Nintendo shows us its vision for the future - Wii U. Is it another revolution?
Nintendo's first Wii U demo was focused on showcasing the new console's HD capabilities, which allowed for 1080p visuals via HDMI out. The moderately interactive demo focused on a small bird's flight through a Japanese temple area that encompassed a lake, a forest, and changing weather and time of day. As with all the console tech demos we've seen before, the demo focused on a variety of dazzling effects. The start of the demo saw the bird flying through the area and landing on a tree. As the creature looked around, a button prompt to press the B button came up, and when our demoer hit it, the tree bloomed with cherry blossoms. The bird snapped up one and took to the air for a tour of another area of the temple. At the same time, all the action on the television was being mirrored on the controller, which could be used to affect the camera angle on the screen. After a few moments, the bird buzzed along the surface of the lake and dropped the flower in the water. The camera stayed focused on the flower for a bit as it was buffeted around by koi, who were lingering near the surface and eventually did some hopping around. Another prompt to press B changed the weather from sunny to cloudy and rainy. The controller was used to shift the camera angle to offer us a different view of the area. Shortly after, an eagle swooped down and landed, surveying the rainy landscape. Another press of the B button cleared up the weather and time of day and shifted the setting to dusky sunrise complete with a gorgeous orange glow that flared over a mountain in the distance. Another press of the B button changed the season to fall, complete with falling leaves as the eagle tore through the area at high speed. The demo ended with the bird zipping through a sand garden that began to shift with ornate patterns. The visuals and real-time changes in the environment were a fine showcase for the hardware's HD capabilities. We saw a ton of lighting and filtering effects on display that all worked to good effect to create the environment. We did notice some odd rendering in the distance, but the visuals that were up close were very well done. While we didn't have access to any specs, we'd have to say the demo displayed a level of graphic horsepower that's roughly Xbox 360 level, if not a bit below.
The second demo was a set of two games to highlight the system's backward compatibility with the Wii Remote and how the new tablet controller will figure into a game experience. The first game was called Chase Mii and supported five players, four with remotes and one with the tablet. The demo was essentially a timed game of tag where the four Wii Remote players had to track down the players using the tablet controller. The action took place on a circular Mario-esque map with pipes and blocky shapes and was divided into four colored grids. The players using the Wii Remotes focused their attention on the screen, which was divided into four quadrants like most multiplayer Wii games. A general map of the area was displayed in the center of the screen. When the game started, all the players started in the center of the map with the four "chasers" standing with their backs to the "runner," which let the chasers monitor one section of the map. This is key at the start of a match, since they'll be able to see which direction the runner, who gets a head start, heads off to. As the action started, we looked at the view on the tablet, which offered an overhead view of the action that was entirely different from what the other players could see on the television. The tablet view let the runner see the exact position of each chaser and plan his escape route accordingly. In order to find the runner, the chasers were forced to take to high perches in the game, which allowed them to look around and do some spotting, and they had to pay attention to an onscreen display that let them know their distance from the runner. As time wound down, a star appeared in the center of the map. If the runner is able to collect it, he will get an invincibility bonus for a brief time and get the chance to knock opponents around. The demo sported simple visuals, which gave us a look at Miis in HD, and it looked sharp.
The second game, Battle Mii, dropped Miis into a Metroid-themed map and pit them against an opponent riding a saucer that's meant to look like Samus Aran's spaceship. This time, two players guided their Metroid suited Miis in a split-screen hunt for the spaceship in a large space-themed level using Wii Remotes and Nunchuks. Each suited player had three health points that could be replenished by hearts floating in bubbles that could be collected once a bubble was popped and it dropped to the ground. In addition, question mark icons could be collected to earn a helmet for the armor suit that upgraded the firing speed.
The player using the tablet to control the ship relied solely on the display, and all movement and aiming was controlled by the motion controls and the circle pads, which were used to adjust height and direction. What was especially cool was the ability to use the gyros in the tablet to quickly target your enemies. The simple game of hide and seek was extremely fun and easy to pick up and definitely sold us on the notion of using the tablet's screen in conjunction with a game.
Pirates With Rhythm
The third demo was a pirate-themed rhythm game called Shield Pose that relied solely on the tablet. The view on the television showed an ocean with a pirate ship in the distance. This time out the tablet was used to "zoom" in closer to see the pirate ship, but we saw that we were able to use the tablet to view the surrounding area not shown on the television. In doing so, we saw that there were in fact two other pirate ships, on the right and left, and a moon that could all be seen on the controller's screen. The gist of the game was to use the tablet as a "shield" to block incoming suction cup arrows from the pirates (yes, we know, suction cup arrows aren't really a pirate "thing"). The rhythm element came into play from the voice cues and music playing. We had to listen for the audio cue letting us know the pirates were about to shoot, and from which direction, at which point we had to bring the tablet up to block the shots. Following that, we had to "shake" the suction cup arrows off the device and prepare for the next wave. The demo included a tutorial section that layered in the various elements before tossing three boats of pirates at us. The freedom of movement and viewing afforded by the tablet let us deal with arrows coming from the center, left, right, and above. When we got through several waves of the arrows, we had to briskly shake the tablet side to side to build up a charge and then "shove" our ball of energy at the ship to sink it. The demo was very fun and had a Rhythm Heaven feel to it, along with a fun stylized look that we loved.
Tokyo Street Scene
The fourth demo was a brief tech demo using standard definition video to showcase another way that the controller could be used to complement visuals shown on a television. In this instance, a rolling video of what appeared to be a car rolling through a Japanese street was shown on both the television and the tablet controller. When the controller was held up toward the TC, the video matched on both displays. However, when we moved the tablet around, the video on the tablet changed to reflect our position, showing us different parts of the environment. Think looking around you while riding in a car, but without the car. While there wasn't much more to the demo than that, the tech on display was interesting and got us thinking about ways it could be incorporated into any number of different game genres.
Legend of Zelda
The last demo ended the Wii U experience on a high, with an "HD experience" meant to highlight what a Legend of Zelda title in the style of Twilight Princess could look like on the system. The mildly interactive demo showcased the boss fight with Armogohma, the annoying spider boss that has haunted many a player. The view on the tablet featured a map and some touch controls to change the time of day and camera position. More importantly, one button let us bring the map from the tablet to the television, superimposing the map onto the video. Beyond the graphical fidelity of the visuals, we were very intrigued by what a Zelda on the new console could do--especially taking into account the aiming in Shield Pose.
Overall, we have to say we were impressed by what we saw. The way the controller works with the system and game experiences was very clever and offered a wide variety of possibilities that were exciting. The new controller is a very smart element that we reckon will be a gamechanger for what Nintendo does on the console. The backward compatibility with Wii games and peripherals was also a masterstroke, ensuring consumers will get the most out of the raft of peripherals they undoubtedly own.
Nintendo is pushing forward. Lets face it, was Gamecube that good? Not really. Dont get me wrong, it had amazing games, but hardware wise it was average. It had no real umph that nintendos previous consoles had. N64 was truly 64 bit, SNES had 3D capability, and NES was more powerful than 2600. Gamecube had the least power, but wasnt obsolete. Wii had a totally new innovation, but is obsolete. Wii U is just like NES and SNES. Innovation and ample power. This tablet thing could be the next big thing. Motion control became huge with Wii, touch screen could be the next wave of gaming. Who knows?
Now I`ve been a long time fan of Nintendos past work, but I think they may be jumping the gun replacing the wii. I guess it`s the whole 'But we JUST got this one!' thing. That, and all this looks like to me is an over sized, multipart DS.
Speaking of which. I still haven't heard anybody from Nintendo mentioning the controller's name, they all keep calling it "The New Controller" even at Ubisoft's private post conference they still called it "The New Controller".
Nintendo is learning about the innovation that Mac makes in its hardware (iPad, MacBook, etc.,). Look, the design and the technology showed in the screens: it is small, it has good techonology, it represents "useful" for videogamers; we only need to see the new games to have the final veredict. "THANKS NINTENDO"
@spoonybard-hahs Actually, it says in the article that you can play games on the conrtoller while the TV is in use by others.
I'm chuckling at the people who keep saying that Nintendo's hardware was a no-show. So you think that the new controller was working all by itself? What are they playing in the videos? That's not a Nintendo Wii; it's a Nintedo WiiU. The hardware was at the show, but it's not going to be released for over a year. They won't tip their hand so early. You'll get a better look at the hardware and games at next year's E3. Cool your jets and be patient. It's interesting to see how many people who know little to nothing of economics/business criticize a company that has continued to make money despite having, according to "popular" opinion, made "inferior" gaming systems.
Very early development of Killer Freaks on the Wii U using the dev. kits. http://youtu.be/p99ghcy450E Very early development of Ghost Recon Online Wii U http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iEV-hg2Vh8&feature=related
@Metrovania: I still think power glove is not yet tackled enough in the current systems. To rephrase my thoughts, I believe we now have seen a leap forward in means of input to the console. But feedback is yet to do the same (come on, rumble vibrator does not really give me the sense of touch!)
@Kenshin0011: I agree with you on the hardcore part, but I do not see the tab (pallet? does it have a name?) controller replacing a wiimote completely for casual / active games, because of its bulkiness. Yet I hope they give you a good rubber protection for the new controller, like they did for wiimotes. ;) Then we can play disk golf with it!
Im liking all the options that Nin is giving you with this console... Tired of holding the tablet? Then grab a CCpro bro
Why does everyone insist that this controller cannot work as well as a "normal" controller when it CLEARLY can? Seriously, anyone who thinks that is completely blind or is just lying to themselves. The Wii U controller can play any hardcore game exactly as it's played on a 360/PS3 because it has dual analog, triggers, and buttons. PERIOD! But also, the controller can be used in a "Nintendo" way because it has a touch screen, motion controls, etc. CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG!!!!!
Im a little disapointed that the actual console wuznt on display but the controller is great. A little big but if i know Nintendo, it'll fit nicely in ur hand. If its capable of showing 1080p then yes this is wut we, the gamers, have been waiting 4. Now the only real question i have is, will we b able 2 keep the games we aready purchased from the store & transfer them over? I downloaded some games that i dont wanna pay 4 again. If we can transfer the games we have stored on our sd cards, then that'll b great. Then i can just trade in my Wii. But who knows we have a year 2 find out.
It seems to me that the Wii U is at the evolutionary apex in the proud history of Nintendo innovations. 1) Multi-screen gameplay: Game & Watch ---> GBA-GameCube connectivity --> DS handhelds --> Wii U 2) Motion control: Zapper --> Power Glove --> GBA Gyroscope --> Wii --> Wii U 3) Online: SNES Broadcast Satelite --> DS handhelds --> Wii --> Wii U 4) Controller Innovations: --> D-pad + face buttons --> Shoulder buttons --> Analog Stick --> Trigger Button --> Rumble --> Motion control --> Screen on the controller (thanks Dreamcast!). IMO Nintendo will be coming into the HD era able to take advantage of lower costs and a massive backlog of 3rd-party games for other consoles, and use the expertise that has had a chance to develop on the Xbox360 and PS3. They will, once again, make a proffit on every console sold. Consumate business-people.
Why is everybody giving Nintendo a free pass on the hardware no-show? It's unacceptable to announce you will unveil your new system and then not bring it with you. Should have been done at TGS in the fall.
smooth81_basic your kidding me when you say the game cube was twice as powerful as the PS2 right? It wasn't, but the original xbox was. The cube had a tad more horse power but not twice as much, And Nintendo isn't behind now with the Wii U but two years ( after the Wii U launches) when Sony and MS break out new console the Wii U will be left behind, then what will Nintendo do when its sales start to plummet, because the new consoles are dominating? Release another console after just 2 years on the market with the Wii U,,,,,See SEGA for releasing a console or add on every few years and see how well that worked. Ninty should have just held out and released a console that's going to be on par or above the NEXT consoles coming out, because come holiday 2013 OR 2014 its going to once again be behind. The only reason they are pushing the Wii U now is because Wii sales and support are tanking. The Wii was innovative the Wii U isn't and and I'm banking on the fact the Wii U will do no where near as good as the Wii, because just like the Wii, the cube and the 64, support will drop from 3rd parties and the software attach rate will be horrible.
@termadoyle You talk like Nintendo is dragging up the rear, again. Really? Let's see here - The N64 had the best hardware, and introduced the world to how awesome the Analog stick really is. The PSOne only had a DPad on it's controller and had far inferior hardware. However, the PSOne won the console war that generation. So, then the PS2 came out, and Nintendo trumped it in terms of hardware. Basically twice as powerful as the PS2, the Gamecube fell short again. The XBox didn't really beat out the Gamecube, hardware-wise - not by much, anyways. The Gamecube was a completely competent system. Then, with the Wii, Nintendo wanted to push the boundaries of gaming with motion controls. But, if that failed, why make it another powerhouse system?? Test out the motion controls. If it fails, no big loss, right?? So, it wasn't a "next-gen" console, per-say. It was a console to feel-out the market. Smart. Now, with the motion controls fully perfected (and fully compatible with the WiiU), Now it has it's current-gen platform. Why do you say they're behind?? They're leading the pack - forcing everybody to evolve gaming, not just sit by on their laurels of: HD grafix r teh b0mb!!
@coylenintendo "I'll keep playing my Xbox 360 but it'll be nice to get the Wii U and take a break from Call Of Duty, Resident Evil, Grand Theft Auto and Gears Of War. Mario games are still some of the best games out there." But that's the beauty of the Wii U!!! You don't have to choose between hardcore vs casual, the Wii U will be capable of playing all of our favorte 3rd party games AND it's Nintendo, so we will also have Mario, Zelda, SMASH BROS, etc. It's the best of both worlds!!!
Turns out the rumors were true. Friend codes will be no more with the Wii U. Instead there will be a single online identity, in a similar vein to Gamertags in Xbox Live. This information was revealed in relation to Ghost Recon: Online, which is one of games on display at E3 2011. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!
lol I laugh at how many people argue over video games and say negative things WAY before a console even comes out. just calm the hell down. for one thing, there's more to life than video games. so the people who sit and play Xbox and Playstation until the sun comes up need to get more sleep so they stop being so cranky every time Nintendo tries something new. honestly, I'm mainly an Xbox 360 player but I still love Nintendo. they're a really good video game company and I respect them for making a system for all types of people to like. so to the people who hate split screen co-op and multiplayer video games, try something different for once. like playing video games with actual people and not just online or maybe taking a break and doing something else for once. I'm honestly sick of the people who put down Nintendo right away because it doesn't have enough games for them to sit all night and kill people online or see video game women naked. I feel bad for these kind of people to be honest. in my opinion, the Wii U is an awesome idea. I'll keep playing my Xbox 360 but it'll be nice to get the Wii U and take a break from Call Of Duty, Resident Evil, Grand Theft Auto and Gears Of War. Mario games are still some of the best games out there.
that is one huge controler, but look like nintendo is looking to get back it share of the console market
first it was the wii breaking wrists now its controllers powered by plutonium great nuclear disaster here we come
Wow Wii U. it sounds incredible due to its hdmi and new controller. doew this mean those who own a wii need to upgrade again. I want to get one but i just got my wii over a year. lets hope the new console is satisfying.
Has anyone heard any confirmation on how many Wii U controllers the system will support? There are rumours it will be one per console which makes me sad but I can't find an official statement. Links anyone?
The Wii U is about as exciting as a sandwich. Sure, perhaps a little more exciting than the Wii, but I'm not at all convinced.
I'm sorry, for financial reasons I hope this sucks. Otherwise I'm going to have to loot all of your banks.
@LancerVI personally I prefer a 2D screen. Artificial 3D brings nothing to gaming or movies, it is a gimmick now like it was in the 1960s, the 80s and now, a gimmick they dust of and reuse every 10-20 years or so. It is interesting at first but hard on the eyes after a while and soon the novelty wears off.
The Wii Story is repeating: A novel toy wich everyone on the planet buys and a couple of months later are collecting dust on the shelves, cause the only thing to play are crappy kiddie games... And the people will give again a truckload of money to nintendo.
Ah Nintendo, you have learned your lessons well.... If you can't make a GOOD system, then make a GIMMICKY system and clean up on the casual crowd.
The reality is this: Just like the Wii, this will be fun to play during the first Christmas you play it, quickly wearing out its welcome by the next one. Nintendo should be applauded for doing something different but, for now, people will always return to the traditional controller. This is quite evident in the number of people owning a Wii AND/OR a Playstation or Xbox or even BOTH.
I have to nitpick: "proprietary high-density optical disks similar in size to a DVD." Reggie gave us to understand that the size will be closer to Blu-Ray. At least that's what I got from his elusive words. "Nintendo declined to say whether it was multitouch capable" Reggie made it clear that it's a singletouch display. SADLY. "We're guessing the screen is under 1280x720 and above 640x480." 640x480 is not a widescreen even. Other than that - good article, too bad Nintendo isn't willing to disclose too much info right now.
@BloodLoss because if nintendo gave you a normal consol then then it's just another same old consol that sony and microsoft does, If ya wont a normal consol buy either one of those, Nintendo does not go with the same general idea, They never did, Nintendo will and always go with something new, Revolutionizing the future of gaming. So if your hoping Nintendo will release a consol like 360 or PS3 then theres no hope, because we already have normal consols. Do you see were i'm coming from?.
I might have to pass on this I bought a wii a few years ago and never really touched it. I play my ps3 and 360. I guess maybe if there are games that are going to make me want the system I might give it a shot, just not sold on it yet.
If Nintendo makes this console as powerful if not more than the PS3 they will win me back, I won't take less than that!... ^_^
potential console I hope they will take advantage of it's powers and offer something spectaculer and surprising
@steve4123456789 just like with the gameboy advanced on the gamecube, you can see your inventory, maps, etc. without having to open it up on the tv.
Why can't Nintendo just give me a normal console, with a normal controller and a ton of good games? Man, i miss the SNES...
It's essential that they improve the graphics. I would hear about a Wii game that sounded good, but I would not buy it because I knew the graphics would be crap. I have owned a Wii for a couple years and have only bought about 3 games for that very reason. In the same time frame I have bought dozens of Xbox 360 games. Like another article said, they sold a lot of Wii consoles, but the number of games sold is way under the amounts of Xbox and PS3.
@jecht_35 I agree about the controller! I think when you look at the back of it, the thing might be fairly comfortable to hold. I think the possibility of having contextual controls on the touch screen will be great! Still not convinced developers on than Nintendo will know how to take advantage of Wii U properly, but lets hope I'm wrong about that!
@Sk8rlink If you've really broken a lot of controllers in your life, maybe... just maybe you are not the best critical voice about controller fragility or durability. You just may be the Destroyer of Controllers, regardless of their construction. Only controller I ever broke was through over-use. R.I.P. Atari 2600 controller x 2. Also, watch for my comments or click on my account. I'm no fan boy. I enjoy all gaming and yet am plenty critical of all the Big Three from time to time.
@ Phil-teh-Pirate Was there a memo that the definition of controller changed to "hand-held video game system"? It's the controller. It's useless without the system. Yes, you can "play" games on it, but you can only do that when the system is on. It's not synched; it's tethered.
now that I take a second look at the controller it look about the size of the nook and that I guess its a reasonable size and it might not be that clunky to hold, I might start warming up to it once I hold that controller and play zelda in HD. @Phil-teh-Pirate well if you wanna get technical about it the GBA did that before the psp with the GameCube. Don't knock a console down a peg before we can actually try it and see if we would like it or not.