In today’s episode of “What’s going on with Nintendo?” we look at some gameplay footage and get a few release dates for big titles on the horizon for Wii U and 3DS among some other more… interesting things (like Lego Iwata, pictured above).
Embedded will be the full-length video, with details (as well as time stamps for each segment) in text below. Hopefully my notes on each section can help clear up whether you think they’re worth a look or not.
The video fires up, after an introduction by Reggie, with Lego Iwata (at the 2:47 mark) introduces the footage of Lego City Undercover with Erik Peterson, most of which being functionality of the gamepad to scan environments, work as a smartphone-esque peripheral to organize GPS and video call functions when on missions, and calling in vehicles at special call-in stations. The call-in stations will be made by super bricks, the newest and most powerful addition to the Lego games, allowing the environment to be completely changed by different elements like large bridges to new areas. Included in the segment were details on the story of Chase McCain, and how he must discover how exactly Rex Fury escaped from prison. Also, there will be a likely arduous tie-in with real life Lego toys, allowing you to unlock exclusive vehicles in-game.
Wasting no time, they immediately dive into details on Pikmin 3 at the 6:02 mark. For the first time since E3 2012, we see the game in action and it honestly looks quite beautiful. The HD graphics of the Wii U certainly pay Pikmin a favor as they played several minutes of different gameplay scenarios showing off some exotic enemies and classic Pikmin situations requiring some strategy. At the end of the segment they announced that Pikmin 3 would be coming Q2 2013, pushing it past the original expected Wii U launch window. It wasn’t alone in its delay as Animal Crossing: New Leaf was confirmed to be pushed back to Q2 2013 for at least Europe.
At 9:27, Corey Olcsvary drops some details on Game and Wario. The first was a game mode called Gamer, in which minigames a la Wario Ware played on the Gamepad while your character on the television lies in bed. Of course, if your mother catches you playing past your bedtime, you’re in some trouble. You must pause the game when your mother appears on the TV so as not to arouse her suspicions. In another mode, you can play with others that watch the screen while you try to steal fruit in a small town on the gamepad. It’s made clear that others can catch you in the act, but without many other controllers involved, I have no idea how you could enforce such a thing with precision. They also mention a video on their Facebook page in which Mr. Iwata plays Fruit and you can try your hand at figuring out which character he used.
At 11:51, we find ourselves talking about Wii Fit U. The activity meter is shown off, allowing you to track your fitness while away from the Wii U with a pedometer of sorts. It’s also said that Wii Fit has “proven to be a compliment or supplement to a healthy lifestyle.” I have no idea what that means, to be perfectly honest. I think anything can be proven as such, and they don’t seem to want to provide any empirical evidence for the claim. No idea why they said such a thing. Semantics aside, they dove into the 77 activities on Wii Fit U, including a bunch that return for Wii Fit Plus and some new, like dance routines. The segment finishes with the Wii Fit U being still on track for a first quarter release in 2013.
At 13:20, we return to Erik Peterson for new details regarding Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. Most of the segment is spent with Yosuke Hayashi, producer on the game, detailing two new playable characters. Both female ninjas, Ayane will have her own unique levels as well as playability throughout the rest of the game and Momiji will be available through a patch for free on day one. There’s mention of it being quite high difficulty, as well as having some gamepad functionality for things like move lists and changing weapons. There will be a 2-player co-op mode as well as an 8-player competitive side, though modes, if any more than one, weren’t detailed. Finally, a third female ninja will be made available in Kasumi, of Dead or Alive fame, as a playable character for free.
At 17:00, Erik switches gears from games and starts talking features. Wii U Panorama View will be available as a paid eShop item in spring, with a free demo available as well. Next, at 18:00, Iwata detailed some interesting Google Maps Street View technology as he showed us around Nintendo’s surroundings in both Kyoto in Japan and Redmond in Washington. He also filmed the software live with a helmet cam of himself touring Hawaii. While I’m not sure this entirely gels with the idea that people should take breaks from their game consoles (as their now famous “Why Not Take a Break?” screens ask us) if you’re telling us to explore the world from our living room but it does seem like an interesting use of the technology, and it’s coming Q1 to the eShop.
At 21:35, Corey Olcsvary returns to give us details on some 3Ds games. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was detailed, but without much substance aside from an Alan Wake-esque flashing method to suck in ghosts and the classic Luigi’s Mansion puzzling situations. It’s still set to launch Spring 2013.
At 22:50, Brain Age Concentration Training gets some more attention as it tries to remedy the ails of information overload in the 21st century. The game will scale in difficulty to help keep the challenge going, and more details are apparently coming.
At 24:40, we come back to Erik Peterson again for more 3Ds game info. Fire Emblem: Awakening gets more story and relationship-building details as the February 4th release date nears. You can place characters near one another to help boost, as well as engage in support conversations. At 26:50, he addresses the limited-time free DLC for New Super Mario Bros. 2, where you can play some classic levels for free as long as you download before January 31st. Also today, two new packs appropriately titled Coin Rush and Platform Panic, where you can take on new levels on some coin-heavy adventures and high-speed moving platform courses, will be released worldwide.
At 28:00, two eShop games are detailed. Rivaling the most confusing founding concept of any game, Tokyo Crash Mobs looks to be a Zuma-style puzzle game in which you toss pedestrians at other pedestrians with similarly-colored suits in hops of connecting three or more and making them disappear. While it seems quite simple, there looks to be some variation in how you exactly… throw people at people. Second was HarmoKnight, a rhythm platformer from Game Freak, yes THAT Game Freak, in which you battle enemies and traverse landscapes to the tune. This will be the first non-Pokemon game Game Freak has worked on since Drill Dozer was brought to North America on GBA in 2006.
Naturally, at the end, Reggie comes in to wrap up and give us that patented smile. We’ll bring you more details from the wacky world of Nintendo as we get them.