I did the summary for Microsoft's Press Conference last night, and I'm going to finish the other 2 today, but before we start I need to tell you to watch the "Hope" trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic that was shown as the closer for the EA conference, and I won't even make you go find it! Here it is, in its full HD glory from GameTrailers.com!
Awesome, right? I thought so. There was also a bit more news for SWTOR at E3, I'll probably talk about that later. (And I will certainly review SWTOR when it comes out) And now on to the Nintendo Conference!
The first conference on Tuesday, the first official day of E3, was Nintendo. Last year, their press conference was a complete laughingstock, in no small part due to the announcement of the Wii Vitality Sensor. (Which is still in the works, apparently) Despite this, there were some things to look forward to, like the new Zelda that had been alluded to at the end of last year, Metroid: Other M, being developed by Team Ninja, and the official reveal of the 3DS.
Personally, I certainly wasn't disappointed, but you can decide for yourself.
First off, to the surprise of no one, the new Zelda was announced. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is destined to hit store shelves in 2011. The surprise here was the heavy emphasis on motion controls. They have completely redone the control scheme, and now it's supposed to be realistic motions for the sword and shield and all your normal Zelda items--plus a few new ones, which include the kind of odd Beetle, which is basically a remote control spyplane that can pick stuff up (Including bombs. BOMBS AWAY!), and the much-cooler Whip. Which is a whip.
So now you have to pay attention to how you're swinging the sword. For example, for the classic Deku Baba enemy, you now have to swing the sword at the same angle its mouth is open, and enemies with swords and the like can block your sword. Overall a nice addition in theory, but I'm not sure how it will hold up when I'm actually swinging my arms around for hours at a time.
Next up was Mario: Sports Mix. Basically Wii sports, plus buttons and an analog stick, and MARIO! Simple enough. Sports include Hockey, Basketball, Volleyball, and Dodgeball, and that's just all I saw in time to write down. So, sports games are a lot more fun with the ability to actually, ya know, move, and time has proved that everything is better with Mario. (And his friends, of course.) It's set to arrive some time in 2011.
Now Reggie Fils-Aime, President and COO of Nintendo America, comes on the stage again and starts talking stats. He rebukes the notion that the Wii is slowing down, saying that since last E3, the Wii set the record for console sales in a single month. He then rebukes another common notion, that people don't buy very many games for the Wii, stating (or statting, if you prefer) that the Wii has sold more titles in its 43 months than any other console did during its first 43 months.
Then he starts talking about "bridge" games, meant to bring casual gamers over from games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit to more traditional games. As examples he provides Mario Kart and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Ok, that makes sense. Now for the logical follow-through.
Following this trail of thought comes Wii Party. Mario-party style game with over seventy mini-games. That's about all I saw, but isn't that enough? Seventy. To top that, it's coming out soon, as in Holiday 2010 soon. Also coming soon is Just Dance 2.
Now back to the more hardcore gamers with a game that's been wanted for quite a while, a sequel for Golden Sun. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn essentially has two parts, adventuring and combat. The adventuring looks a lot like 2D Zelda, and the combat looks a lot like early Final Fantasy games. With that as a description, what's not to like? Oh yeah... maybe the fact that it is also coming out during the holidays of 2010!
Nintendo next confirmed a vague, hopeful rumor of many people older than I am that remember drooling over the first truly good multiplayer FPS experience out side of a PC. That rumor is a Goldeneye remake for the Wii. It's not an exact remake, as it's being "updated" to modern times. Things like new gameplay features and a different story line are there to bring it to 2010, culturally and in gameplay, and guess what? It is being brought to you in 2010! During the holidays, no less.
After that came Epic Mickey. If you haven't noticed this game and have a Wii, notice it now. It's an action/adventure with, you guessed it, Mickey Mouse as the protagonist. If you thought that meant this was going to be a little kid's game, think again. It looks to be a completely awesome, deep game that you must get if you own a Wii.
But if you just like Nintendo's old franchises better than Disney, I sure have a treat for you. Several, actually. The first of these is Kirby: Epic Yarn. The title has a double meaning. Yarn can mean a story, and it can also mean, well, yarn. Kirby is made of yarn in this game, and not just him. The entire world is made of yarn. Even the background is made of cloth. This makes for a huge difference in gameplay, as you can't swallow enemies. Never fear, though, because there's a whole bunch of interesting features to come with it. Kirby can transform into all sorts of things, and you can manipulate the environment using some interesting techniques... such as unzipping zippers. Yes, there are zippers in the game. Cool. Looks like another fresh creative game from Nintendo. Soon, too, slated for release in Fall, not holiday (!!!) 2010.
Just in case you would prefer something a little more traditional... how about another installment in one of the longest running JRPG franchises? (No, not Final Fantasy. That would be the longest.) Dragon Quest: IX comes to the West from Japan, where it's been an incredible hit, selling 4.2 million copies, July 11. THIS YEAR. Apparently, it's huge. Seriously huge. Like 14o hours in and feeling like you "haven't even scratched the surface". Yeah, that huge. 120 mini quests, over 300 monsters, nearly a 1000 customization items huge.
Nintendo also showed more of a game they announced at last year's E3, Metroid: The Other M. (What does that even mean?) While the game is being developed outside of Nintendo by Team Ninja, it is meant to retain the "sense of isolation and exploration" classic to the franchise, while providing some awesome action. It largely departs from the almost FPS style of the recent Prime series, going instead for 2D. Not your old 2D metroid, though. This game is going for pretty, cinematic, and very fast-paced. The best way to explain it would be to tell you to go watch the gameplay trailers. Apart from that you will be able to switch into FPS mode to shoot stuff by pointing your wiimote at the screen, at the cost of being able to move. (You control most of the game with the Wiimote held sideways.) This game, to the chagrin of many fans, will have an increased increase in story-- and a Samus that talks. OH NO! On the flip side, it is coming very soon, August 31, 2010.
If the return of all these storied Nintendo franchises isn't enough, it's okay, because there is yet another one. That game is Donkey Kong Country: Returns, just as full of bananas, barrels, and ridiculous mine kart levels as the original. There will be co-op, beautiful graphics, and probably a whole bunch of other stuff coming to you holiday of 2010. (Busy holiday.)
You might have noticed something was missing. Nintendo kind of saved the best (or at least most amazing) part for last. The glasses-less 3D of the 3DS works, and it is going to be incredible. It is the actual next generation of Nintendo handhelds, unlike the DSi, and it comes with increased graphical capability, two cameras (supposedly for taking 3D pictures), and the capability of playing 3D movies. Not bad!
Oh, and there's some really cool games coming for it. Including Pit's triumphant return. Yes, there is a new Kid Icarus coming to the 3DS, titled Kid Icarus: Uprising. The trailer looked incredibly fun, with Wii-level graphics of Pit swooping about, shooting his bow at everyone, and generally just doing awesome soldier-angel-kid stuff.
Nintendogs (and Cats) is also being developed for the 3DS, but it was kind of just slipped in there, so it's probably not going to be ready for a while.
The really amazing thing about the 3DS is the amazing level of third-party support that it's getting. Apparently the makers of everything from Kingdom Hearts (YES!) to Metal Gear to Assassin's Creed (and more) are considering putting games from these fabled franchises onto the 3DS. Developers, as provided by Nintendo, include (take a deep breath, there's a LOT): Activision, Atlus, Namco-Bandai, Capcom, EA, Harmonix, Square Enix, Sega, THQ, Ubisoft, and more. Incredible.
Then they showed this hilarious trailer showing Reggie, Satoru Iwata, and and Shigeru Miyamoto getting sucked into the 3DS and/or getting owned by Bowser, and here's the link to G4's HD video: