Part of a new series of posts to summarise recent Nintendo News. I’ve been a Nintendo fan all my life, though I wouldn’t call myself a fanboy – I’m a gamer – but due to circumstance I only have time for one console – and my love for Nintendo overrides other consoles – I wish I had time to samples all the joys of the gaming world fully.
After all the commotion and excitement of a successful E3, it’s back to the business of delivering on all those promises and giving great games to the public. Let’s review the past week’s big stories:
Eye tracking patent: Nintendo is known for patenting some weird and wonderful things, and eagle-eyed fans know that patent sites are a haven for unearthing rumours, urban legends, and potentially new products. Detractors will say that this is just another attempt by Nintendo to find the latest gimmick, but the rest of us are keen to see if anything will actually come of this new patent. While most gamers will know all about Oculus Rift and the like, this could be Nintendo’s answer, or a possible sequel to the technology used on 3DS. It may yet drum up publicity and come to nothing (where’s that Vitality Sensor??), but it seems like an interesting idea to, pardon the pun, keep an eye on.
Project Cars Delayed: More disappointing news this week for Nintendo fans as Slightly Mad Studios announced that their gorgeous looking Racing Sim Project Cars has been delayed – but for Wii U only. This has prompted an expected angry outcry from Nintendo fans for a number of reasons – the game, according to a variety of reports looked like it was most highly anticipated on Nintendo’s console – much more that Microsoft or Sony’s – yet those consoles will be getting the game first. Secondly – this is far from the first time that a high-profile game has been delayed for the Wii U – one needs only to look back at the whole Rayman debacle. Nintendo fans are justified in feeling that the are being screwed over by other Companies – why not have a simultaneous release? There are a few ways of taking this news – it could be to SMS’s detriment, considering the release date for the game is the same as a couple of much higher profile games on PS4 and XBox One – it would make more sense to delay the release for all consoles, or bring it forward if resources are being pulled from the Wii U version to speed things up on others (unlikely). It looks like another case of the 2 leading consoles being favoured over Nintendo. However, the more positive way of looking at things is the Wii U version is being given extra time and consideration so that it becomes the best it can possibly be, and possibly the definitive version. Bandai Namco (who will be distributing) have stated as much – ‘”We’re committed to delivering an exceptional and unique experience for racing fans on Wii U and for this we kindly ask our devoted and passionate Nintendo fans for a little more time in order to ensure the game delivers on our vision of being the most authentic, beautiful, and technically-advanced racing game on any platform”. It doesn’t sound great in all honesty, just as things were looking good for the Wii U, with even Kotaku saying it was a great time to buy the console. Nintendo is lacking 3rd Party support, and realistic racing games, so this could be bad news indeed – then again, if and when it arrives, it could be an excellent game, but some Nintendo fans may be better and chose to stay away, while multi-platform owners may buy it first on another console.
New Fighter for Smash Brothers to be unveiled: Series creator Masahiro Sakurai has announced that a new fighter will be unveiled on July 14th, so the rumour mill has already started spinning – Kranky Kong? Ridley? A Tetris Block? Shulk? It’s only recently that Pacman was added to the roster, and fans are keen for any new information on the hyped games. I’m not a huge fan of the series, although I have enjoyed the previous installments that I’ve played, but in my heyday it was not the most popular choice for multiplayer fun in the bedroom. Regardless, this is set to be a big seller for both systems and will hopefully convince a few more gamers to invest in the Wii U.
Hyrule Warriors overload: Hyrule Warriors got a decent showing at E3 and surprised many by how good it looks. Since E3, every day or two has seen new information coming out on the Dynasty Warriors/Zelda crossover in the form of a new stage or character. This week saw an abundance of information to keep those looking forward to the game in a state of frenzied anticipation. I’m yet to be convinced if this will be a purchase for me – I’ll likely wait for the reviews to come in, and if they are positive, wait for the game to drop in price after a few months (if the reviews are full of praise then maybe it’ll be an early purchase for me). I’m a huge Zelda fan, but I’ve never played a Dynasty Warriors game, and I haven’t played a really good kill-em-all-em-ep since the days of Golden Axe and Streets Of Rage days. This week has seen a bunch of new screens and information, including alternate constumes for characters, confirmation that fan (ahem) favourites Fi, Ghirahim, and others will be playable, Faron Woods and Skyloft will be new romping grounds, and that bollock-on-a-chain weapon from TP will be useable. If this is actually as playable as it looks fun, then it could be a surprise hit (and open the way for other game-mash-ups???)
Diddy Kong Racing 2: One of the more interesting rumours coming out this week is surrounding a sequel to Rare’s exceptional N64 Karter Diddy Kong Racing. As alluded to above, for year my bedroom was a battleground for multiplayer mayhem, and DKR was a game which had countless hours thrown at it – often the battle mode taking precedence over the races. The game is still a favourite of mine, revolutionary for actually including a plot in a racer, as well as RPG elements, plus you had the added bonus of driving, flying, or hovercrafting your way through the many tracks which opened up different short-cuts and ways of getting one over on your opponent. Anyway, according to rumour, a sequel is in the works for Wii U and 3DS, being worked on by none other than Retro Studios. RS were notably absent from E3, leading many to speculate on what they were working on – StarFox, Metroid Prime etc. Rumours state that the game was almost going to be shown at E3, but pulled at the last moment, that Amiibo will be a key integration point and was key in reviving interest in the game, and that it is Nintendo Of America’s biggest project so far. We’ll keep our eyes peeled, I’m hoping this will become a reality.
Yokai Watch Coming To West: More good news for Western gamers, is that uber-popular RPG could be coming to our shores. As mentioned above, the second game has only just released in Japan to huge sales, and Level 5 and Nintendo will (or should) be savvy enough to know that anime is pretty huge over here too, though maybe not as culturally accepted yet. Nevertheless, games featuring cutesy Japanese characters will always be more accepted that movies, so it makes sense that the game could be profitable here. With the anime previously rumoured to be coming over here soon, it would make doubly sense for the game to come too.
Sega says NO to Virtual Console: Bad, but unsurprising news for retro fans when Yoseke Okunari responded to a fan’s question over the possibility of Sega games coming to the VC with a fairly resounding ‘No’. Again, we can take that with a pinch of salt, but in all honesty the VC has not been anywhere near as strong as it should have been by now on Nintendo’s latest console. For two companies with such huge and beloved back catalogues, it is infuriating that more is not being done. In the end this likely comes down to money spent versus profit – how many fans have already bought or played the original Sonics etc in some form? The silly thing is that we could easily be getting Saturn and Dreamcast games on the VC, just as we coukd and should be getting N64 and Gamecube games on it. It seems unlikely anything will happen now on this front as Nintendo focuses its strategy on new Wii U games and on the using the Gamepad for uniqute experiences. The VC should have been populated and ready to go on Wii U release day, but who knows , maybe this is freeing Nintendo and Sega up for some more HD remakes – Eternal Darkness… Shenmue….?
I’m not one to talk much about Sales, and you won’t hear me mention them much on these news updates, but it’s worthwhile to note that Mario Kart 8 is still selling well on a console with a low install base, and has helped the Wii U shift a bunch in the European, NA, and Asian markets. It’s still holding its own against the might of Watch Dogs and will continue to sell for a long time – see Nintendo what a little bit of publicity can do? Other recent releases Tomodachi Life and Yokai Watch 2 have been doing extremely well, especially Tomodachi Life which has seen stable growth in the UK. Yokai Watch was always going to be a hit in native Japan, and with almost 1 million pre-orders, it’s hardly surprising it sailed to the top of the charts.
There we go, another interesting week in the world of Nintendo – feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or get a discussion going on any of the points raised above.