This morning saw the latest Nintendo Direct briefing on what's on the way in the near future for 3DS and Wii U owners. While the often-rumored 2D Metroid title was nowhere to be seen among the announcement, there was plenty for fans to get excited about, with new games in beloved franchises Fire Emblem and Mario Party being announced, brand new footage from titles including Splatoon, Codename S.T.E.A.M. and Fossil Fighters Frontier. There was also new information on upcoming Amiibo plans along with details on the North American release of the New 3DS.
While other companies tend to make their big announcements at E3 or, increasingly, via trailers shown at The Game Awards, over the past few years we've seen Nintendo Direct go from an interesting idea to a must-see for the Nintendo loyal. Here's all the info you need to know from the first Nintendo Direct of 2015.
New 3DS Titles
The biggest news from this edition of Nintendo Direct was undoubtedly the announcement of a new Fire Emblem game for 3DS, which is set for a Japanese release this summer. No subtitle was given for its western release, but in Japan it'll be known as Fire Emblem if, perhaps suggesting that it'll be some sort of hypothetical side story.
It was confirmed that Japanese puzzle leviathan Puzzle and Dragons and its recently announced Mario edition will both be hitting the 3DS in America and Europe. Furthermore, Nintendo is taking their own stab at the free-to-play puzzle genre with a 3DS title called Pokemon Shuffle, which looks to be a fairly standard match-three game.
Wii On The Wii U
However, the Direct wasn't without its big news for Wii U owners, as it was announced that today marks the start of Wii games being offered as digital downloads on the console. Super Mario Galaxy 2, PunchOut!! and Metroid Prime Trilogy are all set for release on the Wii U over the course of this month, and each will be available for half price for their first week on the store.
As you might imagine based on their recent sales, Amiibo figures were given plenty of time in the spotlight in the briefing. A new wave of figures is on its way and includes Robin, Pacman, Charizard, Lucina and Wario — and some popular figures are set for a reprint later in the year. A series of Mario-centric Amiibo is also planned, and will release alongside the newly announced Mario Party 10.
Other games confirmed to possess Amiibo functionality during the Direct broadcast include Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy + and Codename S.T.E.A.M., which uses Fire Emblem Amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. line to make those characters available as playable members of your team.
We also saw trailers and gameplay footage from titles including Xenoblade Chronicles X, Splatoon, Hyrule Warriors, Fossil Fighters Frontier and Mario and Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Outspoken Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada made a brief appearance to announce Project Treasure, a four-player free-to-play co-op title set for Wii U.
Another major focus of this Nintendo Direct was the impending release of the new Nintendo 3DS, the handheld's latest revision. The much-rumored release date of February 13 was confirmed, and we were given an in-depth look at the new head-tracking 3D technology, as well as the C-stick that's been included to help with camera control.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D are set to launch alongside the console revision, and will both receive their own special edition hardware to mark the occasion. However, the Zelda console doesn't come bundled with the game itself, a move that seems likely to confuse buyers.
The Direct also brought with it one piece of bad news for American fans eagerly anticipating the New 3DS — the system will only be able in its 'XL' form in North America. In Japan, a regular version of the system was also released, which offered users the chance to customize their handheld with interchangeable faceplates.
Despite this slightly disappointing news, and the absence of any truly surprising game announcements outside of Fire Emblem, this Direct had a lot of good news for Nintendo fans. 2015 was beginning to look a little bit barren — particularly for the 3DS — but this morning did a lot to remedy that. There were plenty of games on show, and many of them are set for release very soon indeed.
What did you think of today's Nintendo Direct? Did it live up to your expectations, or were you waiting for an announcement that never came? Let us know in the comments section below.