The Wii U is coming in 2012, but it may not be until the final month. That’s the announcement that came late last night for Japan, as Nintendo livestreamed a press event to give a December 8, 2012 release in their native country. The basic console will cost 26,250 yen ($337; £210) and a premium edition will 31,500 yen ($405; £251), though those prices will likely not translate directly in the international markets. The new controller, fashioned as a tablet-gamepad hybrid, will run Japanese gamers 13,000 yen ($167; £104).
Join us for live coverage of the New York press event Thursday morning at 10am EDT where we’ll get all the release details for the US (and likely European) market. We’ll be back here then, so bookmark now and get that refresh button ready!
We’re settled in at a swanky NYC loft space amongst throngs of other journalists and industry representatives. There was some notable presence from Activision, Sega, Ubisoft, and EA here at the event alongside Nintendo.
And here we go. A sizzle reel of the WiiU going on tour was played before NoA President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime took the stage.
“Good morning everyone, and thanks for spending some time with us today.”
“Even with all that’s been said about WiiU so far, there are still some key questions to be answered.”
WiiU arrives in US stores in 66 days, Sunday November 18, 2012.
Reggie says the reaction as they took the WiiU on tour has been great, with people having genuinely wonderful, happy reactions.
There will be two configurations, the Basic Set is white, has the console, gamepad, an AC adapter for each, HDMI cable, Wii U Sensor Bar and 8gb of storage.
Deluxe Set has 32gb, a charging cradle, stands for both, and the game Nintendo Land, that includes sampling of all the new controls the gamepad offers. The Deluxe set also includes a special Nintendo download subscription with free and exclusive DLC (sounds a bit like PlayStation Plus at first).
Neither set comes with the Wii Remote or Nunchuck, Reggie says because they work with existing Wii ones.
The Basic is $299.99, and the Deluxe is $349.99.
“We deliberately put the big information out right off the bat, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy yourselves,” said Reggie. “And now, let’s talk about games.”
We’re starting with NintendoLand. Kicking off, Reggie is bringing out Bill Trinen and Corey Olcsvary to show off the new Metroid area in the game.
“We think these team attractions have the depth and fun that will keep you coming back and playing, even if you consider yourself a core gamer,” said Trinen.
“Metroid Blast” was demoed, with one Mii in the classic Samus suit, using a WiiMote and Nunchuk. The other player used the new WiiU Gamepad to control a ship floating above the battle arena, helping his friend take out a variety of enemies. The player on the ground can grapple to the ship when he needs to get away. There are powerups for both ground and air.
“This is just one mission,” said Trinen, “and this is just about 8 missions in, and that’s not even half of what you’ll find in just this mode. You can play cooperatively with more than 2 players too, but you can also play solo in the air or on the ground.”
Metroid Blast will have two other modes, as well, with a ground only MP free-for-all and a ground versus air game.
Pikmiin Adventure, another NintendoLand game will be around on the floor here as well.
New Super Mario Bros U is up next, with new powerups, of course. There is also a fully interconnected map. In new “Boost Rush” mode, which actually encourages speed runs with scrolling levels that speed up as you collect coins. Youtube, here we come.
There are also challenges in the game, and MiiVerse integration so you can discuss your achievements with friends easily from within the game.
LEGO City Undercover is next up, with a special Chase McCane minifig as a preorder bonus. Trinen promises, “comedy, adventure, and fun” in that one.
Reggie retook the stage to “break for something completely different. And I mean for Nintendo something entirely different. The most different non-gaming Nintendo innovation ever.
“Today the Wii is attached to tens of millions of households, hooked up to the big screen where the family gathers. At E3 we mentioned a third pillar we called “entertainment.” Today we give its new name, NintendoTVii. For our idea to fully come to life, we had to wait for the right technology to come along. In a minute we’re going to show you a deeper look,” but first a sizzle reel.
“Find, Watch, Engage, TV Movies Sports” said the ad. The WiiU gamepad becomes a guide. You can pull up sports scores, access Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, your DVR with Tivo, or directly on live tv, using your WiiU as the remote the whole time. Again, with TiVo integration, you can set your DVR from your gamepad. During a football game, the gamepad became an interactive device showing the plays that were just run, stats, and even replay clips, as well as integrated discussion through twitter. Wow, this is huge.
Now the head of the TVii project, Zach Fountain is out on stage with Reggie to show off a live demo.
Zach started with TV, the guide is a comprehensive one, that ties in all of your profiles and live TV as well. You can go to Popular, Live, Recommended, Channels, and Grid. Recommendations can come from Nintendo, or from friends.
Everything gives you full information right on screen. When he showed Modern Family, it gave access to episodes on Hulu, as well as showing the next live episode in 13 days. You can access IMDB-style info, favorite shows, see who of your friends has favorited it, and more, all from that one screen.
When he clicked one episode, he sees all of the options, Hulu+, $1.99 to own and stream from Amazon, plus the episode recorded on his TiVo.
For movies, you can watch the trailers on the gamepad so you don’t interrupt what’s up on the TV.
Now we’re on to Sports. Football, Baseball, and Basketball are shown. The first screen shows Football, specifically college, and has one large icon and several small, with scores and times all listed immediately.
A unified Search from the main screen will, once again, search all your services/devices simultaneously. Favorites can be customized to everyone in your family; five tabs were shown at once, all with their own Mii of course.
Also from the main homepage is a built-in remote, which directly accesses all of your favorite channels, it’s a cool series of rotary dials.
You can interact on Twitter and MiiVerse while watching a TV – individual scenes will be highlighted on the gamepad, plus polls, all sorts of little fun interactions.
Sports is up next, with an Alabama LSU game on the TV, while other scores, moments being captured on the side; you can see highlighted plays, access wikipedia and other databases from the gamepad to learn more about the game, very in-depth, seems they’ve thought of everything.
That’s all for NintendoTVii, rolling out in US and Canada, then expanding into the rest of the Americas. “NintendoTVii is included in every WiiU purchase at no additional cost, and no monthly fee,” Reggie finished off. “But now, let’s get back to the games.”
First up is a game from Platinum Games, Bayonetta 2. “It’s the sequel to the original Bayonetta, being directed by the producer of the original. It’s a WiiU exclusive, and will be published by Nintendo.”
Also coming from Platinum Games is a co-op action adventure game, Diablo-style with amazing cartoony graphics, now called The Wonderful 101.
“This team of heroes, their massive transformation, and the nonstop action of this alien invasion can only be found on WiiU. Next, we can confirm one more project you may have heard about. Capcom is bringing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate to WiiU and 3DS in US and Europe. You can progress simultaneously between both platforms, too.”
Next is Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg.
Eric started with “It looks to us like this November Nintendo will once again bring a lot of freshness to the living room. We’re excited because we have a lot of great games that will help show it off. There’s more competition than ever before, but also more gamers than ever before. Video games have become the entertainment choice for a generation.
Nintendo has always focused on hardware and software being intertwined. At Activision we focus on making great games for fans around the world.”
Now a sizzle reel of titles available in the Launch Window. Skylanders Giants, Wipeout 3, James Bond: 007 Legends, Transformers Prime: The Game, were all shown in the reel.
Eric is now focusing on Skylanders Giants, which will have new controls and functionality from the Gamepad including character stats in realtime. in 007 Legends, gamers will play iconic sequences from all the movies.
And now “one more game we’re making for WiiU, wasn’t in the trailer, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I think what Treyarch is making this year is nothing short of the most innovative CoD game yet,” said Hirshberg. “And it looks great on the WiiU.”
A live demo was shown with Jacob and Jason from Treyarch.
The two demoers are playing with a Pro Controller and a Gamepad. The graphics are great, nearly the same level as the 360. They’re playing a multiplayer match with bots. You can actually take control of some of the aerial drones in the game. On the WiiU, you can change your loadout midgame on the touchscreen. “Treyarch had some fun figuring out ways to leverage the second screen,” assured Hirshberg. You can also use the Wii Remote and Nunchuck, so any of the three controllers.
One player can play on the gamepad’s screen in full screen while another plays on the bigscreen without any splitscreen, coop or competitively. There is of course also full online multiplayer, and a full single player campaign. And that’s it from Activision this morning.
Reggie took the stage once more. “it’s still too early to announce which games will come out on launch date and which will be in the launch window,” said Reggie, “but here’s the Launch Window from November 18 to the end of March’s lineup.”
Tons of games, 8 from Ubisoft, Sega, Namco, THQ, Activision, EA, Disney, WB Games, Majesco, D3, Tcmo Koei, Nintendo of course, and more were shown in a very quick sizzle reel. “over 50″ games in total in that nearly 5 month launch window.
“We hope you’ve enjoyed the presentation,” Reggie said, wrapping up. And that’s all for today’s live coverage. Come back to Newsarama for hands-on impressions on many of these games in the coming days. Thanks for reading!