And there it is, folks. After all the waiting, Nintendo’s E3 2011 press conference is done and wrapped, and we have ourselves a new Nintendo console in the pipeline. It wasn’t all about the Wii successor, though.
Shigeru Miyamoto opened thins up with The Legend of Zelda‘s 25th Anniversary, an occasion which is yielding a ‘new’ Zelda experience for each Nintendo platform:
-Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Game Boy Color) is available on the 3DS eShop today
-Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D next week
-Zelda: Four Swords is to be a free download on DSi in September
-Zelda: Skyword Sword finally releases on Wii this holiday season. Nintendo will be producing a special gold Wiimote with Zelda decals.
Moreover, a series of Zelda 25th Anniversary symphony concerts will be held this fall in each region worldwide, plus two soundtrack CDs are in store: Ocarina of Time (free for registering OoT 3DS on Club Nintendo), and one inspired by the symphony concerts, releasing alongside Skyward Sword.
Five core, first-party 3DS title are hitting before the end of the year:
– Mario Kart3DS brings gliding and underwater races this Holiday.
- Star Fox 64 3D launches in September in the US.
- Super Mario 3D, the first from-scratch Mario for a handheld, drops by the end of 2011.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising features single player, 3v3 online multiplayer, and AR cards functions, and releases this fall.
- Luigi’s Mansion 2 tasks you with sucking up ghosts from several new mansions. No release date.
On the third-party front, Nintendo ran a montage comprised of Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D, Mario & Sonic at the Olympics 2012, Ace Combat 3D
Tetris, Cave Story 3D, Resident Evil: Revelations, Driver Renegade, Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 3D, Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D.
The 3DS eShop update is now live, and as we already know there’s a free copy of Excitebike 3D and the Pokedex 3D for everyone waiting.
Demos are arriving on eShop later this year for downloadable and retail titles.
Moving onto the star of the show, it’s time for Nintendo’s next generation. The goal of the new game platform is one that “is equally satisfying for both casual and hardcore gamers.” Serve every player, says Nintendo. Provide deeper game experiences and wider appeal. See games in a different way.
Previously known as Project Cafe, you’ll be getting used to calling the platform the “Wii U” when it hits sometime in 2012. Unsurprisingly, no specs pertaining to the console itself were provided, but the selling point of Wii U is the innovative new controller.
A medium-sized slate, there are the familiar dual analog circle pads, XBYA buttons on the right, d-pad on the left, Home/Start/Select in the bottom middle, a top center camera, L/R buttons, a microphone, speakers, and gyroscope. All of that with a 6.2-inch touchscreen in the middle. It’s “Not designed to be a portable videogame machine. … Images displayed are generated by Wii U, wirelessly transmitted without latency issues.“
Players will be able to transfer experiences from the TV to the controller screen, or even play along with someone else, but playing something entirely different.
You can illustrate directly on the screen with a stylus; engage in augmented reality-esque mechanics in tandem with the TV; make video calls; browse the web;
and even utilize a sharing feature reminiscent of Apple’s airplay. Nintendo wants to create a “strong bond between games, TV, and internet”.
Wii U is backwards compatible with all Wii software (though they won’t be upscaled), peripherals and accessories. The new system is capable of Xbox 360/PS3-level 1080p HD visuals as rumored, and the first major first-party title noted is an eventual Super Smash Bros., which will also be designed for 3DS and “work together in some fashion”.
During a promo video, Nintendo teased “an example of what Zelda might look like on this system if it were designed with the Twilight Princess art style.”
Nintendo will also be publishing TT Games’ open-world LEGO City Stories, securing it as an exclusive to Wii U and 3DS.
Not many software announcements were made, but notable third-party games coming to Wii U include:
THQ’s Darksiders II (at launch); Metro: Last Light
WB’s Batman: Arkham City
Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed; Ghost Recon Online
Sega’s Aliens Colonial Marines
Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden III: Razor’s Edge
EA also pledged support for Wii U, indicating we may see games like Battlefield 3, Madden, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Army of Two and more.
[Update]: Nintendo haven’t officially released any technical specs about Wii U (and never do for their hardware), but component partners are!
Throughout the day we’ve learned that Wii U is featuring IBM’s new 45nm, PowerPC-based CPU found in the Watson supercomputer, and it’s loaded with “unique embedded DRAM…capable of feeding the multi-core processor large chunks of data to make for a smooth entertainment experience.” The processor will be IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology.
The GPU will be a “custom AMD Radeon HD GPU”, that is capable of “high-definition graphics support; rich multimedia acceleration and playback; and multiple display support.”
Wii U will sport “internal flash memory” (size is TBA; reportedly 8GB), which can be expanded through SD cards and external HDDs. Four USB 2.0 slots are also included.
As for game media, we knew Wii U would use an undisclosed, non-Blu-ray “optical disc” (as well as backwards compatible with Wii/Gamecube). It’s once again confirmed that Nintendo are going the proprietary route, with a new 25GB disc format.