E3: Nintendo’s 3D future

Nintendo’s E3 conference started off with a video of Zelda, now titled fully Zelda: Skyward Sword. Here, the Motion Plus is used to give Link free movement of his sword – at one point during the video Link waved it in circles to make a door with eyes go dizzy. The graphics have a very traditional Zelda vibe, best described as a cross between Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. “I think this game will be remembered as a key turning point in Zelda’s history,” said Miyamoto after showing footage, which you can view for yourself here.

Mario Sports Mix 2011 was the next game shown; the video showed volleyball, ice hockey and basket ball. Next up was NBA Jam, followed by Just Dance 2 (yawn), the already unveiled Wii Party and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn for DS…which was shown at last year’s E3. The confirmation of a Wii-exclusive remake of Goldeneye 007 was actually leaked yesterday, but it still prompted cheers from journalists lucky to be at E3. Online multi-player is promised. And so is Daniel Craig’s face. Fans of puns should get a kick out of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, as it’s set in a world made out of wool. It’s a 2D side-scroller for Wii. The freshly announced Donkey Kong Country Returns – from Metroid Prime developers Retro Studios – is also a 2D-affair. It’s out this winter. Expect a distinct retro feel to it – even the music is similar to the 16-bit original.

PilotWings and Kid Icarus games have been long rumoured. Today they were finally confirmed but not for the Wii, but rather the Nintendo 3DS. Thankfully, you don’t have to wear glasses to get the 3D effect. The bottom screen remains as a touch screen while 3D top screen is a decent size (3.5-inch) and as promised the 3D can be adjusted via a slider. Nintendo said they didn’t want to make the 3D screen a touch screen as they “realised that fingerprints and other smudges reduce the 3D image”. It has an analogue stick, which is a good thing, and a 3D camera with two lenses while wireless functionality will automatically download new rankings, ghosts and the like. No release date or price were revealed for the snazzy new handheld but two different colours were shown – red and turquoise.

The list of software for the new handheld is impressively vast. Nintendo themselves announced Animal Crossing, Kid Icarus Uprising, Mario Kart, Nintendogs + Cats, Paper Mario, PilotWings Resort, Star Fox 64 3D and submarine sim Steel Driver.

Third-party efforts meanwhile include (breathe in) DJ Hero 3D, Shin Megami Tensei, Resident Evil Revelations, Super Street Fighter IV, FIFA, The Sims 3, Asphalt GT, Bomberman,, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Contra, BloodRayne: The Shroud, A Boy and His Blob, Ridge Racer, Super Monkey Ball, Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden, de Blob, Saints Row: Drive-By, Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy, Driver Renegade, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (breathe out).

I’m somewhat surprised to see many “mature” titles among that list. At the same time though, I’m a little dismayed by the lack of new IP – the majority of games announced were either license or franchises. Still, I bet Sony wishes they had some of those big name brands on PSP.

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