Recent posts: Zelda
What a day at PAX East 2013. Saturday is traditionally the busiest day of the show, and this year was no exception. I dedicated the entire day to seeking out the best cosplayers in the show and snapped a ton of photos. It was such a pleasure to interact and mingle with everyone, and it was easy to see how much hard work went into the costumes. I was also excited to see a lot of Borderlands cosplay, including a bunch of characters I wouldn’t have expected. Awesome! Alright, you didn’t come here to see me writing a bunch of words, so let’s get right down to it.
I did a pretty cool video of one of the cosplay’s that caught my eye as it came in. It looked to be a robot, but as it turns out, there was someone inside. I’ve been told it was supposed to be Clockwork Droid from Dr. Who. Pretty cool video:
Here are many of the amazing cosplay costumes from Day 2 of PAX East 2013 (click here for Day 1):
Whenever big conventions come around, the press invites are sure to follow. It becomes a catch 22 for me, as I like the freedom of being able to mingle through the crowd and take things in as I go without having the responsibility of being tied down by a specific time. My concern is and always will be what I ran into to start the day, where I was stuck in traffic and couldn’t make one of the two appointments I made. Fortunately, this was not one of them.
When they invite came in to talk to Dave Marshall from Dark Horse Comics, I jumped! I have been a massive fan of everything Dark Horse Comics has done for the Star Wars Universe, especially their contributions to the Knights of the Old Republic lore. I also have some of the Mass Effect: Homeworlds graphic novels and some Dragon Age stuff, so this was a no brainer. Dave is an editor on most of their video game contributions, and the list of games he has had a hand on is massive, including but certainly not limited to: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Prototype 2, The Last Of Us, Remember Me, Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zelda, Final Fantasy and, well, I think you get the point.
You heard it right. One of my favourite video game soundtracks of all time were from Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Something about the OST and the ocarina sent chills down my spine and always longed to hear it live. Now is my chance–or not. The tour looks like it’s only in NA for now and will play in select dates up till the last quarter of the year. The Symphony of the Goddesses tour, will recount memorable moments from fan favourite games such as Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, A Link to the Past and The Wind Waker. Hit the link for more! Or hit the jump for more info on dates. (more…)
We got word that a Zelda Manga remake is in the works by the legendary Akira Hamekawa via Nintendo Dream Magazine. Akira Hamekawa are a female mangaka duo who have worked on Gold Ring, Gliding Reki, Astro Boy and were the ones responsible for the old Legend of Zelda Mangas that sold over a million copies worldwide. Their latest remake will be based on the recent Skyword Sword storyline and will be their 11th Zelda Manga adaptation. Be on the lookout for the two page interview which will be released on the January issue of Nintendo Dream Magazine.
Day one of the E3 Expo is in the books, and Tuesday was the day for the last two of the three major platforms to take the stage. Microsoft did a good job making sure that there was little pressure on Nintendo or Sony to bring the goods, but they went ahead and did their best to do it anyway. As the press conferences went on, I found myself getting lost in the moment and feeling like these two companies were leaving Microsoft in the dust, but as everything has wrapped up and I have had a chance to sit back and take it all in, I am starting to question some of my earlier enthusiasm. I am going give a full review of my impressions from each conference, starting here with Nintendo:
Nintendo kicked off the day, and anticipation was pretty high. The nostalgia factor was palpable for Nintendo this year, but I don’t think it is going to translate with the old school or hardcore gamer. Hardcore gamers have longed for the day when this console would matter to them, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that day would be today.
Right out of the gate, Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage in dramatic fashion, as he first appeared to be simulcasting his presentation from Japan, only to bust through a wall underneath to unveil the new Zelda game subtitled Skyward Sword. I understand why having Miyamoto on stage as a presenter is so important for Nintendo, but until he can come to an American press conference and deliver in English, I think he should sit things out. The whole presentation can only be described as awkward, as you had to wait for a translator to interpret everything he was trying to say. Making matters even worse is that the Wiimote function was failing him constantly in game. The presenter blamed the lag on the WiFi in the building with everyone trying to use their phones, but I think we all know better. Spectators were assured that there would be no issues if they made their way over to the Nintendo booth to check out Skyward Sword there, so we’ll have to wait and see if that is the case.
From a gameplay perspective, the game looked very lacking. This is fucking ZELDA! Come on Nintendo, do it right. Maybe I am wrong, but do we really need motion controls to play Zelda? I know that the concept seems to be captivating everyone in the industry, but is that really resonating with fans? Wouldn’t you rather seem incredible visuals with a killer story instead? Zelda is being treated like a redheaded stepchild and it is just totally unfortunate, because this is one of the legendary franchises in gaming. A total inspiration to all of the great games that are flat out just doing it better today. The thing is, this game looks like it has the potential to be cool. But it won’t be. It won’t even come close to living up to the last one, or the first one for that matter. Color me disappointed.
This was not the start to the event that I envisioned. Next up, Nintendo America President Reggie Fils-Aime started to talk about sports games on the Wii. He talked about how the great part of the Nintendo sports experience is how you can choose from actual simulators like Madden 11, or you could choose over the top action like NBA Jam. He then moved away from both games to introduce Mario Sports Mix, which will launch next year. We saw classic Mario Brothers characters like Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Toadstool and the Princess playing all sorts of games like hockey, volleyball, basketball and more. Why not right? It’s what the kids want I guess.
Reggie then went ahead and made some comments that, quite frankly, I’m not buying. He claimed that there is a study that more people that own a Wii play their Wii then both other consoles combined. Say what? I realize there are more Wii’s out there then the other two consoles, but I know for a fact that every night when I log on to play Call Of Duty, it tells me there are over 200,000 people online playing just Call Of Duty, and I have to imagine it is like that with some of the other huge titles like Halo, Battlefield, Red Dead Redemption and more. Maybe people are turning their Wii’s on, but are you telling me they are investing the same time into it as the 360 and PS3 crowd? Those are some numbers that I really want to see backed up in writing. I am assuming they are talking about worldwide and not just American numbers, because it just doesn’t make sense otherwise. We all see the monthly sales numbers. The Wii definitely has a tendency to lead the board, but I have a hard time accepting that Modern Warfare 2 became the first billion dollar franchise in the history of ever and somehow more people are playing the Wii. But hey, numbers can be twisted any number of ways. Show them to me on paper and maybe I’ll believe. I can guarantee it will never happen, though.
Anyway, next we were introduced to the next big Wii platform they would be unveiling, the Wii Party. This is supposed to change everything as we know it, with all sorts of interactive games for families to play and enjoy together. It will be out in the fall and the intention is to “drive social interaction.” There will be over 70 different mini games, with some of the ones shown including Board Game Island, Battle Boat and House Party Games. This was obviously not marketed towards most people reading this article, so I guess it is what it is.
Now it was time for a major sequel announcement. That’s right, Just Dance 2. There is absolutely no denying the popularity of this game with the average schmuck on the street, or the fact that I am losing readers by continuing to talk about it. If you are into this kind of game, I am sure you’ll get it anyway. With the metric shit ton of dancing games about to be made available, it will be interesting to see if they will cut into Just Dance 2 sales, or if their domination of the charts will continue. Either way, it is lose-lose for us all, and win-win for Nintendo’s bank account.
Next up we had the series reboot announcement for Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, which is like the ultimate antonym of video game titles. It was a cartoonish RPG looking game that I believe was for the DS, but might have been the Wii. Considering it has a holiday 2010 release date, it is probably the Wii. The fact that I can’t differentiate the graphics between the two consoles kind of says it all, though. Hey, maybe this game will be great. I don’t have enough to judge it on. The truth kind of hurts, though.
Next up, we are shown actual focus group footage of people talking about the classic Goldeneye for N64. Each and every person in the group waxed poetic about how innovative it was and how it really paved the way for the first person shooter multiplayer experience we know today. Then, you guessed it, we were treated to a graphic of Goldeneye 007, coming to the Wii holiday 2010. Now before you shit a brick, let’s face some reality here. First, let’s put a few words together: Nintendo Wii and first person shooter. Say it a few times and let it sink in. Goldeneye was great… 13 years ago. Maybe it can be great again today, but why would anyone spend time with this game now that there are so many realistic looking alternatives? They showed some split screen multiplayer where a player died and there was a “blood splatter” on the screen and it may as well have been from the original N64 game. Now I can definitely be wrong, but I think this may be setting up people for heart break. Ironically, I reference the fact that there are so many realistic alternatives, but then I have to follow by saying that this game is being developed by Activision, who I would say know a thing about the realistic alternatives. I don’t think James Bond really carries the same weight that it used to, so I am curious if this is really something that is going to capture the attention of the average 8-13 year old who wasn’t even alive when Goldeneye originally came out. What is even funnier is the fact that this would seem like the type of game that would appeal to the hardcore gamer, but I can’t really think of many reasons I would play this over something like, say Call Of Duty: Black Ops, which will be coming out around the same time. For what it is worth, there will be eight playable, classic Bond characters, with a bunch of different multiplayer modes at their disposal. I noticed that one of them was melee only. This is definitely a game that warrants attention, I just question whether it has a legitimate shot to live up to the name.
Next, the moved on to Epic Mickey. Excuse me… Disney Epic Mickey. Because, you know, we gotta make sure we get the Disney name in there. To my surprise, this game looks like it could be a decent amount of fun. Disney Epic Mickey will be set in a world featuring over 80 years of Disney characters and rides in an area called Wasteland, and will feature some long forgotten characters and attractions. In the footage we saw, Mickey was interacting with some characters from Peter Pan. There are three different gameplay modes, and you travel to all of them by jumping through a projection screen. Mickey comes equipped with a paint brush and thinner, which allow him to constantly upgrade and change the area around him. When he does travel, a side scroller style game comes up as he goes reel to reel. The developers stated that they were trying to find a balance between heritage and innovation that meets both the Nintendo and Disney standard, and they feel like they have. They also mentioned how Mickey Mouse is one of, if not the most recognizable face in the world, yet that fame has not translated well into video games. I noticed that the graphics on this one seemed to look much better than they did on Zelda. I don’t know that I would specifically buy a Wii just for this, but I do know that if I had a Wii I would definitely buy it.
It’s pretty tough to follow Mickey Mouse, but it looks like our old friend Kirby was up for the task. I mentioned earlier that the nostalgia factor was evident in Nintendo’s presentation, and this was just another classic example of why. The game itself was called Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and it was an interesting side scroller featuring a Kirby made of yarn doing god knows what. It was certainly colorful, but I can’t really say this was for me. For those who are into it, I have seen that the reaction was very positive, so this could end up being a pretty solid title.
Next up, we began to hear about Dragon Quest 9, and how it had sold something ridiculous like four million copies in Japan alone, and how it would be coming to the DS in America on July 11th. I am sure if this game has been out for a while and you have a DS, you probably know what this game is all about, because to be honest… I don’t. Sorry.
One of my favorite parts of the Nintendo presentation came next, as we got to see Metroid: The Other M. The graphics for this looked stellar… well, for Wii, and it was the first time in the press event I started picturing a Wii hanging out next to my XBox 360. The gameplay showed Samus doing her thing, rolling around in various places and in general, simply being a badass. They didn’t show off a dependence on motion controls, so this one could be a keeper for me. Again, it is just so unfortunate that HD is not an option for such a legendary character and series. It’ll be out August 31st none-the-less.
If Metroid doesn’t sell me a Wii, I am sure the next game announced should help seal the deal: Donkey Kong Country Returns. I told you the throwback was in full effect. This game looked simply incredible, and was the first moment of the entire show that I actually marked out a bit. It was a bit of a side scroller and seemed like it was nonstop action and nonstop fun, as Kong swung through the forest collecting bananas and doing all the things big famous guerillas do. It’s nice to see Nintendo going back to their roots and bringing some of these epic characters back.
The rest of Nintendo’s presentation centered around the unveiling of their new hardware: the Nintendo 3DS. Reggie came out and said that this was going to be the future of gaming, and that Nintendo was not just trying to raise the bar, they were trying to extend it far into the distance. The key to making 3D work would be making it accessible, which is something I certainly agree with. In order to do that, Nintendo thinks we need to ditch the glasses. Again, they nailed it. Their take on 3D is that it needs to be able to go with you wherever you go. With that, a cloud of smoke appeared on the stage and a pedestal came up from the ground with a blueish Nintendo 3DS centered on it. Other than Miyamoto busting through the screen earlier, this was as dramatic as Nintendo got.
They began to show off the changes made to the 3DS from the original. They mentioned that the touch screen and 3D technology did not really agree, so the bottom screen would be touch, with the top being 3D. They showed both a D pad and analog slider, and also showed off two cameras giving the user the ability to take 3D pictures. Now that was pretty cool, but I wonder how much of a novelty it will be. We’ll see. They also announced that companies like Dreamworks and Disney would be releasing 3D movies for the 3DS, with “How To Train Your Dragon” announced as one of the first movies that would be available. They showed a video of developers from major companies being surprised with the opportunity to test out the 3DS, and across the board there were glowing reviews.
From there, they started to talk about Project Sora. This would be one of the most exciting parts of the event for me, as Project Sora ended up being a reboot of Kid Icarus in the new game Kid Icarus: Uprising. Awesome. I loved this game when I was younger. Then it all kind of sank in… this is for the 3DS. I don’t want a 3DS. I am still looking for Nintendo to give me a reason to buy a damn Wii. I would have for Kid Icarus. Fans have been begging for this for years, and now it is being used to push 3DS’s? Come on Nintendo. Do what is right and release it on the Wii too. I don’t want to play Kid Icarus on a less than four inch screen.
That brings me to the whole problem I have with the 3DS to begin with. I realize that kids eat this thing up, and having gone to PAX East this year and lived in the shock of knowing a crapload of adults do too, I get it. Totally. And they are going to sell this like hot cakes. No doubt about it. But again, Nintendo is blatantly slapping the face of the gamers that gave them life while we were all growing up by continuing to ignore our needs. They can talk about trying to push technology to new boundaries, but they are totally missing the potential that the Wii has still left untapped. I’ll get into that more at the end, there are still a few more details I’d like to cover.
They started talking about the WiFi capabilities of the 3DS, and how it will be able to connect to any version of the DS in proximity, and that there would be no subscription service fees involved. They announced that over 20 developers had signed on to develop games for the 3DS, including Activision, Level 5, THQ, EA and Square Enix to much applause. They showed that Cats would be coming to Nintendogs, and that there would be games from Batman, Saints Row, Metal Gear Solid and a new Resident Evil series, amongst others.
The conference concluded when about 100 models came out from the back of the stage with 3DS’s literally attached to their hip. They moved out into the crowd so everyone there would have the chance to get their hands on it. I am assuming that the 3DS was weighted, because I am pretty sure there is a rumor going around that our own DJ Krome tried to steal one of the models, but that damn bastard 3DS held him back. Can’t say I blame the dude for trying (Editor’s Note: I cannot confirm or deny that these events actually transpired, but I sure hope they did!).
Part of the problem I have with Nintendo is that they almost seem too pompous and arrogant for their own good. They are totally into the fact that they are Nintendo and seem to think they are infallible. It remains to be seen how hard the Kinect and Move will hit the casual gamer market that Nintendo is currently dominating, but the fact that they continue to take the hardcore community for granted is downright bad business. I know that we have two consoles that do love and appreciate us and cater to our needs, but there are some badass, classic characters in the Nintendo Universe that I simply want and need to see get the treatment they deserve. The fact that they continue to ignore making a WiiHD is downright pathetic. They can talk about all the consoles they have already sold all they want, but the fact remains that if you build it, they will come. This is an opportunity to sell even more. And I am not saying every game needs to be in HD. I mean, does Just Dance really have to? I doubt it. But the big ones should. Zelda, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Mario… none of these games can really be taken seriously enough until they are available in HD. I am sure Reggie has plenty of numbers that would tell me otherwise, so maybe I’m the asshole.
At the end of the day, Nintendo doesn’t need the hardcore gaming market… for now anyway. They have a clear and distinct audience, and they are catering to them almost exclusively because they are making money hand over fist. And you know what? That’s great. More power to them. I just hope for their sake that the day doesn’t come where they come running back to the generation of fans who gave them life all those years ago and try to ask us out on a date. Right now, I haven’t had that many reasons to buy a Wii, regardless of the uber-cheap price