With the day (and the attention of the crowd) largely to itself, Nintendo rolled out a press conference that raised about as many questions as it answered. The main talking points throughout the show: an insistence on the strength of upcoming titles for the 3DS, and the expected reveal of its new console, the mystery behind the Project Cafe moniker.
Kicking of the show, in spectacular fashion, was a lengthy montage of footage culled from the Legend of Zelda series, interlaced with what appeared to be shots from the upcoming Ocarina of Time remake for 3DS. The fuss in question was part of a celebration of the series’ 25th anniversary, and was delivered with accompaniment of a live orchestra and some indulgence of Miyamoto’s playful side. Free downloads of Four Swords–the multiplayer add-on to the GBA release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past–for DSi owners started off a string of Zelda-related announcements, including free copies of the Ocarina of Time soundtrack for the first people to register the 3DS version, and a holiday 2011 release window for Skyward Sword.
The 3DS eShop was also touched on, but only briefly. 3D Classics Excitebike–a new version of the NES game, with 3D graphics and the ability to save tracks–will be available for free download for a limited time from the eShop, and a Virtual Console market, featuring Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles, is coming to the 3DS.
The 3DS titles shown next included a new Mario Kart (featuring hang gliders and underwater driving), Star Fox 64 3D (with the option to control traditionally or with tilt, and support for the 3DS camera in multiplayer), Kid Icarus: Uprising (touching briefly on its 3-on-3 multiplayer mode and AR Card battle mode), and, finally, Luigi’s Mansion 2 (apparently featuring multiple mansions this time).
The climax of the show came during the reveal of the anticipated new console: Wii U. Its features inclulde:
- A controller with a 6.2 inch touchscreen, motion controls, and analog nub “Circle Pads,” along with traditional buttons (Power button, Home button, control pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons). The controller can stream picture wirelessly from the console, the idea being eliminating the constant need for a TV to game, and can act as a complementary display with multiple game uses. It also features a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera (shown doing FaceTime-like video chat), a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus.
- The console will support up to four Wii remote controllers, along with other Wii input devices (Nunchuk controller, Classic controller, Balance Board, etc.)
- It will play 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs (with 25 GB of storage), as well as 12-centimeter Wii optical discs. It will also feature internal flash memory, and support memory expansion via SD cards and external hard drives (four USB ports are present).
- It will support 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i; compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite.
A video showing a variety of developers praising the system ran, and it was announced that titles such as Darksiders 2, Batman: Arkham City, and Aliens: Colonial Marines would be headed to the Wii U in addition the Sony and Microsoft’s platforms. The Wii U is set to launch in 2012.