Friday evening, Nintendo globally broadcast their newest Nintendo Direct, and it was absolutely full of information for both the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS systems. They even managed to sprinkle in a couple tidbits about Nintendo Account, My Nintendo and Miitomo, as well.
What I will be sharing in this entry is my not-so-live reactions to the Direct. Hopefully, in the spirit of this blog, we can add perspective for you, the reader. I look forward to breaking it all down.
The North American Direct was primarily hosted by Bill Trinen, and the structure was set so that the presentation was front-loaded with all of the Wii U news, followed by the 3DS news. This being the first full Direct since November of last year, it was greatly anticipated and my opinion is it delivered well. Learning my lesson from the Pokémon Direct “leaks”, I was sure to stay away from any prior information that sprang up in the roughly 24 hours between the Direct announcement and its airing. That decision proved to be a very fruitful one, as I was able to coldly (and thoroughly) enjoy the presentation.
So now, let’s get into it…
The Direct started out with the recently much-discussed StarFox Zero, Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto shared the news that so many people have been wanting to hear, and it was that the game is “finally READY!” Not only did Miyamoto-san show off some new game features like alternate routes and 2-player local multi-player, but also amiibo support. There was also never-before-seen footage of Fortuna, a new stage. He also shared the now-finished “Project Guard” is now named StarFox Guard. StarFox Guard will be available along with StarFox Zero at launch, as a pack-in for the physical version, and digitally, separately or even bundled together for the same price as the physical version. The game will be released on April 22.
Next, we learned of some upcoming updates for Splatoon that will be coming starting next week, March 8. A few details were given, but I will be sure to keep you informed on their individual cases.
After that, we got a trailer for the upcoming Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and I have to say, I am really looking forward to this game. I haven’t really gotten into any of these before, but for some reason, I am getting a Track n’ Field vibe from this game, with prettier visuals, and I loved playing that game on the NES. It looks to be a set of full events versus being a collection of “mini-games” which is much more appealing. I look forward to seeing more of this one coming up on the June 24 release. There will also be a 3DS release of the game on March 18, so stay tuned for more on that, as well.
Then Nintendo shared several new updates coming to Super Mario Maker, adding new elements for offline and online courses. This update will be available on March 9.
We then got the latest information on the long-awaited Western release of Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, now named Tokyo Mirage Sessions #(sharp) FE. We also learned that localization will bring the game to North America with the original voice-over intact with English-translations subtitled. From its initial video reveal months ago, this game has given the appeal of a big time anime, and does so even more with the subs over dubs. We can finally expect this game’s release on June 24.
Then we got more information on the free-to-play Bandai-Namco title, Lost Revers. In the game, we will team up with others online to solve puzzles, acquire treasure, and fight zombies to complete multiple stages. We will soon be able to gain access to the Open Beta on April 14, and the full version on April 28.
Next was the announcement of the new Paper Mario game for Wii U. The existence of this previously unannounced game came to light through an Emily Rodgers-leaked set of tweets from about a month ago. The new Wii U Paper Mario game is titled Paper Mario: Color Splash in which players are tasked with stopping the color drain and revitalizing the land with their color hammer. I actually have not had much experience with the Paper Mario series, and this one coming available to the Wii U is quite fortuitous! I am truly excited to take it for a spin and see what it is all about. Besides that, the game play that was shown looked amazing. No concrete release date was given beyond 2016, but likely it will be somewhat soon, as the focus of the Direct was to be through the Summer.
Pokken Tournament was then shown off, and it looks to be a fantastic game on its own accord. The game play looks to be that of a fighting game, but definitely flowing with a Pokémon flair. Early adopters will also be rewarded with a special bonus amiibo card of Shadow Mewtwo will come the first production run of the physical copies of the game.
These things along with a reminder of the release of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD nearly rounded out the Direct in regards to Wii U. There was just the announcement of the free-to-download, Mini Mario & Friends amiibo Challenge which is for both Wii U and 3DS, beginning March 25 for early-access with the purchase of any amiibo figure at any participating retailer. It will also be available for free download for everyone else April 28. So, if you already have the needed figures, it will be available to you, then.
As the Nintendo Direct continued, our analysis will also…within the next couple days. The Wii U news was plenty, and shows a lot will be arriving for the system in the next few months before the inevitable transition to the NeXt system. Interestingly, as I was anticipating a great number of fantastic surprises, mainly because we have been so short on news lately, but aside from just a couple things, the surprises were not many. That did not bother me, though. I know that the big blowout of news is coming very soon, so I can be patient, especially since the company needs to ensure they don’t cannibalize their existing projects.
Watching this Nintendo Direct really allowed me to see what they were doing for the Wii U and really appreciate it without any type of baggage to hinder my opinions. I consciously avoided any types of spoilers, and in doing so actually ended up avoiding even the “prediction” videos, as well. I know the natural course for many people in the community is to take a seat on the hype train immediately after the announcement of a Direct, but by staying off it this time, I was able to manage my own expectations, guesses and discipline my own disappointment. Thankfully, I really did not have any, because honestly I only expected to gain information, not hope to confirm any.
My intention is to cover the rest of the information for this Direct in the next entry. That obviously means the 3DS info, as well as the other elements that were covered. For now though, I can appreciate what the company did in regards to this Direct. For Wii U owners who may have “worried” about the release schedule for 2016, in lieu of the impending NX release, I believe their concerns should be settled. The number of releases coming in the next few months just for Wii U, along with the handful of titles we still already know to be coming in the second half, makes this final full year for the Wii U an attention-filled year. Nintendo will not be accused of abandoning the Wii U in its final year much like they were accused during the wind-down of the Wii generation.
If you have not had the pleasure of watching the Nintendo Direct, feel free to check it out below. The first half is what I covered above, and the second half will be covered in the next installment.
How did you enjoy the Direct? Do you agree with my assessment? Were anticipating anything more from this Direct?
As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!