With its full specs delineated at E3 2012, a launch lineup having leaked through Gamestop, and a November release date looking ever more likely, Nintendo’s Wii U filled in another puzzle piece today: box art.

Assassin’s Creed III, Just Dance 4, and Marvel’s The Avengers: Battle for Earth have provided us with our first glimpse at the Wii U’s upcoming cover designs, thanks to a (now-deleted) posting on the Canadian branch of Amazon. Shortly thereafter, retailers Target and GameStop listed three-dimensional box art for AC III and FIFA 13 showing a light-blue casing that comprises the box’s exterior.

Nintendo has yet to confirm the aesthetic authenticity of the images, but with identical postings spanning a several retailers within a matter of hours, it’s safe to rule out arbitrary placeholders or Photoshop.

[UPDATE]: The cover art has now been confirmed. A Ubisoft PR rep (the original aforementioned design leakers were all Ubisoft games) reached out to Gametrailers, calling the art “legit….too legit to quit.”

Depending on your age and experience with the Nintendo brand, the Wii U cover designs might appear refreshingly reinvented or invoke a throwback vibe. A centered semi-circle stripe bands around the top bearing the Wii U logo. It’s turquoise background, a thin yellow-gold trim marking the edge, adds bright splash of color to what was a white, right-adjusted tab on the Wii’s game box. Also, not scrubbing the chance to advertise the all-new Nintendo Network, a light-orange insignia for the service adorns the top right corner to signal online compatibility.

At the same time, though, the overall design appears oddly GameCubian.

Wii U Cover Art Gamecube

Every aspect of the Wii U box’s front label arc, from the size to the shape to the thin finishing trim, is indistinguishable from its pre-motion-era ancestor save for coloring and the name. One change, comparing from the Super Mario 64 box above, occurs on the the spine – the Wii U logo emblazons the top where the GameCube logo sat on the bottom third – but the similarities are still striking. We’d be surprised if the symbolism wrapped up here wasn’t meant to reclaim some of Nintendo’s hardcore base: fans who migrated to different platforms after the diverging direction of the Wii – and for whom Nintendo nostalgia still evokes some fond gaming memories.

Ranters, what do think of what appears to be the design for Nintendo’s Wii U box? Does the fresher color scheme blend well with the classic Gamecube motif?

Source: Amazon.ca, Gamestop, Target [via IGN]