Zelda: Link to the Past gets sequel, EarthBound US-bound, more big-name sequels via Nintendo Direct
Today's Nintendo Direct was aimed squarely at two things: Mario Bros. and the Nintendo 3DS. You may recall the last Direct, where Nintendo President Satoru Iwata revealed that 2013 would be the “Year of Luigi,” and this follow-up provided more details on several of the games revealed back in February.
Year of Luigi (and sure, his friends can come too)
Iwata couldn't help but try and bring a little cuteness to the Nintendo Direct presentation today, as he was assisted in his announcements by a performer wearing a giant Luigi mascot costume. Nintendo wants this to be the Year of Luigi, and they're backing it up with several games.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Iwata gave several new details regarding this upcoming 3DS title, which stars the green-capped plumber and his brother. Peach has been kidnapped and the heroic siblings are out to save her. The game will take place in both the real world - or Mario's version of it - and a dream world, which can only be accessed via a portal that Luigi opens when he sleeps on a special pillow.
The game play will vary between the two locations. In the real world, players will perform tag-team actions which will allow them to battle enemies and traverse the landscape. One scene showed Mario and Luigi kicking a koopa shell between the two of them, and then firing it at an enemy. In the dream world, players use the touch screen to interact with Luigi's face, poking him, pulling his mustache, etc. which will change what happens in the dream world. One clip showed Mario climbing onto what looked like Luigi's face in the dream world, while extending his mustache via the touch screen so that he could reach new areas.
The game will be available August 2013.
New Super Luigi U
As Iwata said back in February, this DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U will feel like a whole new game. While the world map has remained the same, every level has been redesigned to take into consideration Luigi's higher jump and the difficulty he has in stopping after a dash. Each level also now starts with a mere 100 seconds on the clock, which Iwata said is designed so that players can come back and experience the levels over and over again.
New Super Luigi U will be available to download this summer.
Mario Golf: World Tour
This Mario Golf game is a full-fledged sequel, in development by Camelot, the same development team behind the console versions. As hinted at by the title, Iwata said that players will be able to connect to players from around the world to golf in either head-to-head or tournament style competitions. These happen in real-time, and you can set special rules - such as “only Luigi,” “no special shots,” etc. - and the game will also have many community-based features Nintendo previously incorporated into Mario Kart 7.
Mario Golf: World Tour is coming this summer.
Iwata announced that a new Mario Party title (no subtitle or number was given) will be coming to the Nintendo 3DS soon. The game will feature seven different boards to play across, each with their own, unique set of rules. One board allows you to accumulate boosts, which then multiply your die roll, while another adds the danger of a giant Bullet Bill which is fired when someone rolls the Bullet Bill icon on their die.
Mario Party for the 3DS is coming holiday season 2013.
Yoshi's Island is making a return, and this time, it's coming to the 3DS. Unfortunately, very few details were given, other than it will “maintain the series' fun mechanics” and utitlize the unique features of the 3DS. Like Mario Party, this is another game which lacks an official subtitle or number.
No release date was given for the 3DS version of Yoshi's Island.
Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move
Revealed back in February, this entry in the action-puzzle series has players placing blocks on the bottom screen to fill in holes on the map while miniature Marios move along guided paths up top. There will be several modes, Iwata said, and each will test your skills in a different way. You might only have a certain number of tiles to place, or you might have to guide multiple characters at once, or you might be given a huge, empty area in which you have to create your own path. If that mode gets too boring or you want a break, there will be four mini-games as well.
Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move is available to download next month, on May 9.
The rest of the Nintendo family
Luigi and his friends aren't the only ones making a comeback. Nintendo detailed several new and upcoming games which will also revitalize older fan-favorite franchises.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
The Donkey Kong Country series made a return for the Wii, and now Donkey Kong Country Returns is getting a second try at the market in the form of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. This version features several exclusive features designed to take advantage of the 3DS' abilities, such as levels which fire Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong into the background to give a sense of depth.
The game also features a new mode, which is designed for players on the go. Since portable players tend to play for shorter amounts of time, Nintendo has added some features that will make the game a bit easier. There's the portable DK barrell, which summons Diddy Kong at-will; the green balloon, which floats Donkey and Diddy back up to the top of a level if they fall, and a crash guard which protects up to two crashes if you're riding in a mine cart. Donkey and Diddy can also take 5 hits in the new mode, as opposed to the 3 in the Wii version.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D will be available May 24.
Legend of Zelda
A new Legend of Zelda game is coming to the Nintendo 3DS. This game will take place in the same world as A Link to the Past, but is a new story, with new dungeons and features. In this game, Link has the ability to become a 2D drawing, which allows him to move along flat surfaces which would otherwise be impossible to traverse.
This new Legend of Zelda title is coming holiday season 2013.
Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons will also be released on the Virtual Console. These are straight translations of the original games, and will be released on May 30.
EarthBound, aka: Mother 2, is finally coming stateside with a Virtual Console release. No hard launch date, but expect it by the end of this year.
The news, in brief
Nintendo also gave a few details regarding other games and franchises, but they're miniscule in nature, so we're going to run through them pretty quick:
It has winged pikmin. They can fly. Also, the game is coming August 4 this year.
Game & Wario
It has a mode where you use the Wii U GamePad to play mini-games, will your mother comes in to make sure you're asleep on the TV. Hide your game-playing from your mom, kids!
Capcom has released a series of videos that give tips to series newcomers.
LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins
It's coming April 21. It's a prequel. You'll fetch donuts.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
The game is getting its own special Nintendo 3DS XL bundle with the game pre-installed onto a fruit polka-dot Nintendo 3DS XL. It'll be out June 9 for $219.99.
This Square Enix RPG is coming to North America sometime next year.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
This game will conclude the second Professor Layton trilogy, with more than 500 puzzles.
Shin Megami Tensei 4
It's “pulling out all the stops” with a Limited Edition that contains art, strategy guide, and music CD. It will be available for 3DS July 16.
The Wii U
Although today's Nintendo Direct was focused on the Nintendo 3DS, we did get some news regarding Nintendo's home console, the Wii U - namely, the system update that Iwata mentioned in February.
The system update will come next week, and brings with it a suite of new feautres which will improve users' overall Wii U experience. First and foremost, the update will decrease the time it takes to switch from software to the Wii U menu and other apps. Second, it will allow users to copy data from one USB drive to another. While both of these are nice, it's the way Nintendo has changed its software updating that's really exciting.
After the update next week, the Wii U will be able to install software even while you're playing another game, and it will be able to download and install system updates, even while powered off. No more starting the system and waiting for hours to get up and going, hooray!
The update also brings the Virtual Console to Wii U, as well as Panorama View, which will be available as a free demo. Panorama View allows you to virtually tour some of the world's most exotic locations, and look freely about with your Wii U GamePad as if you were there.
The whole Nintendo Direct
If you want to catch the entire Nintendo Direct from today, you can check it out below: