The pre-E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) announcements are coming early this year. Nintendo shot first. The company has announced several new games and features for the Wii U system via a Nintendo Direct broadcast.
One of the biggest bits of news is that there are two new Legend of Zelda games. One is an HD re-release of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. The game was originally made for the GameCube, and released in 2003. The other is a brand-new Zelda game, but no details were shared aside from it being vastly different from previous entries. For instance, we may not have to play through dungeons in a specific order, and there may ways for more than one player to enjoy the game.
There is also a new Mario on the way. It’s going to be a 3D platformer a-la Super Mario Galaxy, and is in development by the in-house Nintendo team that developed Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS. There is also a new Mario Kart game on the way.
Yarn Yoshi is being made by the team that developed Kirby’s Epic Yarn. The director of Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story will be overseeing its development.
Monolyth, the developers of Xenoblade (Wii), are also working on a new title for the Wii U. Not much has been said about this yet, but Xenoblade scored well with critics.
The Wii U is finally getting a Virtual Console this spring. Players will be able to purchase classic games to play on the system. According to Nintendo’s release, this includes titles from the NES, SNES and Game Boy Advance libraries. This is likely in addition to the current lineup (which is on the original Wii) and includes, Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, Neo Geo, Commodore 64 and several other classic gaming consoles. They are also going to offer a selection of classic games for 30 cents a pop. This will be for 30 days each. Balloon Fight will be the first game to get this extra-low price tag.
Furthermore, Nintendo’s Miiverse, which is basically a big social network or online community for Wii U owners. They can post, share thoughts and more. It’s soon coming to smartphones. First, it will be browser-based, according to the press release. Eventually, it will be released as an app. We’re guessing they are hitting iOS, Android and Windows Phones, but no specific platforms were mentioned.
Finally, some system updates. Nintendo will release two major ones. The first brings new features such as the Virtual Console capabilities. The other is faster load times. Always awesome.
Here are a few more highlights taken from Nintendo’s press release:
• Wii Fit U Communities: New features coming to Wii Fit U include letting players create user communities on Miiverse from within the game. Community members can discuss exercises, BMI or weight changes and other health topics with other players as a way to encourage one another to reach their fitness goals. Similar functionality for other games is also planned.
• Pikmin 3 Photos: The upcoming Pikmin 3 game includes a feature that lets players use the Wii U GamePad as a camera to share the same perspective as Pikmin and take close-up pictures of landscapes and creatures in the game and share them in Miiverse.
• The Party Continues: A new installment in the Wii Party franchise is planned to launch this summer. The game features various play styles, including one that lets both players compete head-to-head using just the GamePad.
• RPG Mashup: Nintendo has begun many collaborations with outside development partners to bring the best franchises and experiences to Wii U. In one such partnership, Nintendo and Atlus are working on a collaboration that features the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei franchises. A video trailer for the game was shown in the Nintendo Direct.
• More on the Way: Iwata shared a new trailer for The Wonderful 101. That game and GAME & WARIO are scheduled to launch in the first half of 2013. Iwata also showed a new video for Bayonetta 2. That game and the new Super Smash Bros. installment are still on the way, but will need more development time before details can be revealed.