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11/12/2015 Nintendo Direct - impressive Direct loaded with stuff!
#1
So after many months off after Satoru Iwata's sad passing, Nintendo Directs are back, and this one is chock-full of stuff. Maybe this was originally going to be for several directs, but they didn't do them for a while, so here it all is at once. The Direct is 45 minutes long, and while there aren't any major new game announcements, otherwise it's got all kinds of info -- new DLC, new Amiibos, new localizations, new footage of delayed games, and more!

The video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF3AnGHbG6s

Some major takeaways I've got:


And lots more I didn't mention -- there is footage of lots of games we already did know about, on top of the above. Definitely watch the video!


Missing:

- No announcement of a US release of Picross 3D 2. Will this awesome sequel to one of the DS's best games REALLY stay Japan-only? I hope not!

- Not much new info about Wii U Zelda beyond that it's still a Wii U game for 2016, and a couple seconds of Link on Epona.
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#2
Cloud's not really a Sony icon. That is, I don't think of Sony when I think of Cloud. It's true though that it was a big feather in Sony's cap when they got FF7 though.

While not really an "icon", it's still odd since Cloud hasn't actually had a role on any Nintendo system, outside a cameo in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories and a few music rhythm games. I still would have thought we'd see something like Terra or even one of the classes from Final Fantasy 1 as the playable character of choice. Still, a fun addition.
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#3
Exactly, Cloud was the main character in one of the key games that helped the Playstation beat the N64, and has never been the main or even a major character in any game ever released for a Nintendo platform... and now he's in Smash. It is a bit odd, as neat a thing as it is. All the other guest characters have been in multiple games on Nintendo platforms.


Also, one other thing I didn't mention is Fire Emblem Fates. It's going to have two versions, each with a different story, and there's a third download-only DLC story as well. I really dislike this Pokemonization of Fire Emblem, it's clearly designed to get more money out of people. Maybe I'll have to get that $80 special edition that includes all three, if it doesn't sell out immediately... I'd rather not, but... Nintendo clearly is pushing it.

On that note, it's sad to see Nintendo go so strongly into DLC (including amiibos-as-DLC and also regular DLC), pay-to-play games, etc. Those are bad things about gaming today, and they probably are making Nintendo worse... but they have to do them, the shareholders expect it. Unfortunate.
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#4
There's this "badge catcher" game on 3DS that's all about the free-to-pay. The rabbit gets "real" when you ask why you have to pay for plays (like, it transforms into a real rabbit for a second) and explains how money is needed to keep the "arcade" afloat. Well, yeah, duh, but why can't I just pay for the game, and then own the game?
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#5
"Linkle" is odd but she doesn't seem to be just "female Link" but rather a whole new character heavily based on Link. That name's a bit weird though. It makes me think Link fused with Tingle.

Ultimately, the big move will be a full custom character designer.
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#6
Yeah, a custom character designer is the logical endpoint, though those aren't as popular in Japanese games as in Western ones so we'll see if it happens.

Dark Jaguar Wrote:"Linkle" is odd but she doesn't seem to be just "female Link" but rather a whole new character heavily based on Link. That name's a bit weird though. It makes me think Link fused with Tingle.
Agreed on both points, Linkle is a bit of an odd name, and she is apparently a new character and not literally female Link even if that is clearly the idea.
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#7
Actually, her fighting style and general "look" make her look kinda like female Green Arrow. :D (Though actually, I suppose that would be Artemis from the Young Justice cartoon show.)

It's a fact that designing more than one appearance requires a lot of extra art design, and lots of Japanese developers want to get every single expression and body movement JUST right in the cinematics of a game. (Even now, US games tend to use a bunch of more "generic" character animations which can work on any character, but aren't nearly as engaging to look at.) Well, it's also a fact that in both east and west, ideas of what a "good" expression on a male and female character are vary wildly, so that's an industry artist attitude that needs to be dealt with.

This is why I think the very first step needs to be establishing that Link DOESN'T have to be the main character in EVERY Zelda game. The closest we've gotten to that is the male and female "kid" sprites in that Japan-only LTTP spinoff, the Mask transformations in Majora's Mask, the Hyrule Warriors spinoff, and the most recent "technically these are just kids who look like a hero" Tri-Force Heroes game. If Nintendo doesn't want to invest in creating unique animations and character designs, then at least open up the role of "hero" in the next game so someone else is the star, and if not a brand new character, that someone could easily be some era's Zelda. I'd be all for that. Then, so long as they switch up the main character often enough, they don't need to worry about a character designer (at least in terms of assuring some diversity). Here's the thing. Even if it is still just "Link" every single game, let's change Link's appearence more drastically in each era. I mean, clearly it's not the same Link in each game (with a few rare exceptions), so why's he always gotta look almost exactly the same? The most drastic change to Link in recent years has been his hair color in Link Between Worlds, and that was a reversion BACK to the brown of the original games. Normally, about the best you can expect is that he might be a young adult instead of an older kid. "He" doesn't need to be a he, after all. There's nothing particularly masculine about the name "Link", and people can name the character whatever they like anyway, so what difference does it make if they keep his appearance similar between games?

I don't say that to diminish how often they completely shift the art style of the series with each new major game. I really have to give Nintendo credit for reinventing the Zelda "look" almost every game, when so very often major game companies would be too afraid to diverge too much from the art design "Bible" they have for a world. Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, and Link Between Worlds look basically nothing alike aside from the regularly occurring Zelda elements between them, and that's a good thing. I'm just saying they can take it a bit further and start really diverging Link's appearence a bit. Heck, keep the pointy ears and general look of the tunic as the identifiable bits. Just make Link a woman, or black, or "plus sized" (within reason, we still need to believe Link can move like that), or even with a prosthetic now and again.
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#8
Green Arrow? How so? She doesn't look like a superhero in spandex or whatever... though I don't know superhero outfits, if that one looks different?

I entirely agree with you about Link and that Zelda games would be perfect with character creators, yeah. Good point there about animation, though I often hear story being emphasized -- that Japanese games are more likely to be one specific story with set characters, while Western games have more choice. The type of main character is an element of that, though Western games almost always have male protagonists only as well, of course.

On another note, though, another thing in this Direct is that Pokemon will have link cable support via 3DS wireless link. So, Nintendo finally got around to emulating the link cable. I presume that Nintendo will not go back and add link support in past games they released on 3DS VC with the multiplayer inaccessible, though... that'd make far too much sense, now that it's done and would work just fine with minimal effort! It would be nice if they'd do that... but I doubt they will.
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