Nintendo Direct – 1/23/13 – Wii U Virtual Console, New Games, and more!

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Nintendo’s patron saint Satoru Iwata dropped by the INTERNETS this morning to bless us all with more Wii U knowledge, and boy, did he deliver!  Below, you’ll find screenshots and information about what was discussed, in case you missed it!  Let’s go!

Miiverse

Iwata began by talking about Miiverse, stating the community was thriving, and then showed some examples of people getting help through the service on ZombiU, including spoiler posts.  He also highlighted the “customer to customer” relationships that Miiverse provided, sharing experiences together with people whether far away or close.  Iwata mentioned Nintendo TVii and then showed the comments posted during the Notre Dame vs. Alabama game, again showing the Miiverse community and how it works.

Back to Miiverse, Iwata says that Nintendo was surprised by the response to Miiverse with drawings, and showed some of the best ones.  He seemed genuinely thrilled, and said not to lose track of time browsing!

Some special characters are beginning to appear in Miiverse.  If you see a green checkmark, it is an authentic, verified account, almost like Twitter.  This is for celebrities, corporations, game developers, and such. These users can attach links to their posts, or embed YouTube videos. Mr. Takemoto, who developed New Super Mario Bros. U, is one such account.

Consumer Requests

There will be two system updates, one in spring and summer, in response to requests about software loading times and the time it takes to return to the Wii U menu screen.  This is big news, but even bigger news is that Iwata announced that the Wii U Virtual Console will launch right after the Spring Update!  He went on to say that since the Wii Virtual Console took years to release, don’t expect all the titles to be available right off the bat.  In other words, be patient and wait!  At the start, Nintendo will have prepared a selection of NES and SNES games.  The Wii U versions are being newly developed, and will have simliar features to the 3DS virtual console games, like saving a back up of game progress, playing the games on the Wii U game pad alone (woot!), and all games will have Miiverse communities. Also, Gameboy Advance titles will finally become available on the Wii U, which I believe marks the first time of them becoming available outside the early adopter incentives for 3DS.

But, what if you have Wii Virtual Console games that you’ve transferred to the Wii U?  Do they have the special features Iwata mentioned?  Of course not.  If you already own these titles, you will be eligible to upgrade them for $1 for NES games, and $1.50 for SNES games.  However, prices will remain the same from the Wii Virtual Console for games you do not have.  The eShop will display the discounted prices automatically for people who already own the re-released titles.

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30th Anniversary of the Famicom

2013 is the 30th Anniversary of the Famicom!  To celebrate, Nintendo will release a Virtual Console title each month from now until July, the official release date of the Famicom.  These will also be available before and during the release of the Wii U Virtual Console.  The best part?  Each title will cost only 30 cents!  That price will remain in effect for 30 days from the release of the title.  What titles will be released?

January – Balloon Fight

February – F-zero

March – Punch Out! Featuring Mr. Dream

April – Kirby’s Adventure

May – Super Metroid

June – Yoshi

July – Donkey Kong

The first title, Balloon Fight, is available TODAY on the Wii U eShop!

Back to Miiverse

Iwata again mentions Miiverse and the interacts it brings, and mentions a feature for highly anticipated upcoming title Pikmin 3 that lets you use the Wii U Gamepad as a camera to capture close up photos of the world to post in Miiverse.

For WiiFit U, you will be able to create closed communities, to include only people you want, so you can work together as a group to complete fitness goals without including people you don’t want to see your posts.

Iwata explained that they are planning to expand the Miiverse service, making users able to create user communities, adding the ability to have more than one official community per title, as well as making the service easier to use and including a filtering function, so posts don’t get buried. Granted, all of this should’ve been in there when we got it, but still, nice improvements.

They are also working on allowing users to view Miiverse from smartphones, first on a web based browser, then eventually on an official app.  You will need to use your Nintendo ID to sign in.

New Games!

Iwata mentions that Nintendo will not release any new first party titles in January or February, due to the software being perfected, firmly believing that they need to offer quality experiences when they release new titles.  They concluded they should spend more time to make sure games were up to their standards.  He apologized about the lack of games, and said that new titles will be available from March onward.  What new titles are those?

The Wonderful 101

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In game footage is shown of the game, and boy, does it look good.  I really hope this game lives up to the hype.  It looks almost like Pikmin meets Viewtiful Joe meets giant anime robobattles.  Gameplay is shown in vehicle, on foot, and in battle.

Bayonetta 2

Platinum Games is continuing to develop the game, and though it’s not time for details, Iwata showed a video from the developers, showcasing them building the world of Bayonetta 2, paying special detail to texture, locations and how they fit into the world.  They want to make a game that maximizes the potential of the Wii U, they say.  Not much in game footage is shown, unfortunately. However, the next edition of Iwata Asks will be dedicated to Platinum Games and talking about Bayonetta 2.

Smash Bros. Wii U

Not much to be said here other than Iwata asked fans to be patient and wait, as game development is on track. It is a huge development undertaking, and Mr. Sakurai will reveal the first screens and video at this year’s E3!

New 3D Mario and Mario Kart Wii U!

Again, not much information given here other than that they would be shown in PLAYABLE form at E3, but, hopes are high as the team that worked on Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, plus Super Mario 3D Land is working on the 3D title.

New Party Game

Footage was shown, including using the Gamepad to roll dice by shaking, then using the Gamepad and 3 Wiimotes in a twister/fingerbender exercise.  One game uses the Gamepad with two people using it at the same time, playing foosball, with one player holding the button end, and one holding the control pad end.  Characters are Miis, so it seems to follow the Wii Party vein of games.

Yoshi’s Yarn (not actual title)

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Remember Kirby’s Epic Yarn?  Looks like people liked it, because now Yoshi is getting similar treatment, as Mr. Tezuka returns to create another fabric based world!  Gameplay was shown, and the visuals look really amazing in HD.  Yoshi has not starred in a game since 1998, Iwata said.

Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem

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A teaser trailer was shown, but it is unknown what type of game it will be. (Though I’d bet strategy) Iwata stated that since game development is so much different than it used to be, they cannot take the same type of approach over and over.  This collaboration between Nintendo and Atlus is one example of the new approach, and may or may not be the last one.

Legend of Zelda

The executive producer of Zelda was shown, and wasted no time in beginning to talk about plans for the NEW Wii U Zelda game they are currently working on. In typical Nintendo fashion, the game was simply teased and not shown, as they stated they cannot talk about it until visuals are actual ready to be shown. He then shared that the vision for Wii U Zelda was to “rethink the conventions of Zelda.”   They want to set aside these conventions, like completing dungeons in a certain order, and playing by yourself, and get back to what he called the basics of the franchise.

Skyward Sword was actually intended to be developed this way, but they could not break the linear mold.  He went on to show some images, and…..

Wind Waker HD!!!

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He said that after the team showed the Zelda HD demo at E3 2011, they continued to experiment with different styles of Zelda art in HD, and Wind Waker’s gave birth to something new.  Due to the development time needed for the new Zelda, the team will release The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on Wii U, in gloriously redone HD. The visuals looked breathtakingly beautiful, with comparison shots from Windfall Island being shown from the Gamecube version and the new HD version. Iwata came back to explain that graphics will be updated, along with tuning up the whole game experience, and all game elements will be available off television on the GamePad.  A Miiverse community will also appear.

Mystery Wii U RPG

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Monolithsoft, which released Xenoblade Chronicles to the Wii last year, is set to release a brand new, totally expansive RPG to the Wii U in the coming months.  Footage is shown and the world, as well as the enemies, look immense, with battles occuring in real time with both ranged and close weaponry.  Characters execute beautiful special attacks and even drove vehicles which transformed from motorcycle to Gundam style suit to take on the huge enemies.

Iwata wrapped up, stating that 3DS would have a separate Direct in the future.  So, are you excited about the future prospects of the Wii U?  If you don’t own one, was this enough to warrant a purchase?  Let us know in the comments below or call in at (707) OK-GEEKS and share your thoughts on this week’s podcast!

 

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