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Nintendo bets on new Mario, Smash Bros. games to save the Wii U
June 11, 2013 | By Mike Rose

June 11, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Video, E3

Although there weren't any real surprises during Nintendo's E3 broadcast today, the Japanese publisher was ready to pull out the big guns in a bid to save its flagging Wii U console.

Super Mario 3D World was announced, a new 3D Mario game for the Wii U that includes four-player multiplayer. It's due for release this December.

And the Mario love didn't stop there, as Mario Kart 8 for Wii U was revealed. Due for release in spring 2014, the twist this time around is that racers can utilize anti-gravity to race on walls and ceilings.

A couple of new Super Smash Bros. fighting games were also trailered, with new characters including a Villager from Animal Crossing, and Mega Man.

Both the Wii U and the 3DS will receive separate versions of the upcoming fighter, with the 3DS version taking a cel-shaded approach to the visuals. Both games are due for release in 2014.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was another new first-party announcement -- a Wii U installment in the Donkey Kong Country series that is due for release later this year.

A new Art Academy is also on the way, although Nintendo said that there's still a way to go until its release. In the meanwhile, a set of tools taken from the game will be released for Miiverse during this summer.

Elsewhere, Nintendo admitted that the upcoming Wii Party U and Wii Fit U have been delayed in order to bolster development. The former is now due for release in October, while Wii Fit U will land sometime during the winter.

And the company reiterated that a revamped version of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is due to release this October. The upcoming Zelda for 3DS wasn't given an exact release date, but was given a name: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

Third-party support

Nintendo didn't just splash out the first-party titles, as there was plenty of third-party support to go around as well.

A new title from Xenoblade Chronicles studio Monolith Soft is on the way to Wii U in 2014, simply called X.

Previously announced titles received release dates -- The Wonderful 101 from Platinum Games will land on August 23, while Bayonetta 2 is out sometime in 2014.

In total, Nintendo listed more than a dozen third-party retail games due for release on Wii U during 2013, including Shin Megami Tensei IV, Sonic Lost World, Watch Dogs, Disney Infinity and Just Dance 2014.

And there was a strong eShop showing as well, with 11 digital games shown off. The full list of eShop games due for release in 2013 was as follows:

Ballpoint Universe
Cloudberry Kingdom
Coaster Crazy Deluxe
DuckTales: Remastered
Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
Mutant Mudds Deluxe
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty
Scram Kitty & His Buddy on Rails
Shovel Knight
Spin the Bottle: Bumpie's Party
A World of Keflings

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William Johnson
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I was kind of expecting more Touch Generation stuff for the WiiU to be announced, since they're kind of easy and quick to make. Maybe a new Flash Focus, Brain Age, Clubhouse Games, etc. Well, guess I was wrong. Which is disappointing because I was setting my expectations pretty low.

I expected them to do something to right the course of the WiiU's current downward spiral, but nope...nothing... It really wouldn't even take that much. With all the missteps Microsoft has done, people were really looking for any reason to fall back in love with Nintendo.

Though, it is nice to see Peach return as a playable character with her sometimes totally broken floating power from SMB2.

Merc Hoffner
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With a heavy heart I have to agree. There was very little to directly show us why we needed the touchscreen or asymmetric input, or why we even needed a generational increase in power over Wii.

I'll love these games that are coming, but I'm severely disappointed that there's nothing really killer or really new. What exactly are Retro doing? Have they been working on Donkey Kong for 3 years? What was all that about with them pulling out of E3 last year? Why does Super Mario 3D World seem less exciting than Mario Galaxy?

We need Nintendo to produce 7th gen power equivalent games to want a 7th gen power equivalent system. And we need Nintendo to produce killer disruptive games to want a disruptive system, ala Wii Sports, or Wii Fit, or Brain Training. But not actually Wii Sports or Wii Fit or Brain Training.

I now fear for the whole console industry. I really do. The one real bright spot in my mind is the 3DS. At least Nintendo's offerings were more level handed across their two fronts than Sony's. One of our 5 active platforms has been essentially abandoned after a year and a bit. Alarm bells should be ringing.

Edit: The stream cut out right through Bayonetta and Monolith's stuff. Those look pretty cool. A mech RPG could be a genius move for the Wii U gamepad. More of this please.

Leon T
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Why is Monolith Soft under third party support? I thought they were owned by Nintendo.

Leon T
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They are actually first party like Retro.

Joe Zachery
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Microsoft finally gave their base a 1st party lineup. They now have their God of War, LBP, and Fighting Game. They still have Halo which makes them the home console for FPS including TitanFall. Sony has what the same games that didn't help them this generation. Killzone and Infamous all franchise that didn't sale to their hoped potential. No major exclusive except for Destiny.

Nintendo gave their diehard fans everything they need to finally pick up the Wii U. With 3 new titles between this year, and next all looking good. X2, Bayonette, Wonderful101. Ya it the same old same old. Still Nintendo same old same old. Has always been better, and sold better than the others.

Bob Johnson
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I like the Nintendo Direct approach better than either MS's or Sony's E3 presentation approaches. To the point. Lots of gameplay footage.

But as for the announced 2nd half lineup? Decent. Not great. Could have been worse. I mean I thought the Super Mario 3d World game was for 3ds. :D (Very confusing to put 3d in the title unless it supports 3d tvs?)

Wii Party, Zelda: WW WiiU, DK and SM3dWorld means it will be a decent xmas for Nintendo. Maybe only because I'm partial to the original Zelda WW.

Family really liked the Wii Party game on the Wii. And was surprised it wasn't more of a hit. IT was packed full of content. And the board game part was much better than the Mario Party games.

The first DKC was alright. I might have a hard time paying $60 for this new one.

Doubt I would get Wii Fit but who knows. The mini-games were fun, but I don't have the balance board any longer.

BAyonetta 2 and X have some potential. Mario Kart looks fine. I'm not a big fan of SSB but my kids will like it. Still all those are 2014 so it is like why bother showing them now? That was a big hurry up and wait. edit: 101 was another that look ok and it coming this year I think.

Bob Johnson
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btw I can't shake the feeling there should just be one Nintendo system.

Kenneth Wesley
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I liked X because it showed gameplay footage of the mech actually being fully visible on the screen while the player uses it.

It's not that hard, Respawn!

Eric Geer
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I think Respawn did right in being consistent, as did Monolithsoft. Stay in FP if you are a FPS, stay in 3rdPerson if you are 3rd person game.

The game that hasn't done right in my opinion is Lost Planet 3. 3rd person as human running soon as your in your mech you go 1st person. It bothers my eyes/mind because of lack of consistency.

Kujel s
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Nintendo had a couple of games that interest me, WW Wii U, Wonderful 101, Xenoblade, MS had a couple of interesting games other then Halo, sony had nothing for me.
I see Nintendo pulling out ahead of the other two this gen, probably by 2015, MS in second place (largely b/c of their non-gaming offerings) and sony lagging in last place.

Leon T
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I think Nintendo would need a new hit to really pull out ahead. They are not getting the third party support to do it any other way. Right now they are in a good position to be the second console that people who like Nintendo games buy. Microsoft pissed off enough gamers to leave a window open for Nintendo for the time being.

I didn't really like Sony's showing, but they are in a good position to pull ahead of everyone.If anything it will be the console people buy for next gen third party games.

Kyle McBain
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I like classic titles like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, but lately I am more into the game for nostalgia than I am for the game itself. When did Link go from being the Hero of Time and exploring gritty realistic worlds to what he is now? I think the Windwaker is great because they capitalize on the animation. It is deliberate and the whole game harnesses that aesthetic comfortably. But some Zelda games are too feminine in appearance and easy to play through.

I do have faith in Nintendo still though and I think it's great that they still are about having fun and have some interesting game titles outside of the core ones. I did not want a Wii-U but after seeing One and PS4 I think I will break down and get it as well as keep the PC running.

Alex Boccia
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I will probably just get a Wii U to supplement my PC with some laidback fun time. I don't really have much of a reason to get an xbox or a ps4 I don't think, though some of the PS4 exclusives look nice.

Omar Marshall
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I was skeptical at first when I saw the Direct with the lagfess. Then I re watched it on youtube and now I am happy of the offerings. I really like the new mario game espcially since i can use luigi and do that funny super jump. I am very interesting in wonderful 101 too that game looks fast and fun. I do think that nintendo is gonna draw in the crowd this holiday seasons.

I spoke to some gamers and they all say they are now ready to pick up a wii u, because of the e3 showings they are now interested. So Nintendo will pull thru with their "rehash" games, those are the games that alot of old veterans are looking for.