Nintendo has really gotten better at communicating with its fans. For over a year now Nintendo has been delivering video presentations, known as Nintendo Direct, showing off upcoming software and hardware releases. In North America these videos are generally presented by NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime, but for some larger announcements Nintendo’s head honcho Satoru Iwata would step in. For example, Iwata was the presenter when the final Wii U Game Pad controller form was finally unveiled and detailed to the public. So when Iwata steps in to discuss a few upcoming first party software releases, you know that something big is going to be announced. This past Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct was just that indeed.
This Wii U Direct, as it was officially called, brought news of upcoming updates, services, and software that would be released for the Wii U. In comparison to past Nintendo Direct presentations though, this was more of a long term forecast for the console than a showcasing or in depth look into any specific upcoming release.
Here’s a list of the major talking points from the 36 minute presentation:
Wii U Updates
- 2 Updates will roll out to the Wii U in order to further speed up the load times between menus and the software boot up time. The first update is due this spring, with the second to follow this summer.
- A web browser version of Miiverse will be launching in the spring. With a Miiverse mobile app to follow sometime thereafter. Your Nintendo Network ID credentials are what get you in, so it will be limited to Wii owners.
- Miiverse is to receive updates that will enable user created communities. This feature will be launching along with Wii Fit U, a game that coincidently will allow you to setup user created Miiverse communities.
- Nintendo is finally launching the Wii U Virtual Console. It is due along with the spring firmware update.
- Virtual Console will initially carry NES and SNES games. GBA games are promised as well. If the Wii’s Virtual Console is anything to go by, then we can probably expect most of the Sega consoles, Trubografx, Neo-Geo, arcade units, and more as well. Pricing for the NES games will be $5-6, while the SNES will go for $8-9.
- Wii U Virtual Console to include off-tv (Gamepad only) play and Miiverse integration.
- Any Virtual Console games transferred from the Wii to Wii U can be rebought for $1-$1.50 in order to upgrade to the native Wii U Virtual Console version.
- To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Japanese Famicom (NES in the US), Nintendo will be pushing a Virtual Console “trial” service from January through July. Each Month one classic Nintendo title will be sold for $.030, starting with the NES hit Balloon Fight.
First Party & 3rd Party Wii U Software
- Video reels of previously announced upcoming releases were shown, these included: Game & Wario, Wii Fit U, Lego City Undercover Stories, as well as Platinum Games upcoming Wii U exclusives The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2.
- A new party game is to be released, created by the same team behind the mega selling Wii Party.
- Screenshots and details on the next entry in the Super Smash Bros. series are promised for E3. The game will be released for Wii U and 3DS.
- A new 3D action Wii U Mario adventure is currently in development by the same team behind the Mario Galaxy series. This will be playable at E3.
- A new Mario Kart will also unveiled and be playable at E3.
- Good-Feel, the studio behind Kirby’s Epic Yarn for Wii, are developing a new game featuring Yoshi as the main character. The game has a very similar art style to Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and is being supervised by Takashi Tezuka. Tezuka-San was the director of Yoshi’s Island for SNES and Yoshi’s Story on N64. Both games are considered by me to be quality and classic.
- A crossover of Shin Megami Tensi by Atlus, and Nintendo’s own Fire Emblem is currently in the works. Nintendo touted this as an example of the company trying new things in order to keep a steady stream of software releases coming.
- Not one, but TWO, The Legend of Zelda games are in development.
- One all new game, which promises to “Rethink” the core foundations of Zelda games.
- As well as a beautiful HD and retuned remake of Wind Waker, originally released on the Gamecube.
- A new JRPG by Monolith Soft, the team behind the highly acclaimed Wii exclusive Xenoblade Chronicles. is currently in development as well. It seems to be a new entry in the Xeno– series. It features giant dinosaur like monsters and transforming vehicles.
It’s pretty clear Nintendo has really got a lot planned for the Wii U at this point. It’s safe to say that some of these titles will not be releasing this year, but even then, this news coupled with some recent announcement of some big third party games coming as well, we gamers should be pretty busy for quite some time.
You can watch the full Nintendo Direct/Wii U Direct below…
We’ll of course be giving more details on some of the bigger bits of Nintendo news here as they become available.