Breaking: Nintendo Pre-E3 Keynote Full Report
As part of our extensive E3 coverage, Gamasutra will be covering the Nintendo press conference at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California - the full minute by minute transcript of the conference is repeated below.
9.37am: Shigeru Miyamoto made a triumphant entrance onstage in a bow tie and directed an onscreen orchestra playing the Zelda theme, using the Wii controller, to thunderous applause. A racing title (Excite Truck) was then shown, controlled with the Wii, before Ubisoft's Red Steel was demonstrated, all with onstage Wii players.
9.41am: Reggie Fils-Aime then strode on-stage, proclaiming:"If all you want is next generation, you're in the wrong place" - it's not what's next, "it's what's absolutely new." He suggested that "playing is believing", and that "what you see is not always what you get", before introducing a Wii intro video that includes footage of the Wii tennis title, as well as a Wii golf game and the Wii orchestral title, plus the aforementioned road racing game, which sported impressively swift graphics.
9.45pm: A new Mario title for Wii (Mario Galaxy) was also showcased, with extremely impressive action, and full Wii compatibility. In addition, a Pilot Wings style game was shown, before Metroid for Wii also appeared, as well as a great-looking Wii table tennis game, and Wario Ware for Wii, featuring all kinds of wacky Wii-controller effects. Next, Twilight Princess' Wii compatibility was shown, including shooting arrows using the controller, and combat galore, as well as a surprisingly impressive fishing mini-game - all to thunderous applause.
9.47pm - Fils-Aime reappears to state: "Our purpose is not to fill your left brain with information, but to fill your right brain with inspiration", suggesting that the graveyard of industry is filled with companies who just try to "make things a little bit better". He then cued Super Mario 64 footage, explaining that it wasn't about the looks, necessarily, but about the feel. He asks: "How do we make games that feel entirely new all over again?"
"As for date and price, we believe it's in our interest to keep the details secret for just a while longer." He did confirm that Wii will ship in the fourth quarter of 2006. He then moved on to the name - Wii. He suggests: "At first, every distinctive name sounds strange", but argues that Wii is "the sound of the future".
9.51am: A highlights reel for Wii was showcased, including Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the new Dragonballs Sparking 2, a Nintendo title called Disaster: Day Of Crisis, a new Wii Fire Emblem title, Cars, the spectacularl looking Super Mario Galaxy, an SD Gundam title, Sengoku Action from Koei, Necro-Nesia from Spike, the truck game, named Excite Truck, Konami's Ele-Bits, Ubisoft's Red Steel, the new Rayman title, Tecmo's Super Swing Golf Pangya, the new Sonic, a Nintendo title named Project Hammer, a One Piece game from Bandai, EA's Madden, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for Wii from Square Enix, and Zelda: Twilight Princess from Nintendo.
9.59am: Fils-Aime returned to confirm that the new Zelda will be a launch title for Wii, and introduced Nate and Bill to show it. Bill explained that there's a fairy on screen which shows where you are pointing with the Wii controller on the Wii-specific version. He explained the bow aiming, 'point and shoot', for the Wii, with the Wii remote pointing at the screen.
He then explained that, built in to the Wii remote is a speaker, featuring "depth of sound", so the speaker will play the 'bow taut' effect - the last Wii secret apparently in effect. The nunchuck has independent motion sensing, separately of the main Wii controller.
10.06am: Fils-Aime then returned to explain that two different versions of Zelda: Twilight Princess will launch simultaneously - on launch, and went on to discuss the new Metroid and the brand new Super Mario Galaxy, which looks extremely impressive. He then discussed new first-party franchises to explain Nintendo's portfolio - Excite Truck, and the carnage-happy Project H.A.M.M.E.R., and the new Disaster title, some kind of action game based around natural disasters, apparently.
Fils-Aime then revealed that 27 different Wii titles will be playable on the show floor at E3 tomorrow, before showing Xavier Poix from Ubisoft showing Red Steel, which is a Wii-exclusive title which uses a number of interesting Wii-specific features, including lots of aiming with a gun, intuitive sword fighting. The graphics, while impressive, were around GameCube quality.
10.17am: George Harrison (the Nintendo exec) appeared, to state hilariously: "Wii will make things better", and explained the success of the Nintendo DS, suggesting "a little clarity is in order", and addressing the PSP vs. DS head on. He then suggested that in terms of actual sell-through, the DS has seen 18 million units worldwide thus far, and the PSP has "millions less" in terms of actual sales, according to Harrison's citing of independent sources. He then noted that 1.3 million DS users had burned through 40 million sessions on DS WiFi thus far.
Harrison then went on to Brain Age, and revealed that 120,000 units of Brain Age have sold so far, more than in Japan under similar situations. He then discussed DS Lite, and mentioned Pokemon Mystery Dungeon for DS and GBA, shipping on September 18th. He then revealed the brand new, previously unknown titles Diddy Kong Racing DS, Star Fox DS, and Yoshi's Island 2 DS, plus Final Fantasy III for DS. He then dwelled on Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, noting there will be more than 100 new games between now and the end of the year.
10.21am: A highlights reel for DS showed Mario Hoops 3 On 3 from Nintendo, Star Fox DS, with touch control flight path, Elite Beat Agents, the U.S. version of Inis' awesome Ouendan rhythm title (to cheers from the Gamasutra contingent), a new Yoshi's Island 2 with dual-screen levels, Diddy Kong Racing with multi-player WiFi, and new titles Big Brain Academy, and the brand new Mario Vs. DK: March Of The Minis.
10.30am: Satoru Iwata then appeared (out of the right hatch on stage, Harrison took the left!), to discuss "expanding the total number of people who played games". He discussed Nintendo's philosophy of reinventing the control mechanisms, through DS and Wii. He explained that the Wii's controller "breaks down barriers" to non-gamers, and in many ways, presented a pared-down version of his GDC lecture on how game developers should see Wii as a bane, and also took a dig at the PSP, discussing loading times, as opposed to the instant
He announced Wii Connect 24, a shutdown method which will take the console to 'standby' at extremely low power levels (that of a miniature lightbulb!) meaning that the console can be constantly connected to the Internet, and players can receive information at any time, even when asleep, enabling updates at all times, and even implying that Animal Crossing villages could then be visited at any time of night and day.
10.34am: Iwata then discussed Wii Sports, a combination of tennis, golf, and baseball in one package, available on launch day for the Wii, to help reach the mainstream, and discussing helping "destroy the wall" between non-gamers and gamers. He ended on a simple slide: "Playing = believing".
Miyamoto went on stage, discussing the Wii controller further, and started playing tennis on Wii, animatedly whacking the ball around. A competition winner was then modeled on stage, and four-player tennis ensued with Reggie, Satoru, Shigeru, and a lucky competition winner, with much hilarity, and inspirational-looking gameplay.
10.39am: Fils-Aime ends: "What's hot is the feel of the game - the look is secondary... it's hot if it's disruptive... the future of our industry is inclusion, not exclusion." He suggested, as a closing statement: "Risk allows progress... Nintendo runs to it."