Nintendo’s E3 press conference for 2008 concluded just a short while ago, and following our live blog, we now present a more lucid presentation of the event. For announcements on GTA DS, Wii Sports Resorts, MotionPlus, Animal Crossing Wii and a lot, lot more (images included!), head inside.
[UPDATE/BUMP] - For anyone that’s missed it, this post contains everything you need to know from Nintendo’s E3 conference this year. The juicy bits are highlighted in bold - and all of the stories in fuller detail are below this one.
Shaun White Snowboarding
Nintendo’s E3 2008 press conference began with Cammie Dunnaway and Shaun White demonstrating Ubisoft’s upcoming Shaun White Snowboarding for the Nintendo Wii, which is compatible with the Balance Board accessory. Shaun was seen bombing it down the mountainside, while Cammie took her chances on the half-pipe. Shaun explained how he had helped shape the game by sharing his ideas with Ubisoft.
Following that, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata took to the stage. He talked about how Nintendo had broken the mould in terms of the “common sense” approach to the advancement in videogames, citing the “evergreen”, long-lasting appeal of titles such as Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing.
However, he confesses that Nintendo knew there were gamers who want flashy new graphics and developers to push hardware, and confirmed that both Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda teams were currently working hard on Wii software.
He went on to explain the message about Nintendo’s success in breaking down the barrier of gaming to those who were previously not interested in it, citing the likes of Wii Sports and Wii Fit. However, he then heaped praise on Guitar Hero III as helping truly realise this shift in the gaming audience.
Not resting on its laurels, Iwata added that Nintendo needed to find new ways to make players feel Engaged, Enriched and Enthused by it’s games.
Animal Crossing: City Folk
Animal Crossing: City Folk was then introduced by Iwata. It’s name comes from the fact that the title will offer a city-based location for the first time in the series’ history - a place that includes establishments to see what other players are up to, or to change your clothes or get a hair cut (or a mask to play as your Mii).
The biggest announcement about City Folk, however, was the arrival of WiiSpeak a device that sits on top of your television and allows you a group to chat to each other while they play. A group of players were seen fishing in Animal Crossing’s world as they shared banter.
Animal Crossing will be released this holiday season, and also includes the ability to share pictures an messages via the Nintendo Wii Message Board.
Reggie Fils-Aime and Software and Hardware Stats
Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime then took centre stage to boast about Nintendo’s impressive sales figures for both the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS. He explained that despite claims that the DS would peak in 2007, sales are currently up 12% in 2008 in hardware, and 29% in software. This is thanks to franchises such as Pokemon, which has sold over 180 million units in total, and targeting the female audience.
As for Wii, Reggie reeled off similarly impressive stats, and was keen to stress the success of third parties on the sytem - 19 companies and over 400,000 software sales on the console. He said that the Nintendo Wii’s software library was growing faster than both the Xbox 360 and PS3.
To prove this, and the Wii’s wide appeal, three games were showcased: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party and Call of Duty: World at War - the latter of which features co-operative Wii Zapper play.
Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades, Grand Theft Auto: China Town Wars
Cammie Dunnaway returned to the stage and wanted to talk about the DS’ upcoming line-up. She detailed information about Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades, which will allow song sharing between it and Guitar Hero: On Tour. This, and the announcement of the new Pokemon, Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, which will arrive on November 10.
Excitingly, she announced Grand Theft Auto: China Town Wars, which she promises would deliver everything that GTA fans love about the franchise, incluing new characters, locations, and a custom graphics engine built especially for the Nintendo DS.
She also mentioned Spore Creatures on the Nintendo DS, highlighting its creature creator and the ability for players to share their designs with one another.
Finally, she offered suggestions on future uses for the DS outside of the realm of videogames: perhaps using it to find local amenities, travel information, and as seen before, interaction at sports games (ordering food, game stats etc). Also confirmed the release of Cooking Navi in US.
Wii Sports Resort and MotionPlus
Fils-Aimes then returned to address the crowd, chatting about the possibilities of the recently announced MotionPlus attachment for the Wii Remote, a device that provides 1:1 support and accuracy in games. He explained that there was no point in showing it without games to support it, and to do so he revealed Wii Sports Resort - a Wii Sports sequel set on the beach and revolving around beach-based activities.
The Wii Remote and MotionPlus were demonstrated in three of Wii Sports Resort’s mini-games: Frisbee throwing with a dog, a Wave Race-alike jet ski event where the Wii Remote and Nunchuck were held and ‘revved’ like a throttle, and in a sword fighting duel between Cammie and Reggie. All looked a lot of fun.
Reggie explained that it would be a while before third party developers took advantage of Wii MotionPlus, but promised one title that everyone could get excited about soon - Wii Music. A professional drummer belted out a raucous beat using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck as his drumstick, and the Balance Board as his pedal.
He was soon joined on stage by legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who was belting out a tune on the saxaphone. Miyamoto went on to explain how Wii Music differs from the likes of Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Rock Revolution. You don’t need good timing or musical knowledge to play - instead, the music you create is directed by the way you move your body to mimic the action of playing whichever of the 50 plus instruments you choose, as well as pressing a few buttons to change the notes.
After demonstrating the saxophone, piano, guitar and drums, Miyamoto was joined on stage by colleagues as they played the Super Mario Bros. theme as a band together, and it all looked really good fun. Wii Music, out this holiday season, also includes the ability to play individual instruments as a single
player, then overlap them to create a custom music video.
The conference concluded with Dunnaway and Fils-Aime explaining how there is only one place to experience new and compelling ways to play videogames, be they third party titles or Nintendo’s established franchises (we think you can guess where that is).
Reggie noted that the naysayers could never now deem the Wii a fad, no matter how much they wished it would happen - and that after disrupting the industry once already, Nintendo would go on to do it again - to itself.