Posted on April 27 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
One of the most important things Iwata talked about at the recent investors’ meeting in Japan was the prospects for the Wii during the rest of its lifespan – specifically, that there are several still-unannounced Wii titles coming later this year: “Furthermore, an already announced new title from the Kirby franchise, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and JUST DANCE 2, which will be localized by Nintendo for the Japanese market, and other new titles currently unannounced will be ready to be launched within this year.” He made a similar statement earlier in the year, and we’re no closer to figuring out quite what he meant than we were then. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate, does it?
Now, he didn’t exactly clarify whether these were going to be first-party or third-party ventures, although I think it’s safe to say that he’s referring mostly to software at least being published by Nintendo (Just Dance 2, for example, was developed by Ubisoft but is being localized by Nintendo for the Japanese market). However, for the sake of good clean fun, let’s focus mostly on what might come out of Nintendo’s own development studios.
One of Iwata’s specific statements was that “we are actually ready to release new Wii software titles every month from May to the end of this year.” Now, this was deliberately translated in the plural – software titles – but if we just took this to mean one game a month for the rest of 2011 that’d leave us with seven games total. Games already confirmed for a summer 2011 release are Pandora’s Tower,Rhythm Paradise, and Wii Play: Motion, with Western titles like Just Dance 2 and Goldeneye jumping over to Japan as well. I think we can safely assume that these games will be the main offerings until about August. After that, only a handful of titles have even been announced: Kirby Wii, Skyward Sword, and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games. This would leave about two or three potential slots for the unannounced games. As for what those games might be…
There’s been a lot of speculation about a possible new Pokémon entry since rumors surfaced back in January, probably as an updated Battle Revolution title that will introduce compatibility with the Black & White versions. Honestly it’s one of the guesses I find to be rather more likely, since these kinds of games seem to release like clockwork alongside the most recent Pokémon Generation. Besides, with the extreme popularity of Black & White, I’m sure a lot of Pokéfans are raging for the opportunity to see their monsters duke it out on their big TV screens. Maybe they can improve the single-player mode while they’re at it…
Pretty Much a Given
This game has apparently been in development for a long time. Early on it was reported to be on the way for Wii, but recently we’ve seen some hints that maybe it’ll be coming to 3DS instead. Miyamoto stated last year that he wanted to announce it at E3 2010, but felt that it was time for other titles like Skyward Sword to shine. Whether this means that Miyamoto thinks Pikmin 3 is the best thing since sliced bread or that it wasn’t worth showing compared to Zelda is beyond me, but if Pikmin‘s really on the way for Wii and other software was getting in the way before, the current drought would be a perfect time to finally introduce it.
Star Fox Wii
Pretty much the only long-running Nintendo franchise that hasn’t received a Wii installment is Star Fox, something that series fans are understandably miffed about. Given that the Wii controller could potentially serve as a makeshift joystick, or even use a similar control scheme to Mario Kart Wii if that’d be more accurate, this seems almost unforgivable. However, Nintendo seems to be trying to drum up interest in the franchise again with Star Fox 64 DS, so maybe this is a sign of things to come later in the year. (Or perhaps this just points to an inevitable Project Café sequel, who knows?)
While this is actually one of my wet dreams, too, somehow I just don’t find it particularly likely. Star Fox seems like a franchise that Nintendo would want to push hard on their HD console, so putting all that time and effort into a game for a system that’s about to head out the door… suffice to say I’m not entirely convinced. At least we know Skyward Sword has been on the table for years – we don’t have the same knowledge with regards to Star Fox. Still, it’s possible, right?
Maybe…But I’m Not Counting on It
New Super Mario Bros. Wii 2
Really, given the massive success of pretty much every Super Mario Bros. game in existence, it’s surprising that Nintendo hasn’t been cranking out several of these every generation. Now that they’ve seen what a new Super Mario Bros. title can do on Wii, could they possibly have finally seen the light and decided to give the age-old franchise more of a spotlight?
I want to respond with a resounding “YES!” but part of me just can’t muster up that much faith in Nintendo to take the obvious course. This is probably because they tend to do exactly the opposite – often with excellent results – but when it comes to something like continuing their most popular and enduring series ever I just can’t ignore their lack of support over the last few generations. Maybe it’ll happen, just maybe, but I think they’re more likely to want to headline Project Café with a Mario Bros. game than to give their hungry Wii fans another taste, especially with a Super Mario title already on the way for 3DS this year.
My Lack of Faith Disturbs Me
With the summer lineup pretty much confirmed for Japan, it’s unlikely we’ll see too many surprises turn up before this year’s E3. Luckily, the conference is less than two months away, so we should be hearing something soon. Stay tuned for news on Nintendo announcements and release dates in the coming weeks, and stick around for our E3 coverage in early June!