Nintendo took a break from their regular Nintendo Direct announcement livestreams following the death of company president Satoru Iwata earlier this year. The broadcasts have returned with Nintendo of America President/loveable dork Reggie Fils-Aime at the helm, and man did they have some cool stuff to talk about.
Reggie began the broadcast (which you can watch in full above, it kicks off at the 22:45 mark) with a short message of thanks to fans who had sent condolences and well-wishes in the weeks following Iwata’s passing before moving on to his first big announcement.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)
Originally released in 2006 as a launch title for the Wii, and concurrently on the then-outgoing GameCube, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess will make its way to the Wii U next year with updated visuals and an amiibo of its own – Wolf Link.
The big news, for us at least, is that this is a major coup for the Australian games industry with Melbourne developer Tantalus, known for their ability to port various IPs across systems, tapped to handle the HD remaster from start to finish.
The Wolf Link amiibo features the Hero of Time in his lycanthropic form with the game’s partner Midna sitting on his back. The amiibo will be compatible not only with Twilight Princess but also with the as-yet unnamed Zelda U. It will also be compatible with the existing Toon Link, Zelda, Adult Link, Shiek and Ganondorf Smash Bros. amiibo figures.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD arrives March 4, 2016 on the Nintendo eShop for Wii U.
Reggie wasn’t done with the Zelda updates just yet however.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS)
Reggie threw to Treehouse host and NOA’s Senior Product Marketing Manager Bill Trinen talk about support for existing titles. Trinen started with the massive, free update coming to The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes. Called “The Den of Trials”, the update will include a mammoth 30-stage dungeon (compared to the usual four stages) and a pair of new costumes.
The update will release December 2 and will be free to all owners of Tri Force Heroes.
Splatoon (Wii U)
Nintendo’s third-person squad shooter Splatoon is also getting a bunch of new updates today with a tonne of new clothes and items, and the new map Museum d’ Alfonsino will arrive tomorrow. Trinen promised that Splatoon would see a steady stream of updates “until at least next January.”
Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Super Mario Maker has been doing incredibly well for Nintendo and there’s so much content out there that Nintendo have had to create an online filter to help you find the levels you want faster. The new search app will be available on supermariomaker.nintendo.com in December will and help players stratify their map requirements to make finding the sort of content they want to try out easier than ever. No more sifting through millions of crap levels to find the great ones!
Mario Tennis Ultra Smash (Wii U)
I’m a little bit partial to these sporty spin-off Nintendo titles – Mario Strikers Charged remains one of my favourite sports games ever – and Mario Tennis Ultra Smash looks to continue that tradition with a variety of modes and gruelling multiplayer action.
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
Nintendo’s current great RPG hope for the Wii U, Xenoblade Chronicles X, will finally make its way to the west later this month. To help fans prepare, Nintendo have made four pre-load packs available on the Nintendo eShop that will reduce load times and boost performance on the system. These include Basic Pack (2GB), Enemy Pack (2.7GB), Player Pack (3.6GB) and Skell Pack (1.7GB), but if you pre-order the game on the eShop, these packs will be downloaded automatically along with your game.
Xenoblade Chronicles X arrives December 4.
From there, the broadcast looked the future and the games arriving in early 2016.
Pokken Tournament (Wii U)
Good news, everyone! Pokken Tournament is totally coming to the Wii U and the west! A collaboration between The Pokemon Company and Tekken-series creators Bandai Namco, the game will be a Tekken-esque fighter starring a number of the world’s favourite pocket monsters. Fans have been hoping for a home version of the game ever since it was announced for Japanese arcades earlier this year.
If you pick up the game in its first run, you’ll get an amiibo card will get you the Shadow Mewtwo mega-evolution (but don’t worry if you miss out, you’ll still be able to unlock it in-game).
Star Fox Zero (Wii U)
I’m not even going to pretend I’m not super pumped for this game. The latest trailer attached to the broadcast shows off the most gameplay we’ve seen so far, including a comprehensive look at how the dual-screen nature of the controls will actually work. We’re not completely sold on this just yet, and while we know Nintendo are determined to get us using that Gamepad to its fullest, we hold out hope that they will also let us pilot the Arwing without the motion controls at all.
Trinen took us through a number of new Arwing variants, including the Walker form and Landmaster Tank we’ve seen before. The Landmaster can now transform into a flying vehicle itself, the Gravmaster, taking heavy munitions skyward. Also appearing, the Gyrowing, a stealth craft designed for infiltration missions under extreme duress. The Gyrowing can deploy a helper robot called Direct-i who will hack terminals and provide critical mission information.
Star Fox Zero will now release on April 22, 2016, a delay from its original late-November slot.
Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)
So stick with us because the situation with the new Fire Emblem is a little confusing. Fire Emblem Fates is being split up into three separate games – Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest tell either side of the same grand battle, but each is a complete game in and of itself. Picking up one will get you a significant discount on the other. The third part is an in-game download for either game called Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation.
For those who absolutely have to have all possible Fire Emblems at once, there is a pack coming that will compile all three games for one reduced price.
Fire Emblem Fates releases February 19, 2016 on 3DS.
Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow (3DS)
Aw yiss, the 90’s are back, you guys. All three games are coming to the Nintendo eShop as digital downloads, exactly as you remember them – but without the hassle of having to find a Game Boy link cable to trade with. Instead, you can just trade wirelessly, just like we always wished we could back in ’99.
All three games will be released on February 27, 2016, the same day the original Pokemon launched in Japan 20 goddamned years ago, if you can believe that horrifying statistic even for a moment because I certainly can’t. Holy crap, I’m old.
Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS)
One of the most surprising announcements of the broadcast was the addition of a new gender-swapped version of Link for Hyrule Warriors Legends on 3DS. Named Linkle and she dual-wields crossbows and is much more aerial than her male counterpart. This is a step in a very cool direction for Nintendo and I can’t wait to see how she plays.
Hyrule Warriors Legends releases March 22.
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (3DS)
It’s been a long wait for fans of the Dragon Quest series but Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past will finally make its way to the west on 3DS during the US summer of 2016 (that’s winter for us here in Aus). But I know you want more!
Dragon Question VIII: Journey of the Cursed King will also finally head west during 2016, though no release window has been cited for that just yet.
Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS
Holy crap, you guys!! Cloud Strife joins the fight! The legendary Final Fantasy VII character is coming to both versions of Super Smash Bros in both his classic and Advent Children film costumes AND he’ll be getting a level of his own set in the city of Midgar!
This was a pretty strong return for Nintendo Direct and we hope to see a lot more announcements like this heading into the new year. It’s great to see Nintendo getting back to business as usual after losing their leader. 2016 is looking good for fans of the Big N.