E3 is just around the corner. For the fifth year in a row, we're taking a look back at the big three's big E3 promises. What came true, and what didn't? Coming up now is Nintendo, following yesterday's look at Sony. Microsoft will have its turn tomorrow.
For Nintendo, E3 2012 was all about the Wii U. No surprises there; being halfway through the year, the company was nearing the inevitable launch of the console. Thus, they did everything they could to make the Wii U appealing for the masses, to gamers casual and hardcore alike — with the 3DS being put on the sidelines, getting only a few announcements.
Comparison time! What did Nintendo promise, and what did we get? Let's take a look.
The Wii U
The Promise: The Wii U will have its own dedicated screen. The Verdict: Promise kept. Not only does the GamePad have a screen, it is also a touchscreen, which allows better interactivity with games. Although some were annoyed at the lack of multi-touch.
The Promise: You can use the Wii U GamePad to turn games on quickly. The Verdict: Promise kept, but with problems. Initially, the Wii U took very long to return to the system menu when exiting a game. This was eventually patched by Nintendo on April 25, 2013. Furthermore, there was also a massive Day 1 firmware update which kept a large amount of players from actually playing their games on launch day.
The Promise: You can use the subscreen (ie. the GamePad's screen) simultaneously with the TV screen. The Verdict: Promise kept. The GamePad's screen serves as an important input tool for several Wii U games, and acts as an extension of a Wii U game's HUD.
The Promise: The Wii U will support two separate GamePads. The Verdict: Promise not yet kept. Currently, there are no games out for the Wii U that actually support dual GamePad input. They are expected to start coming out in 2013.
The Promise: The Wii U will support Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Video. The Verdict: Promise kept. All four services were available on the Wii U at launch.
The Promise: Along with the Wii U, Nintendo will introduce Miiverse, a Nintendo-specific social network that lets players create posts, reply to others' posts, and share screenshots and drawings. The Verdict: Promise kept. The Miiverse launched alongside the Wii U on November 18, and allowed players to interact with each other through their Miis.
The Promise: You will eventually be able to join Miiverse using the 3DS, the PC, and any web-enabled mobile device. The Verdict: Promise not fully kept. The web portal for Miiverse launched on April 25, 2013, with full funcionality being enabled a month later. The 3DS is scheduled to get Miiverse later this year.
The Promise: The Miiverse can be interacted with ingame; for example, it can show messages from other players while you're playing. The Verdict: Promise kept, in a way. Miiverse integration is a specific feature that has to be implemented separately in each Wii U game. Only a few titles, including New Super Mario Bros. U, Resident Evil Revelations and Nintendo Land, have this feature. More are on the way.
Wii U Games
The Promise: The following third-party games will be released for the Wii U:
Aliens: Colonial Marines Darksiders 2 Mass Effect 3 Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge Tank! Tank! Tank! Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Trine 2: Director's Cut
The Verdict: Promise almost kept. Each of these games was a launch title, coming out on November 18, 2012 along with the Wii U — except for Aliens: Colonial Marines, which was in development until it was officially cancelled on April 5, 2013.
The Promise: Ubisoft will release the following games for the Wii U:
Assassin's Creed 3 Avengers: Battle for Earth ESPN Sports Connections Rabbids Land Rayman Legends Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013
The Verdict: Promise almost kept. Battle for Earth was released on December 4, 2012, while Rayman Legends was delayed multiple times, its current expected release date being September 3, 2013. The other four games were released on November 18, 2012 as launch titles.
The Game: Pikmin 3. The Promise: Pikmin 3 will be released for the Wii U, and it will feature a "more detailed portrayal of the Pikmin" and "greatly enhanced gameplay". The Verdict: Promise not yet kept. Pikmin 3 is currently scheduled to be released on August 4, 2013.
The Game: New Super Mario Bros. U. The Promise: New Super Mario Bros. U will be released for the Wii U, featuring off-TV play and a "Boost Mode", which lets one player manipulate the level by placing platforms while the others play as normal. The Verdict: Promise kept. New Super Mario Bros. U was released as a launch title for the Wii U on November 18, 2012.
The Game: Batman: Arkham City. The Promise: Open world action title Arkham City will come to the Wii U as "Arkham City: Armored Edition", featuring exclusive skins and GamePad controls. The Verdict: Promise kept. Arkham City: Armored Edition was a launch title, coming out on November 18, 2012, along with the Wii U. This release also included every DLC released for the main game.
The Game: Scribblenauts Unlimited. The Promise: Sandbox/word game hybrid Scribblenauts Unlimited will be released for the Wii U, and will feature a workshop which lets you create new objects and share them with other players for use in their games. The Verdict: Promise kept. Scribblenauts Unlimited launched on November 13, 2012.
The Game: Wii Fit U. The Promise: Wii Fit will be updated and released for the Wii U as Wii Fit U, featuring new events, exercise routines and off-TV play. The Verdict: Promise not yet kept. Wii Fit U is still in development and is scheduled to be released in Japan later this year. No release date has been set for the West.
The Game: Sing. The Promise: Sing, a karaoke game, will come to the Wii U. One player, using the GamePad and the included microphone, can sing and dance along to a song, getting real-time scores. Others can join in by following the instructions on the TV. The Verdict: Promise kept. Sing was released as "SiNG PARTY" on November 18, 2012, as a Wii U launch title.
The Game: Lego City Undercover. The Promise: Undercover, an action-adventure sandbox, will be released for the Wii U. You get to play an undercover cop and "solve crimes using the GamePad". The Verdict: Promise kept. Lego City Undercover was released on March 18, 2013.
The Game: Just Dance 4. The Promise: Ubisoft's latest in the Just Dance series of dancing games will be released for the Wii U, with a special "Puppet Master" game mode which lets one player, via the GamePad, change the dance choreography of a song on the fly. The Verdict: Promise kept. Just Dance 4 came out on November 18, 2012, as a launch title.
The Game: ZombiU. The Promise: Ubisoft's roguelike-esque first-person zombie survival game ZombiU will be released exclusively for the Wii U. Gameplay will feature the GamePad prominently, with the controller being part of your "survival kit". The Verdict: Promise kept. ZombiU was one of the Wii U's launch titles, released on November 18, 2012.
The Game: Nintendo Land. The Promise: Nintendo will release a minigame collection called Nintendo Land for the Wii U, which will feature minigames, both singleplayer and multiplayer, based on Nintendo's franchises. Players will play different roles in the games depending on whether they use a GamePad or a Wiimote. The Verdict: Promise kept. Nintendo Land was — you guessed it — a launch title. It came out on November 18, 2012, and included twelve different minigames in total.
The Promise: The following third-party games will be released for the 3DS:
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate Disney's Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Scribblenauts Unlimited
The Verdict: Promise kept. The games and their release dates, in chronological order; Kingdom Hearts 3D on July 31, 2012, Scribblenauts Unlimited on November 13, 2012, Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion on November 18, 2012, and finally Castlevania: Mirror of Fate on March 5, 2013.
The Game: New Super Mario Bros. 2. The Promise: Nintendo's 2006 Mario game for the DS, New Super Mario Bros, will get a sequel on the 3DS on August 19, 2012. The Verdict: Promise kept.
The Game: Paper Mario: Sticker Star. The Promise: The new Paper Mario will feature collectable stickers that enhance the turn-based battles and help you advance through the environment. It will be released in the 2012 holiday season. The Verdict: Promise kept. Sticker Star was released on November 11, 2012.
The Game: Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon The Promise: The sequel for the 2001 GameCube game will feature several mansions for Luigi to explore, and a mission-based progression system. Coming in the 2012 holiday season. The Verdict: Promise kept... after a while. Dark Moon was delayed to 2013, and was eventually released on March 24.
The Game: Lego City. The Promise: A portable version of Lego City Undercover will be available for the 3DS. The Verdict: Promise kept. A 3DS Lego City game, called The Chase Begins, was released on April 21, 2013.
It's all about compromises with Nintendo. Yes, games load fast... but the menu doesn't. Yes, we got the next Luigi's Mansion... but it wasn't on time. We got Miiverse in browsers, but not on the 3DS. At least the one exact date they revealed — New Super Mario Bros. 2's day of release — was correct.
Return tomorrow for Kotaku's analysis of Microsoft's E3 promises.