A preview of what 2014 will bring Nintendo gamers.
2013 has passed and 2014 is here, bringing along with it a sleuth of new titles for us to love and enjoy. Of course, you may not remember much of what has been announced for this coming year thanks to the joy that is the holiday season (did you guys get any cool gifts?), so consider this a nice little preview from yours truly, a belated Christmas gift of sorts if you will. Let us not stall for much longer; as I did last year, let us take a look at what the next 12 months may look like in the world of Nintendo.
THE WII U
Nintendo has a lot to prove with their Wii U console this year, especially now that both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One are out on the market. What Nintendo needs to do now is to not necessarily prove that they are the better console (though that may certainly help), but show that the Wii U is a worthwhile investment whether you own another console or not. With an approachable price point and some enticing consumer bundles on the market, all Nintendo needs now is games… and things may or may not look so good, depending on who you ask.
As far as we know, there will only be a handful of releases on the Wii U between now and the end of spring (typically up to E3). This includes the retail release of Wii Fit U that just hit store shelves recently, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the sequel to 2010’s Wii hit Donkey Kong Country Returns, developed by Retro Studios. Nintendo is also gearing up to deliver some classic karting action with Mario Kart 8. Other first party titles such as the recently announced Hyrule Warriors (Name Not Final) and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U are, despite being presented alongside other spring titles, slated for, without specifics, 2014.
On the third party front, things look bleak, but Ubisoft’s highly anticipated open-world adventure game Watch Dogs will hit the platform this spring as well, and I still stand by the fact that it looks to be one of the most impressive games of this year.
We know of a few other titles that are currently in development for the Wii U but do not yet have solid release windows. Platinum Games’ second Wii U exclusive Bayonetta 2 is one such game, which Nintendo announced even before the Wii U’s release in 2012. Other first party titles coming our way include the new Yarn Yoshi game developed by Good-Feel, and Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, a cooperative project between Atlus and Intelligent Systems. Perhaps the biggest first-party release, however, is Monolith Soft’s X, which will approach 4 years of development upon its expected release late in 2014. Other retail titles coming our way include the hotly anticipated racing simulator Project CARS and, in Europe, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure.
While the retail picture may seem a bit scarce now, there is no doubt that the eShop on Wii U is thriving. I am not even going to attempt listing out every single title expected to come out this next year, but some notable examples include: 1,001 Spikes, 8-Bit Boy, A Hat in Time, A World of Keflings, Amikrog, ANIMA: Gate of Memories, Armillo, Ballpoint Universe, Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians, Child of Light, Cubemen 2, FAST Racing Neo, Ittle Dew, Nihilumbra, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty!, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD, Pac-Man Museum, Percy’s Predicament, Pier Solar HD, Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut, Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Shovel Knight, Soul Saga, Squids Oddyssey, Super Ubie Island, Tengami, Teslagrad, The Pinball Arcade, and Two Brothers. Nintendo will also be continuing support for Wii Sports Club, which will see added activities throughout the year.
There is still no word on whether several titles already released in Japan will make it overseas; games like Dragon Quest X, Monster Hunter Frontier G, and Yakuza HD Collection have been out in Japan for a while now. There are also games like Puyo Puyo Tetris still in development, so we may not hear news of localization from those titles any time soon.
THE NINTENDO 3DS
Coming off an especially strong year for the 3DS, it seems a bit odd that we still know very little about what we should expect for the handheld in 2014. It is important to keep in mind, however, that at this time of year last year we did not even know Pokemon X/Y or The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds even existed. 3DS development is quick, and game announcements should be plentiful as the year goes on.
But let up stick with what we do know. Nintendo’s very own Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Mario Golf: Island Tour are due to launch in the coming months. Two important third party titles, Level-5’s Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy and Square Enix’s Bravely Default will arrive soon thereafter in the Americas, although Europe has been enjoying both of these titles for quite a while already.
After the initial rush of games, Nintendo will be releasing several important heavy-hitters on the 3DS. Yoshi’s New Island sports a unique art style reminiscent of the Nintendo 64 cult classic Yoshi’s Story. Nintendo’s popular beat-‘em-up Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS will also be making its portable debut later this year. Finally, Monolith Soft’s 3DS title should finally be revealed some time soon, as development for that game seems to have been stretched out forever.
As with last year, third parties continue to support the Nintendo 3DS with popular role-playing games, making the 3DS the ideal platform for the genre. Atlus plans to bring over to the west Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars, a JRPG developed by Spike Chunsoft in Japan. The company will also be releasing Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: Break Record, a 3D remake of the original Devil Survivor 2 game on Nintendo DS. Finally, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth completes the trifecta of Atlus games and is notable for being the first Persona game available on a Nintendo platform.
Atlus is not the only developer hard at work on the 3DS. Square Enix will be releasing the second game in the Theatrhythm series titled Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, a rhythm game featuring many popular tracks from the Final Fantasy franchise. Meanwhile, Prope is finishing Rodea the Sky Soldier, an action game that will see release on Nintendo 3DS and… Wii? Marvelous’ KAIO: King of Pirates is also long overdue, with its release being delayed officially to 2014 after it was delayed from 2012 to 2013. Other titles include Namco Bandai’s two 3DS exclusives One Piece: Romance Dawn and Disney Magical World, SEGA’s Puyo Puyo Tetris (also coming to Wii U), and, in Europe, Level-5’s Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney.
The eShop front seems relatively dry for now, but support on the 3DS’ digital store has always been quite strong. Following last week’s release of Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder, expect games like Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse and Horberg’s (Gunman Clive) next Zelda-styled adventure game to come our way. Nintendo is also working on a free-to-play Steel Diver game that Nintendo announced last summer, though no new info has surfaced since then. Also coming soon: the long-awaited Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter.
Still no word on several Japan-exclusive 3DS games such as Dragon Quest VII, Exstetra, Fantasy Life, and Monster Hunter 4. Localization seems to be a constant problem for the Big N as a large portion of games released on their platforms is in Japanese.
Despite all of this, we still do not know what some of Nintendo’s own development studios are working on. Sure, we have games like The Legend of Zelda Wii U that are currently in development, but what of Nintendo’s other studios? EAD4 has not announced anything since the release of Pikmin 3. Miyamoto himself has said that he is working on his own creative project but has kept mum about it since E3.
Outside of Nintendo themselves, other development teams seem to be hard at work on… something. NST typically releases something every year, yet we have not heard from them since Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move. ND Cube, who works on Mario Party and Wii Party games, have yet to announce their next project either. Second-party studios that have unannounced projects include AlphaDream, Ambrella, Game Freak, Genius Sonority, Grezzo, and Next Level Games. Also to note: SEGA’s third Nintendo exclusive is due to be revealed this year as well.
I hope you people enjoyed this preview of what Nintendo plans to bring to the table in 2014. Of course, this list does not include every title released in that period, but it should give you a good picture of what to expect from Nintendo this coming year. Happy New Year, everybody, and may we have a very awesome 2014.
Quick question before I go: what are you looking forward to in 2014? Sound off in the comments below!