After all of the speculation going around the internet about Nintendo’s new console due out next year, and much nail biting suspense as they kept us waiting during the press conference itself, Nintendo finally revealed their new console with confirmed details. Satoru Iwata began talking about the new console during the introduction of many 3DS bonuses, such as the fact that the online store went live yesterday, and then told the audience that more details about the console would come a little later in the conference.
He said that the goal for the new console was to make a game system that is equally satisfying for everyone, male, female, casual gamer, hardcore long-time gamer; everyone. And he said they asked themselves how to do that, and their answer came in the form of two words: deeper and wider. A deeper gameplay experience than even the most seasoned gamer has ever experienced before and a wider view than could previously be afforded. Finally, they played the video that introduced us to the new console. It showed a boy playing Mario on tv and someone coming in saying they wanted to watch baseball. The boy responded “I’m good” and the TV switched to baseball, and the camera view switched to the boy, who continued to play the game on the controller in his hands, a controller sporting a 6.2 inch screen. In the background of some of the video shots was a console box that looked very similar to the current Wii console, and Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed that it was the Wii U.
The new console is titled Wii U and has a controller that sports a beautiful 6.2″ touch screen (not multi-touch) betwixt two analog sticks, the familiar d-pad and the XYBA buttons in addition to the start, select, power and home buttons we have become familiar with on the Wii. A completely new feature to any controller is a forward facing camera, situated atop the screen. The new console will allow you to stream the video and sound of your game to your controller; it doesn’t have to be displayed on the television. The hardware is capable of making use of both screens at the same time. Another thing that was shown in a video was a girl shooting some golf, teeing off of the Wii U controller sitting on the floor and then looking up to see the golf ball soar across the TV screen. It’s all in the hands of developers, but the ability to place the gamer inside of a room is there. Picture yourself standing in the middle of your living room and holding up your Wii U controller while playing a game, and turning around and seeing the world of the game around you through the “window” the screen on the controller creates.
The graphics of demos that they showed jumped all over the place, the worst of which resembled Wii graphics and the best of which succeeded current PlayStation 3 graphics. Part of the console’s introductory video featured someone drawing Link on the screen with a DS stylus and coloring him in. This console is meant to be completely backwards compatible, you will be able to play all of your favourite Wii games on the Wii U. In the new Super Mario Brothers, titled Super Mario Brothers Mii, your Mii can run alongside Mario as he navigates his world. Iwata confirmed that Super Smash Brothers would be developed for both the 3DS and the Wii U and the software will somehow interact with the game on the other system. Other titles that were confirmed through clips displayed on-screen for Wii U include:
- Darksiders II
- Dirt Code Masters
- Aliens: Colonial Marines
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online
- Metro: Last Night
- Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Also mentioned along with all of this was open online functionality that allows you to download new game content and participate in a global community. However, contrary to my expectations, people were not rushing out of the conference hall to go play the demos of this console right away. This raises questions as to what this will mean for Nintendo. My personal thoughts on the console is that it looks incredible. I cannot wait to hold that controller in my hands and play my console games anywhere I choose to in the house, in addition to full 1080p HD on my TV, or play standalone games that are meant to function on the controller alone. The controller functions similarly to a tablet. You can draw on it, play on it, browse the web and read on it, and continue your game when your roommate comes in and steals the TV. I cannot wait to get my hands on this console. It was mentioned that it will be available next year, but no price point has been mentioned yet.