Today's Nintendo Direct event has wrapped up and it was stuffed full of great news and announcements for 3DS fans, with a bit of news for Wii U players of well. The biggest news overall being the announcement of a The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past sequel to be released this holiday season. Mind blowing, right? Not exactly in tune with Nintendo's "Year of Luigi" theme, but I bet everyone can deal with it.
Plenty of smaller announcements that will nevertheless mean a lot to many gamers were pervasive. These include: Animal Crossing: New Leaf 3DS bundle to be released packed with a digital copy of the game for $219.99; Earthbound to be released on the Virtual Console in 2013; Wii U spring system update launching next week, Virtual Console to launch in the days after; new Yoshi's Island game announced for the 3DS; and Bravely Default being localized... for release in 2014.
Here's all of the details of the event, in case you wanted some more extensive coverage of the event.
Nintendo President Iwata Kicks off the event by reminding us we're still in the "Year of Luigi" by recapping all of the Luigi related Material to be released in coming months.
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team - In Dream Team, Princess Peach is yet again kidnapped after Luigi falls asleep on a mysterious pillow. His dream takes form and Princess Peach is sucked into the portal that forms. As such, Mario will have to use the power of Luigi's dreams to rescue her with an assortment of new, exciting powers.
Mario interacts with Luigi on the bottom screen to create effects on the top screen. Tugging Luigi's moustache may launch the team into the air and other ridiculous results. Some of the battles looked especially intensive and interactive, though hopefully Nintendo manages to keep it from feeling like quick time events.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team will be launched August 11 in North America. The Japanese stream featured a special 3DS XL bundle with the handheld covered in mini-Luigis.
- Mario Golf: World Tour - Not much more to reveal on Mario Golf beyond a couple of multiplayer features. Two new "communities" will be added to the game, the "Friend Community" and the "Theme Community" which will allow players some interesting ways to play the game. These include picking up themes like realistic golf, or playing courses with very specific powers.
Mario Golf: World Tour is planned for launch this summer.
Mario Party - Yes, Mario Party is returning to the 3DS with seven original game boards that will each play like a completely different games. To hammer this in, they showed some of the boards along with the features that make them different. That includes a board where the focus is on stealing cards from other players, a spaceship level where using boosts can win you the game on a lucky roll, and a stage where a bullet can knock your piece back so you must play safely.
Mario Party will be coming out this winter, but more news is expected soon. Err, no online multiplayer from what we can tell.
New Super Luigi U - Downloadable content for New Super Mario Bros. U on the Wii U will change the entire game to focus completely on Luigi. While the overworld map will stay the same, all 82 stages are different to offer a brand new adventure. Luigi will jump higher than Mario and it's harder for him to stop after dashing.
You make be asking yourself, "How can they essentially be offering a completely new game as DLC?" The catch is, each level in the DLC will have a 100 second timer. Nintendo sold this as a "feature" of the DLC, but basically it means that every stage will be much shorter than fans of New Super Mario Bros. U may be expecting.
Expect the DLC to be released this summer, and hopefully we'll get some pricing information soon.
Donkey Kong Returns 3D - In addition to the full game being recreated from the Wii to the 3DS, the rerelease will also feature an all new difficulty. I guess because 3DS players are more casual? Anyways, in "New Mode" players will start with more health and also get more item pickups that will protect them during the more difficult areas of the game -- the portable DK barrel, the green balloon that will rescue falling players, and the crash guard that will allow mine carts to crash without stopping. Don't worry, the "Original Mode" with classic difficulty will also be included in the game.
The Donkey Kong remake will launch May 24 and will include eight all new levels that can be played after finishing the main game.
New Yoshi's Island game for the 3DS! - The third true Yoshi's Island title was announced during today's Nintendo Direct event. While details were scant, Nintendo confirmed all the classic Yoshi's Island features would be returning, such as hover jumps, coin collecting and egg throwing. It looks 100% like the classic Yoshi's Island games, unlike the newer title announced for Wii U.
Mario and Donkey Kong: Mini's on the Move - Another newly announced game, Mini's on the Move continues the Mario and Donkey Kong puzzle franchise. This new title will allow player to upload and download their own unique stages to play. It will also include over 180 stages and four types of mini-games.
Look forward to Mario and Donkey Kong: Mini's on the Move on May 9.
It's worth noting the Japanese Nintendo Direct featured three more 3DS games in their presentation that have yet to be announced for North American localization. These include Digimon Re: Digitize Decode coming June 26, Youkai Watch and a third action title that I can't recall the title of off the top of my head.
At this point of the presentation President Iwata waved goodbye and likely put Luigi back in his cage. The presentation didn't end, of course, because Nintendo of North America wanted to talk about the Wii U for a bit. Considering it only sold 55,000 units last month, I was hoping they'd come out of the gates with something special. Err, not really.
- Wii U Spring System Update - We'll go over the details of the spring system update soon, but for now the important part is that it will be launching next week. Hooray for automatic downloads and patching while the system is off! Err, actually that's kind of odd.
- Virtual Console - In the days following the Wii U Spring System Update, the Wii U's Virtual Console will be launching. Wii users will be able to buy their old games at much lower prices. Expect a much smaller library, at least to start off. Also, those oddball 3D "Panarama Tours" will be launched and a cost $2 apiece.
- Pikmin 3 - An all new Pikmin was shown that can fly. The Pikmin were shown lifting objects and carrying them across water. No new info otherwise. "Soon." Update: Nintendo just sent out a release date! August 4!
- Earthbound - Nintendo claims it has finally heard the fan outcry about Earthbound not being released in Nintendo's services... after about 20 years of being ignored. Anyways, Earthbound will be coming to the Virtual Console by the end of the year! Great success! No word on Mother 3, though.
- Game & Wario - The zany not-quite-a-mini-game-collection game will be available on June 23.
- Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - Nintendo just wanted to note that this game is awesome and that the patch that adds multiplayer is now available.
- Lego City Undercover - Again, Nintendo just wanted to remind people the Wii U has some okay games, and that the prequel will be released on the 3DS on April 21.
Again, there were some extra things that the Japanese broadcast had that the North American one didn't have. This includes a lengthy preview of Pokemon Scramble U, which has yet to be announced for North American localization.
Finally, the broadcast ended with a few big announcements in lightning-round fashion.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf - As most of our 3DS community knows, the new Animal Crossing is coming out on June 9. What they didn't know is that we'll be getting an epic Nintendo 3DS XL bundle, too. Much like the Fire Emblem: Awakening bundle the handheld will come with the game pre-downloaded (no cartridge).
Expect the bundle to launch the same day as the game and retail for $219.99.
Two new localization announcements for Japanese games that will be launching on the 3DS in... 2014. ARGH. Both Bravely Default: Flying Fairy and Professor Layton and the Azran Chronicles are confirmed for localization. It's just... going to take freaking 12 months to localize them is all. Both games look absolutely brilliant, but... 2014. I am so sad and yet so happy.
Shin Megami Tensei IV - Altus latest addition to the Shin Megami Tensei franchise will be coming stateside on July 16 and because Atlus is just so awesome, it will include tons of goodies in the box. A music CD, a strategy guide, and a collectible case.
All three Guild 02 games are being localized. That includes spooky action adventure Starship Damrey, Keiji Inafune's Bugs vs. Tanks! and the game we thought had been left behind, but was simply renamed, Attack of the Friday Monsters! No release information, but expect more details soon.
Finally, the big announcement of the night. Nintendo is working on a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the 3DS. Link to the Past is my personal favorite game in the world, as it played a large role in my childhood, and Nintendo's sequel announcement is... I can't even put it into words.
The game looks ... interesting. It's different. It's both visually similar to A Link to the Past and yet distinct as well. The trailer focused on the 3DS elements of traversal the game will feature, including turning into a 2D drawing and moving along a wall. It didn't really linger on the story or very personal story that I'd expect from a Link to the Past sequel.
I'm just... I'm really hoping this game won't be like the last two Zelda DS games, which retained the world and style of Wind Waker, but abandoned the heart of the experience in favor of "exciting new features." Time will tell. The sequel is expected this holiday season.