[Update: Since this story was posted, Nintendo's Cammie Dunaway has stated that a new Pikmin is on the way in addition to the Wii port of the Gamecube original. No platform has been confirmed, but given the context of Miyamoto's E3 comments, we currently presume this new game will be coming to the Wii rather than the DS. We've also updated this feature with a fuller list of GC games being ported to the Wii.]
Okay, so Nintendo announced a lot of new stuff at it's press conference in Japan this morning, so we thought we should take a Radar-style look through it all and see what it all means. Has the company taken the opportunity to redeem itself after the crushing horror of E3? Well...
The first big news is the new DSi. Sporting larger screens, an even thinner profile and a camera on both the front and back of the unit, it's definitely a revised model of the existing DS rather than an entirely new handheld. But we're fine with that. We don't need a brand new DS yet, and a forced obsolescence would be pretty annoying given how much we're all still enjoying our current models.
What's really interesting about the new DS is the way Nintendo seems to be using it as a tool to integrate the "New Nintendo" branding beyond the Wii and across the entire range. There's a program called "Lifestyle Rhythm Calculator" built in - yes, we think that first word is pretty telling too, whatever the software turns out to be - which brings the Miis over to the DS.
Then there's the DSi's new SD card slot which is going to facilitate software downloads from a DS equivalent of the Wii Shop Channel, using the same points system for purchases. And yes, the new camera means there's going to be a DS Photo Channel too.
It looks like this means the shiny white new Ninty is here to stay then. Whether its move onto your handheld will be a welcome one or not remains to be seen.
As far as the Wii goes, it's a mixed old bag. Loads of 'new' games have been announced (reason for the inverted commas to come) and unsurprisingly they cover a whole load of audience demographics. The good news consists of a brilliant looking new Punchout!! (finally!), a sequel to Treasure's cracking N64 shooter Sin & Punishment (check it out on the Virtual Console now) and a sequel to the DS' under-rated point-and-click adventure Another Code.
Then there's a new Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, an Endless Ocean sequel, an interesting-looking space themed game called Cosmic Walker, and some weird but cool Japanese stuff we don't properly understand yet. Check out the full showreel and list of titles to see what else appeals.
The very bad news? Well, remember when Miyamoto mentioned in response to the E3 backlash that Nintendo was working on Pikmin for Wii? Well, Pikmin Wii is NOT Pikmin 3 as we all assumed. It's a port of the original Gamecube game with waggle controls attached. And it's the first part of a new line too, called "Enjoy With Wii". Oh good. Just what we need. Last-gen Wii ports becoming an official company policy. Thanks Nintendo.
So far, the list of ports consists of Pikmin, Pikmin 2, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, Chibi-Robo, Mario Power Tennis, Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2. All strong games with logical applications for the Wii remote, but come on! Is this the great appeasement for hardcore gamers we've been hoping for? Last gen's hardcore games repackaged? At best it's lazy. At worst it's insulting, and a horrible indication of the way the new Nintendo might be going from now on. Ninty fans are used to having to appreciate any old bone thrown to them, but rarely has the bone been this old and already-chewed.
So an official overall Radar verdict of 'meh' then. The new DS is certainly interesting, and the prospect of downloadable games is a cool one - even if it may turn out to be a blatant attempt to stamp out the homebrew scene with an official alternative, especially given that the hacker-aiding GBA slot has now gone. And there are some potential stars in the new Wii software line-up.
But "Enjoy With Wii"? Good lord, that's a terrifying prospect. If Nintendo really thinks that recycling its old hardcore games for the Wii is all that its core audience needs, then it might be more out of touch than we ever feared. The concept takes the idea of the lazy token gesture to a whole new low, and right now sounds like the biggest slap in the face the hardcore have yet suffered.
02 Oct, 2008
Check out the screens for all the new games:
Sin and Punishment 2
Mario and Luigi 3
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
Personal Training: Cooking