Although much of Nintendo’s release calendar is shrouded in secrecy, I take a look at some of the high profile games coming out for Wii in 2011.
Games That Are Definitely Coming in 2011
The first Conduit was a victim of its own hype. It was a solid game, but not the Halo killer everyone thought it was going to be. The art direction was a little bland, but the graphical engine behind it was amazing. High Voltage Software has made improvements on both the art and the engine for the sequel, promising to make the levels much more interesting this time around. They are also working at making the online experience even more robust, offering headset support for those that like to trash talk.
Mario Sports Mix
Developed by Square-Enix, this Mario sports collection features basketball, dodgeball, volleyball and ice hockey. You can choose to play as your favorite Mario characters or even check out some Square Enix characters like the Black Mage or Cactuar from Final Fantasy or a Slime from Dragon Quest. The best part of all is the online play that allows up to 4 people to duke it out over the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Featuring a beautiful painting-like cel shaded art style, Skyward Sword intends to shake up the traditional Zelda formula with immersive motion controls made possible by Wii Motion Plus. Outside of the controls, Nintendo has said that there will also be changes to the typical dungeon structure and how they integrate into the over world. At E3 last year there were new weapons shown like the whip and flying beetle, but also new uses for old weapons. Link can now roll bombs along the ground, similar to how bombchus were used in prior Zeldas. It will be interesting to see how the new highly accurate motion controls effect other weapons we thought we were familiar with. The new motion controls also serve to change another major problem many of us have had with recent Zelda titles- the difficulty. Demo impressions from the Scorpion boss battle suggest that combat is more difficult than before because the added layer of depth the Wii Motion Plus controls brings forces you to pay attention to your enemy’s body language to determine the best way to attack. Skyward Sword was originally slated to release in 2010 so it can’t be too far off, look Link’s latest adventure in the first half of 2011.
Will These be Localized?
This title was first shown at E3 two years ago under the name Monado: Beginning of the World. It is developed by Monolith Soft, best known for their work on the Xenosaga franchise and the classic Gamecube RPG Baten Kaitos. This game features real time battles where the player will attack automatically at timed intervals, but there are also special attacks that charge separately. The game has a day and night system and the player can actual choose what time they want to play in, rather than wait for time to elapse. But the most interesting aspect of the game might be the fact that the overworld is actually comprised of the corpses of two gods locked into battle. Sounds crazy, but awesome. Xenoblade received excellent reviews from Famitsu, a prominent Japanese gaming magazine, meaning this is definitely a game Nintendo should bring over for RPG starved Wii owners.
The Last Story
The Last Story is an RPG collaboration between Nintendo and Mistwalker, a studio headed by Hironobu Sakaguchi. Sakaguchi is the creator of the Final Fantasy series, so it is easy to see why this game is so hotly anticipated. Sakaguchi has stated that he is putting so much effort into The Last Story that he feels like it could be his last game. Interesting new abilities like “gathering” which allows the main character to draw the attention of enemies, allowing his allies to charge up attacks. Another ability, called “focus” allows you to discover enemy weaknesses and make long ranged attacks. The game features competitive and co-operative 6 player online modes, where players can team up against enemies or battle each other. Did I mention this is probably one of the most gorgeous Wii games I have ever seen? It is due out in Japan early 2011 so I am hoping it can make it to America by years end.
The Games we Know Little About
Nintendo is notoriously secretive about both their software and hardware. This means that nobody truly has any idea what is coming out next fall. Zelda almost made it into 2010, so we will surely see that in the first half of 2011, so what does that leave for next fall? Nintendo big wig Shigeru Miyamoto did say that a new Pikmin was in development, but it is unclear how far along the title is. During their fall 3DS conference Nintendo also showed snippets of a couple new Wii games, most notably a new Fatal Frame and Rhythm Heaven. There are screenshots of both titles available in the article’s slideshow for your viewing pleasure. Square-Enix is also supposedly working on Dragon Quest X for the Wii, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see that get pushed to the system’s successor. This time last year we had no idea Kirby’s Epic Yarn or Donkey Kong Country even existed so there will surely be many surprises in store for next years E3.