Did you happen to catch Nintendo’s conference this week? In an online presentation to the world they proudly announced that the sky is blue, that snow is cold, and baby bunnies are one of the cutest things on earth.
In an additional round of stating the bleedin’ obvious, they revealed that they were developing Zelda, Mario, Mario Kart and Smash Bros. games for the Wii U. Who would have believed it?
Sarcasm aside, whilst this news is going to surprise no one, their need to tell us seems only to point to desperation. With no footage on show of any of those four titles, it served more as a reassurance to Nintendo die-hards that their needs will be serviced in time rather than a proud unveiling of upcoming products. Perhaps worried about the ever-rumoured next gen offerings from its rivals it felt the need to seed its E3 offering earlier than ever. Although with next to no details behind any of them they appear just to be courting headlines.
The disappointing aspect of this for me was that these rather vacuous announcements hid far more exciting titbits. Nothing to do with a Wind Waker remake, fresh looks at Wonderful 101, teasers for Bayonetta 2 and a proper reveal in the form of a new Yoshi game all piqued my interest. Plus offerings from Monolithsoft and other developers close to Nintendo.
Wonderful 101 (formerly Project P-100) appeared full of pizazz, seemingly mixing Pikmin, Earth Defence Force and Saturday morning cartoons; Bayonetta, though not showing any in-game footage, showed sass that is much needed on the platform; whilst Yoshi returns for his first home console outing for 15-years. And coming from the director of Yoshi’s Island and the team that brought us Kirby’s Epic Yarn it makes me smile at the very thought of what they’ll dream up. The snippet on show looked like they’d used a woollen Yoshi and stop-frame animation and looked gorgeous.
Of course, if you watch the whole presentation the Marios and Zeldas received very little air time, and yet merely dropping them in there seemed to do a disservice to games that did have footage or interviews. News such as this was obviously going to trump anything else but with no clips or release dates anywhere near them they seemed a cheap shot.
Half way through Iwata actually apologised for the lack of releases. Anyone with any previous experience of launches knows that developers work ridiculously hard to make a launch window, and if there’s any chance of doing so will burn the midnight oil to get their games out for that crucial period. As such, the next few months tend to be slightly barren, with those failing to make it out in time instead choosing to relax slightly and make their wares as polished and refined as possible.
Gamers expect that and what they should be shown are games available in the next few months, not years. In a barren period reassurance is what is needed that they’ve made the right choice. Whilst I in no way regret my Wii U, this Nintendo Direct does dent my confidence about it being a force in the short to medium term.