Nintendo revealed tons of exciting announcements in their first Nintendo Direct presentation in several months today. Their big splash was all the better in the wake of this being the first Nintendo Direct broadcast since the tragic passing of late former president, Satoru Iwata earlier this Summer.
Still, Nintendo doesn’t feel like it’s lost a step, with this being an especially superb Direct, containing updates on games already available, and a few cool surprises that were previously rumoured, or came out of nowhere! Even with the expected lack of news on Nintendo’s upcoming mobile games, and their upcoming dedicated game device code-named ‘NX’, the onslaught of superb Nintendo 3DS and Wii U announcements should have Nintendo fans very enthusiastically embracing the future to come, even on veteran hardware.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get to it. Whether you missed the broadcast, or just want a handy recap of the highlights, here’s a breakdown of the essential Nintendo 3DS and Wii U news that you need to know, coming off of this presentation:
As rumoured, Nintendo is preparing an HD remake of their 2006 GameCube/Wii hit, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which will hit Wii U early next year. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD will be more than a simple graphical update, but it will nonetheless bring this especially large and ambitious Legend of Zelda adventure into an enhanced native 1080p HD resolution! The port is being handled by an Australian developer called Tantalus Media, and to commemorate the announcement, Nintendo is preparing an all-new Wolf Link Amiibo figure, along with promising that established Super Smash Bros. set Amiibo figures, Link, Zelda, Toon Link, Sheik and Ganondorf, will all interact with the game in some unspecified way.
Details are thin at this point, including exactly what kind of upgrades the game will offer, or how it may utilize the unique functionality of the Wii U hardware, beyond its HD capability. That said, Nintendo will provide more details on the game later. They’ve also announced that it will be sold both standalone at retail and the Wii U eShop, as well as in a retail bundle that includes the Wolf Link Amiibo figure. Nintendo has also teased that data saved from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD can be transferred over to the mysterious original new Legend of Zelda game headed to Wii U next year, though they didn’t elaborate what exactly this bonus will offer. This was also, sadly, the only mention we got of the all-new Legend of Zelda game for Wii U.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD will release on March 4th, 2016. Pre-orders for the game go live (at least for the U.S.), today, and the game’s official soundtrack will be offered to anyone who pre-orders.
Staying on the note of the Legend of Zelda series, Nintendo next moved to The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes for Nintendo 3DS, which will soon be getting a free update that adds a major new area to the game. The update’s all-new area will be called the ‘Den of Trials’, where players will face not four, but over thirty different levels in this super-challenging dungeon offering! If players fail to destroy every enemy in any given area, they’ll be unable to proceed further in the trial area to boot! Fortunately, the Den of Trials will at least offer checkpoints, so you won’t have to start all over again if you get stuck, and have to beat a strategic retreat.
The free update will also add in two all-new outfits to the game, namely Linebeck’s uniform, inspired by the character(s) of the same name from the Legend of Zelda games for Nintendo DS, which will allow players to see inside treasure chests before they open them, and the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask-inspired Fierce Deity Armour, which increases the strength of its wearer, and allows sword beams to be shot in four different directions!
This free update for The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes goes live on December 2nd, and will download automatically when you start the game with your Nintendo 3DS/2DS handheld connected to a wi-fi network.
Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon was brought up next, along with the reminder that it comes to Nintendo 3DS on November 20th. The game will allow you to become one of twenty different Pokemon personalities, but will feature all 720 Pokemon in the roster to date, to battle with, recruit and interact with! You’ll need to build a strong team to solve the mystery of why Pokemon are being turned to stone, and brave many dungeons that completely change their layouts, every time you enter them.
As before, you can collect items to give you a strategic edge in battle, and the turn-based combat will demand a lot of careful planning. Bringing the right items and Pokemon is key to success, especially with Pokemon able to use combo attacks together, though if you happen to be defeated, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon will maintain the feature that allows you to summon a friend’s team via wi-fi, to rescue you from whichever dungeon you were defeated in. The game will also organize quests and Pokemon-befriending opportunities like never before, with a feature called the Connection Orb, which will allow you to explore and take on various tasks in a galaxy-like arrangement.
Lastly, early adopters can score a free Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon background theme for their Nintendo 3DS/2DS handheld, with a purchase of the game within the limited time window. Pokemon fans likely won’t want to miss out, as it’s a pretty stylish theme!
Splatoon’s upcoming slate of free updates is far from over! After adding new maps, play modes and weapons to the game already, Nintendo gave a peek at even more new content coming to their hit Wii U shooter, again distributed by free updates to come. This included peeks at all-new maps like Museum D’Alfonsino, which has five revolving obstacles in the middle of the stage that affect defense and viable shooting angles between teams, and Mahi-Mahi Resort, a very treacherous stage on top of a pool of water that will instantly defeat your Inkling if you fall in it, with the terrain changing midway through a match thanks to the water dropping, both forcing players to stay on their toes, and making the question of who has more territory captured something that will be maintained until the very final seconds of the match!
Nintendo also announced that the latest free DLC update for Splatoon goes live today, which will include over forty pieces of new gear for your Inkling, including more Winter-themed items, and some slick bandannas. The first of the two newly-announced maps, Museum D’Alfonsino, will also be added free to the game via another update tomorrow, though Mahi-Mahi Resort won’t arrive until later. Nintendo also promises free updates coming to Splatoon through to at least next January, including new stages, gear and tweaks to the gameplay balance. Nintendo also reminds Splatoon owners of the launch of SplatNet, an official website that will allow players to track their stats and compare scores with their friends, from Splatoon’s online multiplayer sessions.
Finally, Nintendo will be hosting an official Nintendo Treehouse-sponsored Splatoon tournament in December, the Splatournament, which fans can tune in to via Nintendo’s official Twitch and YouTube channels, along with the live broadcast section of Nintendo’s own website, to see the Nintendo Treehouse staff split into different teams to battle for online Splatoon supremacy! Nintendo has also teased that the tournament will feature a peek at the ability to offer player-hosted tournaments both locally and online, and that fans should stay tuned.
Nintendo next revisited another Wii U game that’s already available to the public, Super Mario Maker. After reminding players of a recent update to the game, which added checkpoint flags and status-dependent items for their custom course designs, Nintendo confirmed that Super Mario Maker already offers more than 3.3 million player-made courses to download and enjoy from Nintendo Network!
In commemoration of the game’s incredible success, Nintendo is launching a portal site that anyone can access from their computer or smartphone, which will offer a more robust search engine than the one featured directly in Super Mario Maker. Using this portal site, players can more easily browse courses to play online according to their tastes, thanks to custom tags, and can also mark courses that they’re interested in, which will then be highlighted for them during the next time that they access the online component of Super Mario Maker on their Wii U proper.
This sounds like a very promising update that will make playing and enjoying Super Mario Maker even easier! The portal site is not live yet, unfortunately, but it will go live in December.
Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival was brought up next, with the game launching for Wii U tomorrow. Nintendo went over how the game is played again, showcasing how each session of the game represents a month of in-game time, with players doing tasks to accrue Happy Points, passing a day with each dice roll. Whoever has the most Happy Points at the end of the game is the winner. It doesn’t seem all that dissimilar from Nintendo’s highly successful Mario Party series, even if it does have an emphasis on using Amiibo, with any Animal Crossing set Amiibo figures (the first batch of which also launch tomorrow), allowing use of their character in the game when they’re scanned on the Wii U Gamepad’s NFC Reader. Nintendo also reminds Animal Crossing fans that, at launch, Isabelle and Digby’s Amiibo figures will not be sold separately, and can only be attained in the retail game bundle to start. Moreover, while Isabelle will be a bundle mainstay, Digby will only be available in the bundle while supplies last, before disappearing from it.
Nintendo also confirmed functionality not only with the dedicated Amiibo figures of the Animal Crossing set, but also with the Animal Crossing Amiibo cards that released alongside Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer for Nintendo 3DS this past September. The cards can be used in alternate game modes, with one example being a survival-based game mode called Desert Island Escape, which has players scanning three cards to generate characters on an island, where they must find resources to survive for a certain amount of time, while also scavenging materials to build a raft within a week. This mode offers multiple island maps, each of which contains enemies to drive off in combat, and each Amiibo card has a character with different strengths and weaknesses, keeping gameplay unpredictable.
Finally, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival will also feature a quiz mode. It’s apparently deceptively tough, but die-hard Animal Crossing fans should have fun with it.
Next up was Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, which hits Wii U next week, on November 20th. Nintendo showed off several gameplay mechanics, which include singles and double matches, along with an all-new return called a Jump Shot, which allows you to return the ball before it’s bounced onto your side of the court. If you’re able to knock your opponent off-balance with this trick, a Smash Point will appear on the screen. If you stand there and use a Jump Shot, you’ll bust out a super-powerful Ultra Smash, which are extremely difficult for your opponent to return!
Nintendo then showed off Mega Battle Mode, which has Toad standing by the court, tossing Sumo Shrooms into the match area. If you touch a Sumo Shroom with your character, the character will grow larger, thus making it easier to return serves. Should you not want to deal with power-ups or gimmicks though, you can play the game in ‘Simple Mode’, which will simply allow you to play a more realistic, straightforward game of tennis. Regardless, both local and online multiplayer will support up to four players at once, between singles and doubles, and Standard, Simple and Mega Battle matches will be available in both ranked playlists, and casual matches that don’t affect your online rankings.
An all-new surprise for Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash that Nintendo announced during this Direct is the game supporting Amiibo functionality. The game seems to support any Amiibo figure from the Super Mario set, as well as some Super Smash Bros. set figures such as Donkey Kong, Bowser Jr., Wario and Rosalina. These figures can be tapped on the Wii U Gamepad’s NFC Reader in the single-player mode, known as Knockout Challenge, to generate an ally. As you keep re-using an Amiibo figure, you can save their play experience, alter their stats in the Amiibo menu, and face gradually tougher opponents as you continue to summon your Amiibo ally. On top of being able to alter your Amiibo ally’s play style, you will also apparently be able to use them during online doubles matches as well!
Nintendo has been a little quiet regarding Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash up to this point, but the game looks to be shaping up very well. It should be another very enjoyable Wii U exclusive for this Holiday season!
Next up was another imminently-releasing Wii U exclusive for this Holiday, Xenoblade Chronicles X, still on schedule for release on December 4th. Nintendo went over the game’s massive production values, open-world exploration, and strategic RPG combat both inside and outside of mechs called Skells once again, though the main announcement came in the form of just how large Xenoblade Chronicles X really is.
Whether you’re buying a physical copy at retail, or a digital copy from the Wii U eShop, you’ll want to make a lot of room on your console. Retail copies of Xenoblade Chronicles X come with several downloadable packs, each ranging from 1-4 GB, which will improve loading times and performance by a considerable margin. They’re not mandatory, but the game experience will be noticeably hampered without them. Nintendo strongly recommends that owners of the Xenoblade Chronicles X disc at least download the 2GB Basic Pack, though if you need to, you might want to think about investing in the Wii U’s USB storage unit to contain all of the game’s massive data caches.
If you’re planning to buy Xenoblade Chronicles X digitally, all of the packs will be built into the digital download, which will easily be the biggest game download in the Wii U eShop to date, being somewhere in the neighbourhood of 12GB with the performance packs. Yikes! If it’s any consolation though, Nintendo is now allowing you to pre-load the game from the Wii U eShop today, in case you want to start making room for a digital copy early, and chances are, you’ll have to do that either way!
Switching gears from Wii U, Nintendo next brought up a game that hit the 3DS eShop a few days ago, that being Nintendo Badge Arcade. This free-to-start, microtransaction-based crane game allows you to pay a dollar for five tries at a virtual crane machine, though the first five tries are free. This can allow you to earn badges that you can use to spice up your 3DS/2DS handheld’s home menu, both the background, and the file nodes, and Nintendo teases that some exclusive background themes can only be scored in this game. If you want, you can play up to five times in the Practice Catcher once per day as well, though only the real crane can get you permanent cosmetic bonuses for your handheld.
Nintendo urges fans to check back every so often, since the game is constantly being updated with new badges to earn. The freemium ecosystem might leave a bad taste in the mouth of some, but at least you’ll get more than pointless high scores for opting to play.
Staying on the note of free-to-start 3DS eShop games, Pokemon Picross was brought up next. Like other Picross titles, players use numbered clues on each side of rows or columns to gradually reveal Pokemon-themed designs. When you reveal a Pokemon’s picture, you’ll capture that Pokemon, and be able to use its support skill on other puzzles. Attaining Picrites from gameplay will also allow you to solve puzzles more efficiently, though if you’re impatient, you can also purchase Picrites directly using microtransactions on the 3DS eShop.
The game promises over 300 stages, and includes every Mega-Evolved Pokemon, along with legendary and mythical Pokemon. It comes to the 3DS eShop early this December.
Moving away from free-to-start games, but staying in the eShop selection, Nintendo next brought up some exciting indie games to look forward to over the remainder of the year, for both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
First showcased was Steamworld Heist from Image & Form, the offbeat follow-up to acclaimed adventure/platform game, Steamworld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt for both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Steamworld Heist is so far planned only for Nintendo 3DS, and will be a turn-based strategy game that has players moving along 2D landscapes in a futuristic setting. The game’s emphasis will be on careful positioning so that you can shoot and loot your way through various stages, with players even being able to ricochet bullets off of walls, floors and ceilings to get at hard-to-reach foes! As you play well and score loot, you can upgrade your team of robots, and outfit them with new equipment, including stylish (read: goofy) hats! Steamworld Heist will hit the 3DS eShop before the end of the year, and purchasers will get a free Steamworld Heist theme for their 3DS/2DS handheld’s home menu too!
Next brought up was Shin’en’s F-Zero-style sci-fi racer, Fast Racing Neo, which will launch on the Wii U eShop early this December. Fast Racing Neo unfolds at a blistering 60fps clip, making it an extremely fast racer, which will have players phasing around obstacles and opponents in a robust single-player campaign. The game will also feature online play for up to eight players, and local split-screen matches that support up to four players. Truly skilled players will also be able to unlock Hero Mode, which will ratchet up the difficulty with new challenges. It looks to be a very exciting experience, and one that racing fans should keep an eye on.
Following this was Typoman from Brainseed Factory, which was also featured on the Nindies@Home selection from E3 this past June. Typoman is a puzzle-platformer that will have players spelling out words and arranging lettered objects to disarm traps, build paths, and proceed through a gloomy, unsettling world, as the unnamed hero, also composed of typewriter-style lettering. The game is coming exclusively to the Wii U eShop, and has been given a release date of November 19th. Typoman was easily one of the best Nindies@Home demos from E3, and definitely should not be missed by Wii U owners!
After a bit of a showcase of some of Nintendo’s recent hits from the past few weeks and months, between Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, Yoshi’s Woolly World, The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes and Yo-Kai Watch (complete with a cute Yo-Kai Watch skit between Bill Trinen and Reggie Fils-Aime), along with recapping the games soon to come to Wii U over the next several weeks, namely Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, Xenoblade Chronicles X and Devil’s Third, Nintendo revealed an all-new Wii U console bundle for this Holiday. The bundle will include a Deluxe 32GB black Wii U console, along with pre-installed digital copies of both Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Splatoon. It’s one of the best bundles yet for those who haven’t yet purchased a Wii U console, and are looking for an excuse to take the plunge!
Nintendo teased that this new Wii U console will also see a discounted price for Black Friday towards the end of the month, along with a similar deal centering on the classic 3DS XL model bundled with Super Mario 3D Land. If you’re looking ahead of the Holiday season as well, Nintendo also announced that January 22nd will see some all-new Amiibo releases, including new Animal Crossing Amiibo figures and cards, as well as the Lucas Amiibo for the Super Smash Bros. set.
This was this Direct’s cue to move beyond this year, and into 2016, starting with a first look at Pokken Tournament for Western audiences! While already available in Japanese arcades, Pokken Tournament, a Tekken-inspired, Pokemon-themed fighting game from Bandai Namco, is coming exclusively to Wii U in North America. The game features fast-paced, but accessible combat that will allow you to engage in three-dimensional one-on-one fighting matches with various Pokemon personalities, with the simple touch of a button.
As a bonus, an Amiibo card that will unlock the use of the all-new Shadow Mewtwo, will be included in first-run copies of Pokken Tournament at retail. Don’t worry if you buy the game digitally, or pick it up later though. You can still unlock Shadow Mewtwo for use by satisfying certain gameplay conditions.
Pokken Tournament will release for Wii U in Spring 2016.
Showcased next was another upcoming Wii U game for 2016, Star Fox Zero, with Nintendo presenting a slick pre-rendered trailer for the game, as well as recapping its many features. Players can use a full view of their surroundings on the television, while looking at a cockpit view on the Wii U Gamepad Screen (which also offers gyroscopic controls to realistically alter your aim as you tilt the Wii U Gamepad), and several vehicles will be available for the game’s shoot ’em up combat. The Arwing jet and Landmaster tank return, with new twists that allow the Arwing to engage a Walker Mode that allows it to battle enemies on the ground, while the Landmaster can now float through the air, using a mode called Gravmaster, as well as lock on to up to three enemies simultaneously. Lastly, the Gyrowing was shown off, which allows players to sneak through enemy territory in a stealthy fashion, and can drop a helper R.O.B.-style robot called Direct-i to move through narrow paths like vents, and open paths ahead by doing things such as hacking terminals.
While Star Fox Zero still looks like a fantastic Wii U exclusive, and a great new reboot of the Star Fox franchise that’s well-tailored to the Wii U functionality, its showcase came with a bit of bad news. Despite the game being delayed out of this year to Q1 2016, it’s actually been bumped slightly once again, to Q2 2016. At least the game now has a firm revised release date however. You can now expect it to hit retail and the Wii U eShop on April 22nd, 2016.
Switching gears to the Nintendo 3DS slate for next year, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam was up next, which launches this year in other territories, but won’t hit North America until the new year. Nintendo showed off how the Mario & Luigi incarnation of the Brothers Mario team up with Paper Mario, from the Paper Mario games, on an all-new RPG adventure set in the Mushroom Kingdom. The game showed how Paper Mario can do tricks that the normal Mario and Luigi can’t pull off, such as folding up to create bridges and sneaking through narrow openings, and this also extends into battle, where Paper Mario can do things such as copy himself, and team up with Mario and Luigi to use extra potent Bros. Attacks, now known as ‘Trio Attacks’.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam will also sport epic papercraft-style battles, allowing Mario and Luigi to ride on a super-sized Paper Mario, and ram through enemies as if he were a giant tank! The game also boasts an all-new Battle Card mechanic, which will allow players to play cards that do things such as damage enemies, weaken enemies, increase coin payouts, and boost the Bros.’ stats. Better still is that the Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Bowser and Yoshi Amiibo figures from the Super Mario set can also be used in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, to create specific Character Cards, which are even more potent than Battle Cards! The Character Cards will also take designs from past Mario games like Super Mario Bros. and Mario Kart 7, among many others.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam comes to retail and the 3DS eShop in North America, on January 22nd, 2016.
Nintendo showed off a third-party game next, Final Fantasy Explorers from Square Enix. Being the first action-RPG in the Final Fantasy franchise to hit Nintendo 3DS, Final Fantasy Explorers will have players braving a mysterious island full of crystals. The game will boast a Final Fantasy-approved Job system with over 20 different classes, so players can alter the game to their play style, while completionists can freely learn skills and switch between Job classes at their leisure. Certain skills can be transferred between classes, and the game even allows you to rename spells and abilities to whatever you see fit.
The game is incredibly customizable, and allows you to mix and match both new and cutting-edge armour designs, along with the outfits of classic Final Fantasy heroes, while Trance allows you to fully become those personalities, including Final Fantasy VIII’s Squall Leonhart, Final Fantasy IV’s Cecil Harvey, Final Fantasy VI’s Terra Branford, and more! On top of adopting these personalities, Trance will also restore HP and MP, and unlock powerful new attacks. The game is playable and beatable solo, though is quite challenging, and best enjoyed with up to three other friends, whether locally, or online, in MMO-style combat that has players taking the separate roles of tank, support, healer, and damage. If you don’t have enough people to fill a full party of four, trained monsters can also fill those empty slots.
The game’s Western release will include all of the Japanese DLC for free as well, including bonus weapons, outfits, and challenging new missions featuring infamous Final Fantasy foes like Omega and Gilgamesh. The game promises over a hundred quests, over the course of tens of hours of gameplay. A Collector’s Edition will also be offered at retail, which will not only include the game, but also an art book, a sample soundtrack CD, a hard 3DS case, and several in-game bonus weapons, which can be earned in exclusive quests unique to this special edition.
Final Fantasy Explorers comes to retail and the 3DS eShop on January 26th, 2016.
Another very promising, and very different Nintendo 3DS RPG was brought up next, that being Fire Emblem Fates. The game promises to maintain the deep strategy-RPG gameplay, rewarding customization and rich storytelling of former Fire Emblem games, and Nintendo has finally revealed how the game will be released in North America!
As with Japan, Fire Emblem Fates will primarily come in two versions; Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, sold both at retail and the 3DS eShop, for $39.99 USD each. Both games have individual storylines, and will portray two sides of a massive war, with the player fighting for one side in each version. If you buy one version, whether digitally or at retail, you can score the second game at a reduced cost on the 3DS eShop, for $19.99 USD as well. Even better is that, eventually, a third campaign will be offered on the 3DS eShop, called Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, which will unearth huge secrets for both sides of the war, unseen in the prior two games! Because of this, Nintendo recommends that you play Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation last!
If you want to have everything at the best possible deal, Nintendo will also offer a Fire Emblem Fates: Special Edition package at retail, for $79.99 USD. The package includes Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest and Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation all together, as well as an art book, and a 3DS XL pouch.
All Fire Emblem Fates games will be released on February 19th, 2016. Nintendo also promises a wave of DLC to come after launch, starting with one free new battle map, and six more to follow it. Fire Emblem Fates will also offer a Season Pass, called Fire Emblem Fates Map Pack #1, starting today at select retailers, where you can pre-purchase all of the first wave of DLC at a discount.
Next up is the upcoming Nintendo 3DS port of Mega Man Legacy Collection, which is already available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, and will expand to Nintendo’s handheld next year. As with the prior console and PC builds, Mega Man Legacy Collection for Nintendo 3DS will bundle the original six classic Mega Man games for NES together on one package, and include the Museum Mode of concept art and development info, as well as the Challenge Mode that challenges players to undertake timed and altered snippets of classic Mega Man stages.
The Nintendo 3DS version of Mega Man Legacy Collection is also shaping up to be the best of the lot, offering over 100 3DS-exclusive bonuses in this version of the game, which are completely unavailable in the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC versions, and also coming not only in a digital version on the 3DS eShop, but also as a physical retail package! Not only that, but there are eleven missions in Challenge Mode that are exclusive to the game’s Nintendo 3DS version, all of which are unlocked by scanning the Mega Man Amiibo figure from the Super Smash Bros. set.
It gets even better however, as an all-new Gold Mega Man Amiibo figure is also being made to coincide with the launch of Mega Man Legacy Collection on Nintendo 3DS! While it unlocks the same eleven Challenge Mode missions as the regular Mega Man Amiibo, the Gold Mega Man Amiibo figure is exclusively being offered as part of the special Collector’s Edition of Mega Man Legacy Collection’s Nintendo 3DS release at retail, with select retail stores offering the Collector’s Edition alongside the standard retail package of the game.
Mega Man Legacy Collection releases for Nintendo 3DS both physically at retail, and digitally on the 3DS eShop, on February 23rd, 2016.
At long last, after incessant fan demand, Nintendo has announced that the classic Pokemon Red Version, Pokemon Blue Version and Pokemon Yellow Version from the Game Boy era are being re-released on the 3DS Virtual Console! The games will be preserved in their entirety from their Game Boy incarnations, though unlike the majority of Game Boy games re-released for the 3DS Virtual Console selection, the trio of classic Pokemon games will include their multiplayer features, allowing you to trade and battle Pokemon with your friends that also own one of the three classic games on their 3DS or 2DS, using local wi-fi, with no Game Link Cable necessary!
Pokemon Red Version, Pokemon Blue Version and Pokemon Yellow Version will all come to the 3DS Virtual Console selection on the same day, to coincide with the release date of their original Game Boy versions, on February 27th, 2016.
Next up is Hyrule Warriors: Legends, the upcoming Nintendo 3DS port of Wii U hit, Hyrule Warriors. After recapping the all-new additions of Toon Link, Tetra and the King of Red Lions from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker to the game’s character roster in its new Nintendo 3DS incarnation, along with the announcement of the Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask also joining said roster, Nintendo then drew back the veil on a shocking new character; Linkle!
Linkle is an all-new female version of series protagonist, Link. She comes from a Cucco-filled village, wielding dual crossbows, and can take out enemies coming at her from any direction! On top of being very acrobatic and agile, Linkle also has a super-powerful spin kick attack, which substitutes for the normal male Link’s spin slash attack, allowing her to spin around and take out legions of enemies using a special strike!
Hyrule Warriors: Legends is now set to release both at retail and on the 3DS eShop, on March 25th, 2016. For a limited time, early buyers can also score a free 3DS/2DS home menu theme when they buy the game to boot!
After briefly mentioning highly anticipated Nintendo 3DS RPG sequel, Bravely Second: End Layer, currently set for release in Spring 2016, Nintendo talked about another Square Enix RPG series that they’ve supported for many years, Dragon Quest! At long last, the Nintendo 3DS editions of Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King are releasing in North America!
After recapping some of the story and gameplay fundamentals of Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past, which originally released on the PlayStation in 2001 as Dragon Warrior VII, Nintendo confirmed that the Nintendo 3DS remake of the classic entry will hit North America in early Summer 2016. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King’s Nintendo 3DS port meanwhile will release in North America later in 2016.
Before coming up to their final announcement, Nintendo went over a few more announcements related to third-party games. First up was a showcase of Hive Jump, developed by Graphite Lab, which will release on the Wii U eShop in early 2016. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to 16-bit classic, Super Metroid, Hive Jump has you running, shooting and leaping your way through clusters of alien hives either by yourself, or with up to three friends. You can use the Wii U Gamepad Screen as a minimap, and not only that, but the game will support certain Amiibo figures, which will unlock new challenges and looting opportunities!
Next was a demonstration of Kerbal Space Program, the highly celebrated (and goofy) space sim that will come to Wii U in early 2016. Players can get an internal view of a spacecraft by looking on the Wii U Gamepad Screen in Nintendo’s build of the game, and can also tilt the Wii U Gamepad to steer their craft with the gyroscopic motion sensors. You’ll still need to pay attention to the television though, so you don’t unexpectedly kill everyone on board!
Next up is Mighty No. 9, the highly anticipated, Kickstarter-funded spiritual Mega Man successor by Comcept, which has now been given a firm Wii U release date on February 16th, 2016, with the Nintendo 3DS version of the game set to arrive in Q2 2016. The Wii U version will come to both retail and the Wii U eShop, though the Nintendo 3DS version is so far only planned for launch digitally on the 3DS eShop. The game promises twelve main stages, and many challenging bonus missions, as well as the chance to challenge the eight previous ‘Mighty’ robots to steal new weapons and transformations from them. The game also boasts an online co-op mode, where someone else can assume the role of player character, Beck’s sister robot, Call to assist in the game’s challenging stages, and there’s also a competitive Race Battle mode, where players compete to earn the best scores and times.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers was showcased next, which comes to both retail and the Nintendo eShop digital storefronts for both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS on January 26th, 2016. On top of LEGO-izing the two highly beloved and lucrative Avengers movies, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers will also allow you to take on many unique challenges using other Marvel personalities’ blocky LEGO forms, and the game promises that players can unlock upwards of 100 Marvel personalities, some of which have apparently never appeared in a LEGO game before! Both movie and comic book incarnations of various Marvel characters will be offered in the game.
Next, Project X Zone 2 was shown off for Nintendo 3DS, the sequel to the massive Capcom/Sega/Bandai Namco crossover strategy-RPG, which is set to hit both retail and the 3DS eShop on February 6th, 2016. The game promises many gaming personalities from all three companies, in flashy, all-new strategic turn-based battles, and will also include two of Nintendo’s Fire Emblem personalities, Chrom and Lucina from Fire Emblem: Awakening, as part of the character roster, along with Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles.
Lastly, Terraria, the acclaimed crafting/adventure game, was shown off in its Wii U and Nintendo 3DS incarnations, which are set to debut in early 2016. Players can craft weapons and equipment, along with entire structures in a 16-bit style, then undertake huge adventures against hundreds of enemies and deadly bosses with up to three other players both locally and online, with the Wii U version supporting up to eight players in any one world online. It’s been a long time coming, but this acclaimed game is finally coming to Nintendo platforms, and it looks to be shaping up excellently!
Nintendo saved arguably their most earth-shattering announcement for last, as a rather familiar intro for Final Fantasy fans begins to play. After some of the iconic opening scene from Final Fantasy VII is shown, Nintendo announced the impossible; Cloud Strife, a Final Fantasy character that has so far almost entirely hung out in Sony’s ecosystem, beyond the PC and mobile ports of Final Fantasy VII, is coming as a DLC character to the roster of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U!
Nintendo showed off Cloud’s moveset, which includes a new Midgar-inspired arena with recognizable Final Fantasy summon beasts like Odin, Leviathan, Ramuh, Ifrit and Bahamut ZERO laying waste to the stage! Cloud comes in both a classic Final Fantasy VII style, and a modernized Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children style, both of which seem to speak in Japanese voiceover at this point. Naturally, Cloud wields his super-sized Buster Sword in battle, appearing to be a powerful fighter that can easily attack from any angle, at the cost of appearing to be slower and more methodical than most fighters. He also possesses Limit Breaks, which seem to charge up as he takes damage, a la in Final Fantasy VII, and which appear to take the form of his Final Smash attack, namely in how he uses his most powerful Omnislash attack to completely decimate opponents.
Cloud doesn’t seem to have release info yet, and we probably won’t see him until 2016, along with any confirmation as to whether he’ll get his own Amiibo for the Super Smash Bros. set too. Nintendo does claim however that a special Super Smash Bros. Direct is coming in December, where we may well get even more new character reveals!
Obviously, this was a positively enormous Nintendo Direct broadcast, which knocked it out of the park with its many fantastic announcements, even if it largely stuck to games that we already knew were coming. Still, even if we didn’t get a confirmation of that heavily-rumoured Wii U port of Minecraft, or any actual info on the upcoming Legend of Zelda game for Wii U, with other offerings like Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem and Bravely Second: End Layer also being entirely missing (the mention of Bravely Second: End Layer in passing doesn’t count!), this was a fantastic Direct that left very little to be desired. Announcements like Pokemon Red Version, Pokemon Blue Version and Pokemon Yellow Version finally coming to 3DS Virtual Console, and Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife finally coming to Super Smash Bros., should have Nintendo fans buzzing well into 2016 by themselves, and that’s before the many fantastic games on the docket for the remainder of Nintendo’s current fiscal year!
Keep revisiting Eggplante for all news and updates on Nintendo Direct, and other high-profile Nintendo announcements!