News Article

Talking Point: 3DS Launch Line-Up Lacks Fresh Ideas

Posted by James Newton

Where are the new games?

We're just days away from the launch of the Nintendo 3DS in Europe and North America, and although the launch line-up is peppered with good games — read our 3DS reviews if you don't believe us — for many there's still a nagging feeling the launch day games aren't quite as original as they could be.

The DS had a similarly divisive launch day line-up: arriving with a flawed version of bona fide classic Super Mario 64 DS, the machine's new inputs and dual screens ignited a creative spark in some developers. Sonic Team's joyful Project Rub (Feel the Magic XY/XX) landed alongside the console and showed off what the touch screen and microphone could do, though the less said about the other brand new properties — the PictoChat-aping Ping Pals and woeful love sim Sprung: The Dating Game — the better.

With the 3DS, the day one launch line-up has just one new IP, submarine title Steel Diver, and even that began life as a DS game. Elsewhere the list is populated by big, familiar names: Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and more. Many gamers looking to 3DS for something completely new have voiced their disappointment.

There's an argument that new hardware is the perfect time for innovative games, as developers can try out the machine's new capabilities in a way that will wow early adopters: Red Steel for Wii was a commercially successful blend of blades and bullets, and the aforementioned Project Rub was only possible with the DS's new features. With 3DS however that simply hasn't materialised: why not?

One of the biggest reasons, of course, is risk. Publishers pour millions of dollars and countless years into establishing their franchises, and starting a brand new series is a costly and potentially risky business. Although the marketplace for games is at its smallest at launch, meaning less competition for games, it's also a time when gamers' wallets are most stretched: dropping $40 a game on top of the $250 for the console is a stretch for many consumers, who would likely pick the franchise they know over the one they don't on their trip to the tills.

The major problem isn't that these are new entries in established series, it's that many games are tweaked conversions of previous releases, with Ubisoft being the chief culprit. Rayman 3D has been released on numerous consoles already, including the original DS at its European launch, and Splinter Cell is a conversion of Sam Fisher outing Chaos Theory. Even Capcom's key title Super Street Fighter IV is a conversion from HD hardware.

It's not to say that there isn't innovation within the games themselves: the use of the camera function in Steel Diver and the AR functionality in Nintendogs + Cats are both brand new. Many use the new StreetPass and Play Coins features too, with some chucking in online play to boot.

Looking back through previous console line-ups, it becomes apparent that the 3DS games list is part of a steady decline in new IPs at handheld launches. GameBoy Advance launched with four new properties: Shin'en shooter Iridion, GT Advance Championship Racing, Konami Krazy Racers and Pinobee: Wings of Adventure, and the DS arrived with three. 3DS, with its sole new series, is just part of a software slump.

Clearly when gamers line-up for their 3DS consoles at one of the many launch events taking place around the world, they'll be surrounded by familiar box arts and big name franchises. The day one line-up may not be full of fresh new experiences, but there are innovative titles in the works: the button-free Cubic Ninja, sonar shooter Dream Trigger 3D and Yuji Naka's Rodea the Sky Soldier are just three.

Time will tell, but for now, day one purchasers have some interesting decisions to make. Our full list of Nintendo 3DS reviews should make those choices a little easier.

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User Comments (64)



zezhyrule said:

Well, it is just an upgraded DS with THREE DEE, what did you expect? Something revolutionary?



Chris720 said:

@zez Well yeah... but all these new "DSes" are just an upgraded form of the original DS with extra bits tacked on for good measure. Bring out the next console AFTER the DS please Ninty!!



Link79 said:

It's only just coming out people. The good games will come. Buy it on day one and yeah It's gonna be a slow start. Every system has it's humble beginings.



zezhyrule said:

Well really the 3DS is more than 'tacked on bits' since it has teh new grafix and stuff.

I was kinda kidding in mah first post :3



Golgo said:

The 3rd party stuff seems pretty decent. But as for 1st party stuff...well, I feel it's the weakest launch line-up in Nintendo's history. There's nothing there that I find appealing, having already played the flying mini-game in Wii Sports Resort and Nintendogs too, so I'm going to sit tight until the software catches up. Probably will wait until the ("it's not happening"...but of course it is) 3DSlite/i in 18 months time.



V8_Ninja said:

Exactly the reason why I decided to wait before purchasing the 3DS. There's not really anything that makes me want it immediately besides the fact that it's the new console, and I've learned from Apple that I should always wait for either A) the price to go down or B) a hardware upgrade.



JoeDiddley said:

I wouldn't judge any console on their launch games nowadays. It's quicker to get games out there by porting old ones.
Games could innovate by taking advantage of the new functionality but relying on this for its own sake can be bad too. Like all the early DS titles that only allowed touch screen controlls or tacked them on unnecessarily.
I am happy with Street Fighter IV (I don't own a HD console) & Pilotwings at launch & I'm excited about all the games that will come a year or so from now when developers learn to make the most of the system.



jaffa said:'s just the launch date nothing to be worried about
just you wait until E3



zeeroid said:

First system I get at launch to not grab with a game! Woo! Good thing I don't need one. I've been holding out on Pokemon Black so I could catch 'em all on the 3DS instead. And I think AR games will keep me entertained for a little while. At least until Zelda or whatever comes out. I might get that Devil Survivor Overclocked port as well. That's launch window, right?



Ecto-1 said:

The launch lineup is one of the reasons I decided to wait on the 3DS. There are some interesting looking games, but nothing that makes me want to spend $300 to play. That and I'm really hoping that NIntendo will release the orange 3DS



CaPPa said:

The games that I wanted the most on the 3DS were Pilotwings, DOA and SSFIV; so the launch is a good one for me as it includes 2 out of the 3. More new IPs/ideas would be good, but there are some coming in the future and no doubt over time developers will create some innovative games on the system just as they did with the DS.

The whole 3DS launch does feel rather rushed though. Features like the shop and internet browser are missing. The 3rd party games are mostly console ports and even Nintendo's own big IPs like Mario, Zelda and Starfox are months away. It seems like Nintendo wanted to get the 3DS out before the next financial year and although the hardware was ready everyone is still scrambling to get the software out.



Yasume said:

The mediocre line-up was a concern for me before, but I'm now positive that Super Monkey Ball 3D can entertain me until the eShop launches and that's (most likely) when the 3DS will start to shine because a lot of anticipated titles are supposed to come out in June/July.



smileisles said:

I think that given time, the 3DS will open the doors for a lot of developers to do some amazing things. Thankfully, third party developers seem to have more financial success on Nintendo's portable systems than Nintendo's home consoles, which will hopefully encourage them to try new things instead of countless ports.
... I think Nintendo made a wise (and possibly even selfless) decision in not releasing a Mario or Zelda at launch. I think they are taking strides in helping third parties succeed on their systems. New 3DS owner to self: "What? No Mario game? I'll pick up Ridge Racer or Street Fighter instead!"



Algorhythm said:

Is article is so off, Nintendo is trying to showcase the technology so it isn't lost or overshadowed by a big launch game. They are letting the technology be the selling point. (MS did the same with Kinect)

Not to mention there are plenty of "fresh ideas" with the built-in software. From AR Games to 3D camera and so on. The separate cartridge games are supplemental to the experience at this point.

If they just pushed a killer app, then it would become about that (certainly with ad dollars). They're getting everyone comfortable with the tech, then once there is market penetration they will release the big name games.

Also, there is a finite amount shipped to each country due to production, so to release a big Mario game when they most likely won't meet demand for months is stupid from a business standpoint.



Oregano said:

I just want to point out that you have Ghost Recon pictured and a caption mentioning it getting tactical... surely that's a new idea even if it's an old franchise?

In the same way Samurai Warriors Chronicles adds the dual screen, character changing and the create a character stuff. It adds new stuff to an existing formula and that's not always a bad thing.



Cipher said:

I can't disagree more. The third-party boost alone makes this one of the best launch lineups a Nintendo system's ever had, and even Nintendo's own offerings are pretty fresh. A new title in the form of Steel Diver, a new Pilotwings game (and to anyone who thinks it's too short, they've clearly never played Pilotwings before), and nintendogs + cats is genius.

Or do you lot want all the major titles on day one and nothing else for the next year? Nope, didn't think so.



shadownin said:

Making a new ip just to say you have a new idea is just pointless if it doen't have a new idea or if the game is bad. If this is the case I rather not have a new IP. So don't whish you had a new ip because you might get what you whish for but that dosen't mean it will be any good or even new.



shadownin said:

Would people stop complaining about the launch line up saying it's bad compared to others without an example; because I can't even remember a console with a realy good launch game beside mario 64 and look how much that helped the console in the long run




@zezhyrule ... I don't think you understand the tech and what it does at all or rather you don't comprehend it. There are so many consoles out there you can level your comments at #faceplam#

EDIT: You said you were kidding further down, sorry

Anyway, I think the lauch line-up is awesome. I understand the comments about fresh games, but the 3D immersion is about as fresh as you can get! Ninty consoles haven't had too many Ridge Racer games and they've been poor anyway. Ghost Recon is an RTS not a third person view shooter! Pilotwings on a handheld and with 3D? The lauch games build on games that are already good serieses as well.

Very fussy commentary but I understnad its merely for the sake of debate



James said:

@Legend Marioid Yep, it's just a talking point, something to chew over. Personally I think it's a really strong launch line-up, but you have to admit, a lot of it is retreading old ground: Rayman 2? Again?



Denkou said:

I would just like to point out that this is only regarding the LAUNCH line up. Remember the original DS line up? I think the best games on it (not counting the metroid demo) are mario 64 ds, maybe ridge racer, and maybe mr driller drill spirits. Needless to say, the original DS line up wasn't exactly impressive, other then Mario 64. However, look forward to the future of the console. If you feel that it took this long, go to april 22 2008. While there were other revolutionary games on the console by that time, I will be using, as my example, none other than "The World Ends With You." Amazing fighting systems, great storyline, truly a revolutionary game for the system.

What I mean to say is that this is only the beginning of the 3DS and that there will probably be many great games to come. Heck, if they can cram an Xbox360 game onto the thing sacraficing a little bit of graphical powers and adding more content and features at launch day, think of what the system can accomplish a mere 2 years down the road. If you think about it that way, the system seems bound for success.



TingLz said:

I imagine it's hard to push new ideas at launch. If I were a developer, I'd rather wait to see what games are already out on the system to see what would be best for my new idea



Weskerb said:

I agree with the article. The launch line-up has left me feeling pretty mythed.



QuickdrawKid said:

I think the games already installed into the 3DS system provide the original ideas! There are all those AR minigames, and StreetPass Quest (Find Mii). The AR implementation is the best I've ever seen, and I have tried out various AR sites/apps on the net and on smartphones. The 3DS AR easily beats them.

Give it time, and there will be original games designed around the 3DS' features! Imagine just what can be done with the 3D camera, the AR, SpotPass and StreetPass.

For now, I'm getting 2/3 launch titles. So what if they're sequels to already established franchises? They're GOOD games and the capabilities of the 3DS have given them a fresh feel.

Arrgh, launch is the day after tomorrow. Waiting is so hard.



kurtasbestos said:

People complain about the launch lineup for every console ever. I've been far more interested in the 3DS than any other console so I've seen a lot more of this. But I can't help but wonder why. When people complain about a weak launch lineup, they almost make it sound like they're planning on throwing out the system a few weeks after they first buy it. "Well, that was kind of fun. What new thing will entertain me now?"



daznsaz said:

there may be games weve seen before but not carbon copies and not in glorious 3D tomorrow night!!!



Ryno said:

What this weak launch lineup has done (for me, maybe not you) is make it easier to not spend $250 + on NIntendo 3DS products at this time. Here is to hoping for a Zelda 3DS bundle this summer!



Nintendude92 said:

I suppose that this is kind of true. Apart from Steel Diver, I'm pretty familiar with what the launch titles are.

What normally sets the experience apart for Nintendo is the hardware. Sure, I've played Nintendo franchises before.. but with a touch screen? Dual screens? Motion?

The thing is with 3DS, the 3D won't be required in almost all of the games to play them. In Pilot wings it certainly helps, but without the ability to have instances where 3D is required to progress, we will see alot of redundancy.

Leave it to Nintendo to show what the hardware can really do with its beloved IP's in the coming months, it's too early to say.

The new tech specs alone make the experience fresh, but not new. And to that end, I can agree- but not because of the franchises being familiar.



Tate24 said:

Lets be honest what consoles have ever had amazing launch titles. I do think we have got few great games to play or buy even though ubisoft's games are rehashs apart ghost recon of course!

And am sure as time passes more creative titles will appear! Its just case of waiting. I think the 3DS is a amazing piece hardware and once developers learn and mess around with 3DS. They will come up with all sorts of creative unique gaming experiences!

just like they did on wii.

And hopefully use all of 3DS features.

I really hope see more use with AR cards in furture:-)



Chris720 said:

@zez I mean, that the DS is getting new bits thrown into it rather than getting a complete overhaul. The 3DS is still the same build as the DS but with different stuff under the hood. That's what I was getting at.

The 3DS comes with a lot more stuff crammed into the box, but strip most of it away and you still have a DS Phat in ya hands. =p

Also, I'm sure the games will be rolling on to the 3DS in a matter of months, its just got released with some great games already and I'm positive more games like this will coming rolling around next month, if not before.



SwerdMurd said:

Red Steel was a woefully poor-controlling mess that instantly ruined the Wii for 2 of my friends.

Still I can't help but agree that they aren't taking a lot of risks with the Launch Lineup. In addition to Steel Diver not looking like much, I don't see too much ground being broken.



KrazyKain said:

well I loved red steel...

I'm sure original IPs will be making it to the 3ds eventually, hopefully sooner then later



Doma said:

The launch line up is terrible, considering just how much you're paying for the system.
I’ll either wait until the price drops severely, or just get the 3DS ‘lite’ (or whatever) next year.



Tails said:

I think we just need to give Nintendo and other devs more time to think about making more games. Yes like everyone else says games and systems that come out at first are very slow. But remember Thats with every console. Even the PS3 started off really slow. Remember the old $599 US Dollars comment? Not many bought it cause there wasn't anything that good out at launch. But just give it time 3DS will have something magical I just know it.



SanderEvers said:

I'm going to get my 3DS tomorrow (in the mail) and friday I will get either Pilotwings or Street Fighter.



DrCruse said:

I definitely think that there are too many remakes/rehashes. Starfox and OOT are remakes and Nintendogs + Cats and Pilotwings sound like they include minimal new content.



Lotice-Paladin said:

Although I am disappointed at how the Launch Line-Up are just updated iterations of trusted franchises, I hope that the newer IPs are released sooner rather then later. I guess Pilotwings, Super Monkey Ball and SF4 will keep gamers busy for a few months but the crucial time will be nearer Christmas where we will hopefully learn of more releases.

Although Metal Gear and the like will be out this year, I have noticed Sonuc Team generally release a Non-Sonic game first (Chu Chu Rocket, Billy Hatcher, Project Rub), so I'll be looking forward to that as well as the 3DS Mystery Mario game.



Ren said:

I agree and don't agree. I did feel a little lost when I saw the list. I want to buy something with it, but it's not so much that theres no new IP, it's more that it mostly looks a little shallow. Pilotwings has me close to purchase but iti seems a little tame and short. Street fighter is just no longer my thing, but it seems like the meatiest title of them all so I may just go with it. Would have been nice to have a big name thing to kick it off; i.e. a Mario, Zelda or Metroid, even that Kid icarus.
I"m pretty excited for the Zelda OOT 3d, too. I want a big meaty adventure in 3D, that's what extends a launch of new hardware for me. A nice long adventure to keep the honeymoon going.



Scribbler said:

It's not that the launch line-up is "bad" or doesn't offer anything new. There's just nothing there that screams "This game could only be experienced on 3DS." Sure, 3D looks cool, but no one has proven how it could revolutionize gameplay yet like developers did with the original DS's dual screens and touchscreen during the launch window. Practically, you can't even use the gyros and the stereoscopic screen at the same time, so that's already a severely limiting factor.

Oh, and Pinobee: Wings of Adventure was a PlayStation game. The GBA version was a scaled-down port.



PSICOffee said:

The system isn't even out in the west yet and you're already complaining about lack of new IP's? Of course publishers don't like risking new ideas, that's why Monster Tale took awhile to release. Steel Diver is going to be just as exciting as Radar Mission, Solar Striker, Mole Mania, and the other forgotten but good first party portable games.

Everyone should be happy to finally get the system for god sake! The original DS had a standard Asphalt and Ridge Racer game as well at launch. So what? You should be happy there are this many titles at launch to begin with. Remember all the crappy launch games for the Game Cube (aside from maybe Wave Race and Luigi's Mansion)?

The 3DS will last AT LEAST five years. Plenty of precious Mario's, Zelda's, and most any other game people want, including many new IP's. Besides, who wouldn't want another game from an existing IP of a series they love?

There are already at least 30 great games I want for this system that's not even released, and there are really only 30 or 40 great N64 games in that system's entire lifespan! Seeing as the DS has over 100 grade-A titles, it's obvious the 3DS will match if not surpass that number.



moosa said:

I think the biggest culprit is the industry itself. And especially now that the development costs have risen much beyond the DS. It doesn't help that a lot of the big developers are still hung up on their processor lust and can't make games unless they have the fastest hardware available. Hopefully we'll hear about some more interesting ideas soon...



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

I find it funny that people are using other consoles launch titles to say that they were bad, but then saying "except for ........". Doesn't that make the launch good in general in terms of games? I think that if there is even one game in the launch that I would buy, then it is a good launch in my book. I'm still playing Okamiden and I still haven't haven't got Pokemon, so I have plenty to do at launch even without getting a 3ds launch title (still considering Pilotwings though). This is quite possibly the longest thing I have written on this site; go the rant!!



AlexSays said:


I keep telling people.. the 3DS may just be used to recycle old ideas but in the third dimension.

That may be good enough for a lot of people, but those of us with higher standards for games won't be buying a new system to play the same old games.



Slapshot said:

I'm flipping out over a new Pilotwings! Call me crazy, I already know that I am, but it's worth the $300 at launch because of Pilotwings for me, and also considering more great games are coming in the future. I adore flight games, and Pilotwings has always just been something special and unique in the flight genre. It's been way too long for a new game, and the one title had be sold!

I do hope that 3DS is the system that Nintendo brings a new Nintendo character out on. We need a new strong character to get into from Nintendo!



JDesensitized said:

The system isn't even out yet, people.

In case you forgot, the DS had a pretty terrible first year.



Ren said:

Hey whats up with that Ghost Recon screen? whats that got to do with anything and I want to know more. THat looks really cool! It's not a launch game, is it?



Nathan said:

I wanted to get Pilotwings when I heard about it... until I saw the dreaded (by me and many others I'm sure) Wu- fricken Hu Island). That's it Nintendo..! What the 'beep' is up with you guys, huh? You think rehashing the same old crap over and over will help your image? This is not, I repeat, not the kind of Pilotwings (on SNES and N64) I know and love.



alLabouTandroiD said:

Here's to hoping that many new gameplay ideas come along in 3DS's life. Because by seeing most of the announced titles i'm kind of worried 'bout stagnation too.



kkslider5552000 said:

I agree but after the commercial failures known as almost every original 3rd party Wii game, you really can't blame them.



Nightwalker said:

No innovative games, and yet, people will spend hundreds of dollars on playing revamped versions of their personal favorites.



Golgo said:

@32: Ummm, let's see about N64 and Super Mario 64. Gameboy and Tetris. Playstation and Wipeout. Xbox and Halo. Wii and Twilight Princess. Shall I go on?



daznsaz said:

i dont see anything to bitch about theres a new console coming out sing and rejoice



LunarJade said:

I think Nintendo not putting in the Mario or Zelda right off at launch is just to help show that they really do want to support third parties more with the 3DS.
There's not much I find overly interesting in the launch lineup but that's fine with me. I'll be getting the system anyway. It's the first time I've been able to afford something at launch and have been really excited about it.

I agree a little that it does seem rushed when things we've heard about like the e-shop don't actually show up until later.

However while I'm interested to see what new games come out eventually (hoping for lots of news during E3), I'm mostly just watching what Level 5 is working on.
The games they announced probably had me the most excited for what is coming up on the 3DS. And honestly I was sold the moment I found out about Layton vs Phoenix Wright. (Even if it likely won't be out here for quite a while).



Plastifish said:

Dude. I just dropped $250 on this 3DS. My wallet only has a one game credit beneath the moths. Surely we can all find one game to hold us over for two months and another nice wave? Besides, how many of you will dust off Mario Kart and other old favorites because of the new system? I will. looks like another 4 days on Fire Emblem, too!

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