I’m still not sure how I feel about Nintendo Direct events. First off, they’re super early because of, you know, Japan being so effing far away and I’m not really accustomed to seeing this side of noon, so I’m already off my game. Second, what are the numbers behind these things? I would love to see the analytics that support a single dump that will dominate one entire news day instead of a trickle and roll the dice on several days or weeks. Does Iwata know something we don’t? I bet he does. It’s probably why he wears gloves on streaming press conferences.
This particular Nintendo Direct, however, brought some sizable news. Or at least some heavily directed news. In this case, it’s EarthBound, or Mother 2 as it’s known in Japan. A role-playing game for the SNES, it was only re-released after its initial 1994/1995 debut in Japan for the Wii U’s Virtual Console. Now, after a delay in 2008 for the Wii, teasing by creator Shigesato Itoi, and an incredible outpouring from incredibly vocal fans, EarthBound will be coming to North America and Europe for the Wii U Virtual Console. More information should be coming in the following months, but at least we know it’s happening.
The Legend of Zelda made a big splash today. Correction: three big, 3DS-sized splashes. First were two old Zelda titles in Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, which were originally released for the Game Boy Color back in 2001. Nintendo is gearing up to re-release those on the 3DS eShop on May 30th, but real news is a sequel to A Link to the Past. Or, I guess, air-quoted “sequel” to A Link to the Past. It’s set in the same world and is called The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2 in Japan, but I’m fairly sure the word “sequel” was never actually used, though we do get an expected timeframe of this holiday for North America and next year for Japan.
This is exciting for many reasons, but let’s start with the fact that ever since the original, Nintendo has simply been rehashing A Link to the Past in its 2D releases. Of course there have been new storylines and new mechanics and they’ve been great, but nothing ever felt as innovative or invigorating to play as that was when it first released. Seeing what is included in this sequel, however, is refreshing. It seems small, but check out that analog turning. And the use of z-depth in dungeon traversal. And wow that wall-walking thing seems neat, especially when Link went from inside the dungeon to outside on a balcony. If you weren’t excited for Zelda before, now might be the time.
In October of 2012, Square Enix put out a role-playing game for the 3DS called Bravely Default: Flying Fairy. It is a spiritual successor to 2010′s Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light and came out to rather glowing reviews. It’s an absolutely beautiful game with an interesting augmented reality twist and was potentially a system-seller sort of game. The only problem is that it was (and currently is) exclusive to Japan. But now, as Nintendo’s Bill Trinen announced today, it will be heading for North America in 2014 and Europe in 2013. Quite the wait, but good localization takes time.
Also to file under Things to be Excited About: a new Yoshi’s Island. No title or release date announced, but we do get a brief glimpse of gameplay, which you can see by heading over to Kotaku who captured some of the press conference feed. I mean, come on. Look at the size of that egg!
We also got a release date and a teaser for Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, the role-playing game about dream worlds that was announced in February. It’ll be out August 11th in North American, July 12th in Europe, and July 18th in Japan for the 3DS eShop.
Then a bunch of equally interesting but less content-filled news came around. Here’s a quick rundown:
- New Super Luigi U, a downloadable campaign for New Super Mario Bros. U, will launch this summer for North America and feature traditional Luigi twists, i.e. floating jumps and sliding movement
- A new Mario Party will be coming to the 3DS sometime this winter
- Mario Golf heads to the 3DS this summer with Mario Golf: World Tour and will focus on community play
- The previously announced 3DS port Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D will be releasing May 24th and will feature new gameplay tweaks for portability
- An impending Wii U system update will reduce load times, as shown in this hilariously titled “sizzle reel“
- Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move, the portable puzzle game for the 3DS, will hit the eShop May 9th with four modes and over 180 puzzles
- Five new minigames for Wii U’s Game and Wario were shown off with the game itself pinned for release on June 23rd
- There’s a $200 3DS XL bundle coming to North America on June 9th in celebration of Animal Crossing: New Leaf and will feature polka dots and a preloaded copy of New Leaf
- The long-awaited and long-in-development Shin Megami Tensei IV will finally come to stores on July 16th. The special edition will feature a limited edition slip cover, a strategy book, and a CD copy of the soundtrack
- Level-5′s The Starship Damrey, Bugs vs. Tanks, and Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale will all be coming to the 3DS eShop sometime “soon”
- Professor Layton and the Azran Legacies, the next installment of the Layton puzzle series, will come to North American 3DSes in 2014 after being available in Japan since late February and will cap off the prequel trilogy (bye-bye Layton!)
- Pikmin 3 will come to the Wii U on August 4th and now has confirmed flying Pikmin
That’s about it. You can watch the whole thing here via Nintendo’s YouTube channel if you want. Catch all the glory as it happened two hours ago!