The Nintendo E3 2012 conference was all about Wii U and its various first and third party titles, with a little about 3DS. Here’s the summary of all that went down.

The Opening and Pikmin 3
The conference kicked off with a little live action scene showing Shigeru Miyamoto interacting with the cute little Pikmin, followed by him coming on to the stage to a huge round of applause. Soon, an English translator came to Miyamoto’s aid as they both revealed the much anticipated title, Pikmin 3. Pikmin 3 made an extensive use of the Wii U GamePad to control the targeting reticule and the Pikmin themselves. Each group of Pikmin was led by a leader, and switching between the leaders was made easier than ever thanks to the GamePad’s touch screen. Some new actions were introduced, such as the Pikmins’ ability to tear down walls and other structures. The graphics were consistently impressive, with a great attention to detail visible in both the environment and the Pikmins themselves. The movements looked much more fluid and the intuitive controls promised an experience like no other.

Wii U features explained

Reggie Fils-Aime, the head of Nintendo America, carried the proceedings forward by first explaining the Wii U’s notably distinct features. The Wii U will supposedly use two separate GamePads for enhancing the gameplay of certain games. By supporting video clients like Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, Amazon Video and a host of other online features, Wii U looks to bring great changes to the gaming, social and entertainment fields.

Next in the spotlight was the Miiverse. The Miiverse is the new social network for Wii U. The first thing you see when you switch the console is the Miiverse “main street”, a visual representation of sorts of your social contacts. All your friends appear as customised avatars, called Miis, on your screen. They gather around icons of specific titles which show trending Nintendo games as well as games that your individual friends are playing. It even allows you to send messages, or send personalised messages which can be created using the Wii U’s stylus.

New Super Mario Bros U

The first title showcased for the Wii U was the New Super Mario Bros U. It highlighted the four player co-op and the vibrant visuals, with the game looking charming and impressive. The Miiverse is integrated into it, with the comments of players displayed in real time in-game. Players can leave helpful tips, or even brag about their scores or timings.

It was also announced that advantages pertaining to Wii U’s hardware will currently be evident only on Nintendo published titles, but efforts are being made to utilise it on some third party titles too.

Batman Arkham City Armored Edition

Martin Tremblay, President of Warner Bros. Interactive, came up on stage to reveal the enhanced version of Batman Arkham City, designed specifically to exploit Wii U’s capabilities. Both Batman and Catwoman had much enhanced and visibly hardened armor sets. Some unique features up for display were the ability to control Batarangs with Wii U’s gyroscope and accelerometer, direct access to Batman’s inventory and upgrades menu on the GamePad, and even scanning for evidence using the GamePad.
Reid Schneider, Vice President of WB Games Montreal, (responsible for developing Armored Edition) explained some further features available exclusively on Wii U.
The B 18 mode, which allows Batman to deal more damage as his metre is filled, can be directly accessed from the GamePad, and so can the gadget menu. The GamePad can also be used to highlight and set off Batman’s planted explosives. Overall, the slick presentation and visuals combined with the impressive gameplay elements are sure to make this one a must buy when it comes out for the Wii U.

Scribblenauts Unlimited

Next in line was the new entry in the popular Scribblenauts series, which is being brought to the Wii U under the name Scribblenauts Unlimited. It features gorgeous HD visuals, along with some added features such as the ability to draw your creations instead of writing their description (as done in the previous titles), share your creations with friends, and even an added multiplayer.

With these first party titles revealed, a bevy of third party titles soon to be released on the Wii U were also revealed : Darksiders 2 (THQ), Mass Effect 3 (Bioware), Tank! Tank! Tank! (Namco Bandai Games), Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Namco Bandai Games), Trine 2 : Director’s Cut (Frozenbyte Oy), and Ninja Gaiden : Razor’s Edge (Tecmo).

Wii Fit U

The Wii Fit U was also announced. It monitors the player’s performance and offers stats on the mini-screen.  All the mini-games on screen feed your calorie burning stats into the game and you can compete to lose more with other members of your household. And if someone else is watching TV, there are Wii Fit U games that just use the GamePad.

SiNG (Working Title)

SiNG is a new performance game, where everyone plays. It is currently a working title. It allows the players to sing and dance. The lyrics are displayed on the GamePad, encouraging everyone to sing along.

3DS Presentation

Scott Moffitt, Excutive VP of Sales and Marketing at Nintendo of America Inc., came on stage to shift the conference from Wii U to 3DS, announcing some 3DS games to be released, while also letting the audience know that on June 6th, 6pm Pacific, Nintendo would be doing a full one hour live webcast dedicated to 3DS games.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

The New Super Mario Bros 2 is different from the Wii U game. Here, it’s all about the gold. Collecting gold coins is the primary objective, and more can be generated by your actions. At one point, even Mario turns to gold. The game’s release date was revealed to be 19 Aug, 2012.

Paper Mario Sticker Star

A new Paper Mario was announced for the 3DS, titled Sticker Star. The whole world here is plastered with stickers. Players can choose a variety of stickers, such as a shoe sticker to stomp enemies. Stickers can be removed from environment, and added to the inventory displayed in the second screen. The stickers can also be used to “escape dangers, and complete objectives.” The game comes out this holiday season.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

The new Luigi’s Mansion game was also revealed. This time around, Luigi has multiple mansions, each with its own mission-based challenges. There’s a new heavier emphasis on ghost catching – and there are new types of spooks, all requiring different ghost-capturing tactics. That one’s coming out at Christmas, too.

Soon after the first-party lineup was introduced, a quick video showed a list of third party titles soon to hit the 3DS, including Castlevania : Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, Disney Epic Mickey : Power of Illusion, Scribblenauts Unlimited, and  Kingdom Hearts 3D : Dream Drop Distance.

LEGO City: Undercover

This one’s exactly like GTA, except it’s for kids. Beautiful 3d LEGO graphics highlight this video filled with on-foot chases, vehicle sections, acrobatics and wall jumps, and even a good dose of kung fu! The GamePad is being used as a ‘crime solving tool’ to intercept call dispatches, scan clues and more. You can even don various disguises to make your job easier. No release date was revealed, yet it looks really impressive.

A portable version was also announced to be in the works for 3DS.

Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, took the centrestage to shed some light on some of the Ubisoft titles to be released on Wii U. He mentioned Rayman Legends and Zombi U on the Wii U, mentioning how Ubisoft’s vision aligns with that of Nintendo.

Just Dance 4

Ubisoft’s Xavier Poix came on stage to show off Just Dance 4, the brand new dance title. You can dance as a team, selecting moves on the GamePad, like a live choreography. One player is the dance master and the others follow in his footsteps. Literally.

Zombi U

Next up for display was Zombi U, a dark action adventure that lets you use the GamePad as an inventory, as a scanner for detecting zombies, and also for hacking doors, at which point the number pad of the door is displayed on the Gamepad. Of course, it can be turned into a sniper scope using the GamePad’s accelerometer, so you move the GamePad around to target enemies on your TV screen. From what was shown, the game looks amazingly atmospheric and tense with some terrific visuals.

Nintendo Land

NintendoLand was also revealed, which is essentially the new Wii Sports. Katsuya Eguchi, the Wii U software producer at Nintendo Japan, showed off the game. It’s a sort of theme park where your Miis can go and try out attractions. So, it’s Wii Sports meets Disneyland. There are 12 attractions in the game, each themed around a classic Nintendo franchise – e.g., Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, etc. You can visit the park with other players or go it alone. The game also connects with Miiverse to create a sort of global social theme park. It looks like an interesting (albeit a bit complex) addition to the Wii U.

A little more on the Asymmetric Gameplay Feature supported by the Wii U

It was explained that one player with a GamePad can take on a special role when playing with other friends who have Wii Remotes. In the Luigi’s Ghost Mansion attraction, the player with the GamePad will be able to direct the scary experiences others have as they explore the environment.

The Wii Remote players have to work together to survive. The GamePad players see all the other players on the game screen, but the Wii Remote players can’t see the ghost who the GamePad player is controlling. The Wii Remotes rumble when the invsible ghost is near. Players will need to co-operate, telling each other when they’re rumbling, to get the ghost. They then use their torches to ‘burn’ the ghost.

The conference finally came to an end with a little speech by Eguchi explaining how Wii U will connect people where similar technologies have divided people, with each person being busy with his/her own gadget.  “Families in the same room, today distracted by their personal devices, will soon be interacting together,” said Reggie.

So what are your thoughts on the Nintendo conference? Loved it? Not so much? And what do you have to say about Nintendo Wii U, its games, its features? Sound off below.

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