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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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Wii Coming Q4 2006, No Price Set Yet

by Rainier on May 9, 2006 @ 10:26 a.m. PDT

The Nintendo E3 briefing is in full swing, and the bottom line is that while no specific launch date has been set, Reggie said we'll be playing it Q4 2006, although he said the price will be kept secret for a little while longer. Currently, 27 titles will be playable on the E3 floor, Zelda will be a Wii launch title, with a simultaneous Gamecube release. Read more for full details ...

Continuing Nintendo’s long tradition of developing highly innovative products that redefine the standards for the industry, Wii (pronounced “we”) will allow players to “feel” games in a way never known before: the adrenaline of a tennis match, the thrill of making an airplane bank or the rush of gripping the wheel of a speeding truck. The control scheme is simple enough that everyone, no matter what their prior gaming experience, can use it with ease and will want to try it.

“Not only is Wii compelling to current game players, but it also will entice new players with new experiences,” explains Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. “To expand the total number of game players, we must make our experience both friendlier and more compelling. With Wii, it is.”

Players manipulate their games through the motion of the remote control-like Wii Remote, which also includes a built-in speaker. In a four-player tennis game shown during Nintendo’s media briefing, the Wii Remote became a virtual tennis racket, from the vibration of the hit to the sound of the ball. The Wii Remote’s sensors are delicate enough to enable players to hit straight, add slice or put top spin on the ball.

Depending on the game, the Wii Remote could be a weapon, a baseball bat or an airplane. The applications are limited only by imagination. The Nunchuk controller attachment also includes a motion sensor, a development that suggests additional creative possibilities for this dual control system: Games could involve the use of a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. Or a clamp and a scalpel. Or a pair of boxing gloves.

A new, immersive playing experience represents the most important factor to keep the industry healthy and growing. For more than a year, Nintendo has demonstrated living examples of how this strategy continues to work to the benefit of players, Nintendo and the marketplace. New interfaces can change the gaming landscape almost overnight, as evidenced by the success of the hand-held Nintendo DS system. To date, more than 16 million units have sold through to gamers of all types. Between now and the end of 2006, more than 100 new, envelope-pushing games will launch for the system to continue the tremendous momentum it enjoys worldwide.

Wii will be available in the fourth quarter of 2006 and priced affordably for the mass market. It will feature a very quick startup, silent operation and low power consumption. These elements make the “sleepless” WiiConnect24 experience possible. Users never need to turn it off. The combination of the new interface, including the Wii Remote, the Virtual Console and WiiConnect24 (which takes advantage of the console’s low power consumption) represents a true leap forward in gaming.

Games in development for the Wii console include a third chapter in the Metroid┬« Prime series, a new Mario™ game and The Legend of Zelda┬«: Twilight Princess. Additionally, dozens of developers worldwide are working to bring new experiences to the Wii console. Nintendo will expand the gaming circle to as many types of people as possible, including lapsed gamers and people who have never played before.

Along with Wii Sports, which includes the tennis game, the highly anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess will launch at the same time as Wii and thrill gamers with its captivating storyline, stunning game play and gorgeous look. The game makes use of the unique Wii Remote functions for elements like fishing and special sword attacks. The game also will be playable on Nintendo GameCube™, but without the widescreen format or special controller functions.

“The Wii console gives every game developer a tool to create new experiences, not just linear advancement,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales & marketing. “It will attract all kinds of new players, and thoroughly satisfy the hard-core gamers.”

One of Wii’s launch titles will be Wii Sports, a new type of product designed to expand the video game experience to everyone, regardless of age, gender or gaming experience. These games will form the bridge that connects current gamers to newcomers. Wii Sports will include a tennis game that lets up to four players swing at, hear and feel the ball. Anyone can pick up the Wii Remote and start hitting straight shots and lobs, with top spin or a slice, using their forehand or backhand, simply by simulating the arm and wrist movements of a real tennis game. In the baseball game, players can hit or pitch a baseball using the Wii Remote as the characters on the screen mimic their movements. And in the golf game, players can drive the fairways or putt for the cup simply by swinging the Wii Remote as if they were swinging a real golf club. Games can be played with small, precise hand movements, but it’s likely people will want to immerse themselves physically in the reality of the experience.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess also will launch at the same time as Wii. It will thrill gamers with its captivating storyline, stunning game play and gorgeous look. The game makes use of the unique Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller for elements like fishing and special sword attacks.

Other Wii games in development include Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, which redefines how first-person shooters look and feel. Players use the Wii Remote as their pinpoint-accurate arm cannon, while the Nunchuk attachment can be used to deploy a variety of functions, such as the Grapple Beam. The amazing Super Mario Galaxy represents a crowning achievement for legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and his team. Mario floats from planet to planet while performing massive zero-gravity jumps in an environment new to gaming fans.

Excite Truck builds on a classic Nintendo franchise, but features a radical play mechanic in which players hold the Wii Remote sideways like a steering wheel. On jumps, they must balance it to make sure their vehicle lands squarely and earns a turbo boost. Many games make racing look real, but Nintendo also makes it feel real. WarioWare: Smooth Moves contains about 200 microgames that will have players holding the Wii Remote to their hips to do a hula-hoop motion, curling it like a barbell or putting it on their head and doing squats.

The Wii console already enjoys strong third-party support. Nintendo is working with every major publisher worldwide to create fresh intellectual properties and host strong, classic franchises on the console. Gamers can look forward to multiple offerings, including:

  • Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Call of Duty 3 from Activision
  • Sonic and Super Monkey Ball games from SEGA
  • Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors and Codename: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers from SQUARE ENIX
  • Madden NFL from Electronic Arts
  • Rayman Raving Rabbids and Red Steel, the only original first-person game built from the ground up exclusively for the Wii launch, from Ubisoft
  • and a SpongeBob SquarePants title from THQ.

Gamers also can expect ground-breaking offerings from Atari, Buena Vista Games, Eidos, Konami Digital Entertainment, Majesco, Mastiff, Midway Games, NAMCO BANDAI Games, Atlus and SNK. Nintendo and publishers large and small worldwide will introduce original franchises of all kinds, aimed both at pleasing the hard-core crowd and encouraging new generations and demographics of people to play.

“Once again Nintendo has challenged the status quo and opened new creative landscapes for us,” says John Schappert, EA Canada’s senior vice president and group studio general manager. “We look forward to creating original experiences for the Wii console while seeing how some of our best sellers play using the extraordinary controllers.”

In addition to a healthy selection of new games, Wii will enjoy one of the largest launch libraries in video game history thanks to its built-in Virtual Console and backward compatibility with Nintendo GameCube. The Virtual Console provides downloadable access to Nintendo games from the NES, Super NES and Nintendo 64. The Virtual Console also will feature a “best of” selection from Sega Genesis titles and games from the TurboGrafx console (a system jointly developed by NEC and Hudson).

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