So let's get the big news out of the way - What was known as "Project Cafe" is officially the Wii U. Nintendo has created a high definition, online enabled home console with yet another innovation in terms of how the player controls the system. The Wii U uses an almost tablet style controller with a 16:9 high def touch screen square in the middle (surrounded by classic style controls). As was rumored, Wii U is fully backwards compatible with all existing Wii software and peripherals (Wiimotes, Wii Balance Board, etc).
Now aside from the very pleasing HD graphics, the Wii U will actually allow you to play games via the Wii U tablet controller - thus allowing you to enjoy your gaming anywhere in your home with or without a TV. The example Nintendo gave of one person wanting to game while the other wants to watch a baseball game really hit home for me in particular. As anyone with a significant other can attest, sometimes you just gotta let them watch American Idol - but with the Wii U there will be no reason to fall back on a portable gaming system to get your gaming fix. I mean seriously - you're at home, why should you "settle" for a portable system?
The tech and graphical demos that were shown were impressive for such early code. To the casual outsider, this first pass may not look any more impressive than any current PS3 or 360 game, but one must remember that the developers are just now learning to code for this system. As time goes on I expect the Wii U to easily surpass the 360 and the PS3 graphically (it's also rumored that the Wii U has 1.5gigs of RAM on board, compared to the 512 in the 360 and PS3 - so that's a clear edge). The Wii U will hit retail in 2012.
In any case, let's talk about the rest of Nintendo's press event!
To kick things off, Nintendo presented a Legend of Zelda retrospective to celebrate the game's 25th Anniversary. Clips of every Zelda title were shown (except those terrible CDi games thank goodness...) leading up to some new footage of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii. To celebrate the 25th Anniversary, Nintendo announced there would be Zelda titles for each platform, starting off with Link's Awakening DX being immediately available for purchase on the 3DS eShop. We were then reminded (as if we needed to be!) that Zelda: OoT 3D would hit retail next week for the 3DS. Nintendo also announced a free DSiWare version of Zelda: Four Swords to be released in September. Skyward Sword is set for release This holiday season, and a gold Wiimote will be available alongside Skyward Sword.
Nintendo also announced that there would be 25th Anniversary symphonic concerts in each reagon to celebrate. The final bit of Zelda news was that the OoT soundtrack would be given as a gift to Club Nintendo members who register their purchase early.
At this point, Nintendo shifted into 3DS mode, giving us a montage of titles along with short descriptions. For the most part, the 3DS titles were nothing surprising, except one - Luigi's Mansion 2! Mario Kart, Super Mario, Kid Icarus and Star Fox were also shown in detail.
Mario Kart will hit retail this Holiday season, while Star Fox 64 3D is set for release in September. Nintendo got a bit vague with the release dates for Super Mario and Kid Icarus (end of/later this year).
Nintendo went on to announced Ace Combat 3D, Tetris, Resident Evil Revelations, and Driver Renegade for the 3DS, along with reminding us about Cave Story 3D and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
Demos for 3DS software will be coming to the eShop (horray!)
Nintendo then shifted gears, and focused on Wii U and it's software. It was announced that a Super Smash Bros title was in the works for both Wii U and the 3DS, and that both titles would somehow work together. New Super Mario Bros. Mii was also demonstrated (Think New Super Mario Bros Wii, with the ability to use your Mii as characters).
Some other titles shown and mentioned include:
- Lego City Stories
- Darksiders 2
- Batman: Arkham City
- Ghost Recon Online
- Assassin's Creed
- EA Sports titles
- Aliens: Colonial Marines(!!!!!!!!)
- Ninja Gaiden 3(!!!!!!!)
...and this is "just the first pass"
Anyone else on nerd overdrive yet?!