One Year Later, Did Nintendo Keep Its E3 2011 Promises?

For the fourth year in a row, we’re comparing E3 hype to gaming reality. Sony was the subject of our first investigation. Today we check out Nintendo and will follow with Microsoft’s E3 2011 promises tomorrow.

Nintendo had two, maybe three focuses at last year’s E3 press conference. The most obvious is the unveiling of the Wii U, as well as new developments and games for the 3DS. The other was an arguably even more powerful point, and that was driving home nostalgia.

Being a company that provided games, hardware and even iconic characters that many grew up on, nostalgia was a powerful source for the Japanese-based corporation. They tickled at your every memory with announcements of planned games for both the 3DS and Wii U. But it also made a few other promises. Which did it follow through with?

Nintendo 3DS Game Releases

The promise: The day of the conference, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening will be made available around the world on the newly launched eShop.
The verdict: Promise kept. The 3DS release was made available on June 7 of 2011.

The promise: The weekend after E3’s conclusion, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time will be released in 3D. It will come with Master Quest and Boss Challenge modes.
The verdict: Promises kept. Those with a 3DS could hop onto the Virtual Console to download an enhanced, 3D version of Ocarina of Time, new modes and all.

The promise: September will see the release of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for 4-player multiplayer on the DSi. It will be free, a gift from Nintendo.
The verdict: Promises kept… mostly. Four Swords released on September 28 internationally, and it was offered for free, but for a limited time.

The promise: Skyward Sword will release for 2011’s holiday season, on the Wii. Consumers will also be able to pick up a golden Wiimote as a promotional item in honour of the game’s release.
The verdict: Promise kept. Skyward Sword launched on November 20 in North America for the Wii console. If you forked over more money, you could get a bundle of the game that came packaged with the golden Wii remote, fully outfitted with Wii MotionPlus.

The promise: Mario Kart 7 will be released in the 2011 holiday time frame for the 3DS.
The verdict: Promise kept. Mario Kart 7 released on December 4 of 2011 in North America.

The promise: Star Fox 64 3D will release in September of 2011 on the 3DS and feature group play, where you can watch your friends’ expression as you defeat or lose to them.
The verdict: Promises kept. Star Fox 64 3D released on September 9, 2011, in North America. While the camera did capture your friends’ expressions while playing to portray on the game, it only featured local multiplayer options. No online.

The promise: Kid Icarus: Uprising will release on the 3DS later in 2011, with 3-on-3 multiplayer, and use augmented reality cards to conduct battles.
The verdict: Promise not fully kept. Though Kid Icarus: Uprising did feature multiplayer and battles initiated through augmented reality cards, the game was delayed until 2012.

The promise: Luigi’s Mansion 2 will be releasing on the 3DS, with several new mansions at your disposal.
The verdict: Promise not yet kept. Though not yet released, Nintendo never specified when Luigi and his vacuum would be returning.

The promise: Nintendo announced a stack of other 3DS games to come.

  • Super Mario 3D
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
  • Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics
  • Ace Combat 3D
  • Tetris
  • Cave Story 3D
  • Resident Evil: Revelations
  • Driver: Renegade
  • Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions
  • Tekken 3D
  • Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D

The verdict: Promises kept.

  • Super Mario 3D Land was released on November 13 2011 in North America.
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D was released on June 28 2011 in North America.
  • Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics was released on February 14 2012 in North America.
  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy was released on November 15 2011 in North America.
  • Tetris: Axis was released on October 2 2011 in North America.
  • Cave Story 3D was released on November 8 2011 in North America.
  • Resident Evil: Revelations was released on February 7 2012 in North America
  • Driver: Renegade 3D was released on September 6 2011 in North America.
  • Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions was released on July 26 2011 in North America.
  • Tekken 3D was released on February 14 2012 in North America.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D was released on February 21 2012 in North America.

The promise: The Nintendo eShop will offer a search function for 3DS game information, screenshots and video (including in 3D).
The verdict: Promises kept. Nintendo’s eShop offers game details, screens and video.

The promise: Nintendo will offer game demos for both downloadable and retail software later in 2011.
The verdict: Promise kept. Game demos were indeed added to the eShop.

The promise: The Virtual Console will make old Game Boy and Game Boy Colour games available for download. A 3D version of Excitebike will be made available for free for a limited time.
The verdict: Promises kept. Gamers can download old school games and were offered Excitebike 3D for free for a limited time after a 3DS update. Game Boy Advance and NES titles were also released on the Virtual Console.

The promise: A Pokédex will allow you to register your Pokémon on the 3DS, exclusively on the Nintendo eShop and for free. AR markers let you superimpose images of your favourite Pokémon onto any real-life backdrop.
The verdict: Promises kept. Pokédex 3D was exclusively released on the eShop, for free. We sampled some of the AR markers that were available.

Hardware/Wii U

The promise: Nintendo unveiled their upcoming console, the Wii U. There are a slew of promises attached to this hardware announcement.

  • The Wii U will incorporate a new, tablet-like controller.
  • This new controller will allow you to switch between playing on the TV, and playing on the controller itself when a roommate, spouse or other needs to use the TV.
  • The controller will incorporate motion control, and let you draw pictures with it using the touch interface.
  • Said controller will provide new perspectives for games in addition to what you can see on the television. They used golfing as an example, whereby the player used a Wii MotionPlus to swing an imaginary club at a virtual ball laying on the tablet.
  • Players will be able to play across the controller and onto the TV. Flicking ninja stars at the screen was shown as an example.
  • The new controller will provide other internet-based features, such as web browsing, sharing HD images between the controller and TV directly through a wireless connection, and video calls.
  • The controller boasts a 6.2-inch screen.
  • It will be backwards compatible, using all of the Wii’s remotes (steering wheel and all).
  • The controller will have two analogue circle pads, a D-pad, ZL and ZR buttons, as well as L and R buttons, and a rumble feature.
  • The controller will also have a touchscreen, microphone, speakers, accelerometer, gyroscope and an inward-facing camera.
  • It will be releasing in 2012.

The verdict: Promises not yet kept. But it’s hard to say. The first time we checked out the Wii U, the basic hardware specifics and capabilities matched the promises listed above. It certainly looks how Nintendo described it. Stephen attested to HD graphics when he got his hands on the console. Images of the controller show the different perspectives that can games can be played with, including using a stylus.

We recently stumbled on some images of the controller that show it may not have circle pads, but rather analogue sticks.

Regardless, we’ll apparently be seeing the finished product at this year’s E3. That’s a promise I won’t be able to confirm until a few days from now.

Wii U Game Releases

The promise: Nintendo will be releasing a Smash Bros. game that will somehow allow the 3DS and Wii U to work together.
The verdict: Promise not yet kept. Last we heard of this title, Nintendo was still looking for developers for the game.

The promise: A new Super Mario Bros. will be released that lets you play with your Mii alongside Mario on either the controller or TV screen.
The verdict: Promise not yet kept. Nintendo has released few concrete details on this mysterious Super Mario Bros. title. But we did see a prototype of New Super Mario Bros. Mii at last year’s E3, as well as a few screens.

The promise: Open-world game Lego City Stories is in development under TT Games exclusively for the 3DS and Wii U.
The verdict: Promise not yet kept. We haven’t heard much from the game since the announcement at Nintendo’s press conference, but there’s time before the Wii U is released for TT Games to show otherwise.

The promise: Nintendo showed a video of various developers’ support, explaining which titles would be available on the Wii U.

  • Darksiders II will be available on the Wii U, at the game’s launch.
  • Batman: Arkham City.
  • Tekken, a Wii successor.
  • Assassin’s Creed.
  • Ghost Recon Online.
  • DiRT.
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines.
  • Metro: Last Light.
  • Ninja Gaiden III: Razor’s Edge.

The verdict: Promises not yet kept. Though some information spilled out of several of these titles after the announcement at the press conference, we still can’t say for sure whether these titles will still be coming to Nintendo’s upcoming console. A little more alarming is the fact that footage that was shown of the games in question weren’t actually running on the Wii U, as many assumed.


The promise: In honour of The Legend of Zelda‘s 25th anniversary, Nintendo will be hosting symphony concerts in each region of the world. It will begin late in the year.
The verdict: Promises kept. The orchestra’s first appearance after their debut at the E3 press conference was in LA in October, followed by announcements of a much longer 2012 line-up.

The promise: Nintendo will be releasing two CDs. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time OST will be released for free for those that register the 3DS game through Club Nintendo. The second is a CD based on the 25th anniversary orchestral concert that will release in conjunction with the launch of Skyward Sword.
The verdict: Promises kept. Those who registered their 3DS Ocarina of Time received a mail out of the official soundtrack. Not only was the 25th anniversary concert CD released the same day as Skyward Sword, it was also offered as part of a more expensive Special Edition pack.

Minus what can’t yet be proven, as the Wii U has yet to be released, Nintendo has a fairly great track record. There was a case of misdirection when Nintendo showed clips of some planned major releases for the Wii U, but the only promise that was blatantly not kept was the delay of Kid Icarus: Uprising. And I think we can forgive them for that.

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