Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nintendo Direct 3DS News Roundup

On January 14, Nintendo streamed a worldwide Direct presentation that filled out the calendar for the first half of 2015 for the 3DS in all territories, in addition to some major hardware news.

Hardware Announcements

The New 3DSXL will be the only version of the New 3DS that will release in North America for now, releasing on February 13 for US$199.99/C$229.99. In addition to the color options of red and black, there will be two special editions available at launch:
 (New 3DS images from @NintendoAmerica)
In a break from previous North American precedent, the systems will not include an AC adapter for system charging. Nintendo issued a statement to IGN indicating it was a move designed to keep the cost of the system down. (Source) Note: If trading in a system to upgrade, the AC adapter is required in most cases. Compatible adapters are available in Nintendo's online store for $5, but there will be a shipping charge of $5 as well.

In Europe, both the New 3DS and 3DSXL will be available beginning on 13 February, at a RRP of €169.99 for the smaller model and €199.99 for the XL. UK pricing is set by retailers, but GAME is taking preorders at £149.99 for the smaller size, £179.99 for the XL and £209.99 for the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate limited edition. The Majora's Mask limited edition is available in Europe as well and will have the game preinstalled, but may have already sold out. The smaller New 3DS comes in white and black by default with twelve faceplates available, while the XL comes in blue and black.

(Images courtesy @NintendoEurope)

The Japanese Direct confirmed some additional faceplates for the New 3DS including a special Majora's Mask design for 2000yen in March, which will also come to Europe later. In addition, an adapter that allows older 3DS models to use Amiibo over infrared will launch in the summer. No word on a release in the other territories.

Software Announcements

A new Fire Emblem was announced for the 3DS. A summer release was announced for Japan as well as the subtitle (Fire Emblem if), but no date or subtitle was given for the rest of the world. Kozaki Yuskue returns from Awakening to head the character design, while Japanese manga writer Shin Kibayashi (Get Backers and Psycho Busters) has been brought in to handle the story. (Trailer)

Puzzle and Dragons Z and Puzzle and Dragons Super Mario Edition were both announced for localization, in a single package. The package will release in May in both territories. (Trailer)

Nintendo took a further step into the free-to-download space with Pokemon Shuffle, releasing worldwide in February. Functionally similar to Candy Crush Saga, the game does feature a stamina bar and microtransactions, though you may be able to replenish the stamina by StreetPassing as well? (Gameplay demo and explanation from Satoru Iwata)

Previously announced for Wii U, Mario vs Donkey Kong Tipping Stars will come to the 3DS as well and will be the first Nintendo game to have crossbuy in all territories. The game includes a level creator with sharing over Miiverse, and you can tip creators with the stars you earn in game so they can buy more creation tool. The game releases in March. (Trailer)

Citizens of Earth and Etrian Mystery Dungeon were among the highlights of NOA's 3rd party reel. CoE releases next Tuesday (January 20) and will be 20% off for the first week on 3DS/Vita. Meanwhile, Etrian Mystery Dungeon brings the Etrian artstyle to the rougelike genre on March 5 in Japan and as later confirmed by Atlus USA, April 7 in North America. Sister company Sega laid out their plans for the second series of 3D Classics, with After Burner II launching the day after the Direct and Fantasy Zone, OutRun, Fantasy Zone II and Thunder Blade to follow through March.

Renegade Kid's Moon Chronicles Episodes 2-4 was given a January release date, and a la carte or bulk purchase options will be available. Gunman Clive 2 was also pegged for January, but the developer later clarified the game is in lotcheck so a slip to early February is likely.

Story of Seasons, the new farming simulator from the original Harvest Moon team, had a trailer shown and a March release confirmed. Although the Direct initially only said "on the Nintendo eShop" XSEED later reassured fans that a physical release would be coming as well. (eShop sizzle trailer)

The last 3DS game before the New 3DS segment was Fossil Fighters Frontier, the third game in the dinosaur battling series. As with previous games, 8-4 is handling the localization. The game itself releases on March 20. (Trailer)

The first game with specific New 3DS features is Codename S.T.E.A.M, which will have Amiibo functionality for the Fire Emblem characters launching at about the same time. The FE characters will actually participate in battles, and if they fall you cannot revive them until the next map. The March 13 date given at The Game Awards was also reconfirmed. (Trailer)

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D will have much less of a localization delay than the original Wii version, as the game releases April 2 in Europe/Japan and sometime in April for North America. Monster Games, who handled the port of Donkey Kong Country Returns to the 3DS, has been tasked with the port while Monolith finishes work on Xenoblade Chronicles X. (Trailer)

Third parties were also spotlighted with New 3DS-aided games. Bandai Namco's Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+ launches in February and can use Amiibo to unlock Nintendo plane livery. (Trailer)

A long rumored 3DS independent project, VD-Dev's "Iron Fall" appeared for the first time in public as Ironfall Invasion, a 60 FPS third-person shooter that uses the New 3DS's power for extra graphical fidelity and the C-stick for camera control. The game launches in February. (Trailer)

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate producer Ryozo Tsujimoto appeared to confirm that the Western versions would release day-and-date with the New 3DS, February 13. The additional control options afforded by the C-Stick was addressed, as well as the demo that will be distributed by codes in a manner similar to Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire. (Trailer)

The final game shown in the Western directs was The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D, and the use of the C-stick as an independent camera was highlighted as the chief New 3DS feature. (Trailer)

The Japanese Direct showed three additional new games whose localization will be a point of interest:  Hako Boy, a puzzle game from HAL Labs, Girls Mode 3 (Style Savvy in the West), and a 3DS version of Rhythm Tengoku (Rhythm Heaven) that includes all of the minigames of the GBA, DS and Wii games in addition to 30 original games. Trailers for Legend of Legacy, Theatrhythm Dragon Quest, Rodea the Sky Soldier and Atelier Rorona 3DS were included in the Japanese presentation.

As seen in the Japanese Nintendo Direct, Satoru Iwata packs quite a portable punch

All in all, an absolutely massive presentation for 3DS owners in which only one announcement isn't coming out in the next few months, and that's not even counting later information such as the release of Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX at the end of May. Be prepared for an expensive, but hopefully extremely fun first half of 2015.

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