Nintendo were the last to hold their conference this year, having the Wii U to re-reveal ushering in the next generation of gaming, one would have thought the best was being held for last. As every year for Nintendo the conference was held in the huge Nokia Theatre where hundreds of journalists and enthusiasts were waiting with bathed breath for a closer look at Nintendo’s next foray in the console market seeing as last year’s reveal brought a lot of confusion as to what Wii U actually was.
Shigeru Miyamoto, the creative mind behind most of Nintendo’s IPs opened the show by revealing one of his newest creations, Pikimin 3. A cute and unique game with elements of strategy and cooperation tactics. As was expected the Wii U gamepad featured heavily, showing the unique features it allows thanks to the onboard touch screen which opens up a plethora of possibilities on how to control the game itself or to be used as a real-time inventory screen without the need to access anything on the game itself of the TV it is being played on. These unique features play heavily in the appeal of the Wii U and all games make use of the gamepad in unique ways, albeit sometimes gimmicky.
Reggie Fils Aime, Nintendo of America President, was next to take the stage, promising the conference would focus on “games, games, games” rather than on the hardware and features of the new console itself. In fact if one wanted to experience the full features of the Wii U and learn everything about it, you had to check the various Nintendo websites and community outlets like twitter and facebook for more in depth info.
From this point on the conference focused as promised on the games, opening up with a new version of Batman Arkham City, subtitled Armoured Edition. The Wii U gamepad was used in the game as a separate inventory screen or as a scanner to survey the area around you. Scribblenauts was next and this time the gamepad was used as a means to create and share content and powers with your friends. Following was a quick montage with some upcoming games, mainly Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3, Tank! Tank! Tank!, Tekken Tag Tournamet 2, Trine 2: Director’s Cut, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge and Aliens, Colonia Marines.
Next, Reggie talked about the Wii Fit sales figures which total at more than 43 million in sales for the series so far and he was hopeful that the number would grow with the new iteration for the Wii U, Wii Fit U. The game promises more of everything, new activities, new actions, happier, livelier and no doubt, sweatier. Following Wii Fit U, Reggie also revealed the new Wii U Music which is a mix of karaoke and dance style gameplay. Whoever sings uses the gamepad to read the lyrics and sing along while the other people mimic the dance moves shown on the TV.
Scott Moffitt took the stage after Reggie to talk shortly about the 3DS to announce several new games for the handheld, including New Super Mario Brothers 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Castlevania, Epic Mickey and Kingdom Hearts 3D which all looked very promising.
After the brief 3DS presentation, Reggie invited on stage Ubisoft President Yves Guillemot to present two new games for the Wii U, Just Dance 4 and a game specifically made to take full advantage of the Wii U gamepad by the name of ZombiU. This title showed some of the potential uses the gamepad will have in future games as it was shown being used in a lot of different ways interacting with the game adding to the immersion.
The show closed with trailers for several games including Assassin’s Creed III, Your Shape, Raving Rabbids, Rayman Legends, Sports Connection, and Avengers: Battle for Earth but not before showing a last surprise in the form of Nintendo Land which is a social Virtual Theme Park reminiscent of Sony’s Playstation Home but of course set in the various Nintendo universes. This could potentially be a huge boon for Nintendo if done properly to attract and cultivate a strong online community.
At the end of the conference I was still left wanting more with a feeling that Nintendo didn’t show enough to sell me on their next gen console. I honestly hope there is more to it than was shown at the conference because undoubtedly next year Sony and Microsoft will show their entries in the next generation space and they are sure to impress, at least on the graphical side of the spectrum.