After revealing that yes – the Wii U will arrive with a second traditional controller called the Pro Pad – Nintendo has just made a triumphant return to the E3 main arena in Los Angeles taking to the Nokia Stage to showcase the finished Wii U home console and its unique new capabilities as well as demonstrating just a handful of the upcoming titles for both the new console and it’s touchscreen gamepad as well as some exciting new products for the 3DS portable.
An opening segment shows the door to Nintendo’s legendary game’s designer Shigeru Miyamoto, which opens to reveal the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time imaginator getting ready to hit the stage to give his presentation. But he’s not alone – all around, those colourful and excitable little Pikmin characters from the popular gaming franchise are popping out of random places – shirts pockets and from behind furniture and as Miyamoto heads out to the stage the Pikmin follow.
Shigeru arrives to applause and suggests the crowd keep an eye out for Pikmin – as he explains in broken English that he has a strange sense they may be all around, with this Pikmin sprites appear amongst the audience then Miyamoto introduces video games translator Bill Trinen who will be translating for Nintendo’s Japanese creator. Through Trinen, Miyamoto tells us how it’s been six whole years since the original Wii console was launched and that since that time Nintendo has had an idea of how the next step in the hardware’s evolution will play out and creating a complete form of entertainment which is non-dependant on use of a television – the traditional method of display.
This usually would prevent watching of the TV and playing a console game at the same time, but Nintendo has addressed this with the smaller HD touchscreen game pad which will allow the game to be displayed separately from the TV while also allowing additional content to be displayed when played with the TV. Miyamoto explains that the gamepad will now be the first screen Nintendo Wii u gamers will pick up, switch on and use to display content. The game pad will deliver a more personal gaming experience and will change the importance of how we view our Nintendo games, combining portable and home console gaming with no waiting for our TVs to catch up with our desire to play.
Miyamoto explains the reason for the Pikmin being so present on and around the stage this is to introduce a new title to the franchise which first came to popularity ten years ago on the Nintendo Gamecube. Pikmin 3 will be played real-time and was used in the presentation to showcase the innovative use of the game pad to manage swarms of the ant like critters using new and more natural motion plus technology with new features such as shake to charge attacks against beastly foes and more strategic depth. We can now control up to four groups of Pikmin while monitoring their tasks and taking control of the whole environment through the screen based map on the game pad. A demo of the gameplay showed some of the time limit challenges such as harvesting fruit and the use of the smaller solo play screen used unconnected from the television as Mr. Miyamoto previously emphasised.
Shigeru Miyamoto then handed over the proceedings to Reggie Fils-Aimes the excitable and hands-on Head of Nintendo America. The ”Regginator” thanked the Zelda creator as well as the audience in attendance and the viewers across the web and social media outlets. The US boss says that the emphasis of this presentation is the games and that a starting line-up of Wii U 23 games will be making an appearance at this year’s E3 event from both Nintendo and third party developers with a number of playable demos available to try in person at the show. Reggie tells us that the combination of Wii U and game pad “manufactures new experiences” and claims the console will ‘change interactions’ in gaming and “revolutionize the living room” with the introduction of YouTube, Netflix and Amazon multimedia services but suggests there’s no way all of these Wii U surprises can be explained in such a short time for presentation but for those who devote time to Nintendo’s online presences at the “All-Access” official website and Facebook all things in time will be revealed in online videos, photos and content before the Wii U goes on public sale.
Reggie briefly discussed the new Wii U Pro Pad which was unveiled in a video presented by Nintendo big boss Satoru Iwata on Sunday night – this controller comes in a more traditional format and, dare we say, borrows some design ideas from rival console manufacturers – and its relationship with the main star of the show, that high definition touchscreen game pad. Not just any controller, Fils-Aimes tells us that this new gadget will change the game with its asymmetric game play, explaining what was left so unclear after last year’s E3. The screened controller will place one player against many, leading play with the superior controller while others interact differently through the Pro Pad.
Focusing back on the Wii U game pad, the redesigned controller is demonstrated on the big screen looking much like it did in the photo that leaked a few weeks back. All the function buttons appearing neatly accessible as the device is gripped with camera, microphone, rumble feature, volume control for the on touchscreen and TV screen gameplay and control by movement. The pad also features a quick access button for updates and social connection which is Reggie’s next topic of discussion.
Referring to the Wii U game pad as a “social window” the N.o.A President announces the Mii-verse with its “Main Street” interface. Our Mii and other Miis created by family, friends and online social contacts are attracted to the various games and apps which appear showing us which content is socially trending and allows us to comment with speech bubbles through text or by writing a more personal comment by using the game pad’s stylus. Similar to other browser based social sites such as Facebook the Mii-verse allows us to post updates on our gaming habits, boast of our achievements and high scores as well as share screen shots. This feature will sadly not be available for the pre-Christmas launch of the Wii U console, but Fils-Aimes promises it will come soon after and will in time include access for portable Nintendo 3DS users.
[Continue reading with Part Two of our Nintendo E3 Coverage].