You know a game company is coming out swinging when they hold a 22 minute long product showcase less than three weeks after E3, but that's exactly what Nintendo did last night. Courtesy of another Nintendo Direct internet broadcast, Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Amie, was accompanied by members of the Tree House and Nintendo staff to show off new hardware and software for the 3DS as well as updates about games for the Wii and Wii U. Basically, if you thought something was missing from Nintendo at E3, they covered it last night.
The stream started off with Fils-Amie introducing the 3DS XL, an upgraded version of their current portable the 3DS. The redesigned hardware featured screens that were 90% bigger (4.88 inches on the top and 4.18 inches on the bottom) than the ones on the 3DS along with extended battery life (going from 3 – 5 up to 3.5 – 6.5). One of the other things that will be increasing is the cost, jumping from $169 to $199, and when it's released on August 13 in the U.S. it will come in two colors, Red and Blue.
Nintendo also talked a bit about something else being released on August 13, New Super Mario Bros. 2. While the game was recently shown off on the floor at E3, one of the new tidbits of information that Reggie announced was that the game will be the first first-party 3DS game to support downloadable content, with new levels becoming available for purchase after release. This news continues Nintendo's push further into the digital space, with Mario leading the charge.
Another of the big announcements of the evening came from one of Nintendo's biggest franchises, Smash Bros. After radio silence on the topic since its announcement at E3 last year, Nintendo finally recognized its development, helmed by franchise director Masahiro Sakurai and his team at Project Sora. While that all fell into the expected column, the surprise came with the information that Namco Bandai would be helping to develop the game, with Masaya Kobaya (Ridge Racer, We Ski, Go Vacation) and Yoshito Higuchi (SoulCalibur, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Vesperia) assisting. A great top-level update, but fans that care about more about who's in the game than making it will have to wait a bit longer for those details.
Nintendo also ran through updates for their other franchises as well, and here's a breakdown of some of the bigger announcements:
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask will be coming to the States on the 3DS with a new puzzle available for download every day for a year.
Kirby's Dream Collection will be released for the Wii featuring six classic Kirby games and it will come packaged with a history book and soundtrack.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance will be released as a limited edition for the first time in the U.S., and there is a demo available for the game right now in the eShop.
Nintendo will be highlighting the 3DS' Virtual Console with two new games released every week starting on July 5, running through August 1 as part of their 8-Bit Summer promotion. Be on the lookout for games like The Legend of Zelda, Kid Icarus: Of Myths And Monsters, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, and Sonic Blast.
Nintendo closed out the night with a huge Pokemon info drop. Pokemon Black Version 2 and Pokemon White Version 2 will come out this fall, and take place two years after their predecessors. It's the first direct sequel to a Pokemon game, and will be released for the DS, but will include 3DS enhancements via an augmented reality game, Pokemon Dream Radar that will allow you to capture and import Pokemon into your games. Nintendo will also release Pokedex 3D Pro which will provide comprehensive information on every known Pokemon.
Overall, it was a surprising amount of information to come so closely on the heels of E3, but saving a good amount of news until after the flood of the conference may prove to be a wise strategy. This way, Nintendo was able to focus on letting the Wii U and Nintendo Land shine, without overshadowing it with breaking news about hardware that will hit the market before the end of the summer. Also, if Nintendo continues releasing news via Nintendo Direct streams, it's likely that fans won't have to wait months and months for new information from a company that's usually pretty tight lipped, and that's always a good thing.
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