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Analysis - Nintendo's Upbeat Presentation Filled With Games, But Some Unfortunate Delays


Nintendo presented what I believe to be the best Direct in the company's history. There were lots of exciting new game announcements, including the long-anticipated reveal of The Legend of Zelda, Miis in Smash Bros., and some unexpected titles.

What We Saw (And Loved)

This event was a marked shift for Nintendo. The humor was spot-on, from the Robot Chicken opening to the funny fight between Iwata and Reggie leading to the announcement of Miis in Smash Bros. It was a solid opening to a well-paced event.

The good news is that there are some games coming for Wii U this year from Nintendo. Captain Toad looks adorable, Hyrule Warriors looks to be a pitch-perfect blend of franchises for Musou fans, and Bayonetta 2 has a release date plus a pack-in version of the first title.

2015 also has a number of exciting titles coming, including Yoshi's Wooly World and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. Unfortunately, Xenoblade Chronicles X (now with a real name) has been delayed out of this year after so recently being confirmed for 2014.

The post-show announcements of a new Star Fox and Mario Party 10 are exciting, and further details of the really neat-looking Amiibo toys has me a bit more hopeful for Wii U. However, Nintendo does have a lingering problem...

What Surprised Us
Nintendo still doesn't have control of its development pipeline. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has been delayed out of the summer and into October. This raises concerns about whether the Wii U version will actually be delivered in 2014.

Additionally, the delay of Xenoblade Chronicles X is a blow to the 2014 slate of titles. The Mario Kart momentum is strong, but it won't carry the console by itself. This should have been a moment to capitalize on the strong push.

The delays of two major titles also raises concerns about newly announced titles like The Legend of Zelda, which was announced without a name. I want to believe it will be ready for 2015, but I am extremely skeptical that Nintendo can hold to that timeline.

What We Didn't See

This was a Wii U-focused presentation, and it needed to be. That meant that the 3DS was largely absent. Don't expect it to get short shrift on the show floor, though. Nintendo just prioritized exactly as it should have.

As a Metroid fan, the absence of the series for another year is disappointing. I was hoping (as were many of you, we know) for a return to classic form for the series.

We weren't surprised that there was a void where third parties should be. However, if Nintendo can get its own house in order, publishers like Ubisoft might be coaxed back.

Overall this was a strong presentation. If Nintendo can get its development pipeline in order, things might start looking up for the Wii U. Unfortunately, Nintendo has not evidenced that it can stay on track for titles, leaving me still cautious about the console's future, but still more optimistic than I have been recently.

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