Today’s Nintendo Direct livestream shows that the company is taking the future of its new console very seriously. There was a bit of worry there, since Nintendo is somewhat famous for botching big launches, but after a couple of months of letting the Wii U‘s launch titles support the system, Nintendo came out with guns blazing today. Wii U owners have a lot of new games and features to look forward to, with Nintendo proving that it isn’t simply going to sit back and let its famous name move units.
Let’s recap just a few of the games that were revealed during the livestream. Nintendo will be releasing an HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker later this year, and even though a handful of fans probably scoffed at such a re-released, the company also said that it has an all new Zelda game in development for the console. We’ve also heard of a new Mario adventure to look forward to, along with a new Mario Kart release, both of which will be showcased at E3. We saw an exciting gameplay trailer from The Wonderful 101, Xenoblade Chronicles developer Monolift Soft has a new game in development, and Nintendo and Atlus are joining forces to bring us Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem (which sounds totally awesome).
There were more than those titles announced for the Wii U, but you get the idea – as far as new games go, Nintendo hit it out of the park today. The Nintendo Direct livestream didn’t stop at just new games, however, with Nintendo also revealing new features for the console, like a version of Virtual Console made specifically for the Wii U, and the ability to access MiiVerse on your phone. If you’re a Wii U owner, I have a feeling that your purchase was validated today.
Keep in mind that the Wii U is only a couple months old. At this point in the lifespan of the 3DS, there wasn’t all that much to look forward to. Gamers had Super Mario 3D Land and ports like Star Fox 64 3D and Ocarina of Time 3D on the way, but that was mostly it as far as notable first-party titles from the big N. While the 3DS is doing great these days and has a number of excellent games to offer players, the first few months of the handheld’s life weren’t very exciting.
Contrast that with the Wii U environment at present moment, and it almost seems like Nintendo has done a 180. Nintendo has wasted no time getting up in front of the camera and showing off games that get players excited. Remember when Nintendo had just launched the 3DS and Reggie Fils-Aime was making the rounds to talk about what an excellent game Steel Diver was? There was none of that nonsense today, with Iwata introducing a strong lineup of games that players will want to own.
For a while there, it seems that Nintendo was simply counting on the company’s name to sell handhelds and consoles. Release the console, make promises of a new Mario game, and it’ll sell like hotcakes. We did hear some Mario news today, sure, but there were also a number of good looking third-party titles that have nothing to do with the plumber. The Wii U will live or die by its third-party support, and I was pleased as punch to see so many third-party titles show up in Iwata’s presentation.
If Nintendo can get that kind of support to stick around, then it has nothing to worry about when Microsoft and Sony launch their next consoles. Make no mistake, though, Nintendo is going to be at a disadvantage when those new consoles launch, but instead of just letting the Wii U fester while the name brings in sales, Nintendo is going all in. This attention is just what the Wii U will need to flourish, so here’s hoping that this strong start continues and ultimately turns into a strong life. Keep it up, Nintendo, and your legions of fans will shower you in money.