or information about upcoming games
Iwata also announced that two system updates are due for the Wii U, the first of which will release this Spring. Both of these will improve the speed of launching software and returning to the menu, though the Spring update will bring full Virtual Console functionality to the Wii U – including NES and SNES titles, which will all be compatible with Miiverse, off TV play on the GamePad and the option to save a back-up of your progress.
Gameboy Advance titles are also planned to release on the system and there will be special pricing if you’ve bought the games on your Wii previously. You won’t get them strictly for free, but the prices are highly discounted from the £3.49 for NES titles and £5.49 for SNES titles to just 99p. Another promotion – the Wii U Virtual Console Trial Campaign – is to do with the 30th anniversary of selected titles; these titles will be available for 30 days for just 30p, kicking off with Balloon Fight this month.
Miiverse is also being expanded – with users now able to create different communities for games along with multiple official communities for each game.
You’ll soon be able to browse these communities and all other Miiverse features from your smartphone and though it will be browser-based at first, an app will release in time. Netflix and other video streaming services should be coming to other European countries soon, and TVii is coming to Europe as soon as possible – Nintendo are working on it.
Along with Monster Hunter on the 22nd and LEGO City Undercover on the 28th of March, other titles such as Wii Fit U, Game and Wario and Pikmin 3 will be releasing later this year. The Wonderful 101 was also trailered, showing off some comically brilliant gameplay, as a group of heroes are banded together to fight monstrous enemies – you control the entire group, rather than simply one character.
Bayonetta also got a development video, showing Platinum Games hard at work on the game, with concept art and 3D models galore, though Iwata said that it is not yet the right time to discuss in further detail.
Smash Bros. was mentioned, with game development on track, but we’ll have to wait a little longer for some details, with more information to come at this year’s E3. The same goes for a new 3D Mario title, in the vein of the Galaxy and Mario Land 3D games and Mario Kart Wii U – these are both in development and will be playable at E3. Alongside these, Nintendo announced a new Wii U Party game featuring lots of multiplayer mini games.
Two brand new titles were revealed – the first being a Yoshi game, which looks to have a similar art style to Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and seems to draw from the last home console Yoshi release – Yoshi’s Story on the N64, which released fifteen years ago. Shin Megami Tensei meets Fire Emblem was also teased – a collaboration between ATLUS and Nintendo with characters from each series, though no more information was divulged.
The future of The Legend of Zelda series was also discussed and although they aren’t far enough in development to show off gameplay – or even a screenshot – of the Wii U Zelda title, they described how they’re developing the game and what they’re planning to do. The team are rethinking the conventions of Zelda games – in that you shouldn’t have the same dungeon-to-dungeon gameplay of previous Zelda games, nor should you have to play by yourself. They’ve described it as a way to get back to basics for a “newborn” Zelda which keeps the essence of the franchise.
Wind Waker in HD on the Wii U.
Finally, Nintendo revealed a new title from the developers of the highly acclaimed Wii RPG Xenoblade Chronicles, Monolith Soft. It looks like a massive, fantastic RPG which should please fans of the studio’s previous titles and JRPG fans in general. The trailer is below.