When Nintendo announced Wii U Direct earlier this week, there was a mixture of fevered optimism and slight negativity, with some predicting big reveals and others expecting little more than a few release dates and trailers. Even wording promising new Wii U games was met with caution by some, but there can be little doubt that Nintendo delivered some major announcements in the broadcast, covering a lot of significant bases.
Rather than provide an editorial to consider the broadcast and what it delivered, we've decided to let your humble Nintendo Life team do the talking together. A number of your writers share their thoughts and reactions below on what was a packed 35 minutes of video.
It was only in December that I was writing about the possibility of Nintendo Direct broadcasts settling down, and that perhaps many of us needed to approach them with less expectation and excitable predictions. Even when it was confirmed "new" games were to be announced, I still tentatively expected a couple of eShop games and the odd teaser; it was a pleasing surprise to see that Nintendo returned to its blockbuster approach. I don't buy the "rumours were true" claims about new Zelda etc because, well, of course Nintendo is making new games for its big franchises, but I was pleased to hear that there was real progress, especially with 3D Mario and Mario Kart set to be playable at E3.
The news that really excited me was the unexpected announcements. Monolith Soft's release — evidently codenamed X — looks fabulous, in that the footage suggest a game world and play style as epic as Xenoblade Chronicles, but with some gorgeous visual effects thrown in; if it is a follow up to the Wii game canonically, meanwhile, I may lose myself completely. I'm also intrigued by the Fire Emblem/Shin-Megami Tensei mashup, which I'm tempted to declare a day one buy while knowing next to nothing about it. Yes, that's excitable fanboy talk, and I won't deny it, as that's the power of brands that are loved, trusted, and in the hands of world-class developers. Oh, and there's a much-wanted Zelda release coming this year, which definitely works for me.
This month's Wii U Direct was probably the most impressive of Nintendo's online presentations so far. Since launch, the internet at large has seemed intent on chomping down on Wii U's neck, claiming that its line up is lacking and lamenting the absence of future titles. This peek behind the curtain at upcoming first party games was enlightening, encouraging and exciting — and it was indeed only a peek, with several titles mentioned for E3 showings and the output of other studios, or third parties, not hinted at at all.
I'm happy that Nintendo addressed several of the main complaints and wants of Wii U owners, such as OS speeds, Virtual Console and an expanded Miiverse. But what got me most interested was the indication of future games. The Shin Megami Tensei / Fire Emblem crossover is another example of Nintendo strengthening third party ties, while the HD remake of Wind Waker — possibly my favourite Zelda game — has me drooling. My wish of seeing a Yoshi game by Good-Feel has come to fruition also, but most of all I can't wait to see more of Monolith Soft's "X". Xenoblade is one of the only RPGs I've truly loved in years, and the first showing of the team's next title is very promising indeed.
I was never concerned about Wii U's future, but my anticipation is at a high right now. And we still have a year of Nintendo Directs and E3 to come.
I didn't really know what to expect from Nintendo Direct this week, apart from the usual "this game we already know about is released at this time" or "here's some new details on this previously announced game". Last thing I expected was a Wind Waker HD remake - the Zelda fangirl in me jumped with sheer delight! The game looked stunning on the GameCube, I can't imagine how beautiful it will look in HD for the Wii U. I look forward to reliving Toon Link's title while I wait for the incredible Zelda adventure for the Wii U.
Nintendo is known to surprise us when we least expect it, and it sure did with the announcement of a new Yoshi game, Yarn Yoshi. I absolutely adored Kirby's Epic Yarn, so I can't wait to see how Good Feel takes the direction of Yoshi's new adventure. The game is still in early development, but I was happy with what I saw throughout the broadcast; I just hope it's a little bit more challenging than Kirby's woolly world.
Though there appeared to be a lot of new information revealed in the Wii U Direct presentation, I actually don't feel like there was a whole lot of news game-wise. Revealing that new Mario, Mario Kart and Zelda games are in the works is pretty exciting - but hardly surprising. That being said, I'm more than happy to hand over money for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD!
For me, the Wii U Virtual Console was the most exciting part of the showcase. I can't wait to play some classic games on the GamePad and the 'Trial Campaign' is genuinely amazing. The only issue I have is that the West isn't getting Fire Emblem: Monshō no Nazo in February; I'm already having to wait until April for Fire Emblem: Awakening, it's like Nintendo enjoys torturing me!
Philip J Reed
Personally I couldn't be happier. As a retro nut I'm thrilled about all the Virtual Console news. Yes...all of it! Bringing the GBA to the VC is thrilling on a number of levels. I do hope it comes to the 3DS VC as well, but I'm over the moon that I'll get to play all those great games again. I'm also happy about the upgradable Wii VC titles. I know folks don't want to pay again, and I understand that, but my outlook is that they did additional work on these games, so if you'd like to enjoy the fruits of that labour you have to pay for it. If you don't...you don't have to! You can still play the VC games in Wii mode. I know it's clunky, but it's there. Personally I'm happy to pay a buck to upgrade my favourite games, and for the rest of them I'll just deal with Wii mode. It's a win win, in my opinion.
Also, the Wind Waker remake: YES PLEASE. It's my third favourite Zelda game (right after Majora's Mask and A Link to the Past) and it's also got my vote for the single best looking video game ever made. I can't wait to get my hands on it again. Is it too much to hope for Super Mario Sunshine receiving similar treatment? Yes...yes it is. But a boy can dream...
With the plethora of good news that was shared with us this week, it's a little difficult for me to pin-point what my favourite part of the latest Nintendo Direct was. JUST KIDDING. Wind Waker HD is an absolute dream come true, and I can't wait to see how gorgeous it's going to look. Plus, they're working on a new Zelda game as well, so WW HD is just here to wet our whistles and hold us over until something even bigger emerges. I'm beside myself with excitement over all of the love that us Zelda fans are receiving!
I'm also pretty excited about posting pictures of a very pants-less King Hippo on Miiverse as soon as Punch-Out!! drops on the Wii U Virtual Console in a couple of months. You've all been warned.
Marcel van Duyn
Kirby's Epic Yarn was a pretty cool game, so I'm excited for Good-Feel's yarn take on the Yoshi universe. Hopefully it's not as overly easy though! The HD Wind Waker remake came as a bit of a surprise to me - I was expecting a Majora's Mask remake for the 3DS before it, but Wind Waker is my second favourite Zelda game, so I can't complain too much! The screenshots looked pretty great, though I hope they tone down the bloom a little bit, that sun was way too bright.
For me the highlight came at the very end, though. Xenoblade Chronicles was a pretty self-contained game with an ending that leaves no loose ends, so I was absolutely not expecting a sequel. The title of this new Monolith game hasn't actually been revealed yet, but judging by the gameplay in the trailer, I'd be very surprised if it's not a Xenoblade sequel. It looked absolutely beautiful, and the world looks even more massive this time, which is great. It also seemed like there was an optional co-op feature, which is hopefully like Secret of Mana - three players going through the main quest together. If the game is any bit as long as its predecessor, that'd be awesome - an 80+ hour co-op adventure. It also looked quite polished, so maybe it could already be released at the end of this year?
Since the Wii U launched there has been one thing I’ve been asking for – give me games I want to play. It’s the reason I don’t own a Wii U and the main reason I don’t want a Wii U. In half an hour, Iwata changed all that. While I’m still not sold on the premise of Wii U, the fact that there are games en route, and quality first-party games at that, means that finally there’s a reason for me to own a Wii U. And you know what? I’m excited about owning one.
The highlight for me has to be the Wind Waker HD announcement; the reinvention of my favourite Zelda game would always be a cause for celebration, but to see what is already a stunning game looking better than ever is just amazing. I just hope the move to HD doesn’t lose the game’s cel-shaded heart. Close behind is the announcement of Yarn Yoshi, a game that will undoubtedly have a PEGI warning for an unsafe level of what scientists are calling “adorableness”, although I am hoping it moves away from the Kirby’s Epic Yarn gameplay style as development progresses. Two big games, two beautiful games, and the net result is that Wii U is looking a lot more appealing. And that’s before I mention Mario, Mario Kart, Smash Bros, Zelda...
I was pretty much grinning from ear to ear throughout the entire broadcast of this latest Nintendo Direct, but I nearly unravelled when I saw the footage of yarn-Yoshi on my screen. Kirby's Epic Yarn has been my favourite game of the last decade or so, and I was absolutely ecstatic to see a charmingly crocheted Yoshi carrying on that game's crafty conceit.
Wind Waker HD was another wonderful surprise, and I was very happy to hear about the Wii U Virtual Console too - $.30 games and a $1/$1.50 upgrade price from Wii versions sound like a good deal to me. All in all, I thought this was one of the best Nintendo Directs ever - Christmas in January for Wii U owners!
So there you go, some of our thoughts on this week's Wii U Direct, which succeeded in attracting headlines for Wii U as well as causing a fair amount of excitement. As always we'd love to know what you think in the comments below.