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Notes from Nintendo Direct: A Link to the Past and Yoshi's Island Sequels, Earthbound to Wii U VC

Plus a whole bunch of release dates and other useful info.

Nintendo held another Nintendo Direct livestream this morning, albeit one focused primarily on the 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console. Still, if you're interested in either of those platforms, this morning's stream offered no shortage of useful info.

I really wasn't expecting to be writing about a direct sequel to A Link to the Past today, but it sure was a nice surprise.

On the subject of the Virtual Console, the main news was that it's coming very soon. How soon? According to Nintendo, the VC will launch the day after this month's Wii U system update, which will also improve system performance. There was no specific day cited for the update in North America and Europe yet, but it is scheduled for Japan next week. Iwata noted during the stream that Nintendo will be looking to bring GBA and N64 games to the platform.

Though it won't launch alongside the Virtual Console, fans of classic, yet underutilized Nintendo RPGs will be pleased to hear that Nintendo will bring Earthbound to the Wii U VC. Apparently the regular prodding from fans on the Miiverse paid off, as the game will launch in North America and Europe sometime this year, after having been out on the Japanese Virtual Console for some time.

That was about it for Wii U stuff (outside of a couple of release dates you'll find further down), but if you're a 3DS owner, you've got plenty of news to look forward to, not the least of which is the announcement of a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Yes, Nintendo is developing a full-on sequel to the beloved SNES entry in the Zelda series, retaining the game's top-down perspective, while using that perspective to design multilevel puzzles. Link can even turn into a wall drawing of sorts, which turns the perspective sideways, and allows him to navigate areas his three-dimensional body wouldn't. The sequel will be out in North America and Europe this holiday season, and Japan in early 2014.

Another sequel was also announced in the form of Yoshi's Island 3DS, a third game in the platforming series starring Mario's best dinosaur buddy. Little information was given on the sequel outside of acknowledgment of its existence, though Nintendo promised more would be coming soon.

Those were the biggest reveals, but here's the other stuff that came alongside these announcements, including release dates for a couple of key Wii U titles.

You can watch the full archived stream from this morning here.

Alex Navarro on Google+
177 Comments
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Posted by Beb

Holy shit.

A direct sequel to the greatest game of all time.

Posted by Brendan

At first this list looked cool, but I grew fatigued by the end due to the sheer amount of Mario-based games. I understand that the games themselves are varied enough to make it an unfair comparison to other franchises such as COD when using the term "sequalitis" but I wish Nintendo would invent a new character and setting to freshen the paint up a bit.

Edited by huser

I'm still baffled by how people are all "Please, no more sequels. Please, no more sequels." regarding other press conferences, but then everyone is excited about Nintendo and what is mostly games from franchises with dozens of games under their belt.

Anyway, either Nintendo has a couple of cards under their sleeves or their E3 event will be a bummer.

Made in jest perhaps, but is there a single IP of Nintendo that has had dozens of games? And of course the simple explanation is that even a lot of people doing a thing doesn't mean that everyone is. Heck it doesn't even mean a majority.

Posted by JackSukeru

Also I love Square Enix titles.

Not the games but the names.

Posted by mrfluke

@winternet said:

I'm still baffled by how people are all "Please, no more sequels. Please, no more sequels." regarding other press conferences, but then everyone is excited about Nintendo and what is mostly games from franchises with dozens of games under their belt.

This times a hundred.

its the hypocrisy that we all share in the sense that we all have our favorite franchises that we would go for more games in that universe,

Like brad for example on twitter hes down on the idea of a new zelda game in the link to the past world, but gets totally stoked for a new game in the infamous world..

Edited by leinad44

Oh the internet, don't ever stop being so grumpy.

Interested to see how this new zelda turns out. Looks like I got my 3DS at just the right time.

Edited by Eribuster

@winternet said:

I'm still baffled by how people are all "Please, no more sequels. Please, no more sequels." regarding other press conferences, but then everyone is excited about Nintendo and what is mostly games from franchises with dozens of games under their belt.

This times a hundred.

You'll find complaints on sequels if you look for them. They're even in this particular thread.

@ghostnpc said:

Oh look, no new IP. How surprising, Nintendo.

And completely ignore Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, The Starship Damrey, Bugs vs. Tanks, and Attack of Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Story. Now if you want to say that those don't count, then that's a different thing.

I'm not ecstatic with Nintendo's nostalgia mining either (the only game I'm really excited for from this Direct is Bravely Default), but give some credit when new stuff does show up on their systems whether it's by Nintendo or other people.

Edited by The_Nubster

@sixpin: Odd in that it's a direct sequel to a 20 year-old game in a franchise that doesn't often deal in direct sequels. On top of that, it's coming close to a remake of another much-beloved Zelda game, both of these games in lieu of a new Zelda announcement. It strikes me as a very 'safe' strategy, which isn't very fun. At least, it isn't what I would want out of Zelda announcements.

Edited by Haziqonfire

My head hurts from all these announcements. So happy though.

Posted by tearsinmyfro

@winternet: People usually say that about series that get a sequels every year, not series that get a sequel once or twice per console.

Posted by Psychohead

The real question regarding a LTTP sequel is whether or not Nintendo pulls a New SMB on us should LTTP 2 prove popular. If the game is actually good, I'd really hate to see them drive it into the ground. I also reeeeally hope this is a project they've had in mind for a while, and not just Nintendo hitting a big green panic button to garner interest in the flagging WiiU.

Bring us back home, Nintendo! And don't screw it up! For all our sakes.

Posted by Popogeejo

starman.net must be happy about this.

Posted by Winternet

@huser: I just said people in general, not that everyone was like this.

@tearsinmyfro: That didn't stop people from going "ugh, a sequel" when Killzone 4 was announced.

Edited by Superfriend

That Donkey Kong game without the dumb waggle-to-roll feature is absolutely worth buying and a proper new 2D Zelda game sound amazing! So does a new Yoshi´s Island.

BUT I want to play those at home on my big screen TV. Don´t want to buy a handheld thingy ever again. My dusty day-one PSP reminds me that I don´t play handhelds.

Posted by PrettyFlacco

Link to the Past is the greatest game ever made and I'm going to pretend this is not actually going to be a sequel because I'm a baby who wants to keep his nostalgia intact. thanks.

Posted by Superkenon

I'm still baffled by how people are all "Please, no more sequels. Please, no more sequels." regarding other press conferences, but then everyone is excited about Nintendo and what is mostly games from franchises with dozens of games under their belt.

I don't think it's such a hard distinction to make. When people are talking about being tired of sequels, they're speaking to annualized (or near-annualized) games, coming out so fast and largely resembling their predecessors. It's like you've just barely had a chance to finish eating, you're satisfied and full, yet they immediately dish you up a meal made of all the same ingredients, with maybe a cherry on top or something -- you liked it before, but you just can't do it again. Not yet. "Please, thanks, that's okay... but no more. I'm good for now. Maybe later?"

But if you're a Nintendo fan, you're friggin' starved. It's always years and years between proper installments of their flagship franchises, so it's more of an event when they roll around.

Edited by RoyCampbell

Posted by EnduranceFun

@psychohead: This is a 3DS game. From the UI, it's likely this is developed by the team behind the extremely successful Ocarina of Time remake, I forget their name. Personally I would guess that after this they would remake Majora's Mask, so maybe the cycle for them will become remake -> new game / sequel -> remake if they continue to sell well.

Posted by Phatmac

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is going to be so good!!! It isn't the year of Luigi. It's the year of the 3DS!

Edited by TechnoSyndrome

@ghostnpc said:

Oh look, no new IP. How surprising, Nintendo.

There were several new digital titles announced, Alex just decided to ignore all of them even though two of them looked and sounded awesome.

Online
Posted by Darji

@winternet said:

I'm still baffled by how people are all "Please, no more sequels. Please, no more sequels." regarding other press conferences, but then everyone is excited about Nintendo and what is mostly games from franchises with dozens of games under their belt.

I don't think it's such a hard distinction to make. When people are talking about being tired of sequels, they're speaking to annualized (or near-annualized) games, coming out so fast and largely resembling their predecessors. It's like you've just barely had a chance to finish eating, you're satisfied and full, yet they immediately dish you up a meal made of all the same ingredients, with maybe a cherry on top or something -- you liked it before, but you just can't do it again. Not yet. "Please, thanks, that's okay... but no more. I'm good for now. Maybe later?"

But if you're a Nintendo fan, you're friggin' starved. It's always years and years between proper installments of their flagship franchises, so it's more of an event when they roll around.

starved of a MArio or Zelda game? WTF are you smoking?^^ They release these games faster than Ubisoft does release a new Assassins Creed Game or Activision a new COD game.

Posted by Kaiserreich

All those overinflated Earthbound prices on eBay are about to come crashing down.

Edited by FCDRandy

I wonder if the title for Square Enix's Bravely Default: Flying Fairy will also be localized, because what the fuck

Posted by Winternet

@superkenon: I don't follow Nintendo releases that thoroughly, but there's around 6 or 7 games in that list above with the Mario name in it.

Posted by Deathpooky

Supremely excited for both of the sequels. Smart usage of nostalgia - bring back things that don't have a place in the current gaming landscape. I've still found the portable 2D incarnations of Zelda to be better than most of the 3D releases, and consider LttP to be the best Zelda to date. Easier to be creative and have more of an exploration element to them. Ocarina it's a little harder to go back to when it comes to combat, movement and camera.

And Yoshi's Island is extremely underrated and pretty much unique gameplay-wise. The egg throwing / hatching and level design were great and it'll be great to see them get back to it.

Also highly recommend Earthbound. One of the only older games that had a great sense of humor, intentionally. Can be a little difficult or grindy at times, but not as bad as other games from that era.

Posted by Superkenon

@darji: Uhh. Assassin's Creed has come into existence and made five titles in this last console generation alone (this, of course, is not counting the upcoming sequel). There has been one new Zelda game. Two if you want to count Twilight Princess, but that predates even the first Assassin's Creed.

Admittedly, there's been also two handheld releases for Zelda in this time-frame. Though, off the top of my head I can think of four more handheld-based Assassin Creeds too, so... yeah. Wanna call it 9 vs 4?

Edited by Vigorousjammer

Oh man. Lttp Sequel. The art style in that screenshot looks pretty good.
I still consider Minish Cap pretty much a sequel to Lttp, or, I guess it'd be a prequel.

Still, pretty hyped about this... also excited about Earthbound prices to go down on Ebay.

Edited by Darji

@darji: Uhh. Assassin's Creed has come into existence and made five titles in this last console generation alone (this, of course, is not counting the upcoming sequel). There has been one new Zelda game. Two if you want to count Twilight Princess, but that predates even the first Assassin's Creed.

Admittedly, there's been also two handheld releases for Zelda in this time-frame. Though, off the top of my head I can think of four more handheld-based Assassin Creeds too, so... yeah. Wanna call it 9 vs 4?

4? I also count all remakes, 3ds Version and what ever comes out in terms of Zelda. Same with Mario. They are shitting these games out like nothing else. 2 maybe even 3 games each year, And I do not even count all the games with Mario in it.

They are milking the shit out of it because that is the only thing they still can do. From an creative perspective they are finished. And even the Zelda stuff just uses stuff from other Nintendo games. When was the last Time Nintendo Japan developed a fresh new IP for gamers?

Posted by benu302000

that screenshot for lttp2 looks like shit.

Posted by ManMadeGod

@leinad44 said:

Oh the internet, don't ever stop being so grumpy.

It might be cool if they took a day or two off. The complaining is a bit much sometimes.

Posted by Jay_Ray

Link 2: The Past?

Edited by Superkenon

@winternet said:

@superkenon: I don't follow Nintendo releases that thoroughly, but there's around 6 or 7 games in that list above with the Mario name in it.

No one's calling Mario Golf the next big "Mario" game. Kinda like you wouldn't call PlayStation All-Stars the next big InFamous -- it just has Cole in it. Uh, twice.

That said, this is actually the most exciting list to be seen from Nintendo in awhile. So... er, yikes.

I guess the common problem with looking at Nintendo from the outside is, since the company's a big fan of their characters and their branding, those names just go on everything -- even if it's some sports title, or racer. It gets hard to distinguish it all. But if we're getting into that spin-off stuff, the Nintendo-based fatigue is very real. Everyone groans when they announce another Mario Kart, or friggin' Mario Party, and right now they're definitely running the NSMB series dry.

But you see excitement when they announce the likes of a new Luigi's Mansion, a new Mario & Luigi game, or a new Paper Mario game... because despite the fact that they all sound like the same damn thing in text, they're all wholly separate series that only see a new installment once a blue moon. Wondering why A Link to the Past 2 is so exciting? Because there hasn't been that kind of Zelda since the Gameboy.

I'll stop myself before I ramble too much there, haha. Hope I don't come off as talking down to you or anything, just trying to shed light on this bizarre phenomenon.

Posted by BonOrbitz

Any word if Earthbound will be on the Wii U VC only and not on the original Wii VC? I also wonder if Nintendo is going to change anything to get around any potential legal issues.

Posted by Darji

that screenshot for lttp2 looks like shit.

yeah the OOT remake looks soo much better than this piece of shit.

Posted by BBQBram

I'm so conflicted on this LttP sequel. On the hand I'd have it over the DS games anyday. On the other hand, it's LttP! It has such a classic sense of old-school Nintendo, I'm afraid they'll neuter it.

Edited by CDUB901

@huser: I just said people in general, not that everyone was like this.

@tearsinmyfro: That didn't stop people from going "ugh, a sequel" when Killzone 4 was announced.

That's because it's Killzone :P

Edited by Abendlaender

@fcdrandy said:

I wonder if the title for Square Enix's Bravely Default: Flying Fairy will also be localized, because what the fuck

It wouldn't be brave to default on this cause I don't give a flying f...airy about the name.
Wait, that doesn't quite work. Eh....whatever, good enough

Edited by Vigorousjammer
@darji said:

starved of a MArio or Zelda game? WTF are you smoking?^^ They release these games faster than Ubisoft does release a new Assassins Creed Game or Activision a new COD game.

Really? When was the last new Zelda game that wasn't a remake or a spinoff?

That would be Skyward Sword in November 2011.

Before that it was Spirit Tracks in December 2009.

Before that it was Phantom Hourglass in June 2007.

Before that it was Twilight Princess in November 2006, but to be fair that was a very different game from Phantom Hourglass, and it was also at the launch of a new console.

Before that it was Minish Cap in November 2004

Before that it was Wind Waker in December 2002.

Before that it was Oracle of Ages/Seasons in February 2001.

Before that it was Majora's Mask in April 2000

Before that it was Ocarina of Time in November 1998.

Before that it was Link's Awakening in July 1993.

Before that it was A Link to the Past in November 1991.

Before that it was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in January 1987.

Before that it was The Legend of Zelda in February 1986.

Considering this new Lttp game is going to be coming out Q4 2013, it seems as though Nintendo releases a main-series Zelda game that isn't a re-release every 2 years or so, with a few exceptions when it comes to handheld versions vs console versions (and there's absolutely room for both of those on the market). There isn't much of a gap between the first two Zelda games, but NES games also didn't have as much development time as games nowadays. Also I didn't list Four Swords or Four Swords Adventure because both of those games are very different and are basically spinoff titles. I didn't list the CD-i Zelda games as they were not released by Nintendo.

As for Mario, I'm inclined to agree about the oversaturation as of late. I think Nintendo needs to cut it out with the "New Super Mario Bros." stuff and bring it back after not having one for a while. Still, the last full proper Mario game was Super Mario Galaxy 2, which was released in May 2010, so a new one of those would be welcome if you ask me.

Edited by TheMasterDS

Wow! Wii U just got a system seller in Earthbound. That's a reason to own a Wii U. Finally!

Posted by Brodehouse

Double middle fingers, Nintendo.

You've been making top down LTTP derivatives on handhelds for more than a decade at this point, set in other 'narratives'. How desperate are you you need to directly summon the name 'LTTP' to yet another handheld Zelda game. There is absolutely nothing about that narrative that requires further investigation, and nothing about the mechanics of LTTP that separates it from the other Zelda games except for the Light World/Dark World stuff (which has been used in Young Link/Old Link and Wolf Link/Link Link forms). You could have just called it Zelda: Magic Mirrors Yo, or Zelda: It's A New Zelda and I don't care. Calling it a sequel? Fuck off. What is it about this game that makes it inescapably LTTP, why is this a LTTP sequel and not an entirely new thing? The only reason is that LTTP is beloved, this could've been Zelda: The Adventure Of Block Puzzles or Zelda: Let's Fight Octoroks, but they know people who don't give a shit about new Zelda actually still care about LTTP. This is just a chance to repackage New Zelda in a mythical LTTP wrapper.

Posted by Superkenon

@darji: Oh, yeah, the remake. 9 vs 5, then, since 2006. C'mon, and I'm still being generous counting Twilight Princess since that was last generation. I'm fine with calling them shit all you want, but they aren't pumping Zeldas out at the rate you think they are.

Mario games are where your argument has some pull. Though it gets kinda fuzzy there, because everyone's got a different idea about what counts as a proper Mario game. Personally, I'd say the Mario Galaxies, the NSMB's, and the Super Mario Land 3D -- which racks up the Mario count up to 7. I'll be the first to say they need to take a big ol' break on NSMB, but I'll take a new Galaxy any day.

Point is, there's too much fodder and not enough core titles. That's why Nintendo fans are rightfully excited when that stuff does rear its head.

Posted by Lausebub

No ironic comment in the header? I'm dissapointed, Alex. :P

Posted by BeachThunder

Really interested in Starship Damrey.

Online
Posted by SomeJerk

Looking forward to seeing a bunch of new people get acquainted with Earthbound only to come out of it saying "that was a really really good game and I was happy to finally be able to get hold of it legally and finish it but it did not cure cancer and bury me in a pile of kittens while feeding me the freshest of steaks and fine ale like you folks who hype it beyond high heaven act like it would".

Posted by SathingtonWaltz

@lordandrew:

@darji said:

@joeyravn said:

Nintendo announces a bunch of cool stuff. The Internet is not satisfied.

I, for one, am extremely excited about the new LttP. 2D Zeldas are my favorite... I can hardly wait to get the Oracles on the eShop to play them again.

Maybe because it always the fucking same?^^ How about some new Ideas or IP's

Nintendo games usually have tons of new ideas. They just use familiar IPs to garner attention for them.

I understand the frustration, but it's preferable to almost every other company out there who have no new ideas AND no new IPs.

This! Anybody who actually plays Nintendo's games knows this. Sure they have a few iterative series, such as Mario Kart, New Super Mario Bros. (and there's only been like four of those spread out across a different platform each), and Mario Party.

Posted by Gildermershina

I would be all for another Link to the Past style Zelda, but isn't that just basically another top down Zelda game? I mean, isn't that all of the handheld games? Is this significant because it continues the story of that Link? Shouldn't that Link have pink hair, or has that been retconned? If he doesn't have pink hair, no sale. Also I don't have a 3DS.

Posted by RazielCuts

Nintendo Defence Force, go!

Posted by Draxyle

I know the 3DS is a 3D console, but I kinda resent the fact that they consider a 3D revamping of old classics as an "upgrade". With rare exceptions, 3D doesn't look better than that great old spritework. /bitteroldman

But otherwise, still not a bad announcement. Earthbound might actually be the thing to convince me to get a WiiU down the line, but it's still looking dire for that system. The 3DS is shaping up to be one of the best handhelds ever released at this rate though. That XL bundle will probably be my entry point.

Posted by EnduranceFun

@brodehouse: Hang on, isn't it a bit early to be so heavily judgemental? We've only seen a couple minutes of gameplay, most of that in a dungeon, there may be a very good few reasons why this is a sequel and not a new game. Admittedly, it may only be an excuse to ring fans through nostalgia. Personally though I'm interested in seeing what they do here, even if it is basically a remake of LttP. That's not even taking into account the developer's history so far as remaking Zelda games, I want to give them a chance to spread their wings even a little by making a pseudo-sequel over a straight-up remake.

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