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Reaction: Nintendo Direct's Final Flourish of 2013

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

Damien and Tom share their thoughts on this week's broadcasts

It's like Nintendo read our minds, or at least deduced what a number of enthusiasts may be thinking. Aside from a slightly awkward appearance at the VGX awards to reveal Cranky Kong for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, we've had festive season advertising but relatively slim pickings to take us through the Festive weeks beyond major releases that, we suspect, many have already been playing. That's not a complaint — 'Tis the season for winding down — but there's always time for another Nintendo Direct.

And so the company delivered, giving us one of the most revealing broadcasts in a while, including new footage and a fair few all-new games arriving imminently or into 2014. There were some pretty big surprises, it must be said, and it certainly generated some buzz here at Nintendo Life.

If you want to see what went down all in one place, we've provided a handy Nintendo Direct summary, but below two of your humble editors give their personal perspectives on what happened.

Damien McFerran

After the rather underwhelming spectacle of the VGX awards, Nintendo really needed to pull something out of the bag for this Nintendo Direct, and it certainly did that. First things first, Hyrule Warriors could end up being a masterstroke by the company. Tecmo Koei's large-scale brawling series has sold almost 20 million copies worldwide, and this collaboration is clearly intended to leverage some of that popularity, at least in Japan.

NES Remix was another unexpected surprise, and having played the title I can safely say it will be one of the most-played titles in the McFerran household over the festive period. It's clearly a stop-gap release; a title which no doubt had a short development time and is intended to fill out the Wii U's rather barren library, but it illustrates the breadth and depth of Nintendo's back catalogue. Hopefully we'll see SNES Remix before long, too.

Elsewhere, new footage of Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze has made me no less excited about both of those games, and having already played the Japanese version of Chibi Robo! Photo Finder, I can confirm that will be a title that pleases and delights a lot of 3DS owners when it eventually launches.

All in all, it was a very successful end to 2013's Nintendo Direct broadcasts. Hyrule Warriors will clearly divide fans right up to — and no doubt beyond — its release date, and the lack of Bayonetta 2 footage was disappointing (and perhaps a little worrying, considering it's supposed to be out early next year) but on the whole, I came away feeling pretty pleased with what I saw.

Tom Whitehead

I was focused on the European broadcast, which was packed with information but had less of Reggie Fils-Aime arm-wrestling his own Mii. I've seen that since and, well, it'll go down as an iconic Nintendo Direct moment, I'm sure.

The main thing, which blew the doors off right at the start, was Hyrule Warriors. My opinion is mixed, so I'll start with the positive — it's an intelligent commercial move by Nintendo, as the series has loyal fans in the West and is likely to do particularly well in Japan, as Damien says; the Zelda branding certainly won't hurt, either. I'm going to keep my expectations under control, however, as the Dynasty Warriors series can be a mediocre button-mashing affair, though I heard the most recent entry was a bit of an improvement. We'll see, but Satoru Iwata made clear we shouldn't treat it like a new Zelda, quite simply — I imagine — because it's unlikely to stack up to the main series.

The NES Remix and Dr. Luigi reveals were fantastic news, however. I've been banging on all year about Nintendo needing to do more to support the Wii U eShop, and these games do just that over the vital Holiday period. I've heard NES Remix is great fun and I'll pick it up soon — once I actually have time — and I'm sure Dr. Luigi will be popular. The key is that they'll both help to drive traffic to the store, which will align with a few new releases like Knytt Underground and a whole load of discounts.

The European show also delivered a release date for Super Mario Bros. 3 on 3DS and Wii U — we'd like the 60hz U.S. version, please — Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright and a neat promotion to get a free copy of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe; that was great stuff, and hopefully NoA will do something similar. What stood out for me, overall, was that it was an upbeat 33 minutes. I think it shows that we can sometimes forget that Nintendo is a Japanese company; by that I mean that business culture seems to be different in the region. In the West corporations can be brutal affairs where you're only as good as your last quarterly results, while there seems to be more shareholder patience and board level resilience in Japanese companies; there's pressure, of course, but more willingness to back a policy or strategy to completion. Q1 2014 may bring tough questions for Iwata-san and his colleagues — we'll see in time — but at least this Nintendo Direct maintained a light, confident approach. That Rosalina / Luma Smash reveal was a case in point — clever stuff.

I'll finish with a mini-rant that may get me burned, but that's fine. I'm very weary of cynicism around Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze; it's a Retro Studios game that isn't Metroid Prime, I get it, I was disappointed too. Yet Donkey Kong Country Returns was a top-notch platformer on Wii, so perhaps we can allow ourselves to look forward to a potentially excellent follow-up. That'd be swell!


Did you enjoy the Nintendo Direct broadcasts this week? Do you agree or disagree on anything in particular that was said above? Let us know, as always, in the comments below.

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User Comments (42)

AdanVC

#2

AdanVC said:

It was a satisfying Nintendo Direct, probably the best since E3's Direct. Great new announcements, awesome trailers (Dat Rosalina intro trailer) and surprises with NES Remix and Chibi-Robo. Now I just hope the next Nintendo Direct would be focused only on Wii U and they reveal big games just like this January's 2013 Direct when Nintendo revealed Wind Waker HD, X by Monolith Soft, etc.

JarredBuzzo

#3

JarredBuzzo said:

I thought Bayo 2 was scheduled for a first half of 2014 release, meaning it isn't necessarily Spring, just before June. I could be wrong, but I don't remember Nintendo saying "early 2014".

NintyMan

#4

NintyMan said:

I think this was the best Direct since E3. Plenty of surprises, mostly exciting from start to finish, and a great end to the video with that amazing Rosalina and Luma debut trailer for Smash Bros. all made it come together so well. I'm quite tired of any angst over Donkey Kong as well, because this game will be excellent. Come on; it's more Retro and more Donkey Kong Country.

Selene

#5

Selene said:

I thought Nintendo prooomised mario bros 3 before end of the year (I'm in NA obviously). The mere thought of it has me re-exploring my 3ds NES Vc collection I'd barely touched in over a year. Omg, these are NES games on a flippin portable! Amazing how that thought alone can stir interest in games I previously thought of as too dull and boring to be worth playing (even though I loved them many years ago). Need mario. Mario! Mariooo!

sinalefa

#6

sinalefa said:

That Reggie pic is awesome.

I was very happy with this Direct. Only thing I did not like was learning that MK8 is full of babies and that most games only showed the 2014 or Spring 2014 as release dates.

Monkeh

#9

Monkeh said:

Probably the best Nintendo Direct to date. I for one was very pleased and got to see a lot more footage than I had expected!

WhiteTrashGuy

#10

WhiteTrashGuy said:

Best Nintendo Direct since the Pokemon 3DS reveal last year. I love beat-em-ups and ZELDA so I'm excited for HYRULE WARRIORS. I'm not a big fan of tne DYNASTY WARRIORS franchise, but Nintendo knows how to tighten up gameplay. No F-ZERO, STAR FOX, or METROID, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. And CHIBO-ROBO on 3DS looks brolloant.

Peach64

#11

Peach64 said:

I'm honestly stunned at the over-reaction to this Direct. I'm happy with the Super Mario Bros 3 re-release on the newer Virtual Consoles, and it was nice to get a date confirmed for Layton vs Phoenix Wright, but that was about it. I had some hopes like everyone else, most I knew were never happening, like Star Fox and F-Zero, some I knew had a slim chance of happening, like Dragon Quest 7 localisation, but then there was some like a European date for SMT IV that seemed about as safe as you could imagine, but not even that was there.

If you like seeing trailers I guess this would have been good, but as I said in the forum, I could quite happily hear and see nothing about a game between it's initial showing and it's release. I know they're coming, and I know they'll be high quality, and honestly don't get the fuss over more footage.

Hyrule Warriors doesn't interest me personally, but I think it's a good move. That series has pretty dedicated fans, and I think some of them are gonna pick up a Wii U just for the exclusive Warriors game. NES Remix and Dr Luigi aren't impressing anyone that's not already about the Wii U train however, and that's what I really wanted to see, something that would force everyone to at least think about picking up a Wii U.

element187

#12

element187 said:

Excellent article to you both... Thanks!

"I'll finish with a mini-rant that may get me burned, but that's fine. I'm very weary of cynicism around Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze; it's a Retro Studios game that isn't Metroid Prime, I get it, I was disappointed too. "

Come on now, did you really expect the average gamer to understand that Metroid won't move a lot of systems? Like you, I would personally prefer a Metroid game, but realistically it won't move any systems. The last Prime outing sold 500k, Nintendo heard the message loud and clear from the "fans" that they don't particularly like the Prime series as much anymore. While DK sold gangbusters (5 million).... People need to realize the Wii U isn't performing in the sales department as well as it should, so we can't expect Ninty to try chasing the niche market so early when they need to build a userbase first...

You do that by releasing your biggest sellers ASAP. They already do have more interesting niche titles on the way anyways, X has Monolith busy (this one actually sold better than Metroid so its understandable this has been green lighted) and SMTxFE will keep Atlus/intelligent Systems busy (fire emblem awakening sold more than Metroid Prime 3 as well)

Dark-Luigi

#13

Dark-Luigi said:

Awesome Direct! Donkey Kong, Triple Deluxe, ROSALINA IN SMASH, Yoshi's New Island and Mario Kart 8! :D

bizcuthammer

#14

bizcuthammer said:

I was glad to see some of the eshop stuff like Dr. Luigi, NES Remix and Chibi-Robo. The new footage of MK8, SSB and DKCTF looked awesome too. I'll need to see more of Hyrule Warriors though... I'm a huge Zelda fan, but not the same for Dynasty Warriors. The trailer looked interesting, but i'm pretty skeptical at this point. I was hoping we'd get some new info on X, but it didnt happen. Hopefully we'll learn more on that pretty soon.

Nintenjoe64

#15

Nintenjoe64 said:

I expected much of what was shown and the surprises were nice too. It would be reassuring to know that there's more filler titles coming to keep us busy til MK but it was still nice to see and we all know SNES remix is going to be awesome. I am hoping that Dynasty Warriors takes Nintendo gameplay and puts it into a DW scenario rather than just being a reskinned DW. Would love it to be motion+ based controls but I think Nintendo and Tecmo would be a bit scared of splitting up the potential userbase. Would really love it to be like Link's Crossbow training but for Motion Plus action gaming.
I can see why they think DKC is a better title to go with at the moment but I worry that it makes the Wii U look like a console for platform games. I'd like to see a bit more time and money being spent on Nintendo showing that 3rd party games like AC and CoD look just as good and have extra features. Every advert for the major games (that are also available on Wii U) is a Sony one or a Microsoft one. Even Wii U owners probably don't know that they could buy AC4 or CoD.

@element187 I'm not saying another Prime game would help sell Wii Us but I'm pretty sure Prime 3 sold well over a million and I thought the Trilogy was released with limited numbers and sold out. I'm still holding hope that they'll give the trilogy an HD remake (with some online features) for Wii U.

Giygas_95

#16

Giygas_95 said:

@Peach64 I agree. There wasn't much in this one that interested me either.

Well, I mean I liked seeing some new footage of certain games, but most of it was of games I already knew about such as Mario Kart 8 and the new DK.

SuperiorYoshi87

#17

SuperiorYoshi87 said:

To be honest I think Nintendo has so much lined up in 2014 that it's to much for a 30 minute direct, I feel the January one after the start if the new year will show more, Beyonetta 2, more on Yoshi's Island 3DS, X, and others. This Direct was to get some things out the door January's should be extra shiny. Plus ok waiting on what I feel will be the announcement of 2014 being the year of Yoshi! Which I'm sure Mr.Sakurai is waiting to reveal my FAVORITE character for Smash :D

Thats-what-shy

#18

Thats-what-shy said:

Visited the San Diego Zoo last weekend and was lucky enough to play Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze at Nintendo's Wii U booth setup near the park's entrance.

Sooooo clever & FUN!!!!

TheRealThanos

#19

TheRealThanos said:

Oh man, some people still don't seem to understand the premise and purpose of Nintendo Directs or seem to have an inkling of an idea about Nintendo itself.
Nintendo will show what it wants to show and more importantly, what THEY feel is ready to be shown, and not a day sooner.
It's not about what you, the individual, wants or needs, so stop whining like little kids, PLEASE.
Maybe some people should just skip the whole live broadcast and pick out the individual clips that they do like (if any) afterwards. Saves us all your negativity...
Objectively speaking (because for me it wasn't a perfect score either, I just don't make a point of it) it was a commercially sound presentation and one that will definitely have garnered Nintendo some positive feedback from the industry and media, as well as from their shareholders, so if you feel any positivity towards Nintendo at all you should be glad either way, even if not a single title in that presentation could peak your interest, because it will help Nintendo get out of the mess they're in right now and might be a first step towards a better future for the Wii U in the coming years.
Let's just all focus on that and be sure that some good titles are definitely coming in 2014.

JaxonH

#21

JaxonH said:

@element187
A fair point, and I thank you for sharing it because it needed to be said (although I would point out that Other M actually sold over a million but less than 2, right on par with every Metroid released since Prime). The fact is Metroid ISN'T a big seller, as you pointed out. In fact, it's almost exclusively popular in North America, where sales of the past 5 Metroid games have consistently matched up with combined global totals for the rest of the world.

But I think what the author was referring to was quality of the game. I think what he's saying (and I agree 100%) is that yes, we all want a new Metroid. Yes, it's tough to swallow seeing ANY game Retro makes not be a new Metroid. BUT, Donkey Kong Country is more than an excellent franchise. Superb, actually. And this new entry, DKC Tropical Freeze, is really turning it up a notch, maybe even several. Judging by the amazing fun DKC Returns provided, Tropical Freeze very well may end up being the best game on Wii U, and even then some.

JaxonH

#22

JaxonH said:

@Nintenjoe64
You're right, Prime 3 did sell over a million. Metroid Prime sold between 1-2 million, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes sold just under 1 million, Metroid Prime 3 sold between 1-2 million, and Metroid Other M sold between 1-2 million. Notice a pattern?

The fact is, Metroid Prime 3 and Metroid Other M both sold in the same ballpark as the 2 prior entries on Gamecube. Difference is, there were FIVE Nintendo Wii owners for every ONE Gamecube owner. Even with 100 million console owners, Metroid couldn't even muster an extra million copies sold.

Which mean only one thing: Metroid has a dedicated fan base of just under 2 million gamers, but that's it. No one else knows, cares, or is interested whatsoever. Unfortunate I know, but that's just the way it is.

FJOJR

#23

FJOJR said:

I'm guessing the cynicism behind DK is that some may feel it's like NSMBU and is just a Wii game that received an HD upgrade. Also yes no Metroid. On that note I'm sure Iwata's emphasis on Hyrule Warriors not being the next Zelda installment is to quell the worries that it'll be another Metroid: Other M flop.

2Sang

#25

2Sang said:

It was a good way to end Nintendo's worst year for home consoles ever. At least 2014 is looking pretty good so far.

MadAdam81

#26

MadAdam81 said:

@Peach64 I'm a big fan of most of KOEIs stuff, such as Uncharted Waters, Romance of the 3Kingdoms but especially the Warriors series. I have completed four or five of them at 100%, whereas Zelda doesn't hold my attention after 5 hours - mainly because I'm not keen on the style, same as the Kingdom Heart series. TP I played.the most, OOT3D in between and SS I didn't play much at all. I am excited.about Hyrule Warriors as it will be the first Zelda game I will beat.
One of the popular bits of the Warriors games is the story, as well as the large number of vastly different characters to play - to get most of the Warriors fans to buy,.it will need a more solid story than many Zelda titles and more playable characters than Link and.Zelda.

MadAdam81

#27

MadAdam81 said:

@JaxonH and most Metroid fans already own a Wii U.
However, 2 million sales for a $10 eShop title could be a profitable venture for Nintendo.

TheRealThanos

#28

TheRealThanos said:

@JaxonH I would like to think that Metroid had a bigger following in the 8 and 16 bit days, or maybe that's just my rosy colored glasses...
(although the GBA outings definitely weren't bad either)
@Buduski That is a nice commercial indeed. Where the hell did that come from all of sudden? Seems like they really started the ball rolling for the end of the year, FINALLY...

Buduski

#29

Buduski said:

@TheRealThanos , I know it's about time they got it in high gear, did you see the new Wii Fit U ad? Very good also, makes you look at the Wii U like something more than a game console and more like a new experience with the fit meter, not that the Christmas adds where bad but just makes the "Hardcore" audience think of Nintendo like the baby console more than they already do.

Kolzig

#30

Kolzig said:

Here's hoping that Chibi-Robo comes to Europe also. No mention of it yet.

Buduski

#34

Buduski said:

@TheRealThanos , im copying the links from my cel ans when I paste it on NL thats just how they apear, sorry don't really know why. But both links sent me to the same video either way

Seren77

#37

Seren77 said:

@Kolzig Yeah I watched the us direct after the europe one and was wondering if I'd somehow blinked to long missed chibi robo on the eu one. Looks adorable even if he may get confused by what an aussie power outlet looks like.

unrandomsam

#38

unrandomsam said:

@Peach64 Interestingly Dragon Questt I-VIII are all only due to be released on iOS in West (Android as well in Japan). Not even sure we will get the Gameboy Color version of III.

Shiromikio

#40

Shiromikio said:

I was expecting Wii U to take centre stage, so it was nice to see a few 3DS announcements. Looking forward to Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder. Thanks Nintendo and Happy Holidays to all.

andrea987

#41

andrea987 said:

It was a very good Direct, I just feel they should have shown some new X footage and that Hyrule Warriors at VGX. Zelda appeal to basically everyone, and I'm sure it would have made more people interested in the Wii U, people that normally doesn't watch Directs.

TheRealThanos

#42

TheRealThanos said:

@Buduski True, but everything after the '&' sign is unnecessary for the video to work. The sign signifies an extra command or extension for several purposes, such as embedding videos in web pages, designating a user/uploader and so on. No criticism by the way, just an observation and it more than likely is indeed because of you posting from your phone, but I'm not sure.

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