Nintendo Direct 0115

Aside from a few small details that will be saved for a wrap-up article in the very near future, I reckon we've covered most of the important news and reveals from the recent Nintendo Direct broadcasts. It was an absolute bombardment of details, and after quite a few hours and a splash of water on the face it's only just starting to fully process in my mind.

Overall, I thought it was one of the most barnstorming conventional Directs in recent times, and it ticked many boxes. We had terrific surprises like a first look at a new Fire Emblem for 3DS and Wii retail games on the Wii U eShop, expanded details on upcoming games, new amiibo ranges and compatibility, while even reveals that had largely been leaked - particularly the 13th February launch for New Nintendo 3DS in North America and Europe - had elements of surprise. We'll be providing our usual Big Nintendo Direct Summary and editorial content in the next 24 hours to really dig in with more detail, but in this initial reaction I'll summarise by puffing out my cheeks and saying, "crikey".

Overall, as I said before, I thought it was a really strong showing, especially for 3DS fans. My lingering negative niggle is that the Wii U felt a tad secondary, but in fairness to Nintendo that does overlook the home console's role in the amiibo section, that Wii retail download announcement and the fact that the main part of the show was always going to be the New Nintendo 3DS. The broadcasts were lengthy already - over 40 minutes regardless of region - but that sense of Wii U being neglected is really down to 'first half of 2015' games Mario Maker and Yoshi's Woolly World missing out. That is nit-picking, though, as there's plenty of time to talk about these games; besides, we did get a May release window for Splatoon along with the mysterious free-to-play Project Treasure, among other things.


The stars for the New Nintendo 3DS and standard 3DS were really The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, both arriving on the same day as the New Nintendo 3DS; the latter's demo codes are already in the wild in Europe. The next month will be all about the portable, and I expect the rather attractive limited edition XL models to be pretty hard to come by.

Ah, there's the elephant in the room, the New Nintendo 3DS XL. It seemed implausible in leaked marketing posters the day before the Direct broadcasts that the smaller model would not arrive in North America, yet here we are. There's business logic for which a case can be argued - which we'll tackle in detail when the dust has settled - but my instinct and personal reaction is bemusement. Even accounting for arguments that may point to the XL being the more popular model, stripping the option - and potentially valuable accessory markets such as those kisekae cover plates - away from the company's most lucrative market (alongside Japan) is highly questionable at best. Thanks to region locking, too, this will be a rolling source of debate in North America as the New Nintendo 3DS approaches release, and I only hope this absence of the small model in the region is temporary.

Red New 3 DS Amiibo

That's a huge pity, and it took the sheen off a slick, full-blooded Direct in North America. If you strip out that hardware choice - or if you're in Europe and looking ahead to the same models as those in Japan / Australia / New Zealand - the ultimate outcome was pretty exciting. As a keen 3DS gamer I was thrilled with a lot of what was shown, with occasional Wii U glimpses to tide that side over. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is so close, for example, and I'll be a selfish New 3DS owner that will be jumping into that on launch day; I cannot wait to play that whole adventure again, especially with Xenoblade Chronicles X looking so impressive for later in 2015. That April arrival made up for a reveal that made me cry a little inside - Pokémon Shuffle, match three with micro transactions. Let's not kill the mood on that just now.

Overall, I really enjoyed this Nintendo Direct (I was live blogging the North American broadcast, though I'm in Europe) and still have a buzz going all these hours later. The downer is really that Nintendo of America is being weird with its New 3DS models; no, I'm not a fan of the red one, either.

It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Nintendo was brilliant and bemusing at once, though I'm leaning more towards the positive at the moment.

As a bonus for you our man Alex has put together a snappy video with his summary of these Nintendo Direct events. You can watch it below, and be sure to subscribe to the Nintendo Life YouTube channel for more of this sort of thing in the coming days, weeks, months, years and decades. Enjoy!