This morning brought another edition of Nintendo’s semi-regular Nintendo Direct news segments, introducing a handful of new details on upcoming games, plus information on the United States release of the New Nintendo 3DS system.
Opening the show was a trailer for a new Fire Emblem game from Intelligent Systems, creators of the critically acclaimed Fire Emblem: Awakening. The turn-based strategy franchise has gained waves of new fans in the wake of that release, making this new title an instant must-own for Nintendo 3DS owners.
For those who prefer to match blocks instead of marching troops, a handful of new puzzle games were also shown off for the 3DS. First is the dual-package of Puzzle & Dragons Z and Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, hitting shelves in May. The game is an adaption of the Puzzle & Dragons franchise, the world’s biggest mobile game. Both versions retain the match-3 puzzle gameplay with turn-based role-playing battles. Also shown off was the free-to-play Pokemon Shuffle, another match-3 puzzle game that focuses on battling creatures. This title uses a timer system to moderate daily play, which can be bypassed through in-game purchases. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo CEO, was also careful to stipulate that “regular gameplay” could also be used to progress through the game.
If you’re the one person on Earth who owns a WiiU, but did not previously own a Wii console, Nintendo has announced plans to make some of that platform’s iconic titles more widely available on their current system. Wii games are coming as standalone downloadable releases, starting with Galaxy 2 (released immediately after the Direct), Punch-Out (on Jan. 22) and Metroid Prime Trilogy (Jan. 29th). These games will also be available for half-price during their first weeks of release.
Nintendo’s highly successful Amiibo collectible platform also got a great deal of love from today’s Direct. New figures were announced in the Super Smash Bros. line (Robin, Lucine, Pac-Man, Wario, Ness, Charizard). A new line of Super Mario Amiibo was also announced for a March release, just in time for Mario Party 10 on March 20. Select characters will be cross-compatible across different games, such as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Project STEAM and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. Collectors can also rejoice, as Nintendo confirmed they would be restocking the consistently rare Marth Amiibo.
The WiiU wasn’t the focus of this event, but some new news graced our screens regardless. Splatoon’s character creation was highlighted, as well as its unique aesthetic, reminiscent of a Warped Tour concert exclusively inhabited by anthropomorphic sea creatures. The game hits in May. Hyrule Warriors is getting new DLC on February 5 to celebrate the 3DS release of Majora’s Mask. This package includes a playable Tingle and Young Link, plus new adventure maps and costumes. A new trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles X was also presented, as was a vague announcement from Bandai Namco about a free-to-play four-player action game, exclusive to WiiU – codenamed “Project Treasure.”
The biggest news of the morning, however, was the confirmation of the New Nintendo 3DS XL system for a United States release. The new model has been released in just about all other territories up to this point, meaning it was just a matter of time before Americans could get their hands on one. The New Nintendo 3DS XL features a small analog nub, which functions as a C-stick for enhanced camera control in certain titles. The 3D effect is now controlled through face-tracking technology, which allows for a wider possible viewing angle. In addition to the stronger processing power (which brings faster load times, faster downloads and enhanced visuals for select titles), this model will also support Amiibo integration.
Unfortunately, it’s looking like the U.S. won’t be seeing the non-XL version of the New 3DS, which has already launched in other territories and has customizable faceplates. The New Nintendo 3DS XL will launch on February 13 with an included 4GB Micro SD card. It also will not include an AC adapter, meaning users will have to repurpose their existing one from their old 3DS system.