At E3, Nintendo Showcases Interactive Figures Called ‘amiibo,’ a New Action Game Genre and New Ways to Play Its Fan-Favorite Franchises
Nintendo’s video games have always had an element that can put great big smiles on people’s faces: It’s that special Nintendo magic. It’s that certain undefinable something that makes people’s eyes light up, whether they’ve been playing for decades or they’re picking up a game for the first time. At this week’s E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles, Nintendo is showcasing the invention and reinvention of video game experiences – from unique new ways to play to new takes on fan-favorite games and franchises.
Interactive figures called “amiibo,” scheduled to arrive this year, can be used with multiple Nintendo games, bringing a touch of Nintendo’s magic to the toys-to-life category. With the addition of amiibo to a solid lineup of games on the way, there has never been a better time to own a Wii U or Nintendo 3DS system.
“Nintendo has always represented a unique source of video game entertainment for the widest range of gamers,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s president and chief operating officer. “We create timeless games with twists and turns that provide hours of enjoyment for fans of all ages, and this year with the introduction of amiibo, we’re pushing the creative envelope forward in compelling new ways.”
New Ways to Play: The toys-to-life category as a whole is extremely strong on Nintendo platforms, and Nintendo’s approach with amiibo adds another dimension to the category. Not only can amiibo interact with a particular game, but a single amiibo will continue to entertain in surprising ways, as they can be designed to be compatible across multiple games. Additionally, the Wii U GamePad controller shines in a slate of unique interactive games from Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
- amiibo: Figures of Nintendo characters can interact with multiple future Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games in unique new ways, providing fresh game-play experiences and a great value for consumers with compatibility across multiple games. Fans can buy and collect amiibo, to bring them closer to the games and characters they love. By the end of the year, Nintendo’s foray into the toys-to-life category will inject energy into the genre. Nintendo will launch amiibo with around 10 figures. More will be launched during the holiday season and throughout 2015. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will be the first game to support amiibo. Other games that will support amiibo include Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Party 10 and Yoshi’s Woolly World, with more to come. A new NFC reader/writer being designed for Nintendo 3DS is scheduled to launch in 2015.
- Games from Shigeru Miyamoto: Shigeru Miyamoto provides an early look at a slate of games he has in development that use the Wii U GamePad controller in different and interesting ways designed to unlock the full potential of the Wii U console.
- Mario Maker (working title) offers up a Super Mario Bros. dream: the ability for players to use the Wii U GamePad to design levels from scratch. Place blocks and enemies anywhere and play through the level. With the tap of an icon, users can even switch the visual style between a classic 8-bit Super Mario Bros. look and the world of New Super Mario Bros. U in the E3 version. The game is scheduled for the first half of 2015.
- Star Fox (working title) turns the Wii U GamePad into the view from the cockpit of Fox McCloud’s Arwing fighter. While the TV shows the perspective from behind the Arwing, players can also use the gyro sensors of the GamePad to intuitively and independently target enemies. Players can instantly switch between the Arwing and Landmaster tank with the press of a button, and the game also introduces a new helicopter-type vehicle. The game is scheduled for 2015.
- Project Giant Robot lets players use the touch screen to build a giant robot. Once complete, the GamePad becomes a cockpit from which players control the robot as they try to knock opponents over. A unique combination of button and motion control adds leverage and momentum to their robotic punches. The game is scheduled for the first half of 2015.
- In Project Guard the goal is to stop a robot invasion using a security system of 12 cameras as a last line of defense. Players mount a dozen security cameras around a perimeter before the invasion, and then monitor all 12 as the robot army invades. Cameras also can blast lasers, so players must look, search and shoot quickly if they want to survive the onslaught. The innovative use of the two-screen game play makes for a thrilling spectator experience, allowing anyone in the living room to join in on the fun as an additional set of eyes. The game is scheduled for 2015.
- Nintendo GameCube controller for Super Smash Bros.: Many Super Smash Bros. fans grew up playing Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube system, and some will always prefer that system’s controller. The Nintendo GameCube controller also could be used in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for Wii. To honor that devoted loyalty to a classic way to play, Nintendo is introducing an adapter that lets up to four original Nintendo GameCube or WaveBird controllers work with Wii U. The adapter will be available at a suggested retail price of $19.99. Nintendo is also launching a retro Nintendo GameCube controller with Super Smash Bros. markings at a suggested retail price of $29.99. Additionally, Nintendo is offering a special bundle that includes Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, one special Nintendo GameCube controller and one adapter at a suggested retail price of $99.99. All of these items are scheduled to launch the same day as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U this holiday season.
- Splatoon: Splatoon is a four-on-four multiplayer action game that drops players into a battle arena that two teams strive to claim as their own. Players of each team spray ink on the ground around them while blotting out the opposing team members in turf war competitions. Each character can turn into a squid-like character and swim through his or her own team’s ink – gliding up and down walls and under floors – with ease. Using intuitive controls made possible with the Wii U GamePad’s gyro sensor makes it easy to look around and aim, and the on-screen map displays the entire arena at a glance, both of which feel great and redefine multiplayer action. Splatoon is targeted to launch in the first half of 2015.
- The next installment in The Legend of Zelda franchise: The newest game in the franchise, scheduled for 2015, introduces the first truly open world in a game from the series. Players can roam Hyrule Field or set off on a trek to distant mountains if they prefer. Players can get to any area they can see from virtually any direction. That’s one of the ways the game breaks with franchise norms and introduces new ways to play.
- Super Smash Bros.: The famed fighting franchise appears for the first time in HD on Wii U this holiday season, and on a portable system for the first time on Nintendo 3DS on Oct. 3. New characters, items and arenas add a freshly reinvigorated look and feel. As classic Nintendo characters interact wirelessly in the game, amiibo will add a different dimension to game play. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will be available at a suggested retail price of $59.99, while the Nintendo 3DS version will be available at a suggested retail price of $39.99.
- Hyrule Warriors: The game artfully merges the world of The Legend of Zelda and the style of Dynasty Warriors into one legendary hack-and-slash Wii U adventure. Players control hero Link or Princess Zelda, or might opt to play as Impa or Midna in their debut as playable characters. Familiar locations from The Legend of Zelda world subtly change to reflect the art styles of their original games. The game is scheduled to launch on Sept. 26.
- Kirby and the Rainbow Curse: This Wii U Kirby adventure, planned for 2015, is set in an HD, stop-motion clay-like world. Everything is made from clay and placed perfectly in a gorgeously sculpted landscape. Touch-screen drawing mechanics with more variations in functions build on the controls of the fan-favorite Nintendo DS game Kirby’s Canvas Curse in this new game.
- Yoshi’s Woolly World: Yoshi looks like he has been knit from a ball of yarn and placed on the TV screen. This gorgeous HD Wii U game, planned for the first half of 2015, is filled with rich textiles like felt, yarn and cotton that look good enough to touch.
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