We’re now less than a week out from Nintendo’s E3 conference where the cover will finally be pulled off so many mysteries surrounding Wii U. Since debuting the console at last year’s conference Nintendo has been tight-lipped on the subject, and when excitement is high and valid information is low, it can only lead to one thing: a maelstrom of rumours. The past year has seen an ever-increasing number of “anonymous sources” being cited in all dark corners of the internet, with stories ranging from the believable to the outrageous.
As the time for the revealing of truth draws nigh, we've decided to tackle some of the higher-profile rumours and assess their likelihood. Nintendo fans the world over are turning their excitement levels up to 11 for the beans finally being spilled on Tuesday, so now's our last chance to savour and enjoy the last few days of speculation.
Rumour: Wii U now supports two touch screen controllers simultaneously.
Our Take: Two thumb(stick)s up
At this point we would be shocked if the Wii U could only support one touch screen controller at a time. Nintendo prides itself on providing unique game experiences that get people playing together, and allowing only one player at a time to experience the real draw of the new console would be a misstep. While asymmetrical gameplay is undoubtedly the exciting new flavour, eschewing tradition would stand in stark contrast to Nintendo’s desire to lure core gamers back into the fold.
Nintendo knows this, too. When word got out that the E3 system could only support one controller at a time, gamers and journalists all cried out in unison that one simply wasn’t enough. It’s not necessary to get four of them running at the same time, but anything less than a pair is going to disappoint a lot of potential customers.
Rumour: Nintendo will introduce a physical “gamer card” device with StreetPass-like functionality.
Our Take: Not quite a full deck.
This is one of the few off-the-wall rumours that actually sounds somewhat believable. The rumour is Nintendo will reveal a physical device, similar to the Pokéwalker packed in with Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, which will store your profile information and employ StreetPass functionality to swap data with other users.
With StreetPass as one of the defining features of the 3DS it wouldn’t take a huge mental leap to imagine the big N wanting to employ a similar social aspect with its new home console. While the 3DS has, by design, very limited avenues for communication, those barriers will in all likelihood cease to exist on Wii U with Nintendo trying to appeal to the core gamer.
There would undoubtedly be limits in place, as Nintendo has always taken privacy and protecting younger children very seriously. We imagine that the functionality would be limited for profiles of users under 13 years of age, if it even works for them at all. It should go without saying that the entire program would be completely optional, so if you don’t want to share any of your information your account can stay safely tucked away in the innards of your console.
We admit, this one is quite a long shot. The cards would be another peripheral that comes with its own costs to design, develop and manufacture, certainly a risky venture with an untested feature. The 3DS has shown that adding a social aspect to handheld gaming is something gamers enjoy, but we're not convinced it'd benefit home console users. Still, it'd be pretty cool.
Rumour: Eminem is teaming up with Nintendo to promote a new mature game called Acid Ghost.
Our Take: Will the real Slim Shady please shut up and stop spreading this nonsense.
Oh boy. We don't even really know where to begin with this one. Nintendo is supposedly readying a new game called Acid Ghost, where you play as a poltergeist on a cruise ship and must scare and murder passengers, with game mechanics similar to games like Geist or Tecmo's Deception. The scuttlebutt was that Eminem has hooked up with a Sacramento, California based advertising agency to film a promotional video.
When word first hit the internet, the consensus seemed to be "okay, sounds cool. Eminem, though? That's odd." Then more and more rumours seemed to surface, extending the game's feature list to ridiculous lengths. Coupled with questionable concept art that was quickly debunked, the entire thing seemed to crumble under its own weight. The concept is interesting, but this particular rumour seems to have gone a bit overboard. (Get it? Because it takes place on a ship..? Forget it.)
Rumour: Wii U will launch on Friday, 23rd November in North America.
Our Take: Throw this one out with the leftover turkey.
Nintendo has stated that it will not announce a release date or price for Wii U at E3, but that hasn’t managed to put a lid on people thinking they have the inside scoop. One of the more prevalent dates being whispered in the internet’s dark alleys is Friday, 23rd November – otherwise known as Black Friday.
While Black Friday is without a doubt the biggest shopping day of the year for North Americans, it’s a foolish day to launch a product. People line up at 3am to get major deals on appliances and other big ticket items — throwing a new console launch into the mix would be terrible business. The excitement and hype of the product would be drowned out by the ravenous mob climbing over each other for $100 Blu-ray players.
Nintendo knows that it needs to build up a lot of buzz and desire before the big shopping season officially kicks off and ride that wave as shopping malls get more and more crowded. We’ll refrain from speculating on a release date ourselves, but we can safely assume there will be ample time before the holidays for early adopters to get the system in their homes and start spreading the gospel.
Rumour: Retro is working on a Star Fox/Metroid crossover to be unveiled at E3.
Our Take: Z or NO twice.
We want to live in whatever fantasy world this rumour came from. Retro usually has its name attached to wished-for revivals of classic franchises due to its masterful handling of Metroid and Donkey Kong Country, but even the wizards from this Texas studio would have a hard time making this one work. The fact of the matter is that these are two very different franchises that simply have no business sharing a game disc outside of the Super Smash Bros. series.
Aside from shooting and the general “space” feel, what else do these two franchises have in common? Metroid is all about exploration and isolation while the calling card of Star Fox has historically been thrills and intense aerial combat: there’s simply no common ground for Fox and Samus to share. Unlocking Samus’ ship in the next Star Fox game’s multiplayer mode or scanning a crashed Arwing in a Metroid title is about as far as we can imagine these two worlds colliding.
We might not have a crystal ball here in the Nintendo Life tower, but we think we’ve been around the block enough times to give these rumours our best analysis. Every tick of the clock brings us closer to the smorgasbord of exciting news at E3 so we won’t have to wait much longer to clear the fog.
Nintendo’s conference is on Tuesday, 5th June. Don't miss it.