Nintendo’s streaming announcement service Nintendo Direct has become a wonderful and reliable way to inform gamers about upcoming titles and surprise everyone with unexpected announcements. Nintendo Directs in the past have ranged from unbelievably awesome to criminally uneventful, so what did Nintendo’s first broadcast of 2014 leave us with?
1. The Wii U Has Some Huge Games on the Way
Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros., Bayonetta 2, and Monolith’s X are all on the way to Nintendo’s struggling console, and they can’t come soon enough. Those are the kind of releases that make a console great, the kind the Wii U has been sadly lacking in its short life. Mario Kart 8 is the only one with a release date, due on May 20th, but both Super Smash Bros. and Bayonetta 2 are slated for release sometime in 2014. X remains as mysterious as ever, though judging from the new battle footage revealed yesterday it promises to be fantastic.
2. But the Wii U is Still In For Some Lonely Months
Despite the absence of any scheduled Wii U releases between Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze‘s release on February 21 and Mario Kart 8‘s on May 30, Nintendo didn’t reveal any plans for new titles during yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, aside from a few indies and NES Remix 2. Very disheartening news, especially since it’s the same scenario the Wii U found itself in this time last year. Come on Nintendo, we need games!
3. 3DS Has a Great Spring Ahead
With Yoshi’s New Island, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, Mario Golf : World Tour, and Kirby: Triple Deluxe all out by the end of May, the future of Nintendo’s handheld sensation is looking good. The 3DS took off in 2013, and by the looks of things Nintendo has no intention of slowing down. If only they’d show the Wii U the same love…
4. Nintendo Likes Instant Releases
We saw it recently with NES Remix in December, and yesterday we were treated to two more games that were instantly available: Inazuma Eleven and Steel Diver: Sub Wars. It’s a great way to build buzz for a game, especially when they’re both smaller titles. With any luck Nintendo will keep this pattern up in future Nintendo Directs, and keep supplying gamers with unexpected treats, especially when they’re long-awaited localizations.
5. The Virtual Console is Finally Being Addressed
Yesterday’s Direct also marked the first mention of GBA games on virtual console since the initial announcement of plans to bring the handheld’s games to Wii U last spring. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata stated that beginning in April, several GBA games will be released on the Wii U virtual console, starting with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, and Metroid Fusion. The Virutal Console has been disgracefully neglected on both Wii U and 3DS, so hopefully this announcement means Nintendo will finally open the floodgates on their fantastic library instead of continuing to trickle out titles.
Overall, the first Nintendo Direct of 2014 wasn’t a complete disappointment, but it did leave us wanting more. Nintendo is making positive strides with quality titles on the way for both of their systems and their virtual lineup receiving some long overdue attention, but there is still a noticeable software gap on the horizon for Wii U. That said, you can never count Nintendo out; they may be going through a rough patch, but no other company performs as well as the Big N does under pressure. Stay positive folks; Nintendo won’t let us down.