24 Jan

Nintendo dominated all trending conversation and news traffic this morning with their latest Nintendo Direct Conference, in which a future both immediate and relatively distant was laid out for the company’s Wii U console. The entirety of the announcements – even those not concerning a remake of Wind Waker – can be found after the jump.

Starting off the conference, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced the Spring launch of the Wii U’s Virtual Console. Arriving with a select batch of NES and SNES games re-designed for use on the GamePad controller, the Virtual Console will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Famicon’s release in Japan with six monthly game releases at $.30 a piece (listed below). One of two major updates will launch alongside the Virtual Console, with the second planned for the Summer. Both are designed to help lessen load times and improve system performance.

  • January: Balloon Fight
  • February: F-Zero
  • March: Punch Out! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • April: Kirby’s Adventure
  • May: Super Metroid
  • June: Yoshi
  • July: Donkey Kong

A Miiverse smartphone app was also announced by Iwata, also to launch in the Spring. The feature set of the core Miiverse will be expanded upon throughout 2013 with regular updates, some tied to specific games (like a Pikmin 3 camera and isolated Wii Fit U discussion communities). Usability improvements and a filtering system were also confirmed as in the works for the social network.

Onto the game announcements. The makers of Kirby’s Epic Yarn have announced a new game starring a stylishly similar version of Mario’s pet dino-thing Yoshi, the character’s first starring appearance since 1998’s Yoshi’s Story. A Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem crossover was teased from Atlus and Intelligent Systems, although little was displayed outside of a debut trailer. And although not much was shown in regards to a new 3D Mario title from the Galaxy team, new Super Smash Brothers, new Mario Kart and a new title from the makers of Wii Party, all were confirmed as playable entries in Nintendo’s show floor catalog for this year’s E3.

Trailers were also shown for The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, and the next (currently untitled) project from Monolith Soft, the makers of Xenoblade Chronicles. The next Legend of Zelda game was also discussed, although only to the extent of series producer Eiji Aonuma stating the game will operate under a new design philosophy and set aside long-standing conventions like solo play and linear dungeon crawling in order to “get back to basics.”

Speaking of Zelda, if all you knew of this morning’s conference was what you read across Twitter and Reddit, then Nintendo must have just spent thirty minutes discussing an HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker; boasting completely remastered graphics and gamepad-only functionality. A series of screenshots were unveiled, and can be found below.