In just a few a days, all eyes will be on Nintendo’s new console. Despite announcing it at last year’s E3, Nintendo will once again need to introduce the Wii U to mainstream audiences and capitalize on the fact that this console is for “hardcore” gamers.
At least year’s E3, Nintendo had many wondering what the Wii U actually was. It didn’t help that the Big N decided to first reveal the console’s controller, which looked like an elaborate tablet that also doubled as a handheld gaming device, leaving more people confused. Also, because the console’s name simply adds an extra letter to an old machine that has years on the market already, many thought the Wii U was actually a Wii attachment or an extended controller.
After realizing that the Wii U was an actual standalone console, audiences were treated to an extensive list of publishers and developers, including Ubisoft, THQ, and Sega, ready to start working on games for this new device. Things looked promising, but that was last year.
This year, Nintendo has a lot of naysayers it needs to win over.
A lineup of games that aren’t gimmicky
First off, Nintendo needs to announce a strong lineup of titles it plans to release with the new system. As we saw during the Wii’s initial launch, most of these titles are bound to make use of the console’s new “it” factor, which in this case is the Wii U’s tablet controller. If Nintendo manages to showcase some mainstream titles in ways that are complemented, and not burdened, by the new controller, then it may just be what fans and critics are looking for.
The trailer for Rayman Legends, for example, was something that got me excited for the Wii U because it gave us a glimpse at what’s to come. It’s both good and bad that what sets the Wii U apart from other consoles is its controller, which could cause problems for developers trying to implement it into their games. On the other hand, it also opens up a grab bag of gaming possibilities we have yet to see. Expect to see some of these works-in-progress at this year’s E3. Let’s hope the games we see are robust titles and not just gimmicky tech demos.
Target audience and pricing
Another thing that Nintendo needs to address is the system’s target audience. Nintendo has always been a family-oriented company, after all, so it will also need to find a nice medium to please both the Call of Duty players and the moms looking for a family gaming system. Parents don’t want to dish out big bucks on a system that will only be played with during get-togethers, but the average gamer, on the other hand, won’t mind paying for a console that lets them rescue Zelda in HD. Nintendo is more than likely to reveal the Wii U’s price tag at E3, so let’s hope the price is Goldilocks. Following last year’s 3DS price drop, I don’t think Nintendo has plans for a Wii U Ambassadors program any time soon.
Of course, everyone is also looking forward to all the new games Nintendo itself is planning to bring to its new console. Pikmin 3 has already been confirmed to make an appearance, as well as a new Mario game that hopefully offers more depth than last year’s tech demo that looked too much like New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Will Nintendo give us a glimpse of the new Super Smash Bros. game, the rumored new Metroid title, or even a Wii U version of one of their old favorites? I hope we get more than just a teaser trailer for these unannounced titles, but we’ll just have to wait and find out!
Don’t forget the 3DS!
Thanks to the frequency of Satoru Iwata’s Nintendo Direct webcasts, fans have been kept in the loop when it comes to 3DS news and updates. That’s not to say, however, that Nintendo doesn’t have more surprises in store for its little handheld. Despite its shaky start, the 3DS is picking up steam, and even this summer’s lineup of titles gives us more hope at what the 3DS can offer. Will the 3DS be getting a redesign? At this point, I wonder if that is even necessary. So far, the system seems to be doing well on its own, and if Nintendo decides to focus less on the 3D visuals and more on making great games, that might be all it needs.
Future titles like Animal Crossing, Dragon Quest, and Heroes of Ruin will implement the handheld’s strong multiplayer features, and showcase the new Nintendo Network that will also tie into Wii U connectivity. We can expect to see other titles like Luigi’s Mansion, Paper Mario, Castlevania: Mirror of Fate, and Kingdom Hearts 3D on the show floor as well.
Also, expect to hear more about Nintendo’s DLC plans. Iwata mentioned to Japanese viewers last month, that various 3DS titles like Kingdom Hearts 3D would be receiving additional content this summer, but just how far will Nintendo decide to milk its new venture into the world of DLC is still unknown. Its eShop possibilities can only get bigger, and the implementation of future patches and updates is still something to be on the lookout for.
Nintendo can either make it or break it at this year’s E3, but I have a feeling that the House that Mario Built has learned from its past mistakes with the 3DS and will find a way to make its new console work. Rest assured, we’ll be bringing you all the latest Nintendo news and announcements straight from the show floor and during Nintendo’s live press conference this Tuesday.
What else should we expect to see at this year’s E3? Let us know below! Remember that this year marks Kirby’s 25th anniversary, so I have a feeling the little pink puffball will make an appearance some way or another.
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