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Uh Burn!

Okay E3 press conference reviews are forthcoming.  I was only able to watch part of the shows live so that has delayed it somewhat.  Expect Microsoft tomorrow, Sony Thursday and Nintendo…well I’m not sure Nintendo showed anything worth talking about.

Anywho, you’ve probably already seen it but this video is such a great shot at Microsoft that I have to share

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E3 2012…Predictions!

Its that time of year once again.  The time of year where gamers the world over look to sunny CA for the video game news that will shape the next 12 months in the industry.

I hope to find enough free time to once again put together my now standard E3 press conference reviews this week as they happen although for reasons out of my control I will be unable to see Nintendo’s conference live on Tuesday.  I will do my best.

Anywho, to get the E3 2012 hype started here on Droppin.com I decided to whip up a quick batch of “E3 2012 Predictions of Doom!”.  Sorry I don’t really know if that needed “of Doom” tacked on or not but it felt right.

You all know how much I like to incorrectly make predictions and E3 is one of those events that is completely impossible to predict.  So I thought I, like every other gamer with a voice on the interwebs, would throw together a quick batch of predictions for this years E3.  So here is the culmination of minutes of research, rumors, spy reports and flat out guesses…

In no particular order:

  • Wii U to stay named the Wii U as I discussed here.  Take your Revolution and your Streams and stuff it.
  • The Wii U will look as good as current gen.  Many will gripe that its not powerful enough to be a true next gen system and the debates will rage on.
  • Sony bites the bullet and just forgets the Move was ever invented seeing as how only something like three games have come out for it. They have bigger fish to fry.
  • No Final Fantasy VII remake…yet
  • Some form of Skylanders-ish functionality on a new Pokemon Wii U game using the tablet as the base…but it will be some random Pikachu’s dance recital game because Nintendo never puts proper Pokemon games on their home systems…unless…hey wait a minute this might be the first console Nintendo has ever had a proper online component for so maybe this all makes sense.
  • Nintendo will spend the first half of their conference talking about the success of the 3DS and we will finally get release dates for a number of titles.  Also unveiled for 3DS…a new Metroid and a new Zelda.
  • The Last of Us will be heavily featured at Sony’s conference and it will look amazing.  They will also hype new Killzone games sadly not realizing that nobody cares about Killzone.
  • No PS4…at least not formally but keep reading.
  • Wii U third party games will be underwhelming. With final developer kits going out in late spring there won’t be many exclusives, just ports of recent hits PS3/XBOX and standard upcoming third party hits (Madden, Call Of Duty, WWE games, etc…)
  • A new Just Dance for Wii U called U Just Dance…or something.
  • GTA V will not be fully revealed as its bigger than E3 and doesn’t need it. However I expect it to make an appearance of some sort at at least one of the press conferences with exclusives (am I looking at U?)…oh and it will come out in March 2013 but that may not be announced.
  • Revamped Playstation Plus service that gives access to a large catalog of older games (PS2 and prior) being available to stream on your PS3 and Vita systems through a cloud based service.
  • Nintendo will tell us multiple times that the Wii U is a system for the hardcore gamer…and then talk about all the cool apps for the U-Pad like HBO Go, Netflix, Facebook and Angry Birds that casual gamers love.
  • Redesigned 3DS? I’m thinking no, Nintendo has enough going on with the Wii U to tackle any hardware redesigns but I bet it gets announced after E3 and is on sale by August.
  • Sony will throw the proverbial “poop” at the wall for Vita releases to try and save the lackluster selling system.  Expect Vita versions of all of your favorites and prepare to realize that you don’t care about playing your PS3 favorites on the go. We don’t have attention spans to play these games while on the go. Thats why IOS and Android gaming is so appealing, that and its already in our pockets cause its on our phones.
  • I doubt a price reduction is imminent for Vita until perhaps holiday season as Sony won’t man up and take their lumps as quickly as Nintendo did with the 3DS however I expect new bundles for the Vita to provide added value for the same price.
  • Microsoft will unveil Halo 4 and a new Gears of War but both will “accidentally” be unveiled before their conference.
  • Nintendo will show Super Mario Bros Mii for Wii U (which may be the pack in game) and a new proper Mario.  If they have learned anything its that their little plumber should be present on launch day.
  • There will be either a StarFox or F-Zero game for Wii U done by Retro.
  • I will decide that typing Wii U every time is ridiculous but WU doesn’t fit as an abbreviation…anyone thing about that Nintendo?
  • A new Zelda game will pop up for Wii U but don’t expect it to be out until holiday 2013.
  • Sony will highlight the fact that with the Vita and a PS3 you could theoretically do the same things the Wii U can, that is until the Wii U shows us new functionality the next day.
  • Microsoft will focus on Halo 4 and a new Gears of War…because that’s what they do.
  • A new Mario Paint for Wii U, because it just seems like a perfect fit.
  • Microsoft will still feature the Kinect but it won’t be as heavily the focus as it was last year.
  • Bungie’s next project will be teased but not fully revealed, thats for next year.
  • Valve will make an appearance of some sort, perhaps hyping more STEAM integration on somebody’s system, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on a new Half Life.
  • Did I mention Halo 4 and a new Gears of War yet?  Because Microsoft will…repeatedly…
  • Microsoft and Sony will do something beyond software to try to compete with the excitement of the Wii U. I think Microsoft may give us some kind of teaser for their “NextBox” while sony seems likely to whip out some insanely gorgeous tech demo and not confirm its for PS4
  • I don’t think we will hear any more about the next Bioshock
  • No mention of the vitality sensor…or the Wii for that matter…”whatever happened to the Wii?”  we will all ask.
  • Black Ops 2 will be coming to all three systems but Microsoft will probably overpay for some “exclusive” downloadable content.
  • A new Splinter Cell
  • Looking over the games list from Square Enix I see no new Final Fantasy games for any of the main systems. Just handheld games and iOS/Android…so I expect to see Final Fantasy XV for PS3…but its also for the Wii U and Square will make an appearance at the Nintendo press conference. Only half of that was wishful thinking…
  • I will wind up underwhelmed and bitter after the major press conferences on Tuesday…

Sadly my last prediction is probably the most accurate one.  In this day and age it seems like more and more of the top third party developers don’t need E3 to make an announcement (Rockstar, Bungie, Blizzard, Valve, etc…) and their absence makes the world realize that E3 is no longer the end all be all.  Heck, even Microsoft first unveiled the XBOX 360 outside of E3 and that was years ago.  Those that do show at E3 tend to release info the weeks before the conference so that when we get there the surprises are a minimum.  Here is for hoping that come Tuesday afternoon I won’t be just another jaded gamer…

 

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And the new name of the Wii U is…

Wii-U-600x310

The Wii U…oh but the U is now in a slightly darker blue color (or “less green” if you want to get all technical)…no really it is…

All of us that were holding out hope for a name change might as well stop holding our breath.  Not only did the leaked image from a developer (see below) of the newest iteration of Wii U’s UPad feature the logo on the controller but Nintendo also recently launched a Facebook page for the Wii U and is using the logo above on their office press site.

New-Wii-U-Controller-Design-Leaked

Look we all think the Wii U name is stupid but lets be honest, anything else they come up with is going to be plenty stupid too and at the end of the day it really isn’t going to make one difference as to how many systems they sell.  The worst part about it is when we go to the traditional B&M store to buy video games and ask the loopy clerk behind the counter for the new Mario game for Wii U that we will sound stupid and likely have to correct him once he goes to the Wii cabinet and pulls out the new Super Mario game for Wii.  Yes there will be confusion and yes the Wu Tang Clan might want to start looking for royalty checks.  But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

Could the name still change?  Well sure, until its on the box I suppose it could change but will it?  It doesn’t look that way anymore…

e3 2011 – Nintendo

 

Its Deeper and Wider…

Sorry for the delay in getting the Nintendo Presser reviews up.  Life seemingly got in the way this week of allowing me time post my thoughts on Nintendo’s conference but I did watch it Tuesday and take notes so my thoughts here were as I was digesting it in real time, not my thoughts now that I’ve had a chance to digest two days later.

So expectations from Nintendo going in, well its the Wii successor of course and to see if any of our predictions regarding the system might come to life.  I also predict we will see alot of core titles for the 3DS as Nintendo tries to safe the system with strong software.  I assume there has also got to be some core Wii titles announced for this holiday season or the system might be dying a quick death.  On with the show.

– Nintendo gets a late start to the show but to be fair Sony started even later and nobody seemed to be giving them crap.  Guess more people were anxious for Nintendo’s conference.  Gee wonder why.

We kick things off a look back at the last 25 years of Zelda accompanied by full orchestra.  It seems odd to say this because Zelda has so many fanboys but I don’t think the Zelda franchise gets the full respect it deserves in the video game world.  Its nice to see Nintendo going all out for the anniversary.  Dang I think I just got chills during the montage, how many games can you say that about?

– I am going to give that a minus though, it was really cool but is your e3 press conference the best place to pay homage to Zelda?  I dunno maybe it is.

+Miyamoto is here of course.  The man doesn’t age.  Yes I’m giving Miyamoto a plus just for walking on stage.  If it wasn’t for him how many of us would be playing video games today?  Where would the entire industry be?

– Again more Zelda music as Miyamoto (and his overtalking translator who translates before Miyamoto can finish speaking) lead the orchestra.  It does make you appreciate how powerful and classic the Zelda music is but again, its e3.  Good stuff, just not for your big press conference.

-/+ Finally we move into some games by announcing that they will celebrate the 25th Anniversary by releasing a new Zelda game for every system.  Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening will be available for the new e-shop today (make that the 7th) for 3DS.  Next weekend the eagerly anticipated Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3d ships for the 3DS.  I know the game was previously announced but was it known that was the ship date?  The graphics have been revamped and make you appreciate the power under the hood of the 3DS just a little more.  Also have a Master quest included for those of you who have played through that game 1000 times.  This September Legend of Zelda: Four Swords will be released as a free download.  Nice!  Free is always good.  And then to wrap it up Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will be released this holiday for Wii.  That gets a big applause as I think everyone was concerned they would hold it back and release it as a launch title for the new system instead ala Twilight Princess.  Miyamoto sighs on stage and comments “Its finally done!”  Nice.  They will also be releasing (they didn’t say “selling”, hmm…) a gold, Zelda branded Wii-Mote Plus.  Miyamoto assures us that this is the fullest, most satisfying Zelda game of any in the series.  Even coming from him that just feels like lip service though.  They are also preparing to music CD’s which will somehow be given out in conjunction with the release of two of the games.

Miyamoto welcomes several of the legendary Nintendo developers on the stage.  You know its nice to see a company embracing some of the Japanese flavor in gaming.  It feels like these days video games is all shooters and westernized action Rpgs.  Sony and Microsoft felt like they have entirely abandoned Japanese game development in their pressers short of the quick Street Fighter x Tekken blip for PSVita.

Next up Iwata is here…come on vitality sensor!!!

Hype for the new system begins.  Wii and DS have erased the boundaries that define gamers which is actually more then just psycho-babble for once.  They do feel though that the systems have boundaries in what they offer basically admitting they have failed the hardcore gamers (which I have noticed has been shortened to “core” lately).  He believes as an industry they have failed to deliver a platform that is equally satisfying for all players…yet.  That is the goal for the new platform.  In his words, its “deeper and wider”…uh okay.  Guess the new name is the Nintendo DW!  Crowd is totally silent here, cameras and fingertips at the ready to unleash upon the interwebs at the very moment the name is announced…but that will be coming later.  Iwata you big tease!

2011 is all about the 3DS.  Quick video clips of the core games.  Mario Kart 3DS, Star Fox 64 3DS, Mario 3DS, Kid Icarus, Luigi’s Mansion 2. Wow didn’t expect that last one.  Not sure anyone else did either.

+Reggie is here, and yes that gets a plus (although on a whole Reggie seemed a whole lot less Reggie this year).

He tells us that Nintendo has heard us loud and clear.  We want what we have always wanted but we want the buzz of the new.  Is it possible to deliver something for everyone?

+ Mario Kart 3DS – Interesting, in the video shown the camera looked really tight on the karts.  Wonder if thats to help with the 3D effect or it was just cropped for the presentation.  Whoa hang gliders!  At least they aren’t giving us the same Mario Kart game again.  Oh and underwater racing too, why not?  Looks like it functions just like land. Hey Kart customization too.  Thats kind of nice but I suspect its more visual then having any impact on your kart in the race.  Mario Kart will be out this holiday season.

+ Star Fox 64 3d – Wow thanks for that name.  I’m not as big a fan of Star Fox as some may be so I’m not overly enamored by this idea.  But what I do like is the idea of turning and tilting your 3DS or using traditional buttons to play.  This game may be the best possible implementation of motion control given the 3D nature.  Its also using the camera in a nifty way to constantly be capturing/transmitting your face and your friends faces in multiplayer so you can see their reactions when you shoot them down.  Will be out in September.

+ Super Mario 3d – Reggie tells us that if software sells hardware, then no game has sold more hardware then Mario.  Game looks impressive, alot like Mario Galaxy game play wise but stages appear to be a little more traditional in design, not so outer-spacey.  The music does seem a bit off from the traditional Mario fare, almost like its out of key or something.  Oh and don’t forget the return of the legen…wait for it…dary Tanooki Suit.  Will be out before the end of the year.

Kid Icarus Uprising – Last year when they showed us that Kid Icarus was returning I was excited.  Finally one of the favorite games of my youth was making a return.  I didn’t even care if it was an “on rails” shooter, I was just glad to see Pit back.  Now?  Well…um…Pits voice is going to be really hard to deal with if that trailer was any indication.  And now its a multiplayer fighting game too.  Featuring Land and Air combat, 3 on 3.  Come out later this year, I don’t know I just want a traditional Icarus game I guess…

Luigi’s Mansion 2 – I know its never a good idea to doubt Nintendo.  They rarely screw up the major properties (unless you are having team ninja make a metroid game apparently) but I don’t think the world was exactly clamoring for a new Luigi’s Mansion with “more than one mansion!”.  Lets be honest, the only reason anyone (including me) bought the first one is because there was no Mario launch title for the Gamecube.  I don’t think the world needs the experience again.  I’m sure they will throw some nifty 3D gameplay in there though so maybe I’m off here.

All 5 titles will be on the show floor.  3DS video time.

+/- Resident Evil Mercenaries, Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, Ace Combat, Cave Story 3d, Resident Evil Revelations, Driver Renegage, Pac Man & Galaga Dimensions, Tetris, Tekken, Metal Gear Solid 3 – Hard to give a video reel a thumbs up or down when everything is shown quickly.

+ Time to talk about the e shop.  Will feature 3D videos, demos and a virtual console just for the 3DS featuring Game Boy games.  They are kicking it off with a free 3d version of the original Excitebike to kick it all off.  I love Excitebike, or at least my inner 8 year old does, and who can argue with free (for a limited time of course).

Pokedex – for 3DS.  You get 16 pokemon and you collect additional from friends, spot pass and AR cards.  The Pokemon can then be used in AR pics and uploaded to the web to live out your Ash/Pikachu cosplay fantasies.  Its free too but I have to say the whole conference came to a grinding halt here as everyone was ready for the new system unveil and really didn’t want to hear about a non game even if it is free.

+ Free stuff, Nintendo announced alot of “free” giveways here which is always a plus but on the other hand, some of it is stuff I would never buy and maybe wouldn’t bother to download even if its free.

Its time.

Wii U

  • First off the name is awful, just completely awful.  I know what they were going for and I know why its such a big deal to keep the Wii name now.  It holds a better brand in the market then nintendo at this point so its too much to throw away and start over.  But by calling it the Wii U, you are making all of the non-gamer owners of the Wii think that the new controller is just another addon to the wii, like the Balance Board, Steering Wheel, Zapper and vitality sensor…err scratch that last one.  I don’t see how Wii U conveys that this is a new stand alone system and heaven knows Nintendo didn’t clear that up during their conference.
  • Its called the “U” because its tailor made for you.  And thats because “you” can only afford one of these controllers.
  • Tablet controller as rumored, 6.2 inch touchscreen, two analog sticks, two cameras, gyroscope, accelerometer, mic, etc…
  • The controller is definitely massive.
  • Video shown doesn’t show much in the way of games, I’m guessing there isn’t much in the way of games at this point.
  • The golf part of the video was a really unique idea and a way to bring motion gaming to life in your living room.
  • If I’m reading this right, the controller only streams the picture of the game from the system, it can’t play independently from the system but can be played without a TV.  That could be the thing that helps them keep the price reasonable.  That and the single touch, resistive touchscreen (unfortunately).
  • What is with the voices in that demo video?  “Cycling sounds awesome!!!”
  • We do see both stylus and finger interactivity on the touchpad so at the very least it appears to function a little better then the DS style touchscreen.  I’m hoping that maybe by the time this hits the market next year that Nintendo has gone all the way to multi touch, capacitive tech but they do like their stylus.   Resistive just seems so cheap.
  • Backwards compatible with everything on the Wii.  No mention of the Gamecube but it was confirmed after the show that it won’t play gamecube discs (hmm who predicted that?  oh yeah ME!)
  • It also has rumble tech and rechargable batteries built in.  Basically all the wii-mote tech in the new Wii-Pad package.
  • Its really interesting that they aren’t focusing on the console itself or even talking about it.  This presentation would almost lead you to believe that its just the controller.
  • Smash Brothers will be coming for both Wii U (see how dumb the name is?  Do we abbreviate it as WU?) and 3DS.  Games will work together.
  • They have put together 8 interactive experiences (not games) to show what the controller can do.  Available to demo on the show floor.
  • They show a bird video.  To this point the graphics for everything shown had been really Wii-ish but this looks really good.  Should put aside the non HD fears but I do believe the controller is only 480p.
  • New Super Mario Brothers Wii game is not a game but just a demo to show how you can play with the Wii U in combo with the wii-motes.  Interesting to note that all the multiplayer shows one Wii U controller with other standard Wii controllers.  I’m not wondering if the tech is powerful enough to seamlessly push the picture to more then one controller at a time?  There may be no plans to sell additional controllers.
  • Shield Pose tech demo.  Move the controller to block arrows.  Will put you in the game world by allowing you to view it from any angle (move the controller and the picture changes to show where you are at.  Nice concept.  I can imagine the AR game possibilities in play for this (very similar to iPhone and iPad 2 but still).
  • Chase Me demo.  Again shows one Wii-Pad and several Wii-motes.
  • Space shooter game.
  • Wait was that 8 demos or did I miss some?  Be on the lookout for Wii Play U that will include all these tech demos as one game when the Wii U launches (no that wasn’t an announcement, just a guess on my part.)
  • Lego City Stories – Odd choice for the first official Wii U game announcement.  Its an open world lego game, basically Grand Theft Auto, without the theft and a whole lot more legos.  Could be cool.  Will be exclusive to Wii U and 3Ds
  • They show us a video of a number of big developers talking up how cool the Wii U tech is.
  • Watch your toes, Nintendo is droppin names Darksiders 2, Tekken, Batman Arkahm City, Assasins Creed, Ghost Recon Online, Dirt, Aliens Colonial Marines, Metro Last Light and Ninja Gaiden 3. Its been confirmed that none of these videos were the game running on Wii U because they haven’t been made yet but it appears that Nintendo is really going to push to have “core” games available on their system.
  • CEO of EA comes out.  Personally I had enough of the guy at the EA presser but what can you do.  He tells us that EA has never been to E3 as a partner of Nintendo (but has for Microsoft and Sony).  EA is fully supporting the new platform…well duh…EA likes money and has never had problems porting their games to the Wii like some third parties.
  • Madden, Battlefield 3, FIFA, Need for Speed, Harry Potter, Sims, Army of Two and possibly several others I missed in the montage.  They didn’t actually announce any games though, I think this was just an “EA Properties” highlight reel.

And just like that they wrap up the conference with no major news for Nintendo first party games for the Wii U.

Reggie exits and they throw up a splash screen showing the logos for a number of games not discussed.  I see The Rolling Western, Paper Mario, Super Fossil Fighters, Rhythm Heaven, Fortune Street, A couple of Kirby games, Animal Crossing and Mario Party 9 but its very possible I missed some others.

Summary:

Wow where to start?  I have serious mixed emotions here.  Overall I think Nintendo didn’t do the greatest job telling us anything concrete about their new system but I think there is a very good reason for that.  I don’t think its ready to be discussed.  I’m guessing we are going to get a second half/2012 release on the Wii U and that the reason they left so much out is because so much is still up in the air.  They wanted to get the buzz going so they threw the controller out there, that’s the money maker for this system but the meat and potatoes will be whats behind door number 2, the console itself.  At this point I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the console changes or the name changes.  e3 is all about buying yourself some hype and by unveiling the Wii U this year, instead of waiting until next years e3, they have basically bought themselves an extra year of hype for the Wii U.  I imagine over the next 12 months we will start seeing/hearing more about the console itself and the games that will be coming and then at e3 next year Nintendo can put on a full demo of the Wii U (if its still called that) and generate even more buzz.

The 3DS has a solid software lineup with the Mario games and has now given us holiday 2011 titles to move systems which I think they will, especially because I’m hearing the PSVita won’t be ready this year.

The Wii strangely seems forgotten here.  Third party games are drying up because they don’t sell and Nintendo seems more concerned with focusing on moving the 3DS now.  They still have a number of months to tell us about the holiday season and what will be available on the Wii outside of Zelda though, just feels like they have no interest in it.

Nintendo was almost guaranteed to come out of this e3 the winner because they had the shiniest toy to show off and they are going to get some slack for that.  The Wii U is definitely impressive no matter how muddy they made the waters with the nature of the announcement and Nintendo made their play to go after the core gamer and the causal gamer with one device.  I think they can but the software will be key.  Its not enough to tell us that the same games that the other systems have will come to the Wii U.  They’ve done that before and in alot of cases we just got crappy ports with waggle controls.  They have to deliver the same experiences or better then the other guys to capture the core gamer and keep the third party guys involved.  I think they will but the message at this e3 may not have been as good as it could have.  Overall there was alot to like but not much of it had to do with the actual games, so I give Nintendo a B.

 

 

 

 

e3 2011 – More Wii U

Hey uhhh its time to watch some baseball…okay

e3 2011 – Wii U

Wii U Nintendo?  Really?  Thats what the marketing geniuses came up with?  Well I’m definitely disappointed with the name.  Why do I need to buy the Wii University?  Perhaps they are preparing me to pay a college tuition level for this next console.

Stay tuned for my complete thoughts on the new system and Nintendo’s press conference.