Editorial | The Latest Nintendo Direct Was A Beast

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Yesterday’s Nintendo Direct presentation was Nintendo’s first in 2015, and the publisher wasted little time rolling out its big plans for the first half of the year. It was not a “news bomb,” it was more like an air strike of announcements.

Nintendo Direct - Jan14

Frankly, to re-cap yesterday’s Nintendo Direct is difficult, because so much was revealed: it almost felt like an E3 presser bundled into a brief presentation. By now you may have heard that the New Nintendo 3DS XL is finally coming to North America, or caught that release dates were confirmed for titles such as Majora’s Mask 3D, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Xenoblade Chronicles 3DS, Splatoon, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and more. Maybe you even spotted the upcoming “Wave 4” Amiibos, or the new Super Mario Edition lineup.

Just in case you missed anything, I will quickly tackle and summarize it all; I’d like to give a special thanks to Vlad N. for his contribution to this re-cap:

ICYMI | Nintendo Direct 1.14.2015

Just in case you’d like to watch the Nintendo Direct video on YouTube before reading, click here, or continue reading for the full re-cap.

Amiibo | Several New Figures Coming Soon

Amiibo - Wave 4

New Amiibo figures will be available soon. Nintendo confirmed that the “Wave 4” Amiibos for Super Smash Bros. will be coming in February – this includes Robin, Lucina, Pac-Man, Wario, Ness and Charizard (see image above).

Nintendo revealed an entirely new line of Amiibos: the Super Mario Edition figures, which include Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Bowser and Toad (shown below). As you probably know, some of these characters are already available – and as you might have guessed, the Toad Amiibo is compatible with the Wii U eShop game Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

Amiibo - Super Mario Edition

New Nintendo 3DS XL | Release Set For February 13, New Games Detailed

New 3DS XL - Banner

Nintendo finally confirmed that the New 3DS XL handheld will make its way to North America, and quite soon I should add. The release date has been set for February 13, 2015; the MSRP is $199. The standard New 3DS XL models come in two different colors – Red & Black. Check the trailer from Nintendo Direct.

The New 3DS hardware boasts improved performance & features such as a quicker processor, face-tracking for smoother 3D effects, and additional controller options. These include the second analog “nub” – the C-Stick, and two extra trigger buttons.

New 3DS XL - Features

The New 3DS XL includes NFC capabilities for Amiibo support in compatible 3DS games, such as Super Smash Bros. for 3DSSpeaking of Smash 3DS, the game will receive an update on February 13 that allows New 3DS players to take advantage of the system’s enhanced features and added controller options.

Some future releases will be exclusive to the New 3DS XL, and won’t work on older 3DS systems. This includes Xenoblade Chronicleswhich was confirmed for launch in North America this April.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3DS - Banner

Other 3DS games, such as Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimatewill be compatible on both systems. Those two big 3DS releases were put in the spotlight during the Nintendo Direct, and both have been confirmed for release on February 13th – the same day as the New 3DS XL. There was more footage for MM3D; here’s the trailer from Nintendo Direct.

Both Majora’s Mask 3D and MH4U will enjoy slight enhancements on the New 3DS XL and take advantage of the C-Stick “nub” for enhanced camera controls. A playable demo for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will be available on 3DS eShop soon, and will not require a New 3DS system to play. Check out the new trailer.

Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask 3D - Mask Salesman

In addition to the standard New 3DS XL models, Nintendo showed off a few Limited Edition models based on Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D*. 

*It should be noted that the GameStop-exclusive Majora’s Mask 3D system (shown below) sold out online roughly 15 minutes after it was announced.

New 3DS XL - MM3D Limited Edition

Nintendo revealed another Fire Emblemdetails were slim, but Intelligent Systems’ second installment on Nintendo 3DS will use an improved version of the engine from FE: Awakening. No release date was indicated. Click here for the teaser trailer.

Here is a summary of the rest of the 3DS games that were highlighted:

  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+ | Releases February 13th; Amiibo support re-confirmed for special Nintendo-themed plane skins. Check the video from Nintendo Direct.
  • Citizens of Earth | Releases January 30th; colorful Earthbound-style RPG, published by Atlus for both 3DS & Wii U eShop.
  • Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. | Releases March 13th; Amiibo support confirmed for Fire Emblem characters – Marth, Robin, Lucina and Ike. Nintendo will re-release the Marth Amiibo upon release of the game.
  • Etrian Mystery Dungeon | Releases “Spring 2015;” combines Mystery Dungeon gameplay with Atlus’s Etrian Odyssey series. Here is footage from Nintendo Direct.
  • Fossil Fighters Frontier | Releases February 27th; cooperative and competitive online modes detailed.
  • Ironfall Invasion | Releases “Soon;” eShop FPS boasts 6-player online multiplayer modes on both 3DS & New 3DS systems. Check out the clip from Nintendo Direct.
  • Gunman Clive 2 | Releases January 2015; sequel expands on the nostalgic and simplistic side-scrolling gameplay from the first eShop title.
    Gunman Clive 2 - 3
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars | Releases March 5; Cross-buy between Wii U & 3DS eShop, can be downloaded for free on one system after purchasing on the other. Gameplay is based on building and designing maps; custom levels can be shared and ranked by other players, unlocking even more creative tools and options.
  • Moon Chronicles: Episodes 2-4 | Releases January 2015; additional chapters in Renegade Kid’s eShop FPS.
  • Pokemon Shuffle | Releases February 15th; Free-to-Play puzzle game based on the Pokemon franchise.
  • Sega 3D Classics | Released between January and March; in order of release: 3D Afterburner II, 3D Fantasy Zone, 3D Outrun, 3D Fantasy Zone 2, 3D Thunder Blade.
  • Story of Seasons | Releases March 2015; Harvest Moon-style farming sim includes online play for visiting the farms of friends. Check the footage from Nintendo Direct.

Nintendo Wii U | New Games Teased, Classic Downloads Announced

Nintendo Direct - Wii Games Wii U eShop

Although it was clear that the focus of the latest Nintendo Direct was the reveal of the New 3DS, Nintendo also highlighted some of its plans for new Wii U titles in the early part of 2015. This includes a few new games, but also the surprising return of certain classic titles: select Wii titles are coming to the Wii U eShop. So far the Wii titles include Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Available Now), Punch Out!! (January 22nd) and Metroid Prime Trilogy (January 29th). These downloads can be accessed directly from the console rather than going through the hassle of the “Wii Mode.” As an added perk, each download will be discounted 50% throughout the week they are launched.

There was less of a focus on new Wii U titles – many of them were detailed recently, including Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Wooly World and so on. Some, like Citizens of Earth and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars were mentioned among the 3DS games above. Here is a quick and summarized version of the major Wii U games highlighted during yesterday’s Direct video:

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse | Releases February 20th; special abilities can be unlocked using compatible Amiibo figures – Kirby, King Dedede and Meta Knight. Check the gameplay footage from Nintendo Direct.

Kirby Rainbow Curse - Banner

Mario Party 10 | Releases March 20th; compatible with the new Super Mario Edition Amiibos – each unlocks a special Amiibo game mode and unique game boards. Check the new trailer from Nintendo Direct.

Splatoon | Releases May 2015; new details about the game’s hub-like world functioning as its main menu (see image below). Customization of characters appears to be a large focus; there are shops for weapons, hats, clothing and so on. Players acquire in-game currency during online battles; new equipment affects stats such as strength, speed, health, etc.

Splatoon - Hub World

Untitled Bandai Namco Game | Currently dubbed “Project Treasure.” 4-player co-op gameplay; Free-to-Play.

Xenoblade X Chronicles | New trailer revealed. No mention of release; Japan gets it in April, so hope for late Summer for North America at the very earliest, as there may be a lengthy translation time for this one.

Hyrule Warriors Majora’s Mask DLC releases February 5th. Includes Tingle and Young Link wielding masks as new fighters, and adds a new game board to Adventure Mode.

I might have missed a few points here and there, but that just about sums up the Nintendo Direct video from yesterday afternoon. To be honest, I am thrilled about the New 3DS XL coming to North America, and some of the 3DS & Wii U game announcements took me by total surprise. I am stoked to see Xenoblade 3DS coming to the US, and I am also happy that Majora’s Mask 3D is less than a month away.

What stood out the most to you? What do you make of Nintendo in the early half of 2015? Do you think the aforementioned titles and the New 3DS XL launch will help to turn things around? Let us know, leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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