Nintendo had a very well-rounded presentation today, with very few major reveals and mostly just new teases. The new Zelda Wii U game was briefly talked about and teased, as was Mario Maker, and a few others.
The biggest developments were probably the new Smash Bros. additions as well as expanded NFC toy support. Here's everything that happened at Nintendo's E3 conference.
The developers at Toys For Bob are back in the saddle with Skylanders Trap Team, the next entry in their hit toys-meet-videogame franchise. This time the hook involves you capturing villains and enslaving brainwashing reforming them to work for you. Same overall formula where you use Skylanders both old and new, but now you have the aid of all the bad guys.
This means a new Portal of Power, plus a whole new set of toys specifically designed for capturing the villains.
[Update: Nintendo of America, as well as Australia, have also announced the end of the Wi-Fi Connection service. Looks like it's across the board.]
Nintendo of Japan has announced that they're ending all DS and Wii online services for games that took advantage of the capability. You'll still be able to access things like the DSi and Wii Shop channels, Hulu, YouTube, and access the internet via the respective browsers. You just won't be able to play any games online with others anymore.
The Nintendo website has a giant list of what games will lose their online access. Games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Wii Music, Mario Kart Wii, Animal Crossing: Wild World, Tetris DS, Pokemon Pearl, Pokemon Black/White, and Metroid Prime Hunters, are just some of the higher profile titles Nintendo has laid out.
The Wi-Fi Connection service, which originally launched back in November 2005, will come to an end on May 20, 2014. We've reached out to Nintendo of America to see if this is just Japan, or if it's a worldwide discontinuation.
[Virtual Console Verdict is a short column that highlights some of the gems released on 3DS and Wii U eShop marketplaces. For a full list of Virtual Console releases, check out the weekly Nintendo Download series. Image source.]
This week, Nintendo updated their Club Nintendo digital offerings to add Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Although it's technically been a part of the Wii Virtual Console since 2008, many people wanted to know how it held up, and if it really was worth of the hype it's gotten from fans.
There's no two ways about it -- it's absolutely worth it. Legend of the Seven Stars is one of the most entertaining and innovative role-playing games ever made.
Skylanders has had a bit of an odd history. Initially, it launched under the auspices of the Spyro name, and made a very small splash in the market -- so small, that barely anyone knew what it was. Fast forward to six months later, and it was the hottest toy on the shelves, so much so that many retailers couldn't even keep it stocked consistently.
A sequel was greenlit, and the rest was history, as Activision raked in over a billion dollars from the Skylanders franchise alone. It's a massive success, and now, the third iteration is attempting to claim the throne once again, fighting off the juggernaut that is Disney Infinity.
Let's just say it's going to be a very interesting holiday season for videogame toys.
It's here! It's finally here! Pokemon X and Y is out this week for the 3DS and it's pretty much going to be the only thing anyone talks about leading up to the next-gen consoles. Oh, Beyond: Two Souls is also out this week. It has emotions and stuff. You like emotions, right?
Other biggies this week are two repacked re-releases: Borderlands 2 and Dishonored Game of the Year Editions. Oh, videogame industry. No wonder gamers love Steam sales so much.
The Wii may have secured a solid lead ahead of the Xbox 360 and PS3 with a tidy 100 million units under its belt, but let's face facts: its time in the sun is over. With the 3DS dominating in Japan and the US and the Wii U needing to be given space to breathe and grow, Nintendo has made the decision to end the Wii's production run.
Over on the top right corner of the Japanese Wii homepage is a block of text that reads "Kinjutsu seisan shuuryou yotei," which loosely translates to "Production scheduled to end soon." Now is the time to stockpile on all the discounted Wii games that you may have missed. And of course, you can also make use of the Wii U's backwards compatibility (now with off-TV play for Wii Mode).
It breaks my heart to see the kind of casual disregard the Wii was given, written off like it had nothing of value or was only supported by "casuals" who bought a single game and that was it. But I got a new Sin & Punishment and Punch-Out!! I became a fan of Suda51 through No More Heroes. I found sparkling diamonds in games like Muramasa and the Trauma series. And there are still gems from all three regions that I need to try out: Fragile Dreams, Captain Rainbow, Day of Disaster, Klonoa, Zangeki no Reginleiv, Taiko no Tatsujin, and more.
I think the console deserves to be remembered fondly. If you gave up on the Wii at any point, I urge you to use this opportunity to give it one last chance and look back on all you missed.
With the success of SkylandersandSkylanders Giants, it was inevitable that someone would challenge the concept of marrying toys to videogames on such a large scale. So what better company than the juggernaut that is Disney, who was able to sink $100 million dollars into research and development for the project, titled Disney Infinity.
But Disney Infinity isn't exactly the same as Skylanders beyond the concept of toys as DLC. They're fairly different games -- for better, and for worse.
Nintendo's latest earnings have come in an overall things aren't that bad looking for the company. They had a positive net return with ¥8.62 billion ($88 million) this last quarter. Nintendo is forecasting its net profit to increase to ¥55 billion ($563 million) by the end of the fiscal year.
So here's the bad news. The Wii U moved 160,000 consoles around the world between April 1 and June 30. 90,000 in Japan, 60,000 in the US, and 10,000 across Europe and Australia. Ouch. This bring total lifetime sales up to 3.61 million now. Meanwhile, the Wii moved 210,000 in the same time period. This also helped finally hit 100 million Wiis sold worldwide, by the way.
Good news is that the 3DS is doing great! It was the best selling hardware the last two months in a row here in the US, and has moved 1.4 million units this quarter.
Software wise, just over one million games were shipped in this same quarter on the Wii U, while the 3DS saw over 11 million software units moved. The biggest contributing factors have been Animal Crossing: New Leaf moving 5.4 million, and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon moving 2.65 million.
May was largely a quiet month for new game releases. Despite what felt like a slower schedule, especially coming off of a rather absurd April, here on Destructoid we did have a pair of 10s with the portable Donkey Kong Country Returns 3Dand captivating, clay-fueled puzzler The Swapper. Quantity isn't everything!
One thing is for sure, May presented us with an eclectic group of titles. Take a look at some of the genres represented in this breakdown of everything we covered.
This review recap is brought to you by Daft Punk's Alive 2007, which fueled the incessant copying and pasting efforts needed to put one of these together. I don't feel like I've blinked since I started working on this, but it's worth it!
April was notable in that most of what we covered was smaller-scale and released through digital channels rather than at retail. We had Dead Island Riptide, sure, but there was also the likes of Don't Starveand Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Speaking of which, did you notice that video reviews are back? There's going to be plenty more of those on the way.
Which games released in April, if any, decimated your free time?
With the US release of Pandora's Tower, the final title in the "Operation Rainfall" trilogy has been localized. Major props to XSEED for taking a chance at giving the Wii one last hurrah!
Pandora's Tower is an action role-playing game that takes a few mechanical and thematic cues from other notable titles, such as Monster Hunter and Shadow of the Colossus. There's even a dash of dating sim! The resulting brew is a little rough around the edges, but this adventurous tale of star-crossed lovers deserves to be played through to the end.
Neither a massive AAA extravaganza nor a quickly churned software side dish, Pandora's Tower sits comfortably in the middle ground. And if there is anything that the Wii could have used more of, it's chunky "middles" like this.
Nintendo is set to kill off many of the Wii's online services in June, running a sword through Nintendo Channel, News Channel, Forecast Channel, Everybody Votes Channel, and Mii Contest Channel. Data exchange in certain games will also be ended.
The Wii Shop Channel will continue to be in effect, because there's no way a publisher would ever shut down something involving your money. The "Today's Accomplishment" message board feature is being preserved as well.
With the Wii U out and Nintendo selling an offline Wii Mini, it looks like it can't justify those online features anymore. Sucks for any Wii owners who may still like them. They probably won't all flock to a Wii U over this, though.
[Update: For clarification, this product is not made by ThinkGeek and simply retails on the site. The headline of this post has been changed to reflect this. Sorry for any confusion!]
The Pro Controller U really appears to be a wonderful deal at first glance. It's a controller that functions with the Wii, Wii U, and can even be paired to Android devices via Bluetooth. However, there are quite a few issues with this controller, one of which is a clear sign of sleazy advertisement.
Specifically, this does not function as a Wii U Pro Controller, despite what the name may lead you to believe.
Earlier this week, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto claimed his company had failed to "communicate the value" of the Wii U to consumers, a turn of phrase that struck me as quite amusing. As a fan of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, all I could think of was the first stage of Dennis Reynolds' system of seduction, the D.E.N.N.I.S. System, whereby he "demonstrates value" to sucker a woman into falling for him.
After thinking about it (and reading the Destructoid community's reaction to the Nintendo/Dennis connection), I started to realize Nintendo and Always Sunny's lecherous sociopath have way more in common, and that the D.E.N.N.I.S. System may well be applied to the company's business strategy in its entirety.
Nintendo might be taking lessons from the show as it perfects the art of seducing fans and breaking their hearts for its own sordid gains.
The next Skylanders is the last thing fans were probably expecting as there's three major changes going on with Swap Force, the new entry in the series. For starters, it's not developer Toys for Bob making this one. Vicarious Visions, the team responsible for the 3DS version of Skylanders Adventure, and the Wii U version of Skylanders Giants, is in charge of making the core versions this time around (With N-Space doing the 3DS version and Beenox handling the Wii version).
I'm not even going to give you a second to doubt another studio handling things here -- Vicarious is really bringing it. The studio is using a new graphics engine that can very easily be mistaken for a Pixar movie. Seriously, it's that good looking.
The biggest changes, though, are with the new toys. Swap Force is adding 32 new Skylanders heroes, 16 of which you can pull in half and fuse different top and bottom parts together to create new Skylanders. Take that in for a second. That's a total of 256 unique combos.