Yesterday was a TREMENDOUS day for Nintendo fans and Wii U owners alike, as Satoru Iwata announced a bunch of blockbuster releases for the system, with many familiar faces making a return. While we didn't get a new StarFox, F-Zero or Metroid, we got announcements that were just as good, revolving around Zelda, Mario, Yoshi and a new Virtual Console service.
But what does each announcement mean for the future of Nintendo and its console? More than you might expect. Let's break down each project that was revealed yesterday…
The Wii U Virtual Console
Along with loading improvements to the operating system and expansion of the Miiverse to the mobile market, Nintendo revealed a plan to release several NES and SNES games on the Wii U, with a discount program for those who bought the games previously for Wii. The first game in the program, Balloon Fight, is already available for a rock bottom price of $.30.
This is good because: It's great seeing the classics make a comeback, including games like Punch-Out!! and Super Metroid, with GamePad functionality. The pricing is just about right as well, though Nintendo should just give the games to those who previously own them on the Wii for free. Still, you could do worse than $1.50, and the ability to customize your controls is ideal. All that's missing now is the downloadable GameCube games…
Classic and New Zelda Return
Link is back to work in a pair of new Legend of Zelda titles coming to the Wii U. A high-definition remake of the GameCube release The Wind Waker will come first this fall, and a brand new HD Zelda game, first teased in the company's demo reel a while back, will arrive sometime after.
This is good because: C'mon, it's Zelda. As eclectic as the art style for the Wind Waker was, it's a fan favorite, and seeing it come back in a new format is nothing short of glorious. Plus, it'll keep us busy while we wait for the true return of Zelda, in the high definition style that we were shown before. We can't wait to actually battle that spider…
New Mario and Mario Kart Games, First Look At Smash Bros. At E3
Though the games weren't officially revealed today, Nintendo stacked the deck for the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo, happening this June in Los Angeles. A brand new 3D Mario adventure has already been promised for the system, and will be unveiled during their press conference. Also coming is a fully playable Mario Kart game for the Wii U, as well as a first look at the forthcoming Super Smash Bros., which is being produced in conjunction with Namco Bandai.
This is good because: MARIO! In all seriousness, Nintendo just guaranteed that they'll have a line around their booth that will go around twice. The promise of a new Mario game – perhaps even a follow-up to its Galaxy series – is insane, and Mario Kart is bound to become a multiplayer favorite, just like the Wii and 3DS versions before it. And the new Smash Bros. game, with Namco at the helm, should be a fighting favorite for years to come, just like Brawl is. Sure, they're familiar franchises – but the fun factor hasn't dwindled on them at all. E3 is going to be a full house.
Fire Emblem Crosses Paths With Shin Megami Tensei
One huge crossover announcement, following the news that Namco's multi-team Project X Zone was getting a U.S. release, was made during the showcase, with Intelligent Systems teaming up with Atlus to mesh together the worlds of Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei, two very popular Japanese franchises. Though no gameplay details were given, a new system will be introduced that will fulfill the hopes of the fans of both brands.
This is good because: Crossovers have become quite popular as of late, and seeing as how Fire Emblem is already riding at a fever pitch into a new 3DS game next month, it's great to see Intelligent Systems is already hard at work on the forthcoming chapter. And Atlus – c'mon, they know their way around a stellar role-playing experience, and they'll know how to concoct just the right approach for this project. We can't wait to hear more on it.
MonolithSoft Returns With Another Possible Xenoblade Tale
MonolithSoft, the developers of the critically acclaimed role-playing adventure Xenoblade Chronicles, is hard at work on a new adventure for the Wii U, one that bears some similarities to that rare Wii effort, but has some new multiplayer elements in store, as well as high-definition graphics. But the question is…will it be a sequel?
This is good because: Nintendo is realizing that the role-playing market is bigger than they ever expected, especially considering how fast Chronicles sold out. This game probably got green-lit to make amends, and also expand the Xenoblade universe into a new multiplayer area that fans will certainly appreciate, especially with battles against larger enemies. We want more information…and we want it now.
It's Party Time On the Wii U
Wii Party was quite the romp on the original Wii, so it shouldn't be a surprise that Nintendo has asked for a new edition on the Wii U, one that comes with a number of new activities for one or more players. Though specific details are scarce, it is coming this summer, just in time to cure those "needing a new game" lulls.
This is good because: The original Wii Party did a fine job heightening the "play with friends" experience over the usual Mario Party antics, and with the inclusion of full Miiverse interactivity and hundreds of mini games to take part in, this should be nothing short of a good time. Tired of NintendoLand? This could be the next best thing for you.
Finally, for the first time since 1998, Yoshi is highlighting his very own game, tentatively titled Yoshi Land. It features the happy green dino fighting his way through side scrolling territory. The game is being produced by HAL Laboratory, the creators of Kirby's Epic Yarn – and you'll be able to see the similarities, as Yoshi Land uses a very similar "stitched" appearance.
This is good because: Yoshi's been looking for a bit of vindication after Yoshi's Story failed to live up to the potential of the previous Yoshi's Island. And with HAL at the helm, you can expect lots of wonderful gameplay quirks, as well as amazing graphics that will really bring out the best in the Wii U. Now the only question we have is if the Apples song will return. "THE APPLES!"
You can watch the full Nintendo Direct breakdown on these titles here.