The Future of Wii U – A Nintendo Direct Review
I wanted to express some of my thoughts on the latest Nintendo Direct presentation with Satoru Iwata, showcasing upcoming software and features for the Wii U.
In the past, I have been guilty of having high hopes for these presentations, only to be left feeling disappointed when my expectations were not met. However within recent months I have felt quite differently.
This presentation focused on Wii U titles and services that Nintendo is currently developing. Prior to the announcement of this Nintendo Direct, I had expressed to some close friends just how vital it was for Nintendo to give fans a reason to get behind the Wii U. Especially having read that sales of software in the UK are way below expectations, disappearing out of the all-format top 40 altogether only weeks after launch.
Iwata-san opened with the topic of Miiverse, Nintendo’s answer to social networking. This discussion revolved around how it has been integrated into both first and third-party software, as well as how users have really taken to making use of the service since launch.
He then moved onto the Wii U Virtual Console, something that I personally wanted to hear more about. Iwata also went into details regarding the speed of launching software and returning to the Wii U menu more quickly. He apologised for this and explained that two system updates in the Spring and Summer would focus on addressing the issue.
While I feel it wasn’t necessary to apologise, it’s nice to know that Nintendo are listening carefully to Wii U owners and taking their feedback seriously. I am very respectful of this, and feel that such honesty and commitment should be applauded.
Next, we were shown two upcoming titles by Platinum Games. Footage from The Wonderful 101 and a development video for Bayonetta 2, the latter being a huge Wii U exclusive title that fans have expressed a keen interest in. This was followed by the announcements of first-party titles by Nintendo such as a 3D Mario title developed by Nintendo EAD, whose previous projects included the Mario Galaxy series and Super Mario 3D Land. Mario Kart Wii U was also mentioned, and both games will be in a playable form at E3 2013.
Both of these titles are sure to appeal to Nintendo fans, and should give Wii U owners something to look forward to. Iwata also explained that the upcoming Smash Bros games for 3DS and Wii U are on track, and screens of the games will be shown at E3 this year.
There was also the announcement of a new game in the Wii Party series for Wii U that possibly may have been overlooked due to the other big announcements. A short video demonstrated players interacting with the Wii U GamePad and three Wii Remotes in a Twister-style game, while a later clip showed two players enjoying a table- op football game using just one GamePad. It demonstrated new ways to interact with the controller that we haven’t yet seen, and if it’s anything like the original Wii outing it will surely bring family and friends together.
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Then, Iwata-san dropped the bomb on a further two titles currently in development for the Wii U. The first is a game by Good-Feel, the developer of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, featuring Yoshi as the starring character. The game looks and feels a lot like Kirby’s Epic Yarn but the visuals show that it is a step up from what the Wii was capable of, displaying the potential of Wii U, with no mistake that this is a next generation title. It’s cute, colourful and personally I cannot wait for this game to release!
This was followed by a teaser trailer for a Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem crossover title developed by Atlus. Personally, I don’t have a lot of experience with either of these series, so it’s hard to offer any further comment. There wasn’t much information on this game from Nintendo Direct either, so I was at least left feeling intrigued.
But the biggest announcement today by far, has to be the reveal of a title from the past, a remake of one of my favourite Nintendo games. The reveal of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker making its way to Wii U was completely unexpected. This ‘HD’ remake of The Wind Waker looks absolutely stunning, and retains the same look and feel of the original while presenting it in a more enhanced and refined way. While we only saw a few screenshots of this game, it certainly sent my Twitter feed wild with excitement!
Nintendo aim to release this game by Fall this year, while development of a brand new Zelda title is simultaneously being worked on. Eiji Aonuma, the producer of The Legend of Zelda series described the “driving theme” behind the development of this new entry is to “rethink the conventions of Zelda,” explaining two points in particular: the linearity of the game, such as completing dungeons in a particular order, and playing alone as a single player experience. As this is a title that Nintendo will be working on in the long-term, The Wind Waker for Wii U will certainly be something to keep fans occupied until the game is ready to release.
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Lastly, Nintendo shared a video from Monolith Soft’s upcoming title for Wii U, which looks very similar to Xenoblade Chronicles in terms of its scope and battle system. Towards the end of the trailer, we saw a character that looks an awful lot like Shulk and a big red X. After the success of Xenoblade Chronicles, this game looks set to be a must have for Wii U owners.
In my opinion, Nintendo provided a fantastic presentation. They needed to show that the Wii U was a worthy investment, not just to consumers who are on the fence about purchasing it, but to the many Wii U owners who now have some huge titles to look forward to in the future.
This presentation, including the previous Nintendo Direct which focused on the reveal of Pokémon X and Y, has shown that Nintendo’s platforms are a good investment for gamers. With a Nintendo 3DS presentation promised in the near future, I hope that the company will once again provide me with further excitement in their latest hardware.