Nintendo president Satoru Iwata dropped more than a few bombshells today during his keynote speech at the Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco - some surprising, some predicted months ago, all exciting news for Nintendo fans. Here's a look at all the announcements in brief:
The Wii now supports the ability to play to download play Virtual Console and WiiWare titles directly from an SD card! Released simultaneously with Iwata's announcement, the latest Wii System Update reconfigures the Shop Channel to allow games to be downloaded directly to the SD slot, thereby negating the woeful storage restrictions of the Wii's internal hard-drive. In addition, the Wii now recognises SDHC cards upto 32 gigabytes in size, meaning storage may never be an issue again.
An all-new Legend Of Zelda game was announced for the Nintendo DS, titled The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Following in the same graphical style as Phantom Hourglass, the trailer reveals the core gameplay mechanic to be based around traversing the game's world via steam locomitives. Kinda hoping we'll see Ganondorf wearing a top-hat and monocle with Zelda chained to railway tracks in the next trailer, but that doesn't sound like Aonuma's style.
Square-Enix's premier RPG series is coming to Wii in a big way, with no less than eight Final Fantasy games announced for the Virtual Console and WiiWare services. WiiWare will be receiving a sequel to the launch title Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King titled Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A Darklord, as well as a sequel to Final Fantasy IV titled Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. In addition, all six classic Final Fantasy titles will be made available for purchase via the Virtual Console at some point this year.
Nintendo's up-and-coming WiiWare rock-climbing sim Rock'N'Roll Climber was officially unveiled, complete with a live demonstation of the game's controls. Developed by Vitea under the guidance of Giles Goddard (1080 Snowboarding, Star Fox), Rock'N'Roll Climber uses the Wiimote and Nunchuk in conjunction with the Wii Balance Board to simulate the act of traversing cliffs and slopes. There's even some totally incongruous guitar shredding at the end, presumably to help the game reach its rock'n'roll quota. Works for me! View the demonstration for yourself:
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Finally, Nintendo announced the launch of Virtual Console Arcade, which unsurprisingly is a service to allow Wii owners to purchase and play classic arcade titles from the comfort of their own home. Available immediately in both North America and Europe, the Virtual Console Arcade launched with four games, with several dozen confirmed for release in the coming weeks by third-party publishers.
As you can see, there's plenty to get excited about here, and these are just the big announcements made during Nintendo's own keynote speech! Keep an eye on NintendoLife over the next day or so for coverage on all the Nintendo-based news from GDC '09.