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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.

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177 Comments
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Edited by FierceDeity

@brodehouse said:

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.

How dare they make a sequel to a beloved game! Why, that would be like making a sequel to Ocarina of Time. That would never turn out good! What monsters!

Edited by SathingtonWaltz

@superkenon: There's only been four NSMB games in the past six years dude, and all of them are on different platforms: DS, Wii, Wii U, 3DS. I don't get where the fatigue is coming from.

Edited by metalsnakezero

Earthbound, cool. Now get the other ones out as well Nintendo!

Edited by kenniWORLDPEACE

i jumped out of my chair in excitement when i saw the article title, naming a new yoshi's island

... then i saw it was for the 3ds and not the wiiU

ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Edited by BisonHero

@jasonr86 said:

Gross. How many different ways can Nintendo resell people's childhoods and get away with it with high praise?

Frankly, I prefer what they're doing with this LttP sequel thing, compared to what they did with Ocarina of Time 3D.

WHY DID ANY OF YOU BUY THAT? It's the same fucking game you played like 5 times when you were younger. "Ooooh, but BisonHero, they updated the polygonal models and the textures and-" IT'S THE SAME DAMN GAME.

Edited by TheKing

Cynical comment!

PC gaming!

Posted by Brodehouse

@FierceDeity

No; your example would be more like... What if they released a sequel to Ocarina of Time in 2019, after a decade of making 'unrelated' Ocarina derivatives where you iterate on mechanics arriving in the 'sequel'. Does everyone forget that every handheld game has been a derivative of LTTP?

Let me ask this; what would this game have to do in order to make itself _distinctly Link to the Past_. What things are expressly LTTP that you can recognize as being separate from Minish Cap, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks? There's only one mechanic that defines LTTP from other Zelda games and its the Magic Mirror and the LW/DW puzzles... So either this 'sequel' is doing exactly that (which is not as mindblowing as it was in 1992), or it has a totally new mechanic and now there's absolutely nothing that makes it distinctly LTTP. It's just New Zelda with the LTTP name attached to it.

Edited by BisonHero

@somejerk said:

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".

People do talk that game up way too much. The battle system really isn't very interesting (especially relative to Square's games of the day). And no, anyone who thinks the HP being an odometer is clever is wrong; unless the attack is a poison attack or something, why do attacks that do hundreds of damage take several seconds to fully register, giving you time to respond? How is that anything but stupid?

However, aside from the meh combat system, the game's weird Japanese Americana is quite charming, and the graphics, music, writing, etc., are all very warm and fuzzy. The world in that game is great, but I'm not so enthusiastic about the gameplay.

Posted by Superkenon

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.

I think the last game that can really be called a "LTTP derivative" is Minish Cap for the GBA (and that's just an assumption since I didn't actually play that one). The DS games have definitely veered into their own thing though, never really invoked LTTP for me. They just play so wildly differently.

Basically, yeah, it's lazy-ass shorthand, but I'm cautiously excited about them making that kind of Zelda again, because it has been about a decade since the last one. LTTP is my favorite Zelda, but I guess I don't think it's so sacred that they're not allowed to go near it again. Even if it ends up terrible, I'm not the kind of person lets a crappy sequel ruin the original.

I haven't fallen off Zelda though, so that's where I'm coming from. Doesn't look like a disgusting maneuver to sucker me back in if I'm already here!!!

Really hope it's not just called A LINK TO THE PAST - 2!!! though.

Posted by McDayman

Hell yeah 3DS games. That's some awesome news. Legend of Zelda: LttP2, Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, SMT 4, Bravely Default....who the hell needs home consoles anyway?

Edited by Levio

@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.

Ok, I'm giving this site a 48 hour no-complaining break. Enjoy.

Posted by BabyChooChoo

I don't even own a 3DS or WiiU, but this sounds like nothing but a bunch of good news. That said, the lack of anything Metroid fucking sucks. I would punch a baby horse right in the goddamn face if it meant we got a new Metroid. Is that fucked up? It sounds fucked up. I'm sorry, I just really want a new Metroid..

Edited by Brodehouse

@Superkenon

To maybe explain my sudden piqué, I look at this in the same as if they had taken New Super Mario Bros 2 for the 3DS... And then called it Super Mario Bros 4.

Or if they made that 3DS Castlevania: Lords of Shadow game but instead of calling it that or something completely different... They called it Castlevania 5. Still the same people making it, still the same style of game they've already made. But now it's claiming it's the heir to the ancient crown.

You guys ready to play the next Climax-developed horror game? It's called Silent Hill 5. And it's a direct sequel to Silent Hill 2. You play as James Sunderland. I JUST MADE MYSELF ANGRY IMAGINING THAT

Posted by JJOR64

Really excited for just about everything in this Nintendo Direct. Also Mario & Luigi: Dream Team launches on my Birthday this year. Fuck yeah.

Posted by huser

@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.

Fair enough. I was basing my comment on the "everyone" in yours. Hence why I used the same word. Still for the overall microcosm of gaming, I'll take a direct sequel coming out ~20 years after the original (Nintendo has a decent track record of weirdness when it comes to these in the Zelda line) and once a console lifetime rehashes over the onslaught of annualized, ur-story trilogies...that become quadrilogies if they can, and other abuses of the game industry.

Posted by huser

@brendan said:

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.

I hear that, though the problem is Mario's world is so absolutely bonkers almost anything can be crammed in there. This is a universe where sentient dinosaurs get powers from swallowing different colored shells, ushanka sporting Bob-ombs chill out in frozen wastes, and it starts out with you eating a man sized mushroom that makes you capable of breaking bricks. There's like no thematic rules other than be cute.

Posted by omdata

"Earthbound" on the Wii-U?

I'm both sad and happy to say that's the first game that's made me seriously consider purchasing a Wii-U.

Edited by Superkenon

@brodehouse: On the NSMB2/SMB4 thing, it's not like we're looking at Spirit Tracks graphics with a fat LTTP label plastered on it -- for better or worse, they're clearly going all the way with this throwback, thematically and stylistically. Only without the pink hair.

I get you though, and I don't doubt that the big idea is to prop this thing up on that fabled name. But it's also true we haven't really seen this kind of Zelda in awhile. I'm probably too forgiving, but hey, if this results in another good LTTP, I'll be happy.

Posted by Fattony12000

Took their sweet time!

EarthBound

JP August 27, 1994

NA June 5, 1995

EU Late 2013

Online
Posted by wapostyle

Why are the hearts and magic meter on the bottom of the screen?

This does not compute...

Posted by ScreamingGhost

The 3DS is becoming an inevitability for me as time goes on. I should really pick one up in the future.

Edited by Ben_H

@kaiserreich said:

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

I looked today. They're at over $200 now for a copy with no box. It will likely happen too. The same thing happened with Pikmin 2. It was $70, but now that there is a Wii version it goes for about $30.

I really should play LTTP. I have this SNES copy just sitting here but I haven't had time to start it yet. I will when I go through my yearly play-a-bunch-of-Zelda phase this summer. Last summer was Majora's Mask and Skyward Sword. This summer will be LTTP, Wind Waker, and Ocarina of Time (again. I might play the N64 one this time rather than the version from the Gamecube Collector's Edition thingy that came with Zelda, Zelda 2, OoT, and Majora's Mask. I have the 3DS version too because I want to play through the Master Quest dungeons).

Edited by DarthOrange

@mrfluke said:

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..

If they made a Zelda game where where they acknowledged the existence of Link, Ganon, and Zelda but it starred all new characters and the story did not involve saving a princess that was kidnapped by a monster that would be pretty awesome. Until then it is kinda hard to compare a new Zelda to the new inFamous game.

Edited by Nictel

The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past 2? Nintendo just sold a 3DS to me.

Posted by CircleNine

That LttP screenshot just looks ugly. What's wrong with nice sprite work nowadays?

Edited by SpasticHeathen

Why are the hearts and magic meter on the bottom of the screen?

This does not compute...

Game probably has a lot of action or inventory management going on on the bottom screen. Less distance for your eyes to travel.

Posted by Brodehouse
@ben_h said:

@kaiserreich said:

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

I looked today. They're at over $200 now for a copy with no box. It will likely happen too. The same thing happened with Pikmin 2. It was $70, but now that there is a Wii version it goes for about $30.

Somehow I'm not so sure. I think the people who want an Earthbound cartridge want it because they want an Earthbound cartridge, not because they want to play Earthbound. How many versions of Chrono Trigger are out there at this point, but that cartridge still pushes a hundred bucks. I was lucky to get mine in 2000 for forty bucks. I collect games to collect them, to have these little pieces of history to put on shelves all over my apartment, not necessarily to play them. I think most people looking for cartridges and browsing garage sales are quite similar.

Edited by Kosayn

Stoked for ownable Earthbound, and this gives me hope that they'll possibly get to Mother 3.

Now Konami needs to get off its ass about ownable Suikoden 2. And Namco needs to do some sort of gigantic Tales collection for their PSX and earlier stuff. When companies don't preserve their own accomplishments, piracy will.

Edited by Brodehouse

@brodehouse: On the NSMB2/SMB4 thing, it's not like we're looking at Spirit Tracks graphics with a fat LTTP label plastered on it -- for better or worse, they're clearly going all the way with this throwback, thematically and stylistically. Only without the pink hair.

I get you though, and I don't doubt that the big idea is to prop this thing up on that fabled name. But it's also true we haven't really seen this kind of Zelda in awhile. I'm probably too forgiving, but hey, if this results in another good LTTP, I'll be happy.

I understand that I'm overreacting but yeah. What really tipped me over is that it's a 3DS game. I feel like making another handheld Zelda and then deigning it the heir to the LTTP name would be like making Citizen Kane 2 as an hourly drama on CBS. If you're calling it Link to the Past, you need to put it on your lead platform and you need to bring hot fire. That name is neither something to piddle out there or something to experiment with.

Edited by Hassun

This marks the first time Earthbound is going to be released in Europe. Ever.

This is a BIG deal.

Posted by DeF

That LttP screenshot just looks ugly. What's wrong with nice sprite work nowadays?

Sprites wouldn't make sense since this game relies heavily on 3D and perspective shifts.

In general, I agree with you. Sprites are cool (I personally would prefer the NSMB games to be done with sprite based visuals instead of those boring looking polygons). But when they don't make sense, they just don't make sense.

Edited by yoshisaur

Not that interested. I really want Nintendo to sell me on the Wii U, but they've done a poor job so far. I think that if the Yoshi's sequel popped up there, instead of the 3DS, it would add some points in that direction. I think releasing the Luigi's Mansion (2) on the 3DS exclusively was a shitty turn, as well. I don't understand the separation they force on the consumer by requiring two different systems to play. I don't own a 3DS, nor will I because I have no need for one, so it's just missed opportunities from them to get my cash.

Posted by GValo

I'm really excited for the Earthbound news. I've been waiting for that game to come to a VC on any of their consoles. I've always told my friends that would be the game to get me to buy a system. Hopefully they'll see a high enough volume of sales to release Mother and Mother 3 over here as well.

I always expected it to be a 3DS cart of the Mother trilogy though.

Posted by Superkenon

I understand that I'm overreacting but yeah. What really tipped me over is that it's a 3DS game. I feel like making another handheld Zelda and then deigning it the heir to the LTTP name would be like making Citizen Kane 2 as an hourly drama on CBS. If you're calling it Link to the Past, you need to put it on your lead platform and you need to bring hot fire. That name is neither something to piddle out there or something to experiment with.

Yeah. While I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of it, I agree with you that it'd look less sleazy all around if they just said, "hey, here's The Legend of Zelda: Mural... Mishaps... or some shit -- and we're getting back to our roots LTTP-style, you guys!" (Unless they surprise us all, and suddenly there is some good justification to return to that world.)

Though, I will say the DS/3DS is kinda their lead platform anymore, and certainly one more people own. It'd arguably look more desperate if they said "LTTP2 ON THE WIIU. PLEASE EFFING BUY ONE."

Haha... Oh, Nintendo.

Posted by Hilbert

Can't wait for Animal Crossing.

Posted by Dalai

You all better buy Earthbound! I'll make sure of it.

And if people buy Earthbound, maybe they'll release the rest of the Mother series in North America, too.

Nah.

Posted by Seraphim84

Well I hope Yoshi's Island can make a comeback after the damage that that DS game did to it. Woof.

Edited by ArbitraryWater

Nintendo continues to make me feel ok about owning a 3DS and not owning a Wii U. The idea of calling something a direct sequel to Link to the Past is... pretty ballsy and I can't wait for it to be a totally decent Zelda game that either tries too hard or doesn't try hard enough to be like its namesake, outraging the internet. I also can't wait for the 2 hour long introductory sequence that puts me through the basic motions of how to play the game at a lethargic pace!

Posted by Ben_H

@ben_h said:

@kaiserreich said:

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

I looked today. They're at over $200 now for a copy with no box. It will likely happen too. The same thing happened with Pikmin 2. It was $70, but now that there is a Wii version it goes for about $30.

Somehow I'm not so sure. I think the people who want an Earthbound cartridge want it because they want an Earthbound cartridge, not because they want to play Earthbound. How many versions of Chrono Trigger are out there at this point, but that cartridge still pushes a hundred bucks. I was lucky to get mine in 2000 for forty bucks. I collect games to collect them, to have these little pieces of history to put on shelves all over my apartment, not necessarily to play them. I think most people looking for cartridges and browsing garage sales are quite similar.

Yeah you do have a point. I bought a ton of SNES games that I could have got way cheaper for GBA, but got them on SNES because I wanted them on SNES. I guess it will just make sale of Earthbound for SNES more difficult because this accessibility will make it so only the collectors will want it, not the people that want to play it. I dropped $70 on Super Mario RPG because I really wanted to play it as it was the only Mario RPG I did not own. I wanted to complete the collection.

Posted by Oscar__Explosion

M&L Dream Team is going to be mine

Bravely Default looks interesting

Everything else I really don't care for. Hope there will be more announced at E3.

Edited by EnduranceFun

You guys really should check out the 3D trailer of aLttP2 on the e-shop. So good.

Edited by MjHealy

Pretty happy with my 3DS purchase then I guess with the new Mario & Luigi (!!), Animal Crossing, LTTP 2 and that DK game I never played. Video games, y'all.

Posted by Shaanyboi

@superkenon said:

@brodehouse: On the NSMB2/SMB4 thing, it's not like we're looking at Spirit Tracks graphics with a fat LTTP label plastered on it -- for better or worse, they're clearly going all the way with this throwback, thematically and stylistically. Only without the pink hair.

I get you though, and I don't doubt that the big idea is to prop this thing up on that fabled name. But it's also true we haven't really seen this kind of Zelda in awhile. I'm probably too forgiving, but hey, if this results in another good LTTP, I'll be happy.

I understand that I'm overreacting but yeah. What really tipped me over is that it's a 3DS game. I feel like making another handheld Zelda and then deigning it the heir to the LTTP name would be like making Citizen Kane 2 as an hourly drama on CBS. If you're calling it Link to the Past, you need to put it on your lead platform and you need to bring hot fire. That name is neither something to piddle out there or something to experiment with.

Handhelds aren't exactly a "side thing" Nintendo occasionally does for kicks. It's their key driving force in Japan. All the announcements for the 3DS over the past few months demonstrate that pretty clearly.

Posted by sprode

I love it when the 3DS justifies my ownership.

Edited by ptys

This desperate scrambling by Nintendo is just getting embarrassing. I was a 'Nintendo Only' guy coming out of the Gamecube, now I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole! You just can't dismiss your core customer (who you basically flipped the bird to with the Wii) and expect them to be pandered by something as trivial as "A Link to the Past"? Come on, what kind of a nos con is that, "oohhh I never thought they'd do it so I'm back!!?"... Who cares, I play Mass Effect nowadays ; ) They should have partnered up to save the company a long time ago. I guess we're down to PS and Xbox now.

Posted by Daneian

The problem with putting Earthbound on the WiiU is that its sales wouldn't be strictly indicative of peoples interest in the Mother series but how interested they are in the WiiU. I would pay upwards of $50 for that game on the 3DS I already own but I'm not sure I'll pay 250 plus whatever it ends up costing.

Posted by DeF

@ptys said:

This desperate scrambling by Nintendo is just getting embarrassing. I was a 'Nintendo Only' guy coming out of the Gamecube, now I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole! You just can't dismiss your core customer (who you basically flipped the bird to with the Wii) and expect them to be pandered by something as trivial as "A Link to the Past"? Come on, what kind of a nos con is that, "oohhh I never thought they'd do it so I'm back!!?"... Who cares, I play Mass Effect nowadays ; ) They should have partnered up to save the company a long time ago. I guess we're down to PS and Xbox now.

Wow, you seem incredibly bitter. Seriously, how can you find anything (aside from maybe a few little things) bad to say about what they showed here today.

Does not compute.

Edited by Sir_Lizardman

Surprise they didn't save some of this stuff for E3

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