Nintendo's latest "Nintendo Direct" briefing this morning was one to remember. Company president Satoru Iwata was not shy sharing information, detailing numerous items from new software updates to two new Legend of Zelda games, among other things.
Below is a roundup of all announcements made today.
Nintendo announced two new Wii U software updates this morning. The first will launch in spring and the second in summer. These are aimed at improving speed for gamers. They will make software launch faster and allow players to return to the Wii U menu more expeditiously. According to Iwata, these were pain points for users and something Nintendo has been keen to fix.
Wii U Virtual Console
Due this spring (alongside the first Wii U software update), the Wii U Virtual Console will allow players to download Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System games at launch. Game Boy Advance games will be added at a later date.
In addition, Nintendo said there will be "special pricing" options for those who already own Wii versions of Virtual Console titles. This is $1 for NES games and $1.50 for SNES games. Wii U Virtual Console titles will allow players to save game progress. Additionally, they can be played on the Wii U GamePad and will feature support for Miiverse.
Miiverse for smartphones
Beginning this spring, gamers will be able to bring Miiverse with them everywhere they go. Initially, the experience will be browser-based, Nintendo said, but the company plans to build a dedicated Miiverse app in the future.
Games, Games, Games
Nintendo announced a heap of new titles this morning, the most momentous (and perhaps surprising) of which was a Legend of Zelda game for Wii U and a high-definition remake of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Wind Waker HD is due to release by fall with remastered graphics and GamePad functionality.
As for the long-rumored Zelda Wii U title, this game will "rethink the conventions of Zelda," according to producer Eiji Aonuma. It will be a back-to-basics game, he said, though further information was not shared and is not expected for some time.
Outside of Zelda game announcements, Nintendo also confirmed today that a new 3D Mario entry is in development at Nintendo EAD Tokyo, the team behind Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land for 3DS. This game will be playable at E3 2013 this June.
In addition, Nintendo confirmed today that a new installment in the Mario Kart franchise is in development for Wii U. This came as little surprise, as Mario Kart Wii has sold over 32 million units and Nintendo has developed a Mario Kart game for every new platform. Like the new 3D Mario game, this title will also be playable at E3.
Nintendo also announced today that Yoshi is headed back to the spotlight. The team behind Kirby's Epic Yarn is working on a new Yoshi-fronted game for Wii U. It is the first game to star Yoshi since 1998's Yoshi's Story for Nintendo 64. The game is currently in development under the direction of Takashi Tezuka, director of Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Story.
Nintendo's announcements didn't stop there. The company also revealed today that a new installment in the Wii Party franchise is coming to Wii U this summer. In addition, Nintendo and Atlus are working on a collaboration that features the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei franchises. On top of this, Nintendo also teased a new game from Tetsuya Takahashi and the team at Monolith Soft, which developed Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii.
Looking further out, Nintendo said the Super Smash Bros. game in development for Wii U and 3DS has been a "huge undertaking." This project remains "on track," he said, and the game's first screenshots will be shown at E3 2013 this summer.