Nintendo have broadcast a new Direct presentation – the company’s first since the passing of President Satoru Iwata in July. The new Direct followed the format of the earlier videos, this time hosted by Satoru Shibata and Ed Valiente in the EU, with Reggie Fils-Aimé alongside Bill Trinen in the US.
Aside from release dates, the news across both streams, although presented in a different order was much the same, so, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Straight out of the gates was the unexpected, but very welcome announcement that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is on the way to WiiU March 4th 2016, with the port being handled by Australia based Tantalus.
As well as enhanced visuals, the game will also support amiibo for the new platform, namely the Smash Bros. series Link, Toon Link, Zelda, Ganondorf & Shiek, and the newly announced Wolf Link.
A special edition of the game will come bundled with with the Wolf Link amiibo, and the game soundtrack. Nintendo also revealed that this new amiibo will carry some data forward to the new Zelda title, reiterating that title is indeed still on track to be a WiiU release.
Sticking with The Legend of Zelda, the recently launched Tri Force Heroes is getting a free update called The Den Of Trials, which will feature 30+ new stages to challenge even the most heroic traveller. The update will also include a couple of new outfits, and is due the first week in December.
The squid based tentacle shooter Splatoon is receiving another substantial update right away – with a new stage, Museum d’Alfonsino, and 40 new gear items heading up the party. We were also told to look forward to more free content upgrades into the new year, including the Mahi-Mahi Resort stage, seen at the end of this trailer.
In the US, a new holiday bundle was also announced, which features a premium WiiU console, Splatoon and Super Smash Bros.
A brief look at Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. preceded the news that Super Mario Maker is receiving a new web portal next month, which will let you search the 3.3million (and rising) courses globally with more precision than available in game, using filters such as game style or theme, and then adding them to your favourites.
Some new info regarding Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash was also served up, with the announcement of Simple Mode, which strips back the power-ups for a more traditional play style, and the new move Jump Shot, which lets you return a ball without waiting for it to bounce. Fancy that.
While Mario’s undoubtedly the moustachioed face of Nintendo, it’s Pokémon that had kids turning on their Gameboy systems in the late 90’s with the launch of Red, Blue and Yellow… and now they’re back! The three games that started it all are hitting the 3DS Virtual Console Feb 27th, 2016, bringing with them wireless networking options which do away with the need for a link cable.
Three new Pokémon titles not enough, you say? How about the news that Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon will feature all 720 known Pokémon. This is all getting a bit Farfetch’d.
Still not enough of Jigglypuff and chums? How about we take a peek at a Pikachu picture? Pokémon Picross was announced, and joins Shuffle as a ‘free to start’ title on the 3DS eShop in December.
More? How about Pokkén Tournament for WiiU? The arcade style Pokémon fighter is coming in Spring 2016, and it was today revealed that those who purchase a physical copy of the game within its first production run will receive a free Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card, which grants early access to the mythical character.
That’s it; Gotta catch ’em all!
Moving on, we had a new trailer and release date for the delayed Star Fox Zero on Wii U, which is now due for launch in April 2016.
A few indie trailers – the futuristic Fast Racing Neo, Typoman and Image & Form’s SteamWorld: Heist popped up before Nintendo’s own Badge Arcade, an eShop title which allows players to buy attempts on fairground style crane machines with the hope of winning some new tat to adorn your handheld’s home screen.
We also saw LEGO Avengers, Project X Zone 2, Kerbal Space Program, Yo-kai Watch, Hive Jump, Terraria and Mighty No 9.
Capcom’s blue bomber is going gold for the Mega Man Legacy Collection on 3DS, with a limited edition amiibo announced to be launching alongside the game February 23rd.
While it appears the new gold amiibo is US only, gamers in Europe wont entirely miss out, as both it and the regular blue amiibo will unlock 11 exclusive new challenge stages for the game at launch.
Also on 3DS, we saw Final Fantasy Explorers, a 4 player co-op action RPG with MMO style classes and more than 20 different professions for characters to take on. Coming to Europe in January, the game’s western release will bundle all of the DLC released previously for owners in Japan along with the core game.
Europe will also see a special Collectors Edition of the game, which includes an art book, a 20 track CD, a branded 3DS carry case and exclusive in game quests.
More amiibo news: Early next year there’s a Lucas Super Smash Bros. amiibo joining the fight, and a foursome of new faces joining the cavalcade already lined up for the Animal Crossing collection.
Back to Zelda and 3DS – fans were treated to new footage of Hyrule Warriors: Legends, which introduces us to Linkle, a brand new character, who will fight alongside Tetra, Toon Link, Skull Kid and The King of Hyrule when the Wii U title goes handheld.
Speaking of handheld, Linkle has some pretty nifty looking equipment at her disposal. Dual-wield rapid fire crossbows. I suggest you don’t mistakenly call her Zelda.
Hyrule Warriors: Legends will be available March 25th 2016, with a limited edition available at retail.
RPG fans have a lot to look forward to, Nintendo tell us, with Bravely Second: End Layer joining the earlier mentioned Final Fantasy Explorers on 3DS early next year. The sequel to Bravely Default is set a few years after the first title and brings more of the same turn based battles and strategic gameplay using the Brave & Default system.
Bravely Second: End Layer‘s Collector’s Edition will come with a CD soundtrack, artbook and figurine to accompany the game.
Even more good news for 3DS RPG fans followed, this time with the reveal that both Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII will be released next year.
Fire Emblem Fates was then announced as launching with two different versions – Birthright or Conquest. It was explained that while each contains a complete story, players of both titles will be rewarded with a deeper look at the varying sides of the conflict within. Those who wish to do so will be pleased to hear that ownership of one Fire Emblem Fates title will grant an eShop reduction on the other.
Due for release after the main games, a third DLC campaign, entitled Fire Emblem Fates Revelation will add even more to the story.
As with nearly everything else Nintendo revealed via this Direct, Fire Emblem Fates will have a Special Edition available, containing all three campaigns, and, quelle surprise, an art book.
Prefer your RPG’s on the big screen? Check out the new trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles X, releasing December 4th.
The game will launch both digitally and at retail, although those picking up the disc will find downloading 10gig of what Nintendo are calling “high speed data loading packs” from the eShop will “greatly improve gameplay experience”. They’ll essentially be using the data on the HDD to sidestep the lengthy disc-based read times when you come to play.
To round things off there was the huge announcement that Super Smash Bros. Wii U / 3DS is getting a new fighter…