Are U ready for the next Nintendo system?
Nintendo officially revealed its next home console at its E3 conference yesterday. The rumored Project Cafe is called the “Wii U.” Nintendo said the system will launch sometime in 2012.
Satoru Iwata, global president of Nintendo, said the game industry still hasn’t created a system that appeals to both the hardcore and the casual players to bring everyone together. The Wii U will be the first to bridge the divide. Iwata said the Wii U will be defined by the words deeper and wider; deeper gameplay experiences and a wider appeal for all games.
Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, explained the name of the system. “You might remember how the Wii name began to make perfect sense once you started hearing it as “we,”‘ said Fils-Aime. “It was clear how much fun we all had playing together, even with people who weren’t gamers before.”
Focusing on the Wii U Fils-Aime said, “It’s a system we will all enjoy together, but also one that’s tailor-made for you.”
A New Controller
The Wii U controller was the focal point of the presentation. The controller has a 6.2 inch touch screen. It does use some sort of DS-like stylus, according to Joystiq.The screen is single touch. Fils-Aime told GameTrailers that it’s meant to be a controller, not a tablet device.
One of the key features is that players will be able to continue gaming on the controller screen even if someone else in the home wants to use the TV to watch a show or movie. Wii U games will combine both the TV and the controller into gameplay. The controller is also compatible with Wii games and accessories.
The controller has two analog sticks, a d-pad, rumble, and traditional and shoulder buttons. Players can control the action on the TV and controller screen with motion sensor movements. It also has built-in cameras and microphone that allow for video chat. The controller can also browse the internet and zoom in on content that’s on the TV screen.
Nintendo made it clear that the controller isn’t portable. It’s strictly for use with the home console gaming. The controller connects and interacts directly with the console.
Watch the E3 Wii U reveal:
After the conference Nintendo revealed official hardware information and images of the system.
The system goes high-definition from 480i to 1080p. Wii U is similiar and possibly better in graphical power compared to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It will use HDMI, component, composite, and S-video cables. According to Engadget, the Wii U features the same processing technology that was also in Jeopardy’s supercomputer “Watson.”
Nintendo highlighted during the conference that the Wii U would have a strong bond to the internet and connectivity.
Wii U is backwards compatible with all Wii games and accessories like the Wii Fit Balance Board. The system supports up to four Wiimotes. It doesn’t appear that the Wii U is backwards compatible with GameCube games. Fils-Aime confirmed that the Wii U won’t upscale Wii games, so they’ll look the same as when they released.
The system uses internal flash memory for storage ability. There’s no built-in hard drive. However there are four USB ports available for devices like an SD memory card and external hard drive.
Katsuya Eguchi, a top Nintendo game designer, told Kotaku that Wii U games will have 25GB of storage space. Wii U doesn’t use Blu-Ray but another proprietary disc format.
Nintendo stressed the tech, especially the games, are still in development.
Nintendo has shown several different game concepts and ideas for the Wii U so far. The games during the conference and around E3 are only prototype tech demos, or “experiences” as Fils-Aime called them.
New Super Mario Bros. Mii features the user-created Miis in co-op play with Mario and Luigi. The gameplay is similar to the 2009 Wii title New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but incorporates a lot of new features using the Wii U controller.
Nintendo also announced that a Super Smash Bros. game will appear on the Wii U. No trailer, gameplay footage, or list of characters was shown. Nintendo also hinted at a Wii U Zelda game at its E3 tech demos.
Pikmin on the Wii U was officially announced yesterday during Nintendo’s Developer Roundtable by Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Pikimin franchise. Miyamoto said the game originally began development as a Wii title, but moved to the Wii U once he saw the graphical power and new hardware of the system.
The Wii U will get substantial third-party support, something that the Wii has struggled with. Fils-Aime told GameTrailers, “Third-party publishers have told us that the reason they couldn’t bring it to our platform was based on the horse power of the machine. That excuse is now gone.”
Games like Darksiders 2, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge will release on the Wii U. Tekken is the first ever in the fighting series to appear a Nintendo platform. Electronic Arts also announced they will partner with Nintendo for games on the Wii U and bring substantial online capabilities to EA titles.
Ubisoft is bringing Ghost Recon Online to the Wii U. Pascal Allancon, a game content manager at Ubisoft, told 1UP that the free-to-play PC game could possibly be a Wii U launch title. Allancon said the multiplayer game would be downloadable only, but isn’t sure what Nintendo’s online pricing infrastructure will be.
Lego City Stories was also announced during the conference. The open-world game is being developed exclusively for the Wii U and 3DS by TT Games.
Here’s the Wii U game trailers shown during the E3 presentation:
However the games shown in the trailer highlighting Wii U’s graphical power like Darksiders 2, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Assassin’s Creed and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge were running on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. Fils-Aime said in an interview with GameTrailers that the reason those versions were used is because Wii U is still more than a year away from release. He said the system will take full advantage of its 1080p capabilities.
Though the game was announced, Super Smash Bros. on the Wii U hasn’t even begun development yet. Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the Smash Bros. series, wrote on his Twitter, “We really shouldn’t have announced it for the general public at this timing, but since we have to assemble staff, we made the notice,” he said. “The future will change depending on the strength of the gathered developers.”
According to a Nintendo representative at E3, the Wii U controller may not be sold separately. The rep told CVG that the controller is only being bundled with the system. The rep also said that multiplayer games on Wii U are being designed for only one Wii U controller and other players will have to use Wii Remotes.
No official release date, launch lineup, or price for the system and controller have been confirmed by Nintendo. The Wii U is rumored to cost more than $250. According to Bloomberg, during an interview with a Japanese newspaper Iwata hinted the Wii U would cost more than the Wii. When the Wii launched in 2006, it cost $249.99.
Check out real footage of the Wii U in action with New Super Mario Bros. Mii:
Photo 1 by Jon Snyder / Wired.com
Photo 2 by Nintendo