From an up-beat Nintendo E3 show we’ve picked out some things that are going to make the Wii U more desirable going into 2015.
The void beyond Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros is now teeming with life.
Watching Nintendo’s E3 digital presentation came as a refreshing change to the booming high theatrics of Sony and Microsoft’s new intake of action clangers. From the odd to the kitsch to the shamelessly nostalgic, Nintendo really held their own this year and the projects that they’ve revealed going forward show the fun-centric, all-encompassing Nintendo spirit is still going strong. Yes Wii U has cost Nintendo and yes it’s a sorry third place in the console race but it is a console doing its own thing and with some aplomb too. From the reveals from Nintendo at E3 we've picked out some that Wii U gamers will be interested to hear about.
While parents the world over may be chilled by the prospect of a Skylanders-style NFC figure franchise for Wii U, amiibo figures are a bit more smart and an evolution in games toys that will allow for one figure to be used across multiple games and platforms. Amiibo are ready to go with the Wii U GamePad with a dongle coming for the 3DS in 2015. The first amiibo are set to arrive with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U later this year which will also be the first game to support them. In Super Smash Bros players will be able to use their amiibo as supporting characters or opponents to level them up and customize them, Amiibo, it’s announced will be supported by Mario Kart 8, Mario Party 10, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Yoshi’s Woolly World. Just how amiibo will translate across the different games is a point of interest. Below is an E3 trailer giving more detail. If these things kick-off a collector craze the cross-game functionality could well cause an upturn in Nintendo software sales, a pretty smart move.
Zelda is getting impressive looking cel-shaded graphics and even if the final game is half as beautiful to behold as the trailer we’re sure its still going to be massive. Eiji Aonuma the series producer for The Legend of Zelda also wants to make the next Zelda game a more open-world experience, “In the earlier releases of Legend of Zelda games, players got to explore a wide area, going up, down, left, and right. However, after the game changed to 3D and the hardware evolved, it became harder to make that feeling of one large world,” Aonuma said. “We had to design small bounded areas with a small entrance and exit. You couldn’t cut through the boundaries wherever you’d like to explore that world.” When the next Zelda game lands on Wii U sometime in 2015 from what we saw at E3 it looks like it’s going to be as free-roaming as Skyrim, if that hasn't got you excited check out the trailer.
Mario Maker could be a huge thing for Nintendo taking the Minecraft creation urge from old school RPG to 8 bit platformer. The potential to nurture a community of creators using Nintendo’s easily accessible fun vocabulary within the boundaries of the Nintendo ecosystem will be a strong draw for them if Mario Maker takes off. This will also offer endless replayability for a game, Mario Maker will have you building your own 2D Super Mario Bros platformer levels and stages to play and share. Only recently we pondered how crazy a Mario Kart 8 track creator would be, we live in hope.
GameCube controllers for Wii U
Some games just need proper controllers and in line with Super Smash Bros release later this year an adaptor for up to 4 GameCube controllers will be out for Wii U. A new Super Smash Bros themed controller will also be coming out, “to honor devoted loyalty to a classic way to play," say Nintendo.
More things to do with the GamePad
We’ve already seen the new Star Fox and Shigeru Miyamoto’s Project Giant Robot and Project Guard will be making more of the GamePads features using the motion controllers and front screen. Also coming is another creator game Art Academy turing the GamePad in a drawing board. A cheeky reveal right at the end of Nintendo’s presentation also gave away the GamePad functionality in the upcoming Mario Party 10 which includes a new Bowser Party mode where the player with the GamePad can use it to wreak havoc on others.
An online shooter the Nintendo way, literally splurting colour all over the screen with the frenzied pace of a third person multiplayer Splatoon doesn’t rely on violence and killstreaks to keep you playing. There’s plenty of games around that do that already so why make another. With your ink-spewing Inklings you team up to cover as much of the map as possible with your colour. You can also swim through you ink which can physics-bendingly allow you to swim up things and hide away to ambush people. The action looks truly chaotic yet beautifully fluid and Splatoon stands out at E3 this year as a game that’s experimenting with new things, Nintendo’s answer to Portal 2?
There’s some Wii U exclusives from outside Nintendo
it’s encouraging to see big titles that aren’t all Mario orientated. Stand out games we saw were Yoshi’s Woolly World, a Yoshi version of Kirby's Epic Yarn from Good-Feel, which includes a two player mode where one Yoshi can swallow another and spit them out to get to unreachable bits of the level. This game is due early 2015.
For those waiting for a decent JRPG for Wii U check out Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles X due sometime in 2015.
And Bayonetta 2 from Platinum Games continues the witchy hack and slash adventure on Wii U in October.
It’s got to be said there’s something for everyone from the selection we’ve seen from Nintendo for Wii U and E3 2014 and as things progress Wii U looks to be shaping up better bringing some worthy rewards for the patient Wii U advocates who’ve been waiting for the big games to land.