Much like the 3DS, the Wii U has had a bit of a slow start. Despite claims from Nintendo that theyâ€™d learnt from their mistakes, since the consoleâ€™s release in November, thereâ€™s been little to no news of new games or features. Early adopters have little more than the gimmicky Nintendo Land and the mediocre ZombiU to tide them over but it seems things are about to change. The most recent of the companyâ€™s spontaneous Nintendo Directs has caught the world unprepared with an explosion of Wii U news thatâ€™s sure to please even the mostÂ skepticalÂ of Nintendo fans.
First up is the announcement of an HD remake of the GameCube classic The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Itâ€™s been made clear that this wonâ€™t just be a re-release though, the graphics have been revamped and thereâ€™s the potential for some more significant changes. Iâ€™m sure that Iâ€™m not alone in hoping that the long lost final dungeon, removed from the original due to time restraints, will make an appearance. It may be a long shot but Nintendo tend to go all out when remaking their most beloved franchises. It wonâ€™t be long until we find out either. An August release date has been set, and during a season that usually has very few big name games, it could become a major selling point for the console.
The other heavy hitters you expect from Nintendo have been conspicuously absent so far, but have now been confirmed for this yearâ€™s E3. A 3D Mario, both versions of Smash Bros. and Mario Kart were all announced and confirmed for the show. If enough is shown of them, this could easily be the companyâ€™s best show in years and theyâ€™ll need it too, with the next generation PlayStation and Xbox sure to also make an appearance. Any of these games could be a system seller and although they may be a long way off, just knowing theyâ€™re in development is reassuring.
One of more surprising inclusions in the landslide of announcements was that there will be a new RPG from Monolith Soft, the makers of critically acclaimed Xenoblade Chronicles. Although not officially stated, it looks most likely to be a continuation of the Xenoblade series. The first game was shining example of a great console JRPG, so good in fact, it inspired Operation Rainfall, an entire movement just to bring the game west. The short trailer suggests there will be a similar battle system and the graphics look stunning, so it seems that Monolithâ€™s strong track record is likely to continue.
The Wii Uâ€™s Virtual Console has also been dated for this April, so access to retro Nintendo games will once again be available, but this news comes as a surprise to few. However, the price point of games has caused some confusion and ruffled more than a few feathers. Games will cost the same as they did on the Wiiâ€™s virtual console and games previously bought from there can be transferred over, with an optional Â£1/$1 fee to unlock Wii U functionality such as the Miiverse. Nintendo have stressed that this is completely optional, the games will still work regardless, but many fans feel theyÂ shouldn’tÂ have to pay anything for a game they already own.
Other games were also mentioned, including a new Yoshi game from the makers of Kirbyâ€™s Epic Yarn and a Fire Emblem/Shin Megami Tensei crossover which is sure to be huge in Japan, but the news of a new Zelda is what caught most peopleâ€™s attention. Although very little information was given, the small amounts that did leak through speak volumes. Nintendo have taken a back to basics approach, â€œrethinking the conventions of Zeldaâ€, stating an interest in changing the dungeon structure and possibly the single-player only nature of the series. They were also keen to note that the graphics will not be in the same style as the demo shown at E3 2011 which may be a disappointment for those looking for a darker, more realistic Zelda.
By opening their doors to show whatâ€™s in store for the Wii U, Nintendo have completely turned the consoleâ€™s prospectsÂ around. From fading into the background in the eyes of hardcore gamers, to a must have in a matter of minutes, it has to be said thatÂ they’veÂ done a good job. Whether the promise of these Nintendo classics will be delivered is yet to be seen, any one of them could stumble and fall, but for now the futureâ€™s looking a whole lot brighter.