SO, that Nintendo Direct pre-E3 Show sure did happen, and as Iwata himself hoped we would say afterward: “Well, that was certainly… unique.”
A sign was displayed. Gestures were made. A young, bespectacled, incredibly talkative man exchanged words with both an elderly gamer and an action figure. It was Nintendo.
Hit the jump for a brief rundown, a couple of genuine (and welcome) surprises, and video of the full, half-hour show.
As Iwata slogged his way through the english language, seemingly at gunpoint and with only his hand gestures to defend himself, it became even more clear that this generation will definitely include Nintendo’s trademark style of bold new ideas presented as soft-edged and kid-friendly as possible. Their mission statement for the Wii U came across in this thing as them trying very hard to please everyone in every way. Keep the casual, entice the core. Some of that hit, most of it missed in the context of this little special event.
The most important stuff was related to the redesign of the Wii U controller, now officially dubbed the “Wii U GamePad.” The back is now contoured for human hands, the (clickable!) thumbsticks have been repositioned as the earlier leak had already revealed, the NFC stuff was mentioned… all of that was pretty good, despite being wrapped in an incredibly slow and almost insulting presentation. (We probably could have pieced together which two words were combined to create “Miiverse,” guys.)
I already let slip one reference, but the less said of that awful video piece they paid some marketing firm to squeeze out, the better– at least here and now. I’m sure we’ll discuss it during this week’s press conference-centered podcast.
The main focus was on all of the dashboard-based social stuff that I know I’ll never use; the same kind of stuff that puts me to sleep during other press conferences, like video chat and avatar gatherings. I was surprised they didn’t mention any sort of Netflix/Hulu/whaever partnership, as one would figure that’d be guaranteed.
It wasn’t all bad, though! Here are the two most important things revealed today, far as I’m concerned:
The Wii U Pro Controller came out of nowhere, and while the inverted button/stick placement on the right side looks rather vexing, it indicates some rather good things for the future. Iwata introduced the “peripheral controller” as a way for gamers who aren’t interested in GamePad-specific features for multiplatform titles to skirt around them entirely and play the same game as their 360/PS3-owning brethren.
I think it’s certainly unexpected of them to both acknowledge and respond in kind to the sentiment that gamers might reject the Wii U’s in-game features.
We also got what is almost definitely our first look at the rumored Mario launch title. I enjoyed New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and while this doesn’t represent the massive leap to detailed, HD graphics that everyone is waiting for, I do like the detail in that background. If they’re going to make this a launch title, they need to blow it out. Here’s hoping they cram as much stuff into this one as possible, throwback or otherwise. Especially the Koopalings. DO YOU HEAR ME, MIYAMOTO?
And one last thought: if this doesn’t have some sort of cross-functionality with the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. 2 for 3DS, it’ll be a HUGE waste of an opportunity.
The other launch (and launch “window”) titles are all coming on Tuesday, and as Josh was quick to point out, “None of this matters without the games.” Other things that need to be revealed on Tuesday include:
- A rundown of the actual console box itself
- Their actual dashboard and eShop interface
- Allllll the Games
…Among many other things. Here’s the full half hour presentation, for those who missed it. Stay tuned for our reactions to Tuesday’s game-centric Press Conference.
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