Nintendo didn’t have the standard E3 press conference, but had a pre-recorded Nintendo Direct video and game demos at the show. 3rd party support appears to be recoiling from Wii U development, but I’ll be honest, I want pretty much every Nintendo game they showcased. And while I’m being honest, full disclosure, I’m a bit of a Nintendo fanboy.
Nintendo showed all the games they said they would and had one new game reveal, but lets go through these chronologically.
New Super Luigi U will be available June 20th as a downloadable expansion to New Super Mario Bros. U for $20 or as a standalone retail disc for $30 on August 25th. I’m still waiting for a sale or bundle to get New Super Mario Bros. U….
Pikmin 3, originally a Wii U “launch-window” game, will come out August 4th 2013.
The Wonderful 101, being developed by Platinum Games, will be available September 15th 2013.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is a great looking remake of possibly my favourite Zelda game. Visually, it will be 1080p at 60FPS and maintain that timeless cell-shaded and ultra expressive style. If I see this for cheap, I’ll definitely pick it up, but I’ve already played through the game and will be looking to invest my gaming time into new experiences. Great chance for people that missed it to play a new definitive version, however! Highly recommended. Wind Waker HD will be available October 2013.
I have loved Donkey Kong Country since the SNES original, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze looks great, but many people (myself included) were hoping Retro was working on a Metroid game or something original. Additionally, Nintendo just ported DKC Returns to 3DS (originally released on Wii), and the Wii U already has plenty of good platformers. All these factors contribute to the mixed reaction to this game, but it won’t change the fact that the game will probably be great. David Wise, the original DKC composer, is back which is pretty awesome. I’ll probably pick it up when it comes out in November 2013, but it’s a little disappointing Retro wasn’t working on something different.
As promised, the 3D Mario game, Super Mario 3D World (sequel to the 3DS’ Super Mario 3D Land) was revealed. I personally would have preferred a Galaxy style game, but this one includes an adorable cat suit, 4-player simultaneous play, and a return to the Super Mario Brothers 2 cast, each with their own unique abilities: Princess’ hover jump, Luigi’s high jump and loose controls, Toad’s speed, and Mario’s well-roundedness. Super Mario 3D Land on 3DS was fantastic, and I’m looking forward to this on Wii U when it releases in December 2013.
Not Until 2014
Unfortunately, Wii U owners will have to wait until 2014 to play some of the more highly anticipated games.
Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games’ second Wii U project) will retain the original’s insanity while introducing some form of multi-player.
Mario Kart 8 (slated for “Spring 2014”) includes anti-gravity sections of track, looks surprisingly gorgeous running at 60 frames per second in HD.
“X” is a fantasy game that includes dinosaur-like creatures, an open world, mechs that can fly and transform into vehicles, is being developed by Monolith Software (the folks that made the highly acclaimed Xenoblade Chronicles), and it may even include online multi-player.
Super Smash Bros (for both Wii U and 3DS) was shown for the first time and it looks amazing. Three new characters were introduced: the Animal Crossing Villager, Mega Man, and the Wii Fit Trainer. I’m looking forward to all these games, but I absolutely can’t wait for Smash. Nintendo’s started the Smash Bros hype train, a website which will trickle out details daily until the game’s release.
Nintendo’s got some good titles coming this holiday, but Super Mario 3D World is probably the only one that might move more than a few systems. Come 2014, Mario Kart and Smash Bros. will be the big system sellers. Whether the install base gets built enough to lure better third party support remains to be seen, but the Wii U will be the only place to play HD Nintendo games. Period.
For 3DS, I’ll probably be playing Animcal Crossing: New Leaf for a (long) while yet, but I’ve never played a Pokemon game, but those are apparently a big deal: Pokemon X and Pokemon Y come out October 12th. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team comes August 11th and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is coming in November.
[For developer commentary on some of the games, go here.]