Nintendo E3 2011 Press Conference Roundup: Wii U with Tablet controller announced as official name of Wii 2. Games are Smash Bros, Darksiders 2, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden 3, Battlefield 3, Batman, Aliens, Assassin’s Creed, Ghost Recon Online, Lego: City Stories. New 3DS games are Luigi’s Mansion 2, Tekken, Ace Combat

Nintendo Wii U system and controller
The E3 2011 Nintendo Press Conference revealed a megaton of announcements, the biggest being the reveal of the Wii 2 as the almost-phonetically-the-same-sounding Wii U (which I prefer to write as WiiU, but I digress).

As with our other Roundups, you can click the Table of Contents below to skip ahead to the main announcements from the show, with my exact notes listed beyond that.

Don’t forget to check out our E3 2011 Schedule and Showtimes/E3 history page to see all of the E3 2011 publisher-held conferences and when they are scheduled, and to read our Electronic Entertainment Expo coverage going back to 2006!

Table of Contents

Zelda 25th Anniversary – Zelda Wii U tech demo, Link’s Awakening, Four Swords, Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time 3D

Along with the new console and game announcements was a huge celebration of all things Zelda due to the Zelda 25th Anniversary milestone, which will include numerous Zelda events and re-releases for this year. They include two music CDs, a worldwide Zelda music symphony concert tour, and videogame re-releases of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D worldwide this month, Game Boy Classics: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for 3DS Virtual Console, a re-release of the GameCube classic The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for DSiWare (unclear if that’s the GCN Four Swords Adventures or the multiplayer portion of the Link to the Past GBA titled simply “Four Swords) and culminating with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for Wii this holiday.

Here is a video of what the Zelda franchise could look like on Wii U (done with the Wii U graphics but using the Twilight Princess style), read more about the Wii U below.

Here is the Nintendo Overture which featured scenes from past Zelda titles set to orchestral Zelda music by a live symphony! More in my notes below.

Wii U Controller

Of course the biggest focus of the Nintendo E3 2011 Press Conference was the announcement of the Wii U. The Wii U system has High Definition and includes an innovative Tablet-style rechargeable controller.

The controller features buttons and analog sticks (or “Circle Pads”) on both sides, two shoulder buttons (L,R and ZL, ZR), four facebuttons (X,Y,A,B) and a 6.2 inch HD screen, alongside a built-in microphone, forward-facing camera that can do video, stereo speakers, a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, a “Sensor Strip” and comes with a Stylus. Almost like the 3DS itself! But its not.
While this system is NOT a full-bore portable device, it IS a portable device that is made to work in conjunction with the Wii U hardware (which, incidentally, looks just like the Wii hardware but with more curves); unfortunately for us the Wii U hardware didn’t even get a mention from Nintendo during the conference, so specific console details will have to wait. Although they did say the Wii U is fully compatible with all previous Wii games and accessories including controllers, the Wii Balance Board, etc.

You can see it all displayed and explained in this Nintendo Wii U announcement trailer from their Nintendo E3 2011 Press Conference.

Wii U System

The Wii U system supports 1080p graphics (also supports 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i, compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite) on a 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs (rumored to be 25GB, same as a Blu-ray, Wii U is also backwards compatible with Wii discs) with a IBM Power-based multi-core microprocessor.

Other stats include: AV Multi Out connector, Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI (audio), internal flash memory, as well as the option to expand its memory using eithers SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive! The system also features Four USB 2.0 connector slots.

What IS clear, from what third-parties have done on the Wii U hardware, is that it will support high-definition graphics inline with those seen on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Whether it is “more powerful” or not remains to be seen. Nintendo did show off an HD “tech demo” video that was absolutely beautiful, and featured a bird flying over blooming Cherry Blossom trees. But while impressive, it just looked like regular CG graphics you’d see in any other title as an FMV, so its impossible to tell how graphically powerful the system is based on that.

Sadly, most of what Nintendo showed off themselves of the Wii U featured Miis and Wii Sports Resort-style graphics which was definitely a disappointment, but the focus of what was shown for the Wii U is entirely on the technology behind the Wii U controller and NOT the power of the hardware.

Here is a look at the graphics capability of the Wii U from the impressive bird technological demo.

To that end, Nintendo wowed with some truly insane examples of what this new technology will do. Essentially the Wii U’s screen is used in conjunction, or separate from, what you see on the TV screen. You can use the Wii U controller as a “window”, giving a new perspective to what is on the screen (for example, you can put the Wii U up to the TV screen and see a zoomed in view, or you could be playing from a top-down perspective on the Wii U controller while the people on the TV are playing from first-person) or you can use the Wii U to interact with the TV in unique ways.

Wii U Experience Tech Demos

For example, you can “throw” or “flick” what is on the Wii U touchscreen towards to the TV. One example showed them flicking shurken stars off the Wii U controller and into the trees and forest displayed on the TV screen. Another very cool example involved using the Wii U to give an ADDITIONAL viewpoint to what is seen on the TV screen. Two examples shown include setting the Wii U controller on the floor next to your feet, where a golf ball sits, and then using the Wii Remote to swing the club. The other example had you using the Wii U controller as a baseball glove by holding the Wii U controller to the screen and “catching” the baseball as it fell.

Of course, the Wii U controller itself is a portable system. While the games and information have to come from the Wii U system hardware, once it is on you can carry it around with you and play games WITHOUT needing a TV. You can switch information from the Wii hardware to the Wii U Controller and back again, or not use a TV at all and just play on the Wii U Controller. So if someone wants to use the TV, you can keep playing your game on the Wii U screen while they use the TV! Quite ingenious, other developers talked about how you could just plug headphones in and play your console game in bed while your partner sleeps. You can even set the Wii U down on a table and play virtual boardgames with it. The trailer showed two people playing Checkers and Connect Four. When the Connect Four game was completed, she “tilted” the Wii U controller and the pieces fell down off the board as if she had tipped a real board. If you take it all in, it’s quite remarkable technology that is unlike anything we’ve seen before. And Nintendo promises it will change the game.

Wii U Third-Party Games – Darksiders 2, Battlefield 3, Ninja Gaiden 3, Darksiders 2, Metro: Last Light, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Tekken, Assassin’s Creed

And not just Nintendo, third-party support was stressed, even to the point where the President of EA came on stage and pledged EA’s full support for all core games and sports games for the Wii U. Saying that they have reached a new partnership in cooperation. Amazingly, the EA President John Riccitiello SPECIFICALLY talked of what they could do with Battlefield 3 on the Wii U. Which would not only include the same high-definition graphics seen on the current consoles and PC, but would include all of the same downloadable content, leaderboards, social networking features all in an “open” platform. Sounds like Nintendo may be going more the PS3 style of Internet play than the Xbox 360 “closed” platform. But it remains to be seen.

You can see developers discussing their thoughts on the Wii U and an impressive number of third-party games in this video from Nintendo’s E3 2011 keynote Press Conference.

Keeping the Nintendo ball rolling, was a slew of impressive third-party content that is coming to the Wii U, including: Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Darksiders 2, Metro: Last Light, Aliens: Colonial Marines, an unnamed Assassin’s Creed title, Driver, Dirt, Tekken and possibly Mass Effect, whose logo was displayed. This certainly bodes well for the future of the console, and Nintendo rolled a video of many high-profile developers speaking highly of the technology, including the likes of Warren Spector and Irrational Games.

Lego City Stories

And in an interesting partnership, Nintendo has teamed with Traveller’s Tales to create a brand-new Lego game! The title is called “Lego City Stories” and it will be an open-world, Grand Theft Auto style Lego game which features driveable (and buildable we imagine) vehicles and a sandbox style experience with all of the trademark humor that Lego and TT Games have been doing for a long time.

Here is the Nintendo E3 2011 announcement trailer for Lego GTA… Er, I mean Lego City Stories for Wii U!

Super Mario 3DS, Luigi’s Mansion 2

So what about high-profile new Nintendo game announcements? They were few but very sweet. Nintendo formally announced Luigi’s Mansion 2 for the 3DS, which looked largely the same as the first game, but should use the 3DS stereoscopic 3D graphics to great effect.

Here is the hilarious and fun looking trailer for Luigi’s Mansion 2 for the 3DS. Showing off the first gameplay of the title.

They also seemed to hop on the new trend of 2011, the “reboot” bandwagon of having “self-titled” game names. This includes the aptly “Super Mario” which is the new 3DS Mario game previously revealed. But this time we saw much more of it. The game essentially has Mario moving into the background and foreground while playing in a way that is more reminiscent of side-scrolling Mario than polygonal Super Mario Galaxy 2 style Mario, although it is both. The Tanooki Suit also marks its return and Mario can swing his tail to knock out enemies. Huzzah!

Here is the Super Mario 3DS E3 2011 Nintendo Press Conference gameplay trailer!

Mario Kart 2011 3DS

Then Nintendo announced “Mario Kart”, this is a new Mario Kart game for the 3DS. While the game looks like Mario Kart DS or Mario Kart Wii, and plays exactly the same, there is more than meets the eye. New additions include the ability to glide through the air or go underwater seamlessly as you drive into those environments. See my notes below for what characters are included.

Here is the Mario Kart 2011 3DS trailer from E3 2011.

Finally, Nintendo spent too much time going into more detail on games we already had seen, such as Excitebike 3D and Pokedex 3D for the eShop, Starfox 64 3D and the ever-more-impressive Kid Icarus: Up Rising for the 3DS. They also showed a mighty impressive tech demo of what an HD Zelda: Twilight Princess-style Zelda game would look like if it had PS3-style graphics! And holy cow was it impressive! It wasn’t a real game, but just a tech demo, but the graphics are what you have always wanted from Zelda. Hopefully this will become a real game.

Here is the insanely awesome Kid Icarus: Uprising gameplay trailer from E3 2011 at Nintendo’s Press Conference.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U

Last but not least, Nintendo CONFIRMED that a new Super Smash Bros. game is in development for both the Wii U and 3DS! But no new information was announced.
Below you can see my notes taken as I watched the Press Event live, which goes almost word-for-word with what was announced and shown!

Here is the rest of the Nintendo E3 2011 Press Conference videos, including other games like Starfox 64 3DS.

Here is a very cool Nintendo 3DS stage demo, showing off stereoscopic 3D!

Nintendo E3 2011 Show Notes

The show starts with an extra playing classic Zelda music while clips from the entire Zelda series flash across the screen!

MIYAMOTO! Comes on stage.

Zelda brings back memories. Along with Bill Trinton to translate after Miyamoto talks a bit in English. Last year was the 25th anniversary of Mario. This year the 25th of Zelda. Gameplay and visuals constantly evolved with each hardware and so has the music. Song at the end was theme from Skyward Sword. He is used to hearing it at work, but hearing it in orchestra was exhilarating. Music is indispensable to Zelda. In part those moments are created by music. Link uses musical instruments. Important items. Orchestra will play songs live! Zelda Chime. Treasure Chest/Getting Item, Fairy Fountain Melody. Getting a Item one last time… Full Orchestra…. They started a bit off…. He thanks them for remembering the 8-bit Zelda tunes in the age of high-end gaming.

25th anniversary new Zelda for each system. E-Shop will have Link’s Awakening as the first title in the GBC Virtual Console. Around the world by day’s end release. We created with unbridled creativity. Zelda 3D launches for 3DS around the world. Framerate and graphics improved. New sense of realism when riding Epona through Hyrule. Hint movies to help beginners. The mirrored Master Quest mode. Also boss challenge mode. September DSi Ware fourplayer Four Swords available as free download! Skyward Sword worldwide this holiday season for Wii. It’s finally done! WiiMotionPlus to swing swords nd items simpler to use. In honor, creating special Gold Wii Remote as pre-order bonus. He plays at work and feels like he is the one fighting the battles. He feels like his arm has gotten stronger. Great exercise. Have to play both to truly understand them. Please play!

In honor of 25 anniversary they will be holding symphony concerts in each region around the world! Great applause! Dates will be revealed soon.

Two music CDs! First is Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time 3D official soundtrack. Gift to those first to register with Club Nintendo. Based on Zelda 25th Annivesary Symphony concerts released in conjunction with Skyward Sword. # of other events and activities planned.

Series has been supported by large development team over 200 in 25 years. Truly honored. Several here today. Invites onstage.

Satoru Iwata comes on stage. Goal of expanding population, today change in demographics. Who PLay, Where WE Play, How We Play. Age group boundary, gender/etc. starting to be erased. Mental boundaries still exist in how systems are defined. Wii more casual, some more hardcore, etc. Haven’t achieved platform that is equal satisfying for all players. yet… this is exactly what they tend to create with new platform. Two words. Deeper and widerLighter. Will provide deeper game experiences than ver before. Wider appear.

Let everyone see games in different way. Full details will be revealed a little later…. Goal of innovation to serve every player. Even though each bring individual appetite, passion, history. New platform will major step to their goal. New console is next year.
Bold new experiences this year for 3DS. Franchises will move into 3D. Video roll.

MARIO KART, KITE allows gliding. Star Fox, new Mario game. Kid Icarus. Luigi’s Mansion

We hear you. You want what you’ve always wanted. But also something new. Look like they always have, buzz of new. Comfortable and surprise. Contradictions, no problem. Come with the territory. Fair to ask even possible to deliver something for everyone?

Home console is exactly what they are aiming for with 3DS as well.

New headline titles. Five key ones are what matter. On show floor they will be in full 3D. Here on stage they will only offer.

Mariokart being shown, it will be a tricked out version you haven’t seen before. Looks the same… You can hop. Luigi’s mansion level. I’ll name of characters as they are shown: Bowser, Mario, Peach. Use kites to glyde. Donkey Kong. Luigi. Toad. Underwater has a propeller on back of kart. Peach. customize your Kart. Big wheels, etc. As soon as you exit water or sky the upgrade disappears. Mario Kart releases this holiday 2011.

1993 Nintendo created a videogame that let them fly in 3D. This time Starfox is back with real 3D. Buttons for traditional or turn hardware to control. Turning and tilting does exactly the same as your fighter when you do. Faces and voices of partners are real using the 3D camera to allow for voice chat and bein able to see them. Soaring and banking real 3D United States release in September.

Software sells hardware. No franchise has sold more systems than Mario. He is coming to 3DS. First REAL 3D Mario adventure created from scratch for portable system.
Super Mario 3D official title. Mario can roll. Raccoon Suit and Bowser kids back. Mario goes into the background and foreground. Looks insanely awesome. 2D levels also shown. Will be called simply “Super Mario”. Will be released before the end of the year.

Kid Icarus: Uprising… Game looks highly impressive with story as well. “Arm yourself against the Underworld.” Battle other players in Online play. Arena type jode, choose weapon and defeat opposing teams angel. Fast paced battles. Looks VERY cool. Kid Icarus character cards coming soon. Three on three multiplayer mode. VR Cards conduct battles. Will release later this year.

First brother of videogames is back. LUIGI’S MANSION 2! stunning and sucking in ghosts! Mummies! Entirely new game that makes extraordinary use of 3D. Features several new mansions.

Wide-range of third party hard at work on games. More third-party games…. Mercenaries 3D, Mario & Sonic, Ace Combat 3D, Tetris Online, Cave Story 3D, Revelations, Driver Renegade, Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 3D, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.

e-Shop & Internet browser moves beyond anything digitally done before by Nintendo. System update this week unlocks ten separate 3D game trailers. Game demos also coming later this year for downloadable and retail software. Virtual Console for 3DS offers classic portable games starting with GB & GBC, classic console some even before the NES. 3D Classics: Excitebike. 27 years old! Still a blast. Biggest download news concerns one of biggest franchises. Pokemon. First time Pokemon will come to life in 3D also in real-world. Owners of Pokemon Black and White familiar with Pokedex. 150 new Pokemon. Enhanced Pokedex 3D, 16 Pokemon starting out. Complete with Pokedex via Spotpass, receive from friends or scan them in. Essential tool from fans. Each Pokemon has AR marker and can be superimposed over real backdrops. Assemble scenes of several Pokemon together and share via PC. Only available on eShop.

Proper introduction to new gaming companion. Wii began to make sense once you started hearing it as “We”. Clear how much fun we had gaming together even with non-gamers. We new the prevailing thought would be “Yes”. Still be right for us but also just for you? Answer is absolutely. Pronoun right in name…. Welcome to the world of Wii U. A system we will all enjoy together but also tailor made for you. Unique. Unifying. Utopian. Answer is also yes to all of this. Hear is the reason why. New controller for Wii U. Looks like a handheld!

Different from anything you’ve played before. Infinitely complex yet perfectly simple. Change how you game personally and how you interact with family and friends. Wii U in action.

Switches TV from NSMB to the TV and starts playing on controller screen. Drawing on the new controller. Draws in-depth link art…. Playing puzzle games like a boardgame. Use motion control with new controller. Shows zooming into TV with the new controller. And catching the ball in Wii Sports with the controller. Controller offers new views. Has the controller on the floor when golfing. Stay fit with new controller. Free from TV… Take aim with the new controller by pointing it at the screen using a Wii Zapper. Play across TV and controller. Throwing ninja stars at the TV literally. Video chat is shown. Zoom into the TV, scroll TV with controller while browsing web. Throwing stuff at TV is possible! Get more detail with new controller. Coming in 2012.

Video answered some questions but only raised several others. Home console games have to occupy TV screen. 6.2 inch screen. Won’t need to give up gameplay when someone else comes into the room and wants to use the TV. Backward compatible so all Wii games and Wii Remote accessories like Balance Board can be used. To weigh with Wii Fit no need to use TV. Two analog Circle Pads. D-Pad ZL, ZL, R and L buttons. Rumble also featured. Wii U also includes a touchscreen, microphone, speakers, accelerometer gyroscope and inward facing camera. Wii U created so widest variety of games can be supported. You can play with buttons or without.

Not designed as portable, even though it shares characteristics. Images displayed are generated only by Wii U and wireless translated without latency issues. Most up to date high quality images even without using screen. Or you can place the new controller on the table and play without TV. Or games can be structured to use two displays at once. Only a few of the possibilities were shown. Want to create a strong bond between games, your TV and Internet. You, friends and family all interacting in same room. Web browsing can use big screen to share what’s online or enjoying video chat on the Wii U while watching TV! New structure. How can it be incorporated from gameplay.

Developer will be shown from developer who has given most thought. Mr. Miyamoto. Make games you can only play in the palms of the hands or uses both the screen and in your hands. Looking forward to new styles of play. So many where to begin?

New situation. New ideas are popping up one after another. A few months ago he explained the concept to Kid Icarus designer. Discussing what new platform. 3DS or Wii U? What he suggested was a specific idea to make Smash Bros. for both Wii U and 3DS. To make it work together on both platforms. Since his team is still involved in Kid Icarus, maybe he shouldn’t go into any details. But he has just promised that Smash Bros. will be coming to 3DS and Wii U and will work together in some platform. Future product.

Wii U software will be at the show. Pretty bold assertion it’ll change how you play games. 8 different interactive experiences will be shown. But they are just demos, not prototypes of actual games. Early example of what system can do.

Bird flies towards Japanese building and over water. Flowers bloom all around. Bird takes a flower and flies towards more bloomed trees and soars high. Drops flower towards water, spins until it lands…. Fish bounce it up and down, one jumps out of the water. Graphics look great.

How the new controller can change things. Looks like NSMB Wii but is called “NSMB Mii”. Mii plays alongside Mario and you can watch action on either screen. New controller can take game world off the TV and spread it around you, letting it spread all around you. Shield Prose, if you don’t use the controller to guard. Chase me set in familiar world but world looks different whether you have remote or new controller. Birds eye lets you see the four folks trying to catch you. Finally same idea provided to create a different kind of shooter. On the ground shooting at ship, Wii U looks down upon them using controller. Prototypes not actual games.

One new title in development for Wii U. Lego City Stories in partnership with TT Games. This is new installment in Lego series that has sold over 60 million copies. More than half have sold on Nintendo platforms. New open-world game, packed with action, city and lego videos coming exclusively to Wii U and 3DS.

Developer reel: A new beginning. Peter Moore, Vicarious Visions Core Games, Ubisoft President, WB Interactive, 5th Cell, Namco Bandai, Irrational Games, Disney Interactive Warren Spector, EA Games President, Daksiders II on new console at launch. Tekken, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed multiplayer, Ghost Recon Online, not more of same opens new world of gameplay.

Darksiders II is shown. Dirt, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Ghost Recon Online, Metro: Last Night, Tekken, Shows drawing on your character! All kinds of insane art, making tattoos. New emale fighter? Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge.

Remember everything you see is the first pass. a lot to look forward to. Very happy that so many developers are responding. Can satisfy all tastes with deeper and wider. One final perspective. EA most successful industry publisher to join on stage. CEO of EA John Riccitello.

Never before with Nintendo. Breakthrough in relationship based on stunning technology. New console speaks directly to players of EA Sports and EA games. Brilliant HD graphics and new gameplay opportunities. Great EA content will be coming. Play calling and data taken off big screen. Battlefield with jaw dropping graphics and frostbite engine on Nintendo system on the breakthrough controller. Imagine with open online with download new content, leaderboards, global community. Social networks, mobile, web…. EA is undergoing transformation. Changing games from thing you buy to place you go. Nintendo’s next console is truly revolutionary. Deeper online capability and deeper partnership than ever before.

4 platforms…. DS, Wii, 3DS and WiiU. What do they represent together. Unique but common pedigree. Innovation. 2-screens and touchscreen. Motion control of Wii changed gaming. Last year glasses-free 3D could change gaming. Now, WiiU. What happens when a second window opens to your gaming world. Presentation is just the beginning. 8 Wii U experiences and celebration of Zelda 25th anniversary. This year Nintendo network is back at E3 and even better. Daily updates, exclusive content, interviews and in-depth look at new controller. Newest game trailers and guides for titles announced today. That’s it. END OF SHOW!