Nintendo Unveils Future Plans for Wii U

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata unleashed Wii U news in an installment of Nintendo Direct today as he outlined Nintendo’s future plans for the console. The many announcements included:

Game News

  • Two Zelda Games: Eiji Aonuma, the producer of The Legend of Zelda series, revealed two entries in the series for Wii U.
  • Super Mario is on His Way: The Nintendo EAD Tokyo Software Development team that created the Super Mario Galaxy games for Wii and Super Mario 3D Land for Nintendo 3DS is working on a new 3D Mario action game for Wii U. The game is scheduled to be playable at this year’s E3.
  • Racing Ahead: Nintendo is also working on a new installment of the Mario Kart franchise. This game is also planned to be playable at E3.
  • Yarn Yoshi: The team that created Kirby’s Epic Yarn is hard at work on the first console game to feature Yoshi as the main character since 1998’s Yoshi’s Story for Nintendo 64. Takashi Tezuka, director of Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story, is supervising the development of the new game, which is set in a fanciful world of yarn and textiles.
  • Wii Fit U Communities: New features coming to Wii Fit U include letting players create user communities on Miiverse from within the game. Community members can discuss exercises, BMI or weight changes and other health topics with other players as a way to encourage one another to reach their fitness goals. Similar functionality for other games is also planned.
  • Pikmin 3 Photos: The upcoming Pikmin 3 game includes a feature that lets players use the Wii U GamePad as a camera to share the same perspective as Pikmin and take close-up pictures of landscapes and creatures in the game and share them in Miiverse.
  • The Party Continues: A new instalment in the Wii Party franchise is planned to launch this summer. The game features various play styles, including one that lets both players compete head-to-head using just the GamePad.
  • RPG Mash-up: Nintendo and Atlus are working on a collaboration that features the Fire Emblem and Shin-Megami Tensei franchises.
  • A New Game from Monolith Soft: Tetsuya Takahashi and the team at Monolith Soft that worked on Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii are working on a new game.
  • More on the Way: The Wonderful 101 and Game & Wario are scheduled to launch in the first half of 2013. Bayonetta 2 and the new Super Smash Bros. installments are still on the way, but will need more development time before details can be revealed.

Virtual Console

  • Virtual Console for Wii U: A spring system update will add Virtual Console software to Nintendo eShop on Wii U. The service will launch right after the spring update and will include a selection of NES and Super NES games, with Game Boy Advance games to be added in the future. The prices for NES and Super NES Virtual Console games for Wii U will be the same as they were for the Virtual Console on Wii. People who have already purchased the Wii version of a certain NES or Super NES Virtual Console game and transferred it to their Wii U console can buy the enhanced Wii U version of the same game for the reduced price of $0.99 for NES games and $1.49 for Super NES games.
  • Classic Games for 30 Pence: To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the Famicom in Japan (which was known as the NES in North America), Nintendo is making one NES or Super NES game available each month now through to July at the anniversary price of just $0.30. Each game will be available at that price for 30 days, and the first is the NES game Balloon Fight, which is now available in the Nintendo eShop for Wii U.

Social and System Enhancements

  • Miiverse Expands to Smartphones: Starting this spring, people will be able to browse Miiverse from their smartphones. Initially the experience will be browser-based, but Nintendo plans to create a dedicated Miiverse app in the future.
  • System Updates: Two major updates are on the way, one in the spring and one in the summer. The updates will introduce a wide range of functionality, such as Virtual Console capabilities and shortening the time it takes users to launch software or return to the menu screen.
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