Nintendo fired the starter’s gun on Tokyo Game Show season with the 3DS Conference 2011, announcing a pink 3DS, Monster Hunter 4, a new Fire Emblem, and more.
AT A GLANCE
Skyward Sword to last up to 100 hours.
Misty Pink 3DS announced.
Upgrades to 3DS system features due soon.
Fire Emblem, Bravely Default, and Monster Hunter 4 announced.
Kid Icarus: Uprising delayed into 2012.
Super Mario Land 3D, Paper Mario, Mario Tennis and Mario Kart 7 showcased.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The conference began with a live orchestral swell, which cut to a gorgeous cinematic apparently from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Link was seen in free fall before summoning a large bird with a whistle and soaring away.
Famed designer Shigeru Miyamoto took to the stage wielding a Zelda-branded sword and shield, which he slotted into a special stand in the middle of the stage.
Miyamoto discussed Zelda’s 25th anniversary, mentioning the ongoing concert series, and showed off a DSiWare remake of Four Swords, the GameBoy Advance game.
Retrieving his arms, Miyamoto demonstrated some classic combat moves, slicing, thrusting, blocking, and holding the sword aloft, making mention of how important timing and precision are.
Swapping the sword and shield for a WiiMote Plu and nunchuk, Miyamoto introduced a video reel of Skyward Sword, which he commented would take players between 50 and 100 hours to complete, and has been in development for five years with a team of 100.
We saw Link falling, swimming, visiting, towns, and fighting a variety of enemies. Link’s blocks, thrusts and slices were used in different ways to bypass each monster’s unique defences.
We then saw a collection of the series’ famous tools – a fire hose, the griphook, the bow and arrow, and a new one, the beetle.
A roller coaster minecart sequence preceded a discussion of items and character interaction as well as a look at the pointer, which reveals secret areas and items.
A more complete demonstration of the flying sequences was followed by a look at some of the bosses – a four legged spider-like creature made of lava and a two-legged, headless giant with a leaf-like texture were shown.
After Miyamoto left the stage, a short 3DS show reel was played. Mario Kart, Kid Icarus, Tekken all made appearances.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata then appeared before the crowd and bowed deeply to an eerie silence. His professional and stern focus seemed a deep contrast to Miyamoto’s easy cheer.
Iwata began by discussing how the Wii still has plenty of life in it: highlighting upcoming release Dragon Quest X, Just Dance Wii, Go Vacation, a new Kirby, a Namco bandai Taiko drumming title, Skyward Sword, a Dragon Quest mini-game compilation, and a new PokéPark game called PokéPark 2: Beyond the World. That last one is due on Wii this quarter.
He made special note of the Skyward Sword special edition with gold WiiMote and concert series soundtrack CD.
The pink 3DS and gender breakdown chart; the latter with thanks to Engadget.
Moving on to the 3DS, Iwata showed a chart relating to gender adoption. The 3DS is lagging behind both the Wii and 3DS in terms of female consumers, and in response to this, Iwata cut to a reveal of a new colour for the system.
A part of a campaign to interest Japanese women in the system, Nintendo announced a new “Misty Pink” version for release on October 20, and later in the conference, showed off a couple of “girl’s” games. Ahem. Looks like the chart may have addressed the system’s gender balance.
Iwata revealed a number of software upgrades heading to the system soon – improved 3D video capture, an overhauled eShop, and changes to the Mii Plaza. No date or further details were given, but we may get them in press releases this week.
Iwata then showed a video of Super Mario 3D Land, the first core Mario release for the system, heretofore untitled. Played from a side-scrolling perspective, the game features 3D movement as players dodge in and out the screen
Mario Kart 7 was up next, complete with kart customisation and global online multiplayer, with racers represented by their Miis in lobbies.
Moving on, we got a look at Mario Tennis and Paper Mario, which looked fairly similar to their most recent incarnations. Both are due in 2012. followed by Luigi’s Mansion 2.
3DS line up
Having dealt with Mario, Iwata then shifted to 2012 releases. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games was the next title to be shown, followed by the Animal Crossing 3DS. Iwata made special note of the game’s WiFi-enabled features.
The president then asked us to watch a video. It was a very odd affair, with strongly-featured Miis in some kind of machinima love drama, and an eerie wedding photograph with Mii faces superimposed on real people. Brr. Apparently called Tomodachi (friend) Collection, it’s not entirely clear what the game in question was, but it seemed to be part of Nintendo’s lady-friendly line up, ahem, which also included Girl’s Mode, otherwise known as Style Savvy.
Here’s a photo taken from inside the press conference by Yoshinori Ono. He’s sitting next to Tekken creator Katsuhiro Harada.
A cool soccer title was shown next, with neat, almost 8-bit graphics, network play and community features, and a similarly-featured strategy board game and card battle hybrid, also with network play.
Next up was a horror game using the 3D camera, and then a new Fire Emblem game was revealed. The turn-based strategy game looked gorgeous, with battles enacted in full 3D.
Iwata left the stage briefly as a video was shown of Omega Force’s next outing on the 3DS: Dynasty Warriors Versus. It wasn’t clear if the four-player competitive multiplayer is online or adhoc only.
A Square Enix logo preceded the next video, which showed Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, a gorgeously animated RPG which is exclusive to the 3DS and will utilise its AR capacities.
A pair of Gundam titles were next on screen: Gundam Age, and SD Gundam G Generation 3D .
A Hatsune Miku rhythm title, Project Mirai, turned up next. Players will be able to host AR concerts, which is kind of cool.
Of more interest to the core, Resident Evil Revelations appeared briefly, before the announce of Ace Combat 3D: Cross Rumble from Project Aces.
Sticking with Namco Bandai, Tekken 3D: Prime Edition showed up, before switching gears with Theatrhythm and a Dragon Quest: Slime Rocket title.
A new Level-5 game was revealed: Girl’s RPG. It had a very pink logo. After discussion of a new LovePlus game, Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater was mentioned, rounding off Konami’s offerings.
Iwata spent some time showing off Kid Icarus: Uprising, before revealing a delay into the first quarter of 2012. No reason was given for the delay, but Iwata said the team would use the time to improve its quality.
As part of the title’s promotions, three major animation studios – Production I.G., Studio 4C and Shaft – will create short Kid Icarus videos playable on the 3DS, which will be released worldwide.
Iwata closed his presentation by reiterating earlier comments on the system’s soon-to-be upgraded features and introducing a mysterious cinematic.
An underwater scene with some ugly fish was baffling at first, before the Capcom logo made everything clear: We were looking at Monster Hunter 3 G, the recently-revealed 3DS revamp of Monster Hunter Tri, which was the first to include underwater sequences.
Monster Hunter has been something of a killer app for the PSP in Japan, thanks to the popularity of the game’s multiplayer, so Ninhtendo gave it plenty of screen time. Several minutes of gameplay footage showed impressively detailed graphics and rapid combat.
The game’s producer arrived on stage to applause. The game’s release date was given as December 10, 2011, alongside the second circle pad peripheral, which was confirmed late last week.
Capcom then debuted its next project: Monster Hunter 4, apparently destined for the 3DS alone.
A video was shown of the new game, this time a sequence rather than a disconnected sizzle reel – although it clearly wasn’t a live demonstration, and had been heavily edited. A burly warrior stumbled across a large, wingless, dragon-like creature, and wisely fled. The dragon pursued the player, and he was seen climbing over cliffs and jumping over ravines to escape.
On the other side, a winged monster attacked, and the two monsters faced off before the dragon tumbled from a cliff, and the player began to flee his second opponent before we cut to the game’s logo.
Iwata bowed twice before leaving the stage to audience applause, and a second 3DS sizzle reel was shown, this time featuring footage from many of the newly revealed titles.
After the stream finished, Nintendo aired a series of new, extended commercials for Monster Hunter 3 G, presented by the Gatchaman (Battle of the Planets) characters. They’re pretty odd.