Nintendo Direct - It's all about the games
Today at 10am EST, the Nintendo Direct live stream reminded viewers that this year is not about the hardware, it's all about the games. Here are some key announcements/updates:
Nintendo announced a worldwide partnership with Sega, specifically focused on two titles-- Mario and Sonic Olympic Winter Games 2014 in Sochi Russia for WiiU, and a brand new Sonic action adventure platformer titled Sonic the Lost World, launching exclusively on 3DS and WiiU. No release dates were announced for either title.
Also included in the Sega partnership, is the inclusion of tons of classic Sega GameGear titles being made available on the 3DS virtual console eShop, also with no release dates yet announced. Keep an eye back here for more updates soon!
Hanging in the Nintendo Treehouse - game updates!
Nintendo took a few minutes to remind us all of the great new and rebooted titles coming to the 3DS over the next month.
Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move is already available, but new features in user customization and level creation will now include a user rating system, helping players find the strongest new user-generated content.
Donkey Kong Country for 3DS launches on May 24th for both virtual console and retail locations. The game will include 8 new unlockable levels, all based on the original Donkey Kong's levels. DKC on the 3DS will also include new game mechanics unique to the version, enhancing and deepening the in game experience.
Legend of Zelda: Oracles of Ages and Oracles of Seasons will be available on virtual console on May 30th with individual price tags of $4.99USD. After the first three weeks following launch, the games will jump up to their standard price of $5.99. Nintendo explained that the sale price is to encourage users to purchase both titles and take advantage of completely different gameplay options available only when playing the two versions together. While they wouldn't go into detail, mentioning an entirely different final boss may be enough of a motivator for some fans of the Zelda franchise.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is set to launch in North America on June 9th, and Nintendo has created a series of webisodes where their employees discuss the game mechanics and features. The first and future webisodes can be viewed here, where there is also a countdown clock to the game's launch.
In the meantime, visit the streetpass miiplaza for a new Animal Crossing puzzle to keep your Animal Crossing withdrawal at bay.
A collection of mini games launching for WiiU in June, Game & Wario will hit shelves at $39.99 and include the following games. WiiU Island, a multiplayer slingshot game allowing players to throw their "Fronks" at an island using the gamepad touchscreen, and attempt to knock each other off of it. Kung Fu is a unique platform where players control Cricket as he is tested by his Kung Fu master. The game combines a top down view of the map with a third person perspective on the screen, players have to use both to allow Cricket to land safely, since for some reason he can't stop jumping.
Resident Evil Revelations
Launching May 21st for WiiU with updated graphics and gamepad controls, Capcom and Nintendo have partnered to bring WiiU specific gameplay options and modes to the title. Infernal difficulty mode will only be available for the WiiU, and Capcom has added in characters Hank and Rachel to the game's Raid mode. Gamepad integration allows players to interact with the map without disrupting their gameplay on the TV, or take the TV out of the equation and play the game completely within the gamepad.
New Super Luigi U
Nintendo is really digging in on the "year of Luigi" and has brought this new title to life not only as DLC for the full New Super Mario Brothers U on June 20th for $19.99, but also as a standalone packaged retail game for $29.99 on August 25th. The full game has tons of new levels and gameplay options, but brings back multiplayer with blue and yellow toads, and old nemesis Nabbit. While Nabbit can't utilize any powerups in game, he can be helpful by plowing through enemies without receiving any damage.
The world of Pikmin is bringing new characters Alph, Brittany, and Charlie (the captain), on a search for food for their home planet, which is apparently without food. Gameplay allows the ability to switch between and utilize the three characters with the Pikmins in order to maximize gameplay during daylight hours, since apparently the area becomes too dangerous to explore at night. There are lots of way to interact with Pikmin 3 using the WiiU, while playing on the TV the gamepad becomes a "KopPad," giving players an interactive map and toolset. Alternately the full game can be played standalone on the gamepad, or players can use the wii remote/nunchuk with the gamepad acting as a monitor.
Partnership with Best Buy for E3 game demos!
A surprising and exciting partnership with Best Buy was announced, which will allow the public to visit a Best Buy during E3 and play demos of unreleased games. Wow.
As a gamer and part-time Best Buy employee (full disclosure here folks), I'm really excited for that, the kept that announcement under wraps! That being said, be sure and check with your local store before you bank on them having the demos, since many stores do not have the ability to support special events like this. Plan ahead, and get hype.
The Wonderful 101 from Platinum games was announced, with literally no details, apparently those details will follow and Nintendo wanted us all to know that. Thanks Nintendo.
Watch for more updates between now and E3, and apparently during E3 from the Nintendo Direct channel.