With the attention of the crowd at the E3 in Los Angeles fixed on Nintendo U.S President Reggie Fils-Aime and having just been introduced to the new Mii-verse social gaming experience on the new Wii U console, which will be available in classic Wii white or black with matching HD touchscreen game pad, the “Regginator” moves onto the next order of business – and that’s bringing back an “old friend” to be a part of this pioneering new living room revolution. And of course, who other than Super Mario should be the plumber for the job!
Addressing feedback from the fans who have asked for Super Mario “like it was – but better” on the next Wii console, Fils-Aime presented a big screen demo for New Super Mario U (which was first teased as “New Super Mario Bros Mii” at last year’s event). The gameplay looks exactly as the Nintendo boss promised, familiar landscapes, settings and characters in a traditional side-scrolling platform style. It looks and plays like a Mario game of old, but there are noticible additions such as a new flight ability similar to the Tanooki suit from SMB3 but not enough time is given to fully explaining everything we see in this brief burst of action – and the mention of a new “boost mode” and social sharing through the Mii-verse is most interesting and will allow gamers to exchange tips and in-game secrets or even brag about high scores – as Reggie claims he himself will be doing (Gadget Helpline will cover New Super Mario U in more detail when the full info surfaces this week).
Reggie then moved on from Nintendo’s own software and spoke of the third party developers contributing and working in partnership with his company on making some unique titles for the new Wii U home console – However, his speech was interupted to much amusement by the voice of Batman: Arkham City mischief maker Harley Quinn who took over the show to introduce Martin Tremblay of Warner Bros and Sefton Hill of Rocksteady to present a demo of a very special edition of the successful title which made it onto all platforms bar the original Wii when it was launched late last year. But holy upgrades Batman! Was it ever worth the wait! This is no oridinary Batman: Arkham City – this is the “Armoured Edition” which features specially designed functions and commands through the innovative game pad and it’s touchscreen, the first of it’s kind on a dedicated gaming console.
These additions to Arkham City include B.A.T mode which means when Batman has proven his combat worth players will be awared access to the smaller screen that seriously boosts the Caped Crusaders skills and speed for limited periods. When not engaging in hand to hand combat gamers can use the second viewer as a virtual utility belt, selecting weapons and remotely controlling gadgets such as sticky bombs. Rocksteady, Warner Bros and Nintendo looks to reward our wait by providing the “most immersive experience” of Batman: Arkham City yet to hit a console.
The President then moves onto a pair of gaming genres that the original Wii helped spearhead – Fitness and Music. Reggie says the Wii U will take this further than ever before, the balance board will be compatible with the new hardware and the new activities through latest edition Wii Fit U will make players “happier, livelier and sweatier”.
Wii Fit U appears on the big screen with a couple enjoying the versatile game which benefits from the new consoles HD controller with 3D graphics adding dimension to the fun workouts and the camera helping to gauge distances and offer maximum interaction with new features such as calory burning and fit meter.
Onto music, and Reggie tells us how previously music games involved one person performing while family and friend had to just sit and watch. Now everybody can become part of the performance with the working title game Sing. We see a little preview which shows one player holding the game pad with lyrics they are singing, while other people in the room are dancing to the music. For the first time everybody will be involved with Sing.
The new Wii U home console is finally given a rest, as we’re introduced to Nintendo of America’s EVP of Sales Scott Moffitt who somewhat begrudgingly asks “where’s the love?” for Nintendo’s 3DS when he announces he has only a couple of minutes to reveal a few of the nex offerings for the portable, which had a poor reception in its starting year. Moffitt does however, invite us to join his new one hour show dedicated to the console and all the new native and third party software for the coming months on the Nintendo Facebook and official website. As for now, he provides us only with a skimpy first glance at New Super Mario 2, which will be “all about the gold” and released on August 11th.
Speaking of Super Mario, and attention is once again swung back to the Wii U and a pair of beloved but lesser known members of the franchise will get a refresh in time for the Holidays. These are Paper Mario, which will be based around collecting and implementing virtual stickers that will each have a unique function – and also Luigi’s Mansion, which will now include mission-based challenges and strategic ghost capturing.
[Continue reading with the third and final part of our coverage]