Nintendo’s new IP Codename: STEAM arrives on 3DS next year

Thursday, 12th June 2014 02:53 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Nintendo announced new property Codename: STEAM at an E3 2014 event tonight.


A turn-based strategy with third-person shooter action elements, Codename: STEAM was developed by Intelligent Systems, the Nintendo studio behind Fire Emblem, Advance Wars and Paper Mario.

The new property is set to launch on 3DS in 2015, and boasts a cel-shaded, steampunk aesthetic which seems to be influenced by Silver Age comic books, and has been compared to Valkyria Chronicles. Set in London – isn’t all Steampunk? – it stars a character named Henry Fleming, who is caught up in a mysterious invasion by creatures from outer space.

The task force the player takes control of was put together by Abraham Lincoln, for some reason, to combat the alien threat. Our excited correspondent’s notes aren’t entirely clear, but there seems to be something called the Devastator involved. The enemies are original designs but inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, so expect a Cthulhian feel, but with a twist – all the enemies are ice elementals.

Described as similar to XCOM but viewed from a third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective, Codename: STEAM gives players a limited number of actions per character per turn. The number of actions remaining to a given character is shown by a gauge filled with steam (of course).

Players can move about the map freely to the limits of their steam gauge, but they don’t have to commit to an action until they’re ready – or they’re spotted by an enemy. If spotted, the amount of steam used so far is considered depleted, and players must decide how to utilise their remaining actions. There is no undo button.

The final size of the party has not been locked down but Nintendo expects it to be four. So far only Henry and a second character, John, have been named, but a party of four was demonstrated, and nine characters have been created with the possibility of more to come. Characters shown included both men and women, of a variety of ages, races and body types, as well as more fantastic options like a lion. Sweet. Each character is unique and many have an animal motif on their weapons and equipment representing their personality and abilities.

Nintendo said it wanted to make a turn-based game that was less intimidating than competing titles, with fewer HUD elements and a more intimate camera. In this way it hopes to expand the audience for strategy games.

As such, there’s no minimap or compass to distract you from the action. Instead, players can switch between the viewpoints of different characters to get a sense of the map’s layout. Hint boxes on the map will help players target weak points and embrace other tactical advantages offered by the verticality of the terrain. By juggling movement, attacks and overwatch states, players can control the battlefield.

Unlike Fire Emblem, which is known as a pretty hardcore series, Codename: STEAM will be quire user-friendly. A series of checkpoints will allow players to save their team’s status, or spend medals to restore health and steam. Medals will not be available via microtransactions.

The presentation was led by Hitoshi Yamagami, who apologised for not being Shigeru Miyamoto – the man behind the vast majority of Nintendo’s most successful properties, and who is apparently involved in the creation of the new IP. Paul Patraschcu will serve as creative director and Takako Sakai is the art director; both were in attendance.

Nintendo is not allowing photography or video to be taken at the event. Watch this space for assets and more details if and when they emerge. The image above is a placeholder taken from Eddie Mendoza’s art blog.

This is the project Nintendo trademarked recently, by the way.



  1. dr_carter

    Here are some screenshots from the game:

    #1 7 months ago
  2. dreamcastnews

    I wonder how many watched the reveal of a big 3DS project hoping it was Metroid / F-Zero / Zelda Majora’s Mask and came out disappointed that it was actually new IP…..

    #2 7 months ago
  3. TheWulf

    I’m actually glad it’s not Metroid, to be honest. After Metroid: “THE BAYBEE!” I’d rather Nintendo have a cooling off period, and a cold shower, before handing the IP back to Retro Studios, who’re the only people who’ve treated Samus with any degree of respect since the 16-bit era. Fusion wasn’t too bad, I guess, but she was still woefully subservient and submissive.

    Considering that Samus has, post Retro Studios, become fap material for creepy fanboys whose views of women are grossly regressive and mentally unsound, I don’t want anyone but Retro Studios to handle her. What amazes me though is that there are so many people who felt that Samus was emotionless in Prime, which is only true if you’ve the observational capacities of a hyperactive tween.

    In Prime, there were plenty of moments — reaction and body language — where Samus made her feelings quite, quite clear. In Prime 2, this was especially notable when she went up against Dark Samus. Furthermore, the Prime series actually made something interesting of the space pirates, giving them their own world and culture. They were about the darker side of transhumanism, when you have conceited, self-abosrbed people who’re only enthused about their own, personal evolution and improvement rather than that of everyone else as well.

    They were interestingly narcissistic and their hubris was present in the logs about them. It made them much more interesting than the mindless beasts in prior Metroid games. Then, in Metroid: “THE BAYBEE!” they became mindless beasts again, referred to as ‘Zebesians’ despite Zebes not actually being their homeworld.


    But yeah, Samus was fun to get into the mind of and actually be her, figuring out her motivations, being introspective as she might have, and just trying to figure out what was up with her. It made for a more interesting character than the servile mess who constantly needed a man to make up for her shortcomings that we were presented with in Metroid: “THE BAYBEE!

    So… no. No more Metroid for Nintendo for a while. >:I Just let Metroid sit for a bit, then quietly let the development rights return to Retro Studios.

    #3 7 months ago
  4. Joe Musashi

    @2 Some of us entertained the possibility of it being a new IP in the first place.


    #4 7 months ago
  5. ManuOtaku

    I like it, new ip, i love steampunk, great first party developer, and rts, whats not to like. Although i would had prefer if this was for wiiu.

    #5 7 months ago
  6. dreamcastnews

    @4 Sadly, many didn’t across various forums I visited this week.

    #6 7 months ago

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