Published on January 24th, 2013 | by Christian0
Nintendo Direct Recap – Building Wii U Excitement
Christian: So we’re doing a recap of the 1/23/13 Nintendo Direct.
Peter: Ok, what’s up for discussion first?
Incoming Wii U System Updates
Christian: So, there were a lot of exciting updates in today’s Nintendo Direct. The first of which was the system update(s). I don’t actually have the hardware in my hands yet, but it’s on the way. Iwata mentioned that these updates would address some concerns that Wii U owners have had about the system’s menu load times. What do you think about the load times as they are, and do you think they’ll get any better after the two updates Iwata announced?
Peter: The most recent patch that came out for the Wii U was aimed directly at fixing menu load times. I did notice an incremental speed-up in load times and am glad that Nintendo is committed to patching issues that their community has voiced about the system. However, with the planned updates in Spring and Summer, I expect them to focus more on the Virtual Console. Any improvements to menu load times will just be icing. Frankly, I’m more excited about offline Miiverse usage.
Wii U Virtual Console
Christian: Yeah, speaking of the Wii U Virtual Console, that’s some exciting news. Not only the off-tv game pad functionality which doesn’t exist for Wii Virtual Console titles played via Wii U, but also the pricing for the 30th anniversary titles coming up. I’m pretty excited about the prospect of playing Super Metroid on the game pad, especially at the $0.30 30th anniversary pricing each game will have for 30 days after release. Is there anything else about the Wii U Virtual Console that really merits discussion at this point?
Peter: It really is nice that Nintendo is offering some great games for $.30 a pop. I’m also excited that Iwata mentioned GBA games offered on the Virtual Console. Coupled with off-tv gameplay this will reintroduce many to the great games that came out on the GBA. I hope the GBA games will be finally offered on the 3DS as well.
Christian: Oh that’s right, especially since there’s no backwards compatibility for 3DS to GBA. I’m curious to see what GBA games will make it to the Wii U Virtual Console. Advance Wars seems like a no-brainer there, though Nintendo does have a habit of dangling much wanted games outside of our reach. Just look at how Japan is getting Mother 2 on the Wii U Virtual Console and we’re not getting Earthbound.
Collaborations with 3rd Parties
Christian: Iwata apologized for a drought of Nintendo releases in January in February, but segued into a strong collaboration with Platinum games. I’m a big fan of Platinum, so my opinion is going to remain positive until I actually play it and judge for myself, but what did you think of the Wonderful 101 trailer?
Peter: Prior to this Nintendo Direct, I didn’t actually know anything about The Wonderful 101 other than it was a game. Since this was my first exposure to the game, I’m still on the fence on whether or not it’s a game for me, but it definitely does look interesting.
Christian: Time will tell I guess. I don’t think there’s an official release date, and it was rumored to be Q1 2013 but seems like spring or early summer will be more likely at this point. Iwata also showed kind of a developer diary for Bayonetta 2. You didn’t play the first one, right? Are you curious about that series at all? Do you think it’ll resonate with Nintendo fans who didn’t play the original (which wasn’t on any Nintendo platforms)? Or will its appeal be limited to people like me who were fans of the original?
Peter: I didn’t play Bayonetta, and because of this the sequel isn’t very high on my list of must buy games. I am happy to see that Nintendo is reaching out to other types of gamers and offering more adult oriented games. If the use of the game pad is innovative and unique enough, my level of interest in Bayonetta 2 will definitely go up. The gesture of having Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U is enough to show Nintendo fans that Nintendo is working towards better 3rd party support.
Christian: It seems like Sega really dropped the ball with that game and also Platinum, considering the recent debacle with Anarchy Reigns almost not coming out in the US despite being totally done and ready for release here. Nintendo has been saying that they’re trying to cater more to the hardcore since they first revealed the Wii U, and now it looks like they’re making good on that promise. Nintendo stepping up to publish Bayonetta 2 really shows that they are more open to working closely with outside developers than before, which is going to be something we come back to later.
Core Nintendo Titles to be Shown at E3
Christian: Iwata promised screens for the new Super Smash Brothers game, as well as playable builds of a new 3D Mario game and a new Mario Kart. Do you think that’s enough to cement a stronger install base for the Wii U before Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles come out? How do you think Nintendo will fare this E3 compared to them?
Peter: I think they’re definitely going to get a lot more buzz due to having these playable.
Christian: This is Mario Kart 8 though, right? Do you think that’s one Mario Kart too many? They’ve been pretty good about keeping their 3D Mario games fresh with the excellent Galaxy titels and 3D Land, but I’ve been done with Mario Kart since forever. Any excitement there for you?
Peter: I wasn’t too big of a Mario Kart 7 fan since it felt like a compilation of all the previous Mario Kart games rather than a brand new game. Again, it’ll depend on how they use the Gamepad for this version.
New 2D Platformer Starring Yoshi
Christian: Also annouced was a new Yoshi game, with Takashi Tezuka supervising. He worked on Yoshi’s Island, the sequel to Super Mario World which is considered the best 2D mario game by many. I don’t have much to say about that except that it seems like a complete win for fans of 2D platformers. Kirby’s Epic Yarn was pretty well received and it was a beautiful looking Wii game in terms of art direction. This game has definitely taken a page out of that book by the looks of it. Do you think this will be a return to form for 2D Mario games, maybe signaling the end of the New Super Mario Bros series?
Peter: I definitely hope so.
Christian: Haha, have you played much of NSMB U?
Peter: Not really, but I’ve played the other ones and they’re kind of bland. For some people, NSMBU was a positive experience, so I hope Nintendo will end that franchise on a high note.
Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem
Christian: Back to what i was talking about with collaborations. Iwata mentioned that because of the scale of modern game development, it was going to be more important for Nintendo to work on collaborations with other developers in order to have a steady stream of high quality releases. This brings us to a partnership with Atlus to develop SMT x Fire Emblem. It was the most unexpected announcement, right?
Peter: Pretty much.
Christian: I kind of think this is Nintendo’s way of trying to cut down on the signal to noise ratio that existed on the Wii with crappy 3rd party releases. It’s like if you’re in shop class and your dad is watching you build the bird house. It better be a goddamned good birdhouse.
Peter: Of all the crossover games that have come out lately, this is definitely one I’m most looking forward to. And with Intelligent Systems behind it, I know it’ll be a quality game.
New Zelda Title
Christian: New Zelda – they talk about rethinking some series conventions. 1) Linearity. 2) single player. Is it me, or does it sound like this next Zelda game will similar in structure to Demon’s / Dark Souls? Both of those games have been compared to the original Zelda. It kind of makes sense.
Peter: In terms of linear dungeons I’m imagining more of a hub-world and missions. The next Zelda for the Wii U will definitely have some sort of multiplayer component that will be a little bit more fleshed out than a Four-Swords type of game play.
Christian: That’s what I’m talking about, Demon’s Souls had a hub world! I really think (hope) this is where this is going. multiplayer will be interesting because Zelda has traditionally been very puzzle focused which isn’t exactly a great match for multiplayer games. I wonder if this one will be more combat focused because of this?
Peter: Well, Four Swords had a lot of puzzle elements, they were just multiplayer oriented. There may be less cerebral and more team work oriented puzzles. Maybe the new Zelda will have some sort of online multiplayer component where friends can hop into your game?
Christian: You mean like Demon’s Souls!? In any case, the game won’t be out for a long time it seems. To keep the Zelda fans happy there’s going to be an HD remake of Wind Waker that’ll play off-tv on the game pad and also have some re-tuned gameplay elements. The screens looked really nice. I think Nintendo’s art direction has always been really tech-independent, which explains why this game looks to make the transition to HD a lot better than other games that have made the jump this past generation. This might be the firstZelda i play since links awakening on the GameBoy. Any thoughts?
Peter: When Wind Waker first came out I never really played it, I might give this HD remastering a shot.
New Game “X” From Monolith Soft
Christian: Last up is basically a new Xenoblade looking game from Monolith. I saw mecha and lots of numbers popping out of huge enemies that were getting hit. I’m pretty excited. What do you think? Looked kind of like a monster huntery single player MMO, right?
Peter: Monolith’s “X” definitely had a Monster Hunter feel when I saw it. Wasn’t expecting the mecha either.
As with all things on the Wii U, and their theme of “bringing everyone together,” I really hope “X” has an online gameplay component.
Christian: Yeah that would be really cool. There haven’t been very many multiplayer JRPGs right, outside of FFXI, PSO, kind of maybe sort of monster hunter tri? That’s as much a JRPG as Demon’s / Dark Souls, though.
Peter: I feel Nintendo has a good chance of establishing their online foothold with the Wii U and most of the games they revealed today could really capitalize on online gameplay.
Christian: Yeah, I hope so. It has been a feature that’s been sorely missed in their previous hardware, and with the miiverse they’ve kind of taken the first step towards developing the kind of strong online community that XBL has had all to themselves this past generation.
Some Closing Thoughts
Christian: I feel like we just wrote a commercial for Nintendo, and like now we’re one stop closer to just having a Nintendo fan site, but that Nintendo Direct was just kind of epic, right?
Peter: Definitely, Sony and Microsoft should take page out of Nintendo’s play book. These Nintendo Directs are like mini-E3s and only work to get their fan base more pumped.
Christian: It really helps that Iwata has the kind of street cred where he can tell us to buy Balloon Fight cause he worked on it, haha.
Peter: Haha, I already bought mine.
And that’s a wrap. Be sure to buy your copy of Balloon Fight on Virtual Console while it’s just $0.30.