Whoever said you can’t keep a secret these days was wrong. The new Nintendo console is not called CafÃ©, Beem, Stream or even Wii 2 or Wii HD but rather Wii U. Simply because it’s a console with something for everybody. You, specifically. There’s enough tech behind it to power visually demanding games and it’s also backwards compatible with the original Wii controllers and software.
Predictably there are a lot of conversions on the way but they’re not of older titles but rather games that are still to be released including Batman: Arkham City, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online, Tekken, Darksiders 2, Metro Last Light, Assassin’s Creed and DiRT. EA also hinted that Battlefield 3 is on it’s way. How Nintendo managed to stop developers leaking info is a mystery. Maybe Reggie threatened to crush their testicles with unsold copies of Wii Music?
There isn’t much to talk about in regards to the design of the console – it’s merely a Wii with rounded corners and a bigger power button. IBM are supplying the processor, it uses Nintendo’s own 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs and supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Yep – you can stick a HDMI cable into the back of it. There are also four USB ports because you can never have enough.
The controller itself is the real head turner. A combination of an iPad and a traditional analogue controller, it has a 6.2 inch 16:9 touch screen, two analogue sticks, four trigger buttons, a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feedback, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus. It truly is the Swiss Army Knife of the videogame controller world. T3 magazine reports that it is very light to hold and the screen is both clear and bright. Nintendo wouldn’t tell them how long the battery life is though. Likewise, price and release date are still a mystery.
Tech demos shown so far include HD Zelda, New Super Mario Bros. Mii and Battle Mii – a Metroid themed deathmatch. It’s still early days for the console yet, although the Zelda-alike Darksiders 2 was confirmed to be a launch title.
Speaking of Zelda, Nintendo’s conference kicked off with a tribute to the hero of Hyrule. It was revealed that Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for DSi is going to be a free download on DSiWare from September while a golden Wii remote will be released to tie-in with Zelda: Skyward Sword on Wii. And to celebrate Link’s 25th, symphony concerts are going to be held across the globe and two Zelda CDs will be available for the first to register Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D with Club Nintendo.
New details for a host of 3DS games were then revealed. In Mario Kart – which is being co-developed by Retro Studios – vehicles can be customised and there are also underwater sections and hang-glider power-ups. Starfox takes photos of your face for multiplayer purposes and Super Mario 3DS (as it’s now called) mixes bits of pieces from Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Bros. 3. It’s going to have a Zelda-themed world too, viewed from a top-down perspective. Kid Icarus makes his E3 appearance for a second year running but now multiplayer has been confirmed
As for new games, how about Luigi’s Mansion 2 for size? It’s being developed by Next Level Games (who did Punch Out on Wii) and is very exciting prospect being the type of thing that’ll genuinely benefit from the 3DS’s illusion of depth. Several mansions will be on offer for Luigi to explore suggesting it won’t be as short as its predecessor. Kirby Mass Attack was also announced for 3DS, as well as Super Fossil Fighters and the very barren and bizarre looking The Rolling Western.
Namco are bringing Ace Combat and Tekken to 3DS. It’ll be the first Tekken game on a Nintendo format since Tekken Advance on GBA. Oh, and there’s going to be a Tetris game on three dimentional handheld. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
Nintendo are going to be publishing Lego City Stories (referred to as LEGO: GTA by people on Twitter) in partnership with TT Games on both 3DS and Wii U. A new Super Smash Bros was also teased for both formats.
The Wii and DS still got a look in. Kirby Wii isn’t a sequel to the lovely Kirby’s Epic Yarn but rather a 2.5 platformer much like New Super Mario Bros. complete with a four-player mode. Fortune Street from Square-Enix and Mario Party 9 should please fans of virtual board games (if any exist), the lush looking Rayman Origins is Wii-bound and Professor Layton And The Devil’s Flute is now known as Professor Layton And The Last Specter.
Finally, the award for the most unintentionally hilarious game goes to Ubisoft’s TinTin: Secret of the Unicorn which shows TinTin – who’s only a young boy, lest you forget – punching seven bells out of fully grown men and grappling them to the ground. Rah!