The January Nintendo Direct livestream is over and President Iwata saw the Wii U's shadow. It's going to be another few months of winter, I'm afraid, Nintendo fans. All joking aside, while Iwata did have many exciting Wii U announcements to mention, unfortunately nothing came with release dates. As specific as Iwata got was that there would be no new first part Wii U games in January or February.
Surprisingly, the first twenty minutes of the stream were dedicated to the Nintendo Miiverse and several updates planned for the Wii U's software. Skipping over the reintroduction to the Miiverse, Iwata mentioned upcoming Spring and Summer System Updates. The goals of these updates being improved software launch times and quicker menu loading times.
Other Miiverse updates planned to be introduced in the Spring Update include:
- Ability to create User Communities
- More than one Official Community per title
- Usability improvements
- Filtering Function
- View Miiverse on a smart phone, which will be browser-based in spring but app-based further down the line
Nintendo is also planning the relaunch of the Virtual Console for this spring, focusing in on Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo games. He also announced that, eventually, they plan on introducing Game Boy Advance titles to the Wii U virtual console. The Wii U willl allow Virtual Console players to back-up game progress or even play off-tv on the Wii U Gamepad.
If you're a Wii Virtual Console User, you may be sad to hear that your library of games will not be crossing over. Each Virtual Console game has to be remade for the Wii U hardware. However, it should be pleasing to hear that if you own the Wii version of a title released on Wii U, the Wii U version will come at a stark discount. (only $1 for NES games, $1.50 for SNES).
Iwata also announced a special Virtual Console special event for the 30th Anniversary of the Japanese NES, the Family Computer. A classic NES game will be released each month, available for 30 days at the low price of $.30, starting before the full Virtual console is launched. In fact, you can buy Balloon Fight on your Wii U right now, according to Iwata. Check out the full schedule here.
Okay, how about we talk about some games, then? I won't go heavy into details here, but look for each big announcement to get their own news post later today. Basically, Iwata started off by apologizing for the lack of Wii U games. There will be no new first party Wii U titles in January or February, and while there are five big releases coming up soon (Game and Wario, Wii Fit U, Pikmin 3, LEGO Undercover, and Wonderful 101), no new information or release dates were shared at this time.
Iwata then showed off some extra footage from Platinum Games' Wonderful 101, and a behind the scenes look at the development of Bayonetta 2. Both look great, of course, but both videos were brief -- and again, lacking release dates. Iwata said to look forward to an upcoming "Iwata Asks" interview with Platinum developers.
At this point in the stream Iwata basically threw the chum out into the shark infested waters. He name dropped several big franchises that were being worked on for the Wii U that will be introduced further at E3. These include:
- Super Smash Bros. Wii U - Expect screenshots at E3
- 3D Action Mario Wii U - Being developed by the team that made Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land
- Mario Kart Wii U - They see me karting, they hating
- New Wii U Party Game - From the developers of all those other Sports and Party games, but with quirky muliplayer games that can be played just on the Wii U GamePad
Beyond the Wii U Party Game, none of the above titles were shown in any sort of way. They're simply titles that are being made for Wii U, which the community would expect.
Now for the big news. Four new game announcements, each shown in very brief ways:
- Yoshi followup to Kirby's Epic Yarn - Yes, a Yoshi game is being made in the style of Kirby's Epic Yarn and it looks freaking adorable.
- Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem - Not really sure what to say about this. It's as mind-blowing a crossover as I've ever heard of.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD - A 3D Zelda title is in early development, but in the interim Nintendo is updating the Wind Waker in HD for release later this fall
- "X" - a New 3D action title from MonolishSoft, the developers of Xenoblade Chronicles
Some great announcements to wrap up the conference, but overall rather disappointing because so little of any of these games were actually shown. Add in the fact that none of them really have release dates and we might be looking at another great first party drought for the Wii U the console's first year. No big game releases in December, January and February, with nothing official in March yet?
I was really hoping for some substantial info in today's Nintendo Direct, and while some grand promises and announcements are fun, Wii U users are still left waiting in the interim.