Despite shirking a traditional E3 press conference at E3 2013, Nintendo still opted to show a forty-minute Nintendo Direct presentation as a substitute. Shedding light on the games they promised would be making their debut at the expo this year, with a surprise or two thrown in, Nintendo still had plenty to say, even with a more understated format of communication. Surprises were limited, but gamers still got to see plenty of debut footage, as well as some more solid release windows for some of the games Nintendo has been teasing all year!
As usual, if you missed the Nintendo Direct presentation and just want the news, or are just seeking a handy recap of the highlights, we’ve got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know from Nintendo’s E3 2013 Nintendo Direct:
POKEMON GETS SPRINKLED WITH SOME FAIRY DUST!
Predictably, this ambitious Nintendo Direct was kicked off with this year’s most anticipated pair of 3DS games, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y! The games were only briefly touched upon, presumably in consideration of their own dedicated event, going into more detail on them later at the show.
Still, Nintendo did confirm that touch and camera-controlled gesture minigames will allow you to interact with your pokemon, and improve their moods more directly in the new games. The feature is called ‘Pokemon Amie’, likely in reference to the game’s France-inspired Kalos region.
Of course, that was minor compared to the big bombshell that no doubt elicited strong reactions from Pokemon fans; For the first time since Pokemon Gold Version and Pokemon Silver Version on the Game Boy Color, the Pokemon series would be adding a new type affinity to the roster, that being the much-rumoured ‘Fairy’-type pokemon!
The previously-teased Eevee evolution, Sylveon was confirmed to be the flagship Fairy-type pokemon, with classic pokemon such as Marill, Gardevoir and Jigglypuff having Fairy-type affinities added to them in these new 3DS games! The type’s weaknesses and strengths are mostly unknown at this point, although it was confirmed that Fairy-type pokemon will be strong against Dragon-type pokemon!
The only other nugget of news, though still very important, was the exact release date for Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. Both games will release worldwide on October 12th of this year. Get your preorders ready, folks! Also, don’t forget to check out Nintendo’s Pokemon panel, starting the very same day, Tuesday, June 11th, at 6 P.M. PST/9 P.M. EST, for more news on these massively-anticipated handheld blockbusters!
MARIO’S 3D WORLD EXPANDS ON WII U!
As promised, Nintendo didn’t waste any time pulling back the curtain on their all-new three-dimensional Mario platformer coming to Wii U. The game was officially confirmed to be called Super Mario 3D World, a console sequel to the immensely well-received Super Mario 3D Land that was released on 3DS in 2011.
The game follows a similar gameplay style as its 3DS predecessor, and promises an ambitious new power-up called the Cat Suit. This will allow Mario to quickly run and slash through enemies, as well as climb walls! You can also instantly climb to the top of the end-level flagpole while in the Cat Suit, regardless of where you land, by the look of things. Appropriately, the new power-up is part of the title logo, and it surely deserves to be!
Mario won’t be going it alone for his latest adventure either! Just like the New Super Mario Bros. games that have made it to Nintendo consoles, Super Mario 3D World supports four players simultaneously, with play promised to be as co-operative or competitive as players wish!
Aside from Mario, the other playable characters are Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach. Yes, it’s the same cast from Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES! They also have similar parameters to that game, with Peach being able to temporarily float, Toad being faster than the others, and Luigi being able to jump highest.
This is noteworthy, because it suggests that Super Mario 3D World won’t just be about the umpteenth kidnapping of Princess Peach, as she’s now playable and adventuring with her usual batch of heroes. Might forgotten Nintendo antagonist, Wart make a comeback? Is Bowser still the villain? Time will tell…
After the lengthy demonstration of both the single-player and co-op gameplay, Super Mario 3D World was confirmed to be launching for Wii U this December, just in time for the Holiday season! The game seems to have the same highly creative and amazingly enjoyable level design style from Super Mario 3D Land, and it being the first three-dimensional Mario platformer to support a true co-op component is certainly cause for celebration!
Super Mario 3D World also uses the Wii U Gamepad’s Touch Screen to stun and stop certain enemies and obstacles, as well as expose hidden paths. Simplistic, but effective. Off-TV play on the Gamepad Screen, while presumably a given, is also confirmed.
We are extremely excited for this game, and we’re hopeful that it can sell a heftier chunk of Wii U consoles, come this Holiday!
MARIO KART IS TURNED UPSIDE-DOWN AND OFF THE WALL!
Another promise made along with Super Mario 3D World for this Nintendo Direct was the world premiere of the inevitable Mario Kart game for Wii U. Sure enough, Nintendo made good on this promise, following up the Super Mario 3D World reveal with their other promised Wii U showcase, Mario Kart 8! Yes, it’s just pronounced like the number, ‘eight’, not ‘infinity’. No, we don’t know why Nintendo seems to have run out of titles, not even opting to call the game the predictably rumoured, ‘Mario Kart U’. Oh well.
Anyway, Mario Kart 8 looks to bring everything about the series together in one massive package, likely addressing the somewhat lightweight final product of the previous Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS. Nintendo has promised that motorbikes will make a return from Mario Kart Wii, with hovercraft-style karts debuting for the first time! While players can still hang-glide through the air and chug along underwater as in Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8 is taking these wacky tracks one step further, with anti-gravity sections!
Yes, for the first time, Mario Kart racers can now zip along walls and zoom across ceilings! The cast so far looks familiar, including the likes of Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Donkey Kong, Princess Peach, Toadette, and many others. Likewise, power-ups seem to be familiar, with more certain to be shown leading up to the game’s release. The tracks also follow several established patterns, including haunted houses, deserts, traditional circuits, and what appears to be Toad Town.
Unfortunately, rumours about the release happening this year turned out to be false, as Mario Kart 8 won’t be hitting Wii U until Spring of 2014, next year. Still, that gives Nintendo plenty of time to hype up characters, tracks and perhaps some Wii U Gamepad-specific features, which so far remain wholly undetailed.
Nonetheless, Nintendo has since separately confirmed that the game will support twelve-player online play, just like Mario Kart Wii, and will utilize a feature called ‘Mario Kart TV’ that allows players to track and share stats, using Miiverse. The game can not only be played with the Wii U Gamepad, but also supports even standard Wii Remote controls, Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls, and, naturally, Wii Wheel controls. Sadly, no support for the Wii U Pro Controller is confirmed at present.
We’ve got a while yet to wait for Mario Kart 8, but it certainly looks like the Wii U’s multiplayer addiction is at least visible on the horizon!
NINTENDO CHOOSES TO ARRIVE CASUALLY LATE…
If you’re enthused about two of Wii U’s most high-profile casual gaming brands, this Nintendo Direct came with a mite of bad news. Both Wii Party U and Wii Fit U are still releasing this year, but as suspected, both have been delayed. Nintendo has cited that they wish to add more features and polish to both games, the former now being promised to have around eighty minigames in it, and that means bumping them to the Fall.
Wii Party U is now releasing on Wii U in October, with Wii Fit U now just barely making it to the Wii U within 2013, in December. As far as partying and fitness goes, we suppose it’s better late than never, and better still than unpolished and broken, wouldn’t you say?
MIIVERSE OPENS ART ACADEMY!
Nintendo confirmed that a new Art Academy offering is in development for Wii U, but that it is far off, and not ready to demonstrate or release at this time. They did however acknowledge the incredible art that often pops up on Miiverse within various popular communities. To this end, Nintendo has promised to release Art Academy-inspired drawing tools to Miiverse artists, so that they can better realize their beautiful pictures on the Wii U’s dedicated social app. The tools are arriving as early as this Summer, with an exact release date and price to be determined later.
Even if you’re not an artist yourself, this is surely amazing news! If you just love to admire the artwork of others during your Miiverse visits, it will only get more breathtaking from here. Power to the creators, we say!
THIRD-PARTY COMMITMENT IS RE-AFFIRMED; THEY SWEAR!
One of the most common complaints about Nintendo is that they’re too first-party driven. Mind you, this is probably better than the 3DS and Wii U selling out on multiplatform options, since you at least get many, many games unique to both platforms. Still, it does make the Big N a bit dependent on their fanbase loving their established franchises going in at this point. Not that those people are in short supply worldwide, but still.
Anyway, Nintendo gave a rundown of third-party games that are releasing on Wii U and 3DS for the remainder of the year, as a reminder to fans. The Wii U will be receiving Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins, Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut (also delayed until later in the year, apparently), Disney Infinity, Just Dance 2014, Rayman Legends, Scribblenauts Unmasked, Disney’s Planes, Skylanders: SWAP Force, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Sonic: Lost World, and Watch Dogs. Likewise, the 3DS will be getting Batman: Arkham Origins – Blackgate, Disney Infinity, Scribblenauts Unmasked, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Skylanders: SWAP Force, and Sonic: Lost World.
Even with more third-party options on competing platforms, the Nintendo-exclusive will still have plenty to tide them over for the rest of the year, particularly with Sonic: Lost World and Shin Megami Tensei IV still only releasing on Nintendo platforms. The at-a-glance reminder certainly doesn’t hurt even for multiplatform gamers, especially with the rival PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles stealing so much press at this E3!
DON’T FORGET THOSE CUTE LITTLE INDIES!
After running down the third-party retail catalogue, Nintendo also gave a sizzle reel of their upcoming eShop content on Wii U, mainly consisting of independent games, which Nintendo has fully pledged their support to, going forward. The Wii U eShop will be soon blessed with: Ballpoint Universe, Cloudberry Kingdom, Coaster Crazy Deluxe, DuckTales: Remastered, Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, OddWorld: New & Tasty, Scram Kitty & His Buddy on Rails, Shovel Knight, Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party, and A World of Keflings, over the course of the next few months. Damn! That’s a lot!
Sadly, the 3DS eShop was given no such attention during the presentation. It’s difficult to fret all that much however, when you see that staggering list of Wii U eShop offerings on the way! If there was ever any doubt that Wii U was indie-friendly, Nintendo made sure to squash that notion, hard!
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA WAKES THE HD WINDS!
After the obligatory sizzle reel, it was back to die-hard Nintendo gaming business! The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD was up next for the Wii U catalogue, showing off gameplay for the first time! At first glance, the game’s high-definition gloss is difficult to notice in streamed video from a distance. When examined up close however, the visual touch-ups are undeniable, with a better sense of light and shading, sharper colour definition, and a few smoother animations.
Nintendo teased that they would be tweaking the adventure a tad to improved the much-criticized pacing of the sailing sections, but wouldn’t elaborate. They also affirmed that the Tingle Tuner functionality from the original GameCube release, which incorporated a link with Game Boy Advance, would be re-tooled to utilize the Wii U Gamepad in the HD remake of Wind Waker. If you have a sharp eye, you probably also noticed that certain key items, like the titular Wind Waker baton, are now mapped to the Control Pad for easy access, without needing to constantly shuffle your items. Lastly, players would be able to send messages to each other in bottles using an item called the Tingle Bottle, which is the game’s way of incorporating Miiverse. Gimmicky? Sure, but potentially very amusing!
Most importantly however was a definitive release window. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is officially set to release on Wii U this October. Don’t forget to fit it in between your Pokemon X and Pokemon Y addiction to come at that point!
PLATINUMGAMES DELIVERS WONDER AND WITCHCRAFT TO WII U!
The game received a new trailer and further details on gameplay. A new kind of action game that has a group of superheroes fuse into giant weapons to fight aliens, players will shape and dictate the actions of their many, many characters, using the Wii U Gamepad Screen and stylus! The Wonderful 101 was also confirmed to support an upgrade system, allowing players to outfit their team by purchasing new skills and abilities for them. On top of that, it would allow up to five players to play co-operatively together with their own teams of heroes, presumably with one using the Wii U Gamepad, and four others using a Wii Remote Plus.
The Wonderful 101 was re-affirmed for release on September 15th of this year, and promised to receive its own Nintendo Direct presentation leading up to the release. We already knew that release date though. What we wanted to know was when we could get our hands on that certain other high-profile Wii U exclusive that PlatinumGames is developing. Thankfully, Nintendo was ready after another surprise (which we’ll get to), showcasing Bayonetta 2 after reminding us of the release date for The Wonderful 101!
Debuting gameplay for the first time during this Direct, thanks to a slick new trailer, the Wii U-exclusive Bayonetta 2 features similar gameplay as its Xbox 360/PS3 predecessor. Bayonetta herself was confirmed to have a new hairstyle and costume change, with a haircut that appears much shorter, even if she maintains her traditional beauty mark and glasses. Her rapier wit also seems to be well intact, with her first line to an angelic monster being, “No one said you could touch!” As expected, her set of abilities also appear to be similar in the second game, only having gotten more deadly since before!
After the new trailer, another gameplay demonstration was shown, which looked extremely sharp! Nintendo promised more info on Bayonetta 2 after the proper start of E3, with the game rapidly becoming one of the most promising-looking Wii U exclusives to date! Lastly, the game was affirmed to launch sometime next year.
If any third-party partnership appears to be paying gangbusters for Nintendo, it’s definitely the one with PlatinumGames!
DONKEY KONG GOES NORTH; WAY NORTH!
While this Nintendo Direct was disappointingly light on surprise announcements, Nintendo did in fact have one all-new surprise to announce for the Wii U that was not previously teased or rumoured, which is sure to make fans of a certain tie-clad ape very happy!
Following the release of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, which recently launched on 3DS, Nintendo has announced that Retro Studios is in fact developing a second Donkey Kong Country game! This game is presumed to be separate from their other top secret project, said to have recruited ex-staff members of Uncharted’s Naughty Dog and Darksiders’ Vigil Games to assist with. Certainly, Retro wouldn’t need their help for just another Donkey Kong Country game, right? With backgrounds like those, could that StarTropics revival rumour have some added weight…?
Well, we’ll leave that musing for later. What we can ascertain is that Retro Studios is going back to DK Island, which has just been overrun by Viking-themed animals! After defeating the Tikis in Donkey Kong Country Returns (3D), Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong must travel to five other locations to try and suppress an invasion of these Viking beasts!
The level design is very dynamic, colourful and fast-paced, just like the previous game. It’s also packing some beautiful HD graphics that really make the game pop in a way that the previous one wasn’t able to when limited by the lesser, HD-less capabilities of the Wii and the 3DS. New obstacles include what appears to be giant jell-o blobs, seeming to indicate that Retro is really going nuts with the level design in this new game! Swimming is also making a comeback for the Kongs’ new adventure, after being absent in the previous Wii/3DS game, as is the expected trek to more frozen environments, given the Viking-themed villains!
Best of all however is that Dixie Kong is making her return as a playable character, for the first time since 1996’s Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble on the Super NES! DK appears to be able to make use of the talents of both Diddy and Dixie, the former retaining his jetpack, and the latter being able to help DK float upwards with her long hair. Nintendo has teased a fourth character, but they refuse to reveal who it is at this point. Cranky Kong? Funky Kong? A new Kong entirely? We’ll just have to wait and see!
The game’s official title is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and you won’t have long to wait for it! This gorgeous and incredibly fun-looking 2.5D platformer will be yours to take home come this November, where it will be launching for Wii U.
This may not be the surprise some were hoping for, but the game still looks incredible, and seems like it’s immensely entertaining to play! Given how much we love Donkey Kong Country anyway, more of DK is always a wonderful thing! It’s great news that Nintendo appears to want to make Donkey Kong games more aggressively at this point, that’s for sure!
MONOLITH STILL TEASING THE ROOT OF X…
What is Monolith’s mystery Wii U game, simply known by its production title, ‘X’? Is it a sequel to the stellar Wii RPG, Xenoblade Chronicles? Is it a new franchise entirely? Many mysteries still hang in the air about this game. Still, Nintendo is happy to tease it at length as a superb showcase of the Wii U’s hardcore gaming potential, demonstrating a new trailer for ‘X’ during this E3 Direct, which showcases the game’s wide-scale action and open-world setting. The game also stands as a contender for the most visually stunning Wii U game to date as well, almost rivaling the visuals of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, by the look of it!
Little else is made clear in this intentionally vague second trailer, following the game’s announcement during January’s Wii U-centric Nintendo Direct. The beautiful setting is showcased at length, with a heavy emphasis on futuristic technology in the game world, and, naturally, gigantic mechs! The main character appears to have his own powerful mech, and seems to be joined by other mech pilots. Almost all gameplay and story details are unclear from there. Oh, and the mechs transform, Transformers-style. That’s just awesome!
At first glance, this appears to be an especially ambitious action-adventure game. During one brief scene however, a list of stats are shown in a battle, which eagle-eyed gamers may have caught. There’s also evidence of a day/night cycle, given with an in-game clock, naturally leading to shifting daylight hours. These mechanics seem to cement the mysterious ‘X’ as an RPG, just like the Xeno games that Monolith Soft has released on the PlayStation 2 and Wii. Still, we know almost nothing, beyond the fact that this game is massive and gorgeous-looking!
And yet, what’s there to know? The fact that Monolith Soft is developing a massive RPG on this scale exclusively for Wii U is more than enough reason to be excited! Nintendo also affirmed that this mysterious game is set to launch next year, so more definitive details are probably on the way soon.
Even after this E3 Direct, we know next to nothing about ‘X’, but even so, that’s done nothing to dampen our excitement!
3DS AND WII U GET SMASHED, AND BOMBED!
It seems that ‘images’ did in fact mean ‘trailer’ in the end, as Nintendo capped off their E3 Direct with the first video footage of the upcoming fourth Super Smash Bros. game, in development for both 3DS and Wii U. The trailer teased both versions, with the 3DS version appearing to have lower-resolution, cel-shaded style visuals, complemented by the Wii U version having super-crisp, sharp and beautiful HD graphics, as expected!
The usual suspects of Mario, Bowser, Link, Samus Aran, Fox McCloud, Pit, Pikachu, Donkey Kong and Kirby were confirmed as the initial playable characters, normally battling it out in a generic Super Smash Bros. spectator arena. Again however, perceptive gamers can also easily notice them fighting in some recognizable locations between the two versions, backing up the suspicion that both games will feature unique locations, with the 3DS version celebrating Nintendo’s portable history, while the Wii U version celebrates their console history, or so it appears.
Gerudo Valley from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and The Spirit Train from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks are easily recognizable in the 3DS tease, with another arena appearing to be inspired by the New Super Mario Bros. games, and another from the playing area in Nintendogs. Likewise, the Wii U tease showcases Skyloft from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Both the ‘Villager’ from Animal Crossing and the ‘Trainer’ from Wii Fit are confirmed as all-new Nintendo characters so far. No, seriously, we’re not kidding!
That wasn’t the most interesting character reveal by a long shot however! The upcoming Super Smash Bros. game confirmed a new third-party character out of the gate, that being Mega Man from Capcom’s highly beloved series of action games! Confirmed to mix and match the powers of Robot Masters from throughout the classic Mega Man series, Mega Man is shown smacking around the Nintendo characters in style, complete with his own badass remixed tunes from Mega Man 2, and an arena reminiscent of Wily Castle.
Needless to say, fans of both Mega Man and Super Smash Bros. went positively ballistic with delight at the Blue Bomber’s inclusion in the new fighter! This is particularly true after he narrowly lost a spot in Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s roster to Sonic the Hedgehog, coming a close second in a fan poll requesting preferred third-party characters. Series director, Masuhiro Sakurai publicly admitted to lobbying for the Blue Bomber’s inclusion with Capcom recently, and it seems that Capcom finally relented. This is perhaps further justified by the fact that Mega Man’s 25th Anniversary is being observed this year, even though it was technically last year.
Most surprising however was that Nintendo confirmed the fourth Super Smash Bros. title for release as early as next year, on both 3DS and Wii U! The Big N made the game sound very early in development when first speaking about it, but it seems that Namco Bandai’s assistance has helped development speed along rather swimmingly!
It may not be a surprise (beyond the rather unexpected new characters), but it was the perfect way to cap off this Direct!
I COULD HAVE SWORN THERE WAS MORE…
If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that some games promised to be shown at the E3 Direct were missing in the end. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team for 3DS and Pikmin 3 for Wii U were both promised appearances, but neither were even mentioned during the presentation, beyond Pikmin 3’s photo op-friendly display being shown at a sneak peek of Nintendo’s E3 booth. It’s very likely that these two games were swapped out for Bayonetta 2 and ‘X’, since Pikmin 3 and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team have both gotten a lot of press in previous Nintendo Directs throughout 2013 already. One genuinely baffling omission however is the new Legend of Zelda game in development for 3DS, which also wasn’t even mentioned. You’d think that would be a shoo-in for an E3 Nintendo Direct, wouldn’t you?
Fortunately, Nintendo has you covered, albeit quietly. Since they didn’t have enough time to show everything that they clearly wanted to show, they instead made sure to put the planned trailers of these games on the E3 section of the Nintendo website, as well as on the 3DS and Wii U eShops. Most of these trailers just show new footage, albeit awesome new footage, but a few bring to light certain pivotal details about certain games that Nintendo neglected to mention during the E3 Direct.
Biggest of these is the official title of the new Zelda game on 3DS, which is The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. This is in keeping with the acknowledgement that it’s a direct sequel to beloved Super NES classic, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The new trailer for the game also shows more snippets of gameplay, but no story details or anything else of the sort, all of which remain unconfirmed at this time.
On the Wii U end, the trailers tell even more. There is a description of the story and added gameplay details in the dedicated trailer for highly anticipated Wii U eShop indie, Cloudberry Kingdom, which parodies the standard set by Nintendo’s own Mario games. Another all-new trailer for Splinter Cell: Blacklist also comes courtesy of Nintendo, with new story scenes and dialogue further illustrating the plot of the game. Lastly, a Mariachi remix of Eye of the Tiger is also confirmed to be the basis of one of the music stages in Rayman Legends, thanks to a sneaky Wii U trailer.
As for 3DS games, new story details for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team are teased in a new trailer (which is also 3D-enabled if you are viewing it on a 3DS), shedding some light on Bowser’s role in the game. It seems that the Koopa King is yet again serving as a foil, once again annoyed by another villain kidnapping Princess Peach before he could.
On top of that, another anticipated 3DS game not mentioned at all in the E3 Direct, Yoshi’s New Island, is given its own teaser, showing off gameplay, and teasing that Bowser caretaker, Kamek will yet again be an antagonist that super-sizes normal enemies to make bosses. This time however, he’ll do so with a giant mallet, apparently. Hey, whatever works for him!
Thus, be sure to take a look at each and every trailer that Nintendo has to offer, for even more information that was not revealed during this particular Direct! 3DS and Wii U owners alike have plenty to look forward to, and if you were waiting for more hot exclusives to entice you to a Wii U purchase, these incentives should prove quite tantalizing! Nintendo’s lineup also seems quite healthy going into 2014, which is very assuring, even if the lack of surprise announcements beyond Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was a bit of a let-down.
Regardless, be sure to keep coming back to Eggplante for any and all Nintendo Direct rundowns, along with any news related to Nintendo, E3 and the various hot blockbuster games for 3DS and Wii U, as it develops!