What's the skinny?
--Pikmin 3 is real and coming to Wii U!
--Wii U hardware will support two GamePads after all.
--First-party Nintendo stuff includes Wii Fit U, Sing, and NintendoLand.
--Third-party efforts include Lego City Undercover, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Mass Effect 3, Tank Tank Tank!, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and Trine 2: Director's Cut.
--The 3DS will get more love in an E3 briefing tomorrow night, but they did show off New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
The full blow-by-blow
LOS ANGELES--With a lot of juicy Wii U hardware reveals already out of the way, Nintendo's E3 2012 press conference is sure to keep driving the message home with more content for the upcoming yet-to-be-priced home console.
Last year, Nintendo made it quite clear one of its biggest points of focus with the Wii U is the attempted reengagement of the core audience. The publisher showed off examples of core franchises such as Darksiders II and Tekken, something they're likely to expand on in 2012.
While Nintendo has already denied reports of a new 3DS, the publisher never leaves an E3 press conference without giving the public a brief insight into how well its consoles are selling. Be prepared to hear a lot about the 3DS's turnaround after a challenging launch and subsequent price cut. Other safe bets include hearing more on the Wii U's online offerings, possible details about upcoming 3DS titles, and some sort of weird video game symphony number (last year: Zelda; this year: let's go with Wario.)
[8:53] OK, so we're 10 minutes out from the press conference starting. First thing to note is Nintendo has had the best pre-show music out of all the publishers so far.
[8:53] Except: I hear it now…that Gotye song…can't escape it…
[8:53] However, to take your mind off that atrocity, Nintendo is keeping its guests entertained with some pre-show trivia: pixelated images of some its most popular titles and you have to guess which game it is!
[8:53] They're giving us hints! For example: In what game do you eat sushi to replenish your health?
[8:54] On the stage we have three podiums displaying Ninty wares: a Wii U GamePad in stylish black, a couple of pro controllers (also black), and some white Wii U accessories on the last podium.
[8:54] Here's hoping for HOT PINK.
[9:01] We're starting!
[9:02] We've started with a video of Miyamoto in his dressing room, getting ready to come onstage. There are Pikmin in his shoes! I bet he's going to do that thing where he just shows up onstage.
[9:02] Yep, there he is!
[9:03] He's asking us if we see Pikmin all around us! And look, there are!
[9:04] He's going to switch to Japanese now. Bill Trinen, Nintendo director of product marketing, will help translate.
[9:05] We're talking about the Wii U now. It's the line we've heard before: a dedicated screen that will allow people to play games and still keep their TV on. Miyamoto is now holding up the black Wii U tablet.
[9:05] Miyamoto is now introducing Pikmin 3 for the Wii U.
[9:07] We're seeing a video behind Miyamoto of the new game, which does look really good. You'll have a swarm of 100 Pikmin to manage. In the new game, the Pikmin will have to find materials to build bridges.
[9:07] And there's a new Pikmin type: Rock Pikmin, who you can use to break hard objects, and use MotionPlus to aim at different targets. You can also use the controller to switch between Pikmin types.
[9:08] On the Wii U GamePad, you'll see an overall map, so you'll be able to always see what's going on. You can also control the game using only the GamePad if you want. You can now control up to four leaders that will help you break up your tasks.
[9:10] Miyamoto says the fact that consumers are moving toward lighter games is a challenge "for all of us."
[9:10] These things are so damn cute! I want to hug one.
[9:10] But I'll probably squash it.
[9:11] Miyamoto pretended to throw a Pikmin plushie into the audience…but then he didn't! Ripped off!
[9:12] Nintendo of America president and CEO Reggie Fils-Aime is now onstage. He's saying today will be all about the games!
[9:12] 23 Wii U titles will be shown onstage today, in just one hour.
[9:13] Nintendo is also going to discuss how the second screen on the Wii U controller will "change gaming." Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Video are all confirmed for the Wii U.
[9:13] But no more details on these just yet. Today the focus will be on gaming.
[9:16] Nintendo is now talking about social media and how the GamePad will play into that. It's what they're terming asymmetric gameplay--one player against everyone else. The Wii U hardware will support two separate GamePads.
[9:16] Nintendo will show off dual GamePad challenges later; today is all about single challenges. Now we're on to a tutorial video showing us how the GamePad will work.
[9:17] It's stuff we've seen before: the stylus, the shoulder buttons, the rumble features, camera, mic, etc.
[9:18] Now we're talking about the Miiverse--how you will interact with friends over the Wii U.
[9:19] Now we're seeing the Miis on the Wii U startup screen gathering around individual tiles that are supposed to represent your tastes as well as global trends. You can send texts and illustrations using the stylus or share a screen from the game you're playing with your friends.
[9:20] You will eventually be able to join Miiverse from "any Web-enabled mobile device" or PC.
[9:20] "BUT YOU HAVE TO HAVE A MARIO GAME," Fils-Aime says fans tell him with any new system launch.
[9:21] New Super Mario Bros. U! The new game will allow you to connect in-game with your friends in Miiverse.
[9:22] Now we're going to look at the game itself. Tanooki suit is back!
[9:23] So we're seeing some of the levels here! Classic Mario gameplay. There's also boost mode.
[9:23] OK, we're done with Mario now, and we're moving on to other games.
[9:24] Games like Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition.
[9:24] Harley Quinn introduces Martin Tremblay, president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Oh god, it's more rehearsed dialogue.
[9:26] Tremblay is now talking about how thrilled he is to bring Batman to the Wii U. We're seeing a video of some of the new features specifically designed for the console.
[9:26] We're going to find out about these features now.
[9:27] It seems to be all about the GamePad. The BAT mode: the armored suit will have kinetic energy, players can use the GamePad to activate the BAT mode while playing.
[9:27] Players will also use the pad to switch between gadgets and then use the gyroscope to control some of them when launched.
[9:28] Players seem to be able to browse the menus in the game via the pad as well.
[9:28] Now we're talking about Scribblenauts Unlimited for the Wii U.
[9:30] Players will be able to use the GamePad to bring life to their creations and then translate that creation to the gameworld on the big screen.
[9:31] There's also a multiplayer mode, which no doubt we'll hear more about later.
[9:31] Wow, they're powering through these presentations. Sizzle reel time!
[9:32] More games for the Wii U: Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3, Tank Tank Tank by Namco; Tekken Tag Tournament 2; Trine 2: Director's Cut; Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge; Aliens Colonial Marines!
[9:33] That reel looked awesome, not sure if what we saw was what these games will look like on the Wii U. But if so, it's going to be great!
[9:33] Now we're talking about Wii Fit I think…
[9:34] Reggie acknowledges that people laughed when he said, "My body is ready" at the E3 conference five years ago.
[9:34] More than 43 million copies of Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus have been sold around the world to date.
[9:35] Now we're seeing Wii Fit U. A new fitness game for the Wii U with new content (you'll be sweatier, ewww).
[9:35] In the video, it looks like you can use the GamePad to help you pick activities for the big screen and use it to control your actions in the main game.
[9:36] It also looks like you can upload real-time info into the controller via a pedometer device thing--the Fit Meter.
[9:36] Now we're moving on to talk about rhythm games.
[9:37] Sing is the working title of a new performance game.
[9:38] Wii U GamePad displays lyrics while you sing. So players can face their friends while singing and dancing. Friends are dancing to onscreen moves.
[9:39] Now we're talking 3DS news with Scott Moffitt, executive VP of sales and marketing at Nintendo.
[9:40] Tomorrow night at 6 p.m. PT Nintendo will live-stream an entire presentation dedicated to 3DS games.
[9:40] We're looking at New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the 3DS.
[9:41] This game is all about the gold--we're seeing some gameplay with Mario picking up as many coins as his little plumber hands can handle.
[9:41] The game will be available in the US on August 19, 2012.
[9:43] Paper Mario Sticker Star for the 3DS--new element will use stickers that players can collect by pulling them off the scenery, and they will become battle commands. You can defeat enemies with them, or use them to help you find hidden items and secret places.
[9:43] The game will be out physically AND digitally "this holiday season." Moving on, apparently the 3DS doesn't have enough Luigi.
[9:44] So yes it's Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. You'll travel through multiple mansions, each with its own mission-based challenges. New kinds of ghosts that you have to beat by devising capture strategies. Also coming out this holiday season.
[9:45] That's a sneak peek at 3DS; third-party stuff will be discussed during the stream tomorrow.
[9:46] Oh, wait, there's a sizzle reel of third-party stuff: Castlevania Lords of Shadow-Mirror of Fate; Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion; Scribblenauts Unlimited; Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance!
[9:46] Lego City on the Wii U next; we're looking at some gameplay right now.
[9:48] Players will have to solve crimes--they'll be briefed on missions via the Wii U GamePad and then will have to move the pad around to figure out where the hotspots are on the in-game screen.
[9:48] This is kind of like Lego L.A. Noire. With more Mario jokes.
[9:49] A portable version of Lego City Undercover is also in the works with new storyline and different content.
[9:49] It's in the works for the 3DS.
[9:50] Now we're going to have a look at what Ubisoft is "cooking" for the Wii U. Yves Guillemot is onstage now, the CEO of Ubisoft.
[9:52] There's mention of Zombi U, Rayman Legends and Rabbids, but we might see something new?
[9:52] Oh, we're starting with Just Dance 4.
[9:52] Those dancers from the Ubisoft press conference are here to do a live performance.
[9:53] The Wii U GamePad gives you a selection of four moves and you choose on it which one you want to do. This is Puppet Master mode - this person chooses the moves for the other players.
[9:55] Let's see what Ubisoft has cooked up for core gamers! It's Zombi U--use the GamePad for sonar to show you where the enemies are; for inventory to choose weapons; as a scanner to scan inside objects; to snipe if you have a sniper rifle; to shake zombies off; and for door hacking!
[9:56] You can also zombify your own face with the GamePad camera. Sizzle reel for Ubi's lineup for the Wii U. We've seen this; it's the same thing from yesterday.
[9:57] I wonder how hard it will be to pay attention to two screens while there's a pack of zombies trying to gnaw off your limbs. I guess we'll find out soon.
[9:57] I think we're wrapping up, but we have some props onstage now--a big finale?
[9:58] It's NintendoLand…a virtual theme park with all the classic Ninty franchises.
[9:58] NintendoLand for the Wii U will also use the GamePad screen…
[10:00] There are 12 attractions in all. Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, Animal Crossing: Sweet Days, and Luigi's Ghost Mansion are multiplayer attractions.
[10:01] Donkey Kong gets a single-player attraction. It looks like a minigame compilation based on the different franchises.
[10:01] The game will also incorporate Miiverse.
[10:03] Players with the GamePad will take on a different role than those playing with regular Wii Remotes, which means different objectives.
[10:03] This is what they were talking about with asymmetric gameplay.
[10:04] So, in Luigi's Mansion in NintendoLand, there will be a stronger ghost chasing a group of weaker players. The GamePad player will have a different view; he can see all the players all the time. The other players cannot see the same thing.
[10:05] The Wii Remotes rumble when the ghost approaches. Their objective is to shine their light on the ghost. The ghost has to preseve his life meter by staying away from the light, but he can also attack the other players.
[10:06] The Wii Remotes rumble when the ghost approaches. Their objective is to shine their lights on the ghost. The ghost has to preserve his life meter by staying away from the light, but he can also attack the other players.
[10:07] Now we're seeing a brief video of NintendoLand, which looks so colorful I think I might pass out. There's too much stuff on the screen.
[10:08] Yoshi level, Mario level, Metroid level…
[10:09] NintendoLand will launch at the same time as the Wii U.
[10:10] Nintendo presser has finished! That's it folks!
[10:11] Oh god, we're finishing with another tour of NintendoLand.
[10:12] No, wait, fireworks and it's over for real.