Nintendo without a doubt dropped the bombshell of this year’s E3 with the unveiling of their new console, officially named the WiiU. Rumors were flying weeks before today’s announcement about HD graphics and a touch screen controller, but I’m not sure anybody could have really expected what Nintendo unveiled.
An HD console that is backwards compatible with all Wii software and hardware is good news to be sure, but perhaps the most surprising part of the the WiiU is not that it is backwards compatable, but backwards complimenting. During the conference Nintendo showed players playing Wii golf with their Wii motes but also with the WiiU controller on the ground. On the over 6 inch large touch screen was a golf ball sitting on the ground, adding a new feature to old software is almost unheard of, and it will be interesting to see what else Nintendo does just in that department.
Perhaps the next biggest surprise was Nintendo’s unveil of strong hardcore third party support for a system that is at least another year away. The recently announced Darksiders 2, Ninja Gaiden 3, and Metro: Last Light will both be launch titles for the WiiU, without a doubt shocking gamers myself included. All of those games are aimed at the hardcore gamers, and I don’t think anybody could have anticipated such 3rd party support giving Nintendo’s bad track record with 3rd party developers in the past. A game that has been missing in action for some time now, Aliens: Colonial Marines, also made a surprising appearance, as did the announcement of Ghost Recon Online and Assassins Creed making an appearance on WiiU. EA CEO John Riccitiello made an appearance on stage as well, announcing how excited he was for Nintendo’s new console and announcing a strong partnership with Nintendo. There was even an incredibly small teaser for an HD Zelda title running on the system, with the map and inventory running on the WiiU controller, leaving the TV wide open for gorgeous HD visuals. Sadly nothing was announced, but even the tease of a gorgeous realistic looking Zelda title is sure to excite Nintendo fans everywhere.
Sadly this is all a year away, but thankfully Nintendo showed some nice trailers for upcoming Nintendo 3DS titles, including Mario Kart, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Luigi’s Mansion 2. While this was nice, the WiiU definitely stole the show. There are numerous possibilities with such a new device, but it will be up to 3rd party developers to take full advantage of the systems interesting capabilities. If they can manage to do that, and Nintendo can continue to draw 3rd party support from publishers such as THQ and EA, the WiiU will be an incredible machine indeed.