Nintendo President Satoru Iwata unleashed Wii U news in an installment of Nintendo Direct today as he outlined Nintendo’s future plans for the console. Iwata revealed how the Wii U launch lineup will be bolstered by a long list of top game franchises headed for the new console. These are games that longtime players and newcomers alike will love to play, and everyone will be experiencing them in new ways, thanks to the integrated second-screen experiences enabled by the Wii U GamePad controller. Iwata also detailed a number of enhancements designed to make the Wii U game experience more social, even if people are not playing in the same room.
“The fun of video games is not only just playing games, but also sharing experiences together with people – even though they live far away, their skill levels are different or their experience does not happen at the same time,” Iwata said. “We want Wii U to be the system that brings everyone together.”
The many announcements included:
- Two Zelda Games: Eiji Aonuma, the producer of The Legend of Zelda series, revealed two entries in the series for Wii U.
- Super Mario is on His Way: The Nintendo EAD Tokyo Software Development team that created the Super Mario Galaxy games for Wii and Super Mario 3D Land for Nintendo 3DS is working on a new 3D Mario action game for Wii U. The game is scheduled to be playable at this year’s E3.
- Buckle Up!: Nintendo is also working on a new installment of the hit Mario Kart franchise. This game is also planned to be playable at E3.
- Yarn Yoshi: The team that created Kirby’s Epic Yarn is hard at work on the first console game to feature Yoshi as the main character since 1998’s Yoshi’s Story for Nintendo 64. Takashi Tezuka, director of Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story, is supervising the development of the new game, which is set in a fanciful world of yarn and textiles.
- Wii Fit U Communities: New features coming to Wii Fit U include letting players create user communities on Miiverse from within the game. Community members can discuss exercises, BMI or weight changes and other health topics with other players as a way to encourage one another to reach their fitness goals. Similar functionality for other games is also planned.
- Pikmin 3 Photos: The upcoming Pikmin 3 game includes a feature that lets players use the Wii U GamePad as a camera to share the same perspective as Pikmin and take close-up pictures of landscapes and creatures in the game and share them in Miiverse.
- The Party Continues: A new installment in the Wii Party franchise is planned to launch this summer. The game features various play styles, including one that lets both players compete head-to-head using just the GamePad.
- RPG Mashup: Nintendo has begun many collaborations with outside development partners to bring the best franchises and experiences to Wii U. In one such partnership, Nintendo and Atlus are working on a collaboration that features the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei franchises. A video trailer for the game was shown in the Nintendo Direct.
- A New Game from Monolith Soft: Tetsuya Takahashi and the team at Monolith Soft that worked on Xenoblade for Wii are working on a new game. A video trailer for the game was shown in the Nintendo Direct.
- More on the Way: Iwata shared a new trailer for The Wonderful 101. That game and GAME & WARIO are scheduled to launch in the first half of 2013. Iwata also showed a new video for Bayonetta 2. That game and the new Super Smash Bros. installment are still on the way, but will need more development time before details can be revealed.
- Virtual Console for Wii U: A spring system update will add Virtual Console software to the Nintendo eShop for Wii U. The service will launch right after the spring update and will include a selection of NES and Super NES games, with Game Boy Advance games to be added in the future. The prices for NES and Super NES Virtual Console games for Wii U will be the same as they were for the Virtual Console on Wii. People who have already purchased the Wii version of a certain NES or Super NES Virtual Console game and transferred it to their Wii U console can buy the enhanced Wii U version of the same game for the reduced price of $1 for NES games and $1.50 for Super NES games.
- Classic Games for 30 Cents!: To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the Famicom in Japan (which was known as the NES in the United States), Nintendo is making one NES or Super NES game available each month now through July at the anniversary price of just 30 cents. Each game will be available at that price for 30 days, and the first is the NES game Balloon Fight, which is now available in the Nintendo eShop for Wii U.
Social and System Enhancements
- Miiverse Expands to Smartphones: Starting this spring, people will be able to browse Miiverse from their smartphones. Initially the experience will be browser-based, but Nintendo plans to create a dedicated Miiverse app in the future.
- System Updates: Two major updates are on the way, one in the spring and one in the summer. The updates will introduce a wide range of functionality, such as Virtual Console capabilities and shortening the time it takes users to launch software or return to the menu screen.