Tuesday, June 5, 2012

E3 2012: nintendo all-access

It's day two of E3 coverage (the first day of the actual expo) at the Nokia Theater in LA, Nintendo is taking the stage with their (hopefully) game changing new system the Wii U.

Nintendo actually started this years E3 on Sunday night. With a surprise live feed straight from HQ in Japan, by Mr. Iwata, the President of Sony Japan. He went over the recently named "Wii U Gamepad" and "Miiverse" and more that we can expect from today's media briefing. This surprise was, of course, welcome with all the anticipation going into E3 this week. I have to wonder though, were the big wigs at Nintendo Japan worried about Reggie's ability to present the new system? There was a lot of confusion coming out of last years E3 Media Briefing.

Hit the jump for the full Media Briefing.

We begin today's Media Briefing with a intro video of Miyamoto backstage in a green room that is littered with CG Pikmin. He is getting ready to come on stage and the cute little Pikmin are following him out. In real-time on the stage now, Miyamoto jokes about the Pikmin being with the audience in the theater, overlayed graphics, show the Pikmin among the crowd. Enter stage left is Miyamoto's translator.

Miyamoto describes the new mission for Nintendo. To break the console's dependance on the television. Video game consoles (proper not handheld) have never worked without the TV and Nintendo feels that is something they can change with the Wii U. Wii U brings unique, new game experiences to the two screen experience. In fact, someone can use the TV while you continue your game on the Gamepad.

The first game they are announcing is (duh) Pikmin 3. It's been 10 years since the last Pikmin game. Managing your Pikmin will still be the focus in this game as it was in the last. The enhance resolution of the Wii U will bring the game into focus like never before. In-game materials will look more realistic than ever. A new Rock Pikmin will be able to break hard objects. Motion controls in the gamepad will allow precise targeting. The Gamepad will always display the game map, bringing deeper strategy to your game. Multiple Pikmin leaders will allow you to cover more of the game map simultaneously.

Reggie Fils-Aime, President and CEO of Nintendo America, takes the stage exclaiming he feels just like a purple Pikmin. Reggie welcomes viewers around the world via the internet and television. They are claiming 23 Wii U titles are on display at the expo. Nintendo is ready to describe what Wii U means to gamers and non gamers alike and how it will change your life. "Wii U does three different things: It changes your gaming, changes how you interact with your gaming friends and changes the way you enjoy your TV." Wii U will revolutionize your living room however the focus today will be strictly on gaming.

Wii U will support two wireless Wii U Gamepads. The controller itself, offers several intuitive controls: a front facing touch screen that can be used with a finger or an included stylus, a plus control pad (D-pad) and A, B, X and Y buttons, left and right analog sticks each with a push down function, the back side hosts dual trigger buttons (ZR and ZL) as well as L & R buttons in the top corners. Wii U Gamepad features motion control through a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope. Kinda surprising, is the built-in rumble feature. Also included, is a front facing camera and microphone, Stereo speakers and a headphone jack. The volume controller adjust not only the Gamepad but your television as well. Finally, an illuminated Home button will alert you to incoming messages.

Reggie is back talking about Miiverse. "Think of it as main street, a place where people congregate and mingle". Miiverse also acts as the home screen navigation for the Wii U. ON screen we see the return of the Miis. Floating tiles, within the Miiverse, will represent games and applications. Miis in the Miiverse will be able to congregate around these tiles and swap messages. Wii U will allow you to share screen images from games you are playing. Eventually you will be able to access Miiverse from your 3DS, smart phone or PC.

Wii U is launching with a Mario game: New Super Mario Bros. U. Connect with Miiverse directly through the game. Get notes and images from friends while you play in real-time. It's Mario, just like it has always been only better and "new". Four players can play with Wiimotes with a fifth playing on a Wii U Gamepad. Nice to see that all the peripherals purchased for Wii won't go to waste

Batman Arkham City Armored Edition is the first 3rd party title they are showing. Martin Tremblay, President of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, comes to stage to talk about the enhanced gameplay utilizing the Wii U system. He is introduced by Harley Quinn's voice as "Marty baby". New features shown involve using the second screen to investigate your surroundings and for quick access to your armament. The accelerometer is shown guiding a remote control Batarang through a first person view. Batman can strategically place explosives and use the Gamepad to detonate them one at a time or all at once. New to the game is BAT-mode where you can fill a power meter to unleash a powerful new attack.

"Something for every type of player" Reggie moves on to say. He introduces Jeremiah Slachca from 5th Cell to announce Scribblenauts Unlimited for the Wii U. The definitive version of Scribblenauts. Scribblenauts is a kidie-graphics, drawing based game. New to this version is Multiplayer. Players can share drawings and work together to explore the game.

A montage of more 3rd party games follows: Darksiders 2, Mass Effect 3, Tank! Tank! Tank!, Tekken Tag Team Tournament 2, Trine 2 Director's Cut and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge are shown. The montage ends with a glimpse of Aliens Colonial Marines.

Time to change focus to WiiFit. There are 43 million users of WiiFit. Reggie calls the Wii Balance Board a "bathroom scale". WiiFit was an easy access point for new gamers. WiiFit U is announced with a new peripheral called a Fit Meter, which is some kind of calorie counter that can keep track of your stats and goals. In a simulated experience on screen, the Balance Board is shown working with the Wii U.

Now Reggie is talking about dance games. A new game tentatively called SiNG. SiNG is a music game with a new play style. Player who’s singing uses the mic & the Wii U GamePad so they don’t have to face the TV. Not sure what we are seeing here in the video, if I had to guess it is a karaoke machine with a dancing element. Touted as a party game.

3DS news! Scott Moffitt, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Nintendo America, comes out to describe some new games coming to the handheld. Due to limited time he explains that 3DS games will be addressed in their own show online, Wednesday at 6:00 at e3.nintendo.com. Three new first party titles: A new, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is launching Aug 19th, Paper Mario Sticker Star a new entry in that series with a 3D twist and finally the return of Luigi in Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon.

Lego City Undercover is another family title coming to Wii U. Shown is Lego characters exploring an Lego built, sandbox style city. Players will assume a detective role and use various tools to solve crimes. Looks like the wit and charm we expect form Lego titles will be included. A portable version is in-the-works for 3DS.

Ubisoft joins Reggie on stage (they have been to every event so far!). Yves Guillemot, Co-Founder and CEO of Ubisoft, is presenting Rayman Legends an all new Rayman game developed specifically for the Wii U and Zombi U a survival horror game. He begins by underscoring Nintendo's commitment to bringing new gamers into the fold. All together Ubisoft is bringing 8 titles to Wii U including Just Dance 3. Zombi U, includes gameplay like sniping and hacking which we've become accustom to in such titles. As a bonus, Zombi U has a zombify mode that allows you to become a zombie yourself with the Gamepad's camera; Reggie demonstrates this on himself.

Wrapping up, Reggie has "one more thing" to show for Nintendo. Nintendoland is a new game that brings together various Nintendo titles in a virtual theme park. He compares it to Wii Sports as a game that will help you understand the new console. Katsuya Eguchi, Wii U Software Producer and Jonathan Yeckley of Treehouse, give us a walkthrough of Nintendoland. It capitalizes on the most popular Nintendo franchises. There are 12 "attractions" included in the game: Zelda Battle Quest, Animal Crossing, Luigi's Ghost Mansion are among the multiplayer attractions. Donkey Kong Crash Course, Takamaru's Ninja Castle are examples of the single player attractions. As expected, these seem to be shorter, party games to get players used to the new Wii U Gamepad. Fully integrated into Miiverse. They end the conference with some in-game fireworks from Nintendoland.

Wii U and Nintendoland will be ready for the Holiday season.

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