On September 13th, Nintendo held three major press conferences around the world, bringing the latest concrete details about their upcoming Nintendo Wii U system. Iwata took the stage at Nintendo of Japan, revealing a December 8th release date. Simultaneously, Reggie Fils-Aime of Nintendo of America and a representative of Nintendo of Europe took the stage to bring the region specific details of the Wii U.
Live from New York, it’s Reggie Fils-Aime! My body is ready.
Wii U Experience
The conference was streamed live over the Internet, with a Wii U logo accompanied by Maroon 5′s “Payphone”. Indeed. Before Reggie took the stage, an exciting video played that detailed the Wii U experience tour, a tour that Nintendo took across the country to demo the Wii U in various big cities across the nation, such as New York, Chicago, Denver, and more.
Let me explain to the uninformed what the Wii U is exactly. Nintendo’s Wii U is an eighth generation home console, the first eighth generation home console, and it is joined in the eighth generation by Nintendo’s own 3DS and Sony’s PlayStation Vita. Wii U has graphical capabilities greater than Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but it won’t be as graphically intensive as PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720. Early Wii U games will be as graphically impressive as end of the line Xbox 360 games, meaning that Wii U at its weakest is as powerful as Xbox 360 at its strongest.
Wii U promises to be fully backwards-compatible with Wii software and hardware. This is presumably going to transfer over to the digital realm as well, since it has been confirmed that content from your Wii can be transferred to the Wii U. Yes, Wii U will be able to play games from the seventh generation that were released on the Wii, but it will also be able to do things that, as of press time, no other video game console can do quite yet.
Wii U will come with a special controller called the Wii U GamePad. The Wii U GamePad is a tablet, with dual analog sticks with buttons underneath, triggers, ABXY buttons, motion controls, a camera, touchscreen in the center, home menu button, and more. Imagine if Nintendo combined the DS and Wii, and that is essentially the kinds of experience you can expect from Nintendo Wii U.
This special press event that took place offers some of the final details on Wii U before the system launches. For price and release date information, keep tuned to this Nintendo Wii U feature, which will detail all the latest information on the system as well as games that were covered during the event, and other functionality of the Wii U.
Following the Wii U experience video, Reggie Fils-Aime appeared to give out the concrete information right out of the gate. We’ve been waiting for these details for months, but we finally know the release date of the Wii U and the price of the Wii U.
First of all, Nintendo Wii U will launch on November 18th in North America. Two SKUs of the system have been confirmed, a Basic and Deluxe package. Personally, I think the Deluxe package is more than worth it, but you can take a peak inside what each SKU offers and decide for yourself.
-White Wii U Console
-White Wii U GamePad
-AC Adapter (x2)
-Black Wii U Console
-Black Wii U GamePad
-AC Adapter (x2)
-GamePad Charging Cradle
-More internal flash memory
-Nintendo Land video game
-Subscription to Nintendo Network Premium
What is Nintendo Network Premium? Well, think of it like PlayStation Plus. You can play games online and interact with friends for free, but those that opt to get the subscription will receive a 10% discount on all digital purchases. Furthermore, digital purchases will accumulate points that players can then spend on other digital items. In Japan, the subscription that came bundled with the system was for two years, but there was no official word on how long the subscription will last for North America.
Now for the pricing. Basic Package for the Wii U will retail for $299.99. The Deluxe Package will cost only $50 more, and retail for $349.99. Both versions will be available day one, on November 18th.
Wii would still like to play!
Nintendo isn’t abandoning the Wii with the debut of the Wii U. This is a move that is pretty admirable by Nintendo, allowing people to play with all the Wii hardware they purchased back in the day by making Wii U fully backwards compatible with both Wii software and hardware.
Wii U will not come packaged with a Wii remote or nunchuk, but don’t worry. There have been over 100 million controllers for the Wii system sold since it launched in 2006, which is a truly staggering amount. Furthermore, Nintendo is not discontinuing the Wii controllers.
On the contrary, they will simply be re-branded as Wii U accessories, and remain on store shelves throughout the entirety of the Wii U’s lifespan. This also probably means that Wii games will also have an extended life.
Get your bodies ready
With that out of the way, Nintendo was ready to focus on games. Reggie promised more previews, a “franchise a lot of people have been waiting for”, and to show the Wii U in a way that it hasn’t been seen before. He also promised to reveal a full list of launch window games, and confirm a couple of day one launch games.
First off, they showed more information about Nintendo Land. Nintendo Land has been positively received by multiple gaming journalism outlets, and this has resulted in Nintendo being fairly confident in Nintendo Land. Announced earlier this week, Nintendo revealed two new attractions for the game, Metroid and F-Zero, but they went into detail with Metroid’s attraction in Nintendo Land at the conference, including a live demo of the game in action.
Metroid will have multiple game modes in Nintendo Land. One of those game modes is called Metroid Blast. In this game, players play co-op third-person shooter missions, kind of like horde mode. Players will upload their Miis into the game, and their Miis will don suits like Samus Aran. However, co-op in this game is different any type of co-op we’ve seen yet in gaming.
One player will be playing on the TV using the classic remote/nunchuk functionality. Their main goal is to run around the environment and kill waves and waves of increasingly more challenging enemies, all based on foes pulled directly from the Metroid universe. Players can go into a first-person view for aiming as well. This person on the ground also has a grappling hook that they can use to zip around the environment, either to escape the enemies or to simply get around faster.
Meanwhile, a second player uses the GamePad. This player sees all the action on the GamePad screen, so the person playing on the TV gets the entire TV. On the GamePad, the person controls a ship. They fly the ship around using the analog sticks, and they lend support to the person on the ground. The ship is Samus’s iconic ship, by the way, and it’s awesome to see it being controlled and flown around in real-time. Anyway, the person in the ship and the person on the ground can work together. The person on the ground can grapple onto the bottom of the ship, and then the person in the ship can fly the ground person around so that they can have a height advantage over the enemies. This could also be used to give the ground player respite from the waves of enemies.
But the ship person is not just there as a chauffeur. There are power-ups that are floating around the level (the level shown is a volcanic-style level in true Metroid fashion) that can be picked up. One power-up we saw in action at the conference allowed the ship pilot to don a red helmet like Samus and then fire his machineguns in a much more rapid fashion.
Like I said, this one attraction will have multiple game modes. Along with Metroid Blast, there will be Ground vs. Air mode. Presumably, this means that the person on the ground does battle with the person in the ship. There will also be a ground-only free-for-all multiplayer mode that I believe can go up to four players split-screen and one person on the GamePad. This is how this mode was presented in 2011 at E3, when it used to be called “Battle Mii”. Yeah, it was confirmed that the Battle Mii tech demo bred this new Metroid attraction for Nintendo Land.
Honestly, this attraction was impressive. It features multiple game modes and multiplayer play, and looks legitimately entertaining. Nintendo also revealed a few other attractions. Previously revealed earlier in the week, Balloon Trip Breeze was touched on a bit more, and it is a spiritual successor to Balloon Fight on the NES.
Two other attractions were officially revealed at the conference today. Mario Chase is a new one. Remember Chase Mii from E3 2011? Well, that is now Mario Chase and it functions the same way, starring Miis dressed up as Toads and other characters from the Mario universe. Meanwhile, the other attraction revealed was called Pikmin Adventure. Not much was said about it, except that it is multiplayer-style play and more action-oriented than the core, strategic Pikmin titles.
Nintendo Land was confirmed as one of the two FOR SURE launch titles that will be available on November 18th along with the console.
New Super Mario Bros. U – LAUNCH
New Super Mario Bros. U is one of the premiere games in the early Wii U library. Yes, recent New Super Mario Bros. games like New Super Mario Bros. 2 have come under fire for lacking originality, but New Super Mario Bros. U looks like a genuine upgrade from the previous entries, and a return to form for Mario charm.
Features that have already been touched on were reiterated. Mario will have a new power-up that turns him into a flying squirrel. Baby Yoshis can be utilized to accomplish brand new platforming challenges. And it was confirmed that the Mini Mario mushroom will be included in the game as well, along with all the other expected Mario power-ups.
New enemies are in the game as well, including a new, acorn-like design for Goombas that looked pretty neat. And the entire overworld is connected, Super Mario World style, and will be connected directly to Miiverse.
New Super Mario Bros. U is adding new game modes to the New Super Mario Bros. formula as well. There is a new mode called Boost Rush that requires players to get through a series of four levels as quickly as possible. As they collect coins in the levels, the screen scrolls faster, allowing them to get through the level quicker. This mode can be played cooperatively if one person has the GamePad. They can place platforms strategically to help the other person get through the level faster and beat records on the online leaderboards.
Another new mode has been revealed called Challenge Mode. Challenge Mode is basically going to be the equivalent of the same mode in Smash Bros. or achievements in Mario. Players will be tasked with completing difficult objectives such as beating a level in a certain amount of time, never touching the ground, and never killing an enemy in the level. For both Challenge Mode and Boost Rush, players will be able to use their Miis instead of the iconic Mario characters, if they so choose.
New Super Mario Bros. U will be available on November 18th, exclusively for the Wii U. It is one of two games that Nintendo has confirmed to be FOR SURE at launch, and most of the other games in this feature editorial will be “launch window” titles.
LEGO City: Undercover
I am personally very excited for this game, and once again Nintendo spent time hyping it at this conference. Exclusive to Nintendo systems, LEGO City: Undercover is what happens when you combine Grand Theft Auto with LEGOs, and the result is glorious.
New vehicles will confirmed for this game at the conference. Players will be able to construct vehicles with LEGO bricks, but there will be pre-made vehicles as well. Vehicles such as helicopters, ambulances, and even ice cream trucks are included in the game.
More details about the story were revealed as well. The player plays as Chase McCain, an undercover cop, with the mission of bringing down the escaped criminal mastermind Rex Fury. Cut-scenes play out like parodies of the cut-scenes in similar open world games like Grand Theft Auto, with the trademark LEGO game humor, plus full voice acting.
LEGO City: Undercover is a launch window game, but if you pre-order it, you get a special bonus! Those that pre-order the game will receive a limited edition LEGO figurine of the protagonist Chase McCain while supplies last.
Gaming is the most important aspect of any new system for Nintendo, but in this day and age, a gaming system can’t simply play games and that’s it. No, a system has to do much, much more, and Nintendo recognizes this fact. That is why they are debuting Nintendo TVii, which is a brand new application on Wii U that looks to change the way we watch TV.
Nintendo TVii will allow players to watch TV on demand all through the Wii U GamePad and console. Nintendo TVii will connect directly to Tivo and can search the Internet for ways to watch TV episodes or movies you want to see. When you pick out a TV episode or movie, the device will give you options on how to view it, whether it’s through Netflix, Hulu Plus, purchase on Amazon Instant Video, or jump directly to a channel that is currently playing the content live, in real-time.
While watching TV or movies, Nintendo TVii will display extra information on the GamePad. You can learn more about the people in the show you’re watching, and you can even go back and see what was happening earlier in the episode if you happened to miss it.
The people on your friends’ list can favorite shows, and their favorites will appear as recommendations on your Nintendo TVii. As to make sure this is a bustling community, this feature will also connect directly to Facebook, so even your Facebook friends without a Wii U can recommend content for you to watch.
To navigate all of this, players will use the Wii U GamePad, using a virtual remote on the GamePad’s touchscreen. You will be able to access reviews for the content you are about to watch, and even watch a trailer on the GamePad while content is still being displayed on the television screen.
Miiverse is integrated with all of this and serves as the crutch that Nintendo TVii leans on. Comments can be made using Nintendo TVii that will be posted on Miiverse, but they will also be posted directly to Facebook and Twitter as well.
How will Nintendo TVii change the way you watch sports? Good question. It will a lot. When wanting to watch sports, first choose the sport you’re interested in. Then Nintendo TVii will display all the available games or matches on the GamePad, as well as the current scores for those games. You can click on the game you want to watch, and jump right in and start viewing the action!
While watching a football game, for example, players can look at the GamePad to see an overhead view of the players’ positioning on the field. They can have a live feed that gives even more information, plus they can participate in interactive polls about the game in real-time. The poll feature will be used in TV shows and movies as well.
Nintendo TVii will be available as an absolutely free service and will come in both the Basic Wii U package and the Deluxe Wii U package. However, this service is exclusive right now to the United States and Canada. Nintendo is thinking about expanding the service to Mexico and the rest of the Americas if it becomes as popular as they hope it will.
Nintendo then decided to drop a couple of gaming bombshells on the masses. One of the most respected studios today is Platinum Games. This studio is comprised of developers that used to work for Capcom as Clover Studios. As Clover, they created some of the most well-received games of the seventh generation like Okami, Viewtiful Joe, and the cult classic God Hand. As Platinum Games, they are free from Capcom to create new franchises and new partnerships as they wish.
Platinum Games has already put out multiple well-received video games in the form of the Wii exclusive MadWorld, the Nintendo DS exclusive Infinite Space, and the blockbuster action titles Bayonetta and Vanquish, the latter from legendary developer Shinji Mikami, all as a part of their relationship with Sega. Now Platinum Games seems to have forged a new relationship with Nintendo.
You already know about Project P-1oo, but guess what else Platinum Games is bringing to the table for Wii U? Bayonetta 2. Yes, a sequel to the cult classic extreme action game is coming to Wii U…and it is EXCLUSIVE! That’s right, Nintendo has snagged a major exclusive for Wii U, and this may just be the game to get the core gamers to flock over to Nintendo’s new system. We saw a teaser trailer for the game, but I can’t wait to see more information about it, probably at E3 2013.
Meanwhile, Project P-1oo was given another trailer at the conference as well. It looked more visually impressive than its E3 builds, and it has also been renamed. What was once known as Project P-100 is know called The Wonderful 101 (with the “1″ added because of “U”). The Wonderful 101 is a launch window game.
Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate
Capcom may have dropped the ball when they axed Clover and lost those incredibly talented developers, but they still have a fanbase, and they pleased a good majority of their fanbase at this conference. It was revealed that Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate will be making its way overseas to the United States and Europe!
Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate will be released for 3DS, but there is also a Wii U version in development as well. The Wii U version will support online multiplayer and co-op, plus split-screen co-op. Furthermore, players will be able to have one consistent character on both the 3DS and Wii U, similar to the cross-play feature we see today with PS3 and Vita.
Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate is set to release for 3DS and Wii U in March of 2013.
Next, Activision took the stage to show off their line-up of upcoming Wii U games. Included in the video package was Skylanders Giants, Wipeout 3, 007 Legends, and Transformers Prime: The Game. The latter of which is exclusive to 3DS and Wii U.
Activision also announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops II will be coming to Wii U! They displayed the power of Black Ops II on Wii U by having a live multiplayer demo, with one person playing with the remote/nunchuk combo and the other person playing with the GamePad.
This multiplayer match took place on a previously revealed map called Cargo. Two players worked together against a team of bots, which I assume means that Combat Training is making a return in Black Ops II. One player played with the full TV screen, while the other player used the screen on the GamePad. Yes, they were playing together in the same room on one console, but there was no “splitting” of the screen, which makes me very excited about the offline multiplayer potential of Wii U.
If you are playing the game by yourself online, though, there are more options when it comes to the GamePad. The main multiplayer match will be displayed on the screen, but your loadout will be displayed on the GamePad. You can customize your loadout with the GamePad in real-time, and not have to pause the game.
Activision confirmed that Black Ops II will support multiple controller inputs. Players will be able to play with the GamePad if they so choose, or the Pro Controller, or the remote/nunchuk combination. Black Ops II is a launch window game for Wii U.
Reggie then touched on the launch window, promising that nearly all of the games that have been previously shown (with the exception of Bayonetta 2) are planned launch window games. What does this mean? Well, anywhere between November 18th to the end of March 2013 can you expect the release of these games, which is about a five month window. Some of these games will be day one launch games, but others will be sporadically released up until the end of March 2013. To reiterate, the only confirmed day one launch day games as of this conference are New Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land, both first-party Nintendo games.
Meanwhile, Nintendo played a sizzle reel of all the major games that you can expect to release from November 18th to the end of March 2013. Keep in mind the games shown and about to be listed are not all of the games that will be released. Reggie announced that there will be 50 Wii U games launched by the time the launch window closes.
Here were the games shown in the sizzle reel:
Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Sonic & All-Stars: Racing Transformed
New Super Mario Bros. U
Toki Tori 2: Two Tribes
Wii Fit U
Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
Game & Wario
Trine 2: Director’s Cut
The Wonderful 101
Nano Assault Neo
Madden NFL 13
LEGO City: Undercover
Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition
Mass Effect 3
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Assassin’s Creed II
All of these games and more will be available on Wii U by the end of March 2013. Expect more confirmed release dates to pop up as we near the Wii U launch of November 18th. Ubisoft has strongly suggested that both ZombiU and Rayman Legends will be launch titles.
Also, Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition has been confirmed to have Wii U exclusive content that can’t be found on the PS3, Xbox 360, arcade, or whatever other versions of the game.
See you November 18th.
How will U play next?