Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo's executive vice president of sales and marketing, entered the stage, dressed in a white suit and sporting black-framed glasses. Unlike the Sony opening, she came out in a serious, almost sterile manner, spouting NPD numbers related to the industry, and how Nintendo is hard at work in staying innovative with the "Create, Surprise" mindset. Her opening speech eventually led into what every Nintendo fanboy wanted to (finally) see: Mario!
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Holiday 2009)
Dunaway said that Shigeru Miyamoto has been pondering over how to present Mario in a new way that, before now, hasn't been possible. Bill Trennon thus appeared and gave a brief history surrounding New Super Mario Bros. title for the Nintendo DS. However, he brought out three other members of the Treehouse and revealed that the new Wii version offers 4-player, co-op support. Keep in mind that this game isn't Super Mario Galaxy 2 (that comes later... oops!), but rather is an updated offering of classic Mario side-scrolling platform gameplay. With four gamers playing simultaneously on the screen, the new element indeed brings a whole new level to classic Mario gameplay, and honestly, we want a copy right now. The Mario title still offers a single-player game, but now provides less traps, new power-ups, and the ability to pick up other players in the co-op mode. Although a platformer, the game had a Super Smash Bros. Brawl feel to it, mainly because even in co-op mode, there's a level of competitiveness that should make it a "must have" for Wii owners.
Wii Fit Plus
Dunaway opened this introduction with familiar figures, on how Wii Fit is now considered a "platform" rather than an exercise-induced video game. However, Nintendo realized that--like all exercise--Wii Fit must somehow be incorporated on a daily basis. She said that the company looked into a way to make that easier, thus resulting in Wii Fit Plus. While the original was designed to offer something for everyone, the "Plus" version moves in "an added direction." In addition to a locker room, Wii Fit Plus provides six new strength and yoga activities, and means to keep track of total calories burned. For the gamer at heart, Wii Fit Plus brings fifteen new balance games including juggling, skateboarding, "Perfect 10," and more. There's even a game that mimics the platforming action endured by Mario.
Wii Motion Plus: Precision Control & Wii Sports Resort (July 26)
Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, stepped out onto the stage and began to promote the Wii console, reveling in its market dominance and how gamers immediately took to it's "interface." His introduction eventually slid into the big reveal: precision control. The following video demonstrated precision control, with one gamer pulling back a bowstring, one rowing a canoe with an oar, and more. After the video, Bill Trennon came back out to provide details on how the Wii Motion Plus offers precision in Wii Sports Resort. Using the remote, he shows how a skydiver and flip, twist, speed up the decent, and even grab fellow skydivers. As an archer, he demonstrated how to draw back the bow string and shoot an arrow into the target across the field. "It's not about learning the controls," he said. "It's about doing what comes naturally. And from that point on, it's all dependent on your own skills." After a brief basketball game, Fils-Amie took over the stage and announced that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, Grand Slam Tennis, and Virtua Tennis will use Wii Motion Plus precision control.
Red Steel 2, Final Fantasy: The Crystal Bearers
Fils-Aime, still talking away in regards to the Wii Motion Plus, shifted away from sports and into the first-person shooter realm with Ubisoft's Red Steel 2. He didn't reveal any details just yet, but swiftly moved into the RPG category and focused on an exclusive, open world environment based on the Final Fantasy series. Called Final Fantasy: The Crystal Bearers, visually the game isnt as impressive as the Final Fantasy (XII, XIV) helpings offered at the Sony press conference, however the inclusion of Wii motion Plus support makes up for the game's graphical shortcomings.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 (DS) (September 29)
While keeping the RPG tone, Fils-Aime moved into DS land with a Kingdom Hearts game developed specifically for the Nintendo DS handheld console. He loaded up a short clip, sporting decent visuals, animation, and loads of action in a brief flash. According to the PR, the game revolves around Roxas, the "other" hero from Kingdom Hearts II.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (Fall 2009)
Again, Fils-Aime remained with the RPG theme, revealing the upcoming Mario & Luigi RPG for the DS that delves into Bowser's "inside story." Reduced to mere microbes in size, Mario and Luigi venture forth within their archenemy, and the following clip offered a glimpse of Mario and Luigi "whooping butt" inside Bowser's innards. Will this be a great DS game? Yes it should, as the previous Mario & Luigi installment simply rocked the DS.
Golden Sun DS (2010)
Serving as the final RPG in his presentation, Fils-Aime announced that a visually amazing DS chapter of Golden Sun will appear next year, a franchise not seen since the days of the Game Boy Advance. While no details were offered, the "Sun Rises Again" with visual splendor, providing fluid animation and action consuming both screens. Both Golden Sun installments were great on the GBA, ranking high on the review charts. This latest installment should do even better. Hey, how about a Golden Sun for the Wii?
Women's Murder Club: Games of Passion (DS/DSi) (October 13)
With the show halfway completed, Dunaway returned to the stage talking abut low costs for Nintendo DS developers. She then moved on to give three examples, starting with mystery author James Patterson. In October, he will release Women's Murder Club: Games of Passion that will read and play like an interactive novel. The following video revealed that consumers can play three different characters, discover clues, analyze evidence, and interrogate suspects in order to catch the killer.
C.O.P.: The Recruit (DS)
This game took an entirely different direction than the previous Women's Murder Club, offering gritty, open world gameplay. According to Dunaway, the story follows a cop who is forced to go undercover and investigate a conspiracy that has framed his partner. Her introduction was then followed by an impressive video sporting tons of on-foot and behind-the-wheel action reminiscent of the Grand Theft Auto series, or even Mercenaries. The game seemed to perform on the DS rather well, especially in explosive situations and driving sequences.
Style Savvy (DS)
This will be a design game aimed towards female pre-teen and "twenty-somethings." The accompanying video revealed that gamers could customize and run their own boutique, sell more than 10,000 fashions, compete in runway contests, and even offer the ability to shop in other players' boutiques.
DSi / Flipnotes Studio
Leaving the Nintendo DS arena, Dunaway began promoting the successful DSi, reporting that Nintendo DSi sales reached one million units within the first two months of its launch; consumers purchased 400,000 DS Lite units within the same time period. She explained the difference between the two, with the DSi offering personalization, and that gamers don't merely consume, but rather customize, create, and distribute. This idea led to the announcement of Flipnotes Studio, a simple movie maker for the DSi, set to launch in North America this summer. Also this summer, DSi owners will be able to take pictures and upload them to Facebook.
Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!
This will be the first DS game that will allow users to create levels "from the ground up." The level editor looked and performed similar to Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii, and, like SSBB, gamers can upload and download levels from Nintendo's online network (Wi-Fi). The game will be downloadable only for the DSi beginning June 8.
This "program" enables the end-user to create a game from scratch, whether it's the characters, the environment, or usable items. When the micro game is completed, it can be shared with other WarioWare DIY owners.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (Tease)
Ummm, what happened here? Dunaway mentioned the game, acted like she was going to blow the roof off with dynamic content, but alas that didn't happen. Instead, an "Everyone's Game" video loaded, highlighting a few successful DS titles. But wait! Who just appeared on the stage after the video break? Why, it's Mr. Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo Co., Ltd. This HAS to be good, right?
His opening speech centered on Nintendo's quest to capture the audience that comprises of "maybe" gamers, those who are outside the 295 million gamers living in Japan, the United States, and Europe. In those three countries combined, Iwata pointed out that there are 149 million potential wallets to raid, or rather, 149 million potential players. Eventually he moves on off the stage after mentioning the Wii Vitality Sensor, robbing everyone who had hopes of a big Zelda reveal, giving the spotlight back to Dunaway as she revealed another big Wii game fans wanted to see last year...
Nope, it's not a new epic Zelda.
uper Mario Galaxy 2
Once again, a full 3D Mario showed that the franchise will never die, but evolve into something better than before. And again the graphics rocked the Wii this time around, rendering a fluid frame rate that encompassed amazing geometry, swift action, and all the platforming Mario fans could ever want. While it's hard to say whether the sequel looks and plays better than the original, fans definitely shouldn't be disappointed. The crowd hooted and hollered after the video presentation, and rightfully so. Do you want it? Yes, you should, fanboy.
The Meatier Titles...
Want a game with a harder edge, something that's not quite so kid-friendly? Fils-Aime stepped back out on stage after the Super Mario Galaxy 2 video, presenting 3rd-party titles that are geared more towards the hard-core gamer. He first described Sega's The Conduit, scheduled to ship within the next few weeks, a mature first-person shooter. He then briefly jumped to Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles; the video revealed a few familiar faces such as Leon Kennedy, Claire Redfield, and Steve Burnside alongside the typical Resident Evil zombie holocaust that's made the franchise so famous. His third mature reveal, Dead Space: Extraction, deals with the conflict that transpired before the original Dead Space title. The game actually looked fantastic given the Wii hardware, and should prove to be a huge hit if the controls aren't out-of-this-world crazy.
Metroid: Other M (2010)
Ummm... whoah... and that was an understatement. This game is a result from a collaboration between Team Ninja and Nintendo, offering a gritty, new approach to the beloved Metroid franchise. The video presentation was nothing short of spectacular, pulling viewers into its sci-fi, action packed world. The gameplay switched from 3rd person to 1st person, and frankly, was far too short, flashing by like a ball of projected plasma energy. Fils-Aime promised that it would be unlike any other Metroid game developed thus far, and will delve deeper into the story of Samus.
He closed the conference reasserting Nintendo's mission to revitalize familiar names while remaining innovative with the Wii Motion Plus and the Wii Vitality Sensor. "In the end, we believe we can provide something for everyone," he said. 'We believe there's a place in gaming for everyone, and we remain committed to making Nintendo Everyone's Game."
We smell a new slogan.