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Feature: The Big Wii U Direct Summary

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

All of the details in one place

Wii U Direct may have only been 35 minutes long, but it sure packed a lot into a short space of time, with a few extra details following in the press releases that followed. We certainly did our level best to cover everything revealed by Iwata-san in the broadcast, as well as information from Nintendo's regional teams, and that's testified by the sheer volume of articles on the subject that flowed within the space of a few hours.

One way to capture the buzz of these mini-E3s — as we're regarding Nintendo Direct broadcasts with this much blockbuster material — is to soak up all of the details as they come out, but just in case some of you missed snippets among the range of articles posted, we thought we'd summarise what happened and provide links to all of the original stories from the immediate aftermath, conveniently in one all-you-can-eat information buffet. So, let's tuck in.

System updates

System updates will speed up the Wii U in Spring and Summer — Satoru Iwata acknowledged the curse of slow menu transitions and loading times on Wii U, issuing an apology and promising that system updates on the way — one in Spring and the other during Summer — will improve the overall experience. These updates will also lay the groundwork for another big arrival...

The Wii U Virtual Console is confirmed and detailed — It had already been spotted in source code, with the rumour making its merry way around the web ahead of the broadcast, but it was still pleasing to see the service officially announced. Arriving after the Spring system update, games will be released gradually as retro titles from systems such as NES, SNES and Game Boy Advance are retro-fitted with Wii U GamePad support, save states and Miiverse integration. The usual prices will apply, though those who've previously owned a game on the Wii Virtual Console will have a chance to buy at heavily reduced prices — $1 for NES and $1.50 for SNES games.

Wii U Virtual Console Trial Campaign and schedule unveiled — In addition to the arrival of the Virtual Console, it was revealed that a 30th Anniversary celebration for the release of the Famicon in Japan would take the form of some tempting, low price retro games. Launching right away with Balloon Fight, a new classic title from the NES or SNES will be released every month until July, available for 30 days at the rather tempting price of just 30 cents/30 pence. An early and cheap opportunity to sample the Virtual Console delights of the new system.

Games, games and more games

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is being remade for a Fall release on Wii U — Wind Waker HD had been a familiar cry from a number of Nintendo gamers before almost every Nintendo Direct, joined by requests for GameCube games on the Virtual Console. The latter still eludes us, but the iconic Zelda GameCube title is being re-mastered for release on Wii U this year; some gorgeous screenshots emphasize how good it'll look in HD, along with promises of GamePad optimisation and gameplay tweaks and improvements. A knock-out announcement.

The Legend of Zelda on Wii U aims to shake up the series — We knew that Nintendo was developing a Zelda game for Wii U, how could it not be, so the approach was to talk about the development approach being taken. Time is needed for it to come together — which explains Wind Waker HD — but Eiji Aonuma spoke about rethinking Zelda conventions of linear dungeon progression or playing alone in order to craft a new experience. In his own words, to "get back to basics and create a newborn Zelda game so that the players today can best enjoy the real essence of the franchise."

A new 3D Super Mario platformer is being produced by the Mario Galaxy team, and should be playable at E3 — The Nintendo EAD Tokyo Software Development team is working on a new 3D Mario platformer, no real surprise but a relief considering its exceptional work on the two Super Mario Galaxy titles. No solid details were given, but if it's playable at E3, as is planned, then that bodes well for a potential release in late 2013.

Mario Kart U under development, also set to be playable at E3 — Announced alongside the new Super Mario title was a Wii U entry in the Mario Kart series, which is likewise pegged to be playable at E3. If this isn't a Holiday 2013 release we'll be very surprised.

Yarn Yoshi looks set to pick up where Kirby left off — If anyone was concerned that Yoshi had reached his maximum level of cuteness, then they underestimated the combined powers of Nintendo and developer Good Feel. The team behind Kirby's Epic Yarn is revisiting the theme with the cute green mascot, while Takashi Tezuka — who was behind Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story — is "pulling the strings"; it promises to be too adorable for the world to handle.

Monolith Soft makes a grand entrance onto the Wii U — An experienced Japanese development studio that's come to greater prominence due to the exceptional Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii had a major part to play; the unveiling of Monolith Soft's Wii U project was a highlight. An impressive trailer showed plenty of gorgeous footage, which looked to be capturing the grand scale of the Wii title. The appearance of a figure resembling Xenoblade Chronicles' protagonist Shulk, along with an X at the end, suggests a possible relation to the memorable JRPG. Whether it is related or not, the footage shown has certainly increased anticipation and eagerness to learn more.

Fire Emblem and Shin-Megami Tensei join forces — A surprise announcement was this collaboration between Nintendo and Atlus, with an RPG cross-over to feature the Fire Emblem and Shin-Megami Tensei franchises. No gameplay footage was shown, but this is likely to be a big boost for Atlus, and Satoru Iwata explained that with modern development challenges we can expect to see more cross-overs and collaborations in the future.

The Wii Party franchise set to get it started again on Wii U — While Wii Party may not be on many "Best Wii Games" lists, it was clearly a big enough success to prompt Nintendo to continue the new franchise on its new system. Due to arrive this Summer, it'll combine the GamePad with Wii Remotes, as well as use the controller's screen for some fun-looking "table-top" style mini-games.

And now for the rest

Platinum Games brings new footage of The Wonderful 101 and goes behind the scenes of Bayonetta 2 — Platinum Games is becoming an increasingly familiar name to Wii U owners, as the developer of surprise exclusive Bayonetta 2 and the delightfully chaotic The Wonderful 101. The latter is still due in the first half of the year, while Bayonetta 2 is TBC, and new footage for both games won't have dulled any enthusiasm for these releases.

Pikmin 3 will give you the chance to see the world from a different perspective — Still due out in the first half of the year, Pikmin 3 had a new feature announced, with a camera mode that lets you view the world from your minion's perspective. Miiverse sharing will of course be possible, so quite a few intimate screens of the world are sure to appear in the game's community.

Wii Fit U to encourage healthy living and weight loss with communitiesWii Fit U is due soon, though a formal release date is yet to be given, and is part of Nintendo's plans to coax more Wii owners towards the new system. It was confirmed that the Miiverse integration will have an extra edge for this release, with players able to create their own user communities from within the game; all the easier to encourage those that miss their punishing targets...


So there you go, a summary of the stories to come out of this week's Wii U Direct. It was a big effort from Nintendo that combined distant releases with those that may be here in the coming year, with enough variety to please almost anyone. We expect more Nintendo Directs to follow, with Satoru Iwata stating that 3DS will get its own share of coverage. What on earth could come next?

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User Comments (45)

Wonder_Ideal

#1

Wonder_Ideal said:

So many good things coming! My top three favorite announcements might be (No particular order):
1. Zelda U/Wind Waker HD
2. VC/Super Metroid for 30 cents.
3. X

Yosher

#3

Yosher said:

Great summary! This Wii U Direct really made me look forward to their E3 show. Still so far away....

treeofmana

#5

treeofmana said:

Thanks for the summary. This was a great Direct. I'm really excited about Yoshi. Isn't it funny that everyone was saying Kirby's Epic Yarn should've had Yoshi in it? It made sense to Nintendo too, I guess. ;)

Rapido

#7

Rapido said:

"get back to basics and create a newborn Zelda game so that the players today can best enjoy the real essence of the franchise." - chill runs down my spine.

Dogpigfish

#8

Dogpigfish said:

Wonderful 101 looks excellent. I needed something fresh and interesting; they delivered.

PvtOttobot

#9

PvtOttobot said:

Yeayuh! Wind Waker is and has been my favourite game from any system for over 7 years now! An HD remake to remind me of that amazing choice, I just remembered why I'm a Nintendo fan, Thank you!

ljinkakidd

#10

ljinkakidd said:

I dunno about you all but that Wind Waker remake is looking pretty good. If this doesn't push more Wii U sales until the big fish come then I don't know what will honestly.

DarkKirby

#11

DarkKirby said:

Gameplay changes I want with Wind Waker HD, LET THE CAMERA HOLD MORE PHOTOS. Like 10-20! Realism be damned, having to run to the figurine maker every 3 shots is ANNOYING. Also, allow and infinite number of new game +s! What's the point of allowing 1 new game + and 1 only?

LEGEND_MARIOID

#12

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Mind boggling. I'm either very interested or quite interested in ALL those announcements there. Head-nuke!

Kirk

#15

Kirk said:

Yeah, it was a great Nintendo Direct imo. I know a lot of it was smoke and mirrors, because in reality we never actually got to see that much actual footage etc, but I actually left happy for once rather than feeling very disappointed and that's all I really wanted from Nintendo.

themariobloggie

#16

themariobloggie said:

I wish N64 games were on the Wii U virtual console. That would mean playing Super Mario 64 on the game pad. That would be awesome @_@

PopeReal

#22

PopeReal said:

for sure: Wind Waker HD, Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart U

maybe: Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101

MAB

#23

MAB said:

My only concern would be the lack of a Sega Megadrive between the NES & SNES :( atleast we have alot to look forward to in the coming years and the ND was only scratching the surface.

WhiteTrashGuy

#24

WhiteTrashGuy said:

I hope more games get the HD facelift like F-ZERO GX. Please let them be download-only titles with a $20 to $30 price tag. More crossover titles are always welcome as well. METROID cross MEGA MAN (or CONTRA) anyone?

FOURSIDE_BOY

#29

FOURSIDE_BOY said:

@krunchykhaos STFU, wind waker is the best zelda along with a link to the past. It was a simple, fun game; also, the discovery of new islands and treasures on the sea was a terrific idea, WIND WAKER HD will be a masterpiece for sure.

LavaTwilight

#31

LavaTwilight said:

Regardless of what people thought at the last E3, Nintendo still know how to keep the anticipation high! Can't Wait!

trossy998

#32

trossy998 said:

also the 3ds is getting an update containing mii verse and id networks it says on wikipedia jan 26th finally the 3ds is getting nintendo network and its features :)

Moshugan

#33

Moshugan said:

A great Direct, and a good summary. However, this summary didn't have anything on Miiverse.

MarioKenny1992

#34

MarioKenny1992 said:

my most anticipated game so far is Mario Kart U. I'm excited for the next 3D Mario game, as well, but I would normally want them to try out something new. but I think Galaxy 3 will be truly awesome if it has MANY things that help it differentiate from its Wii predecessors

Eminem77

#35

Eminem77 said:

I was so bored......
Until he was anouncing new games cant wait 4 zelda wind waker new version

Marioman64

#36

Marioman64 said:

they should put mario back in peach's castle, but she revamped the place and ordered all new paintings, or something

Ichiban

#37

Ichiban said:

With the 3DS & the upcoming Wii U titles, Nintendo is gonna eat Japan alive!

pikku

#40

pikku said:

They better announce GBA games for 3DS in the next Nintendo Direct, but it's cool that they're coming to Wii U, I guess.

Also, at the part in the presentation where he mentioned announcing other collaborations in the future, did any one else automatically think about that Metroid/ Star Fox crossover rumor from a while back? It would be interesting if that was actually going to be a thing.

Bobhobob

#42

Bobhobob said:

SUPER MARIO EARTH!
BOWSER SENDS MARIO TO EARTH AND NOW HE HAS TO ESCAPE BY RUNNING AROUND ON EACH CONTINENT WITH THE 8TH AND LAST WORLD BEING THE MOON!
THIS IDEA IS AWFUL!

burninmylight

#44

burninmylight said:

@DarkKirby

YES AND YES. I know it was completely optional, but man was it a pain in the butt going back and forth snapping photos when the camera could only hold three.

Vehemont

#45

Vehemont said:

@pikmaniac I too find it weird they would officially announce GBA games on the Wii U before the 3DS, but I guess that is Nintendo for ya..

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