Nintendo kicked off its Media Summit this morning with a quick preview of its next mascot-filled baseball title, now known as Mario Super Sluggers. Nintendo of America's Bill Trinen walked the gathered press through a single inning—much speedier than the real life thing—featuring the Mario Firebats team taking on the Peach Royals. Like Mario Strikers Charged, Mario Super Sluggers uses a similar coach character team set up, with second string Nintendo characters like Shy Guy and Baby Mario covering the field while the player handles pitching duties.
Mario Super Sluggers uses a control scheme built on the foundation of Wii Sports baseball, with only Wii Remote gestures required to play. With Mario as his pitcher, Trinen demoed the game's controls, using Wii-mote swinging to throw fastballs, curveballs and, naturally, fireballs. Twists of the remote during your swing allows for curveballs, with a properly timed swing—performed just as a set of glowing rings centres on your character—adding extra heat to the ball.
Power moves can be pulled of with an A+B button combination, when charged.
Fielding appeared to be largely controlled by the game's AI, with a shake of the Wii Remote making your fielder sprint to the ball. Throwing to a baseman requires just a simple toss. A quick press of A will make your defensive player dive for the ball, for dramatic last second catches.
Batting used a similar control method, with a Wii Sports-like batting swing and timing for hits following the same ring indicator. Your character can use power-ups while at bat, with Mario delivering a flaming baseball to centre field, which Donkey Kong obviously dropped when caught.
Nintendo was light on details during the brief demo of Mario Super Sluggers, but it looks to follow previous Mario-themed sporting events, with guest appearances from a big number of Nintendo mainstays. We saw Mario, Luigi, Peach, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Daisy, Shy Guy, Monty Mole, and Donkey Kong—who opts for a boxing glove instead of a bat—in the line-up.
Mario Super Sluggers was described as one of Nintendo's "bridge games", one that is designed to appeal to the Wii Sports crowd, and looks to aim for accessibility for traditional non-gamers. No one will mistake it for anything resembling a sim, but it's clear Nintendo is going for an even more casual audience-friendly look and feel.
It doesn't appear that Nintendo will be offering hands-on time with the Mario Super Sluggers at the Media Summit, but we'll be asking more about details on the game while we're here.