What did last week's Nintendo Direct mean for gamers?
On Wednesday during Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced a series of games that gamers never thought possible, at least as of now. Taking them by shock, gamers were confounded as to why Nintendo would make, not one, not two, but multiple announcements that they could've used at E3. A new Zelda game getting detailed a bit, a Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei cross over, a Zelda HD remake, and more?! Even I'm still recovering from the shock! However, despite what gamers might say, Nintendo knows what it's doing most of the time and this move should come as no surprise. So what did this event mean for Nintendo? The following is my take.
What's important is the games, don't you agree? In order to understand why Nintendo made these announcements we have to understand what game announcements they made and why so. Let's take a look at Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem and Monolith Soft's X. While it's uncertain as to what type of game SMTxFE is going to be it's most likely going to be some sort of RPG. The same can be said for X considering what was shown in the trailer. Nintendo is trying to obviously appeal to the RPG fans. Before the next-gen consoles for Sony and Microsoft are revealed, Nintendo wants to firmly grasp on to, specifically, JRPG fans in both the West and East. "The Wii U is going to have awesome JRPG games!" Simple message, right?
There's more that could be said about SMTxFE. SMT and Fire Emblem are established franchises in Japan with a large fanbase. By claiming these titles for the next generation, fans will jump at the opportunity to play their favorite series on the Wii U. What's more, the new game is a cross over featuring the two series. Crossing over franchises has been a trend as of late and it's no surprise that Fire Emblem and SMT ended up being on the same game. To those who enjoy both series, this is a blessing. Nintendo is obviously capitalizing on the fans' dedication and loyalty to the series.
X looks amazing and despite what people might say about the Wii U not being next-gen, the game is an absolute visual wonder. The trailer captures the current graphical prowess that Monolift Soft can utilize from the Wii U and flaunts it to its gamers. The trailer wants to entice players not just because of what games the studio has previously created but because this new title for the next-gen looks amazing. Nintendo wants players to jump aboard the next-gen ship and they want you to choose the Wii U. After that trailer, even I'm hooked.
Of course, that's not all that Nintendo revealed. Two Zelda games were revealed, one new and one old. The Wind Waker, originally released for the Nintendo Gamecube, was getting a HD update for the Wii U. The unique cel-shading style looked fantastic on the original system but now players can enjoy it on the Wii U. This is the first major HD remastering that Nintendo has announced and they chose to lead with Zelda. Why? First of all, The Wind Waker was one of the most beautiful looking games at the time and was extremely well-received by critics as well as fans. It was honestly the first choice. With The Wind Waker HD, Nintendo is proving to its fanbase that they are capable of creating HD remasters of some of their old titles and is open to doing more in the future. I mean... if this means a possible Metroid Prime HD, I'm all for it.
What about the new Zelda? Nintendo announced a while back that they would be making a new Zelda game for the Wii U - pretty obvious, right? Franchise producer, Eiji Aonuma, pointed out how they wanted to change how Zelda played even further from Skyward Sword. While there weren't any screenshots or other piece of media depicting how the game would look, Aonuma greatly focused on redefining typical Zelda conventions such as the completion order of dungeons. Just like how Skyward Sword changed combat in Zelda, the Wii U Zelda aims to change how we interact the various conventions we came to know and love in the past. Nintendo wants us to get eager for this new Zelda title not because it's different but because they too are excited for it.
There were announcements that new games were coming in the future but Nintendo also teased Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U. Specifically, they mentioned there will be news about the game at E3. Nintendo already made big announcements for their systems, why are they holding back? If you know how to play a good game of cards you should know that unveiling your entire hand, or plan, is never a good thing. While Nintendo wants to draw in new players to their new console and keep their current ones interested, they're also concerned with making sure Sony and Microsoft know that they have a tough fight ahead of them. If gamers are riled up after these announcements and that wasn't even all of it, imagine when E3 comes and Nintendo announces even more amazing news.
Beyond the games, Nintendo is also promising to make some software updates to the Wii U making it feel smoother when using its interface. In addition, Nintendo is seeking to make its hardware more appealing by adding new Miiverse features. Obviously Nintendo isn't telling the world what they're planning to do with the system entirely but this sneak peek is a good appetizer for what might be in store for the future. It shows that Nintendo is willing to put their all into the Wii U.
Most importantly, what does this series of announcements mean for Nintendo as a whole. While it's important to analyze the bits and pieces, it's good to see the bigger picture. Earlier I mentioned Nintendo not revealing everything and them being aware of Sony and Microsoft. There's no doubt that Sony and Microsoft's new consoles will be the big focus at this year's E3, assuming it's ready for show. If this is the case then it's easy for Nintendo to be overshadowed by their competitors. Despite how awesome the games may be, hardware is usually given more attention. Nintendo wants to avoid their announcements getting swept up during this mess.
Nintendo additionally wants to spread out their announcements by removing some of what they could've said at E3 to what they did this week. After all, they teased the new Smash Bros. for E3. It's clear that they have something to show at E3 and while it'd be cool if they bombard gamers everywhere with a dozen game announcements, I believe it works better if they spread them out. It gives the games more focus and rather than being overwhelmed, we can savor each bit of news we get.
In short, I believe this week's news is only a piece of what to expect from Nintendo. We're getting a glimpse of what the company has to offer with the Wii U and they're teasing us bits at a time. It's a great tactic and I think gamers will be excited to hear a constant steady stream of news rather than all at once and don't hear anything for a while. Once again, Nintendo knows what it's doing and I have faith that what they did this week is only the beginning.