The Year Ahead: Wii Gaming in 2008

By Shack Staff, Dec 21, 2007 11:00am PST With Mario, Zelda, and Samus already making their appearances on the Wii, what could Nintendo possibly have in store for us in 2008? The answer: Mario, Zelda, and Samus.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart hit the Wii next year, finally bringing some much-needed online play to the system. And with the white box still selling out, plenty of third party publishers are flooding the market with other offerings. Read on for a look at these and more.

Also be sure to check out the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 calendars.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Nintendo, The Studio
Wii
February 10

The popular mascot fighter returns, with new characters, modes, and mechanics. Much to the delight of fans, online multiplayer has been confirmed for up to four players, and a new adventure mode will offer some co-op side-scrolling action.
(Screenshots)

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Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law
Capcom
Wii, PS2, PSP
January 8

Based on the popular animated Adult Swim series, Birdman will borrow from the Phoenix Wright model of court-based gameplay--though full voice-acting will give this one a presentational boost.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Mario Kart Wii
Nintendo EAD
Wii
Spring

Packaged with the new Wii Wheel accessory, Mario Kart Wii will feature 12 player online races on new and classic tracks. Gone is the double-driver format of Double Dash, replaced with a single-rider model. Motorcycles will make an appearance for the first time in the series, with each character having an alternate bike to ride.
(Screenshots)

Okami
Clover Studio, Ready at Dawn
Wii
Spring

The gorgeous, enchanting PlayStation 2 title from now-defunct Clover Studio finds new life on the Wii this year. Nintendo fans who missed out on the original may find this the closest thing to a new Zelda title for the foreseeable future.
(Announcement)

de Blob
Blue Tongue, Helixe
Wii, Nintendo DS
February

Clearly following in the Katamari vein, de Blob is a similarly-minimalist roller that has players bouncing from building to building, coloring cityscapes with various flavors of paint.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Monster Lab
Backbone Entertainment
Wii
June

Monster Lab will allow players to build, customize, and pit monsters against eachother in the ring of combat. It's Pokemon meets Tim Burton, with Wii Remote minigames.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

No More Heroes
Grasshopper Manufacture
Wii
February 5

This beat-em-up from Goichi Suda combines lightsaber combat with a free-roaming world and Wii Remote-enabled special attacks. Full of stereotypical, over-the-top characters, and highly-stylized environments.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Alone in the Dark
Eden Games, Hydravision
Wii, PC, PlayStation 2, PS3, Xbox 360
Winter

Follow Edward Carnby, the protagonist of the original Alone in the Dark title, into the nightmare that is Central Park. The survival horror game will be structured like a television series, containing several "episodes" comprising 30-40 minutes of gameplay each. Hopefully its writers aren't in the WGA.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

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Endless Ocean
Arika
Wii
January 21

Open-ended ocean exploration and casual photography mark this intriguing title from Japanese developer Arika. Aquatic life ranging from whales to penguins to tuna can be identified on scuba-diving journeys and subsequently added to a large aquarium. Online play for multiplayer diving is supported.
(Screenshots)

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Star Soldier R
Hudson Soft
WiiWare
Q2 2008

The first new entry in Hudson's long-running shoot-em-up franchise in quite some time is coming exclusively to the WiiWare download service. Several of its predecessors are already available through Virtual console, if you're looking to brush up on your vertical shooting skills.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Young King and the Promised Land
Square Enix
WiiWare
Q2 2008

This "kingdom-building" RPG sim take on the Crystal Chronicles sub-franchise is already looking like one of the most visually attractive games on the system--this may sound like damning with faint praise, but the game really does look nice, a feat that is particularly impressive considering it is exclusive to the upcoming WiiWare download service.
(Details, Screenshots)

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway
Gearbox Software
Wii, PC, PlayStation 2, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, Nintendo DS
Fall

First person World War II squad tactics--now with mobile machinegun turrets, rocket launchers, vastly improved presentation, and a new cover system. Baker will be splitting off from his squad in this one, going solo during Gears of War-styled sequences.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Samba De Amigo
Gearbox Software
Wii
Spring

Combining monkeys and music, Gearbox's rendition of Sonic Team's maraca-shaking cult classic may, at long last, bring wider recognition to the beloved franchise. With the Wii Remote and Nunchuk replacing the Dreamcast's costly maracas, gamers will finally be able to shake along to the funky beats without spending a ridiculous sum.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

Wii Music
Nintendo
Wii
TBA

Up to four players can control a band by way of motions and button presses in this rhythm title from Nintendo. Over 40 instruments will be included, with varying band sizes. Few details are known at this point, but previous demos had players using the Nunchuk and Wii Remote as drum sticks, or waving the Remote to conduct a symphony.

Mushroom Men
Red Fly Studio
Wii, Nintendo DS
Fall

Set in a world where mushroom and man are at war with one another, this action-platformer will have you playing as a 3-inch tall fungi. Your technically-advanced mushroom man will create custom weapons out of discarded trash, and float down from tall platforms using his billowy head.
(Artwork)

Super Mario Stadium Baseball
Nintendo
Wii
TBA

We don't know much about Mario's latest expedition to the ballpark, but Nintendo has a history of knocking out some solid multiplayer experiences with its sports offerings. Honestly, all the company needs to do is flesh out Wii Sports baseball, improve the controls a bit, and it'll be a hit.
(Announcement)

Ninja Reflex
Sanzaru Games
Wii, Nintendo DS
March

This ninja-themed party game will require fast reaction times and quick reflexes in order to triumph over its intense assortment of minigames.
(Impressions, Screenshots)

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
LucasArts, Krome Studios
Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PS3, Wii, PSP, DS
Summer

Players will assume the role of Darth Vader's apprentice post-Sith, hunting down the remaining Force-users throughout the galaxy. The big draw here will be realistic physics, enabling Jedi assholes everywhere to Force-push their enemies into a realistically-dentable metal door.

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Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed
Locomotive Games
Wii, PS2, PSP
Summer

This 70s iteration of the open-world destruction franchise gives players the option of causing havoc in a giant Big Boy-esque mech, in addition to the standard on-foot and UFO options.

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Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: The Labyrinth of Forgotten Time
Square Enix
Wii
TBA

Final Fantasy's ever-persistent mascot once again stars in its own game. The Mysterious Dungeon name promises randomly generated levels and an emphasis on item collection, and its lineage suggests it will remain accessible enough for those that aren't diehard role-players.
(Announcement)

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution
Firaxis
Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, NDS
Spring

Streamlined--but not overly-simplified--Civilization, played from your couch. Online play and content downloads. It's the first Civ game since number two that Meier himself has been a major contributor on, and on the Wii you can point and click. What's not to be excited about?
(Preview, Screenshots)

Wii Fit
Nintendo
Wii
TBA

Nintendo continues its relentless assault on the casual gaming sector, this time with a flat sensor-filled piece of plastic--dubbed the Balance Board--drumming up even more interest from the health-conscious crowd. Aerobics, push-ups, and even yoga are among the available mini-games, which will no doubt inspire even more goodwill towards the little system that could.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

Spore
Maxis
PC, Wii, Nintendo DS
TBA

Help your alien lifeform evolve from the vulnerable cellular stage to spacecraft-wielding omnipotence, all in an afternoon. Will Wright will more than likely make you his willing bitch with this one.
(Interview, Screenshots)

Blast Works: Build, Fuse & Destroy
Budcat Games
Wii
Spring

The console edition of independent developer Kenta Cho's free PC shooter TUMIKI Fighters, this sidescrolling shooter has players piecing together their craft from pieces of destroyed enemy ships. With two-player co-op and a level editor included as well, Blast Works looks to deliver a nice twist on old-school arcade shooters.
(Announcement, Delay)

Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors
Eighting Co., Genius Sonority
Wii
February 26

Offering up a first-person take on the beloved RPG franchise, Dragon Quest Swords has players slashing their way through encounters with swings of the Wii Remote.
(Date Announcement, Screenshots)

Harvest Moon: Tree of Peace
Marvelous Interactive
Wii
Spring

The heart-warming farm management simulation series debuts on the Wii, enabling players to perform a number of farm-related tasks with flicks of the Wii Remote. Till the soil, water the plants, feed the livestock, talk to the saucy neighbor gal, save the world; all in a day's work.

The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return
Sega
Wii
Spring

The Wii's predilection towards light gun zombie-killing goodness continues with a combo pack of Sega's The House of the Dead 2 & 3. Players will find themselves pitted against a number of different zombies armed with a number of different weapons, including chainsaws, hatchets, and barrels.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
Square Enix
Wii
TBA

Square continues its action-based Final Fantasy spin-off series, with this latest addition appearing to be a much more traditional action-adventure outing than the top-down original.
(Announcement)

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Monster Hunter 3
Capcom
Wii
TBA

Though Capcom has yet to specify if the Wii debut of its monster-hunting action-RPG series will actually arrive in 2008, it's a safe bet that the game will arrive sooner than later. The franchise has been a huge hit in Japan and has a dedicated fanbase in North America as well--all we want is that good old-fashioned monster-wrangling with the traditional online mode and a smidge of motion control.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

Rygar: The Battle of Argus
Tecmo
Wii
January 21

Tecmo's redesign of its oft-neglected Rygar: The Legendary Adventure (PS2) features a new look for the main character and, surprise, motion controls. But don't write it off just yet--some consider Rygar to be an overlooked classic, and the swinging motions of Rygar's razor-sharp disc of doom are a perfect fit for the Wii Remote.

Worms: A Space Oddity
Team 17
Wii
Spring


The turn-based tactical warfare of Worms has graced nearly every platform in existence, so it is of little surpise that a Wii edition is in the works. There's a reason the adorable invertebrates have stuck around though, and it has something to do with deceptively simple gameplay, a variety of weapons, a ton of underlying depth, and ridiculously fun multiplayer.
(Announcement, Screenshots and Artwork)

Boom Blox
EA Los Angeles
Wii
Spring

Steven Spielberg's first collaboration with EA Los Angeles is one of those simple-but-addicting concepts. The goal is to knock over a stack of blocks, maybe by using a bowling ball, pulling out one of the key blocks, or trigging an explosive block. Numerous puzzles, multiplayer modes, and a level editor await.

Castle of Shikigami III
Aksys Games
Wii
Spring

Not only does Castle of Shikigami III continue in the tradition of those tough-as-nails old-school arcade shooters that have you weaving in and out of bullets while blasting through wave after wave of enemy craft, it also supports the GameCube and Classic controllers. "Yes, please" and "thank you" are both acceptable responses.
(Screenshots)

Fatal Frame 4
Grasshopper Manufacture, Tecmo
Wii
TBA

Tecmo's creepy-as-hell tales of photojournalistic integrity continue on the Wii, helmed by the equally creepy crew at Grasshopper Manufacture. We don't know for sure if this one will arrive within 2008, but the idea of using the Wii Remote to capture ghosts on film is pretty darn awesome.
(Announcement)

Tales of Symphonia: Knight of Ratatosk
Namco Bandai
Wii
TBA

The acclaimed action-RPG series comes to Wii with a followup to the beloved Tales of Symphonia (GCN). While it hasn't been officially announced for a North American release yet, Namco has recently been rather attentive when it comes to bringing over the Tales games.
(Screenshots)

King Story (formerly Project O)
Cing, Town Factory, Marvelous
Wii
TBA

Formerly known as Project O, this unique RPG-life simulation combo tasks players with spreading loving and kindness throughout the kingdom. Its experienced staff includes director Youichi Kawaguchi of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, composer Yoko Shimomura of Kingdom Hearts, character designer of Hideo Minaba, and many more. It is expected in Japan in 2008, and a Western release has been heavily hinted.
(Screenshots)

Opoona
ArtePiazza
Wii
TBA

Set in an era of space travel, this stylyish Wii RPG has players building a life and reuniting their family after a horrible accident separates them all. With all the action mapped to the Wii Nuncuk, its promise of "one-thumb control" sounds intriguing. It hasn't been officially confirmed for a North American release, but we've got a good feeling about this one.

(Announcement, Screenshots, Artwork)

Pikmin 3
Nintendo
Wii
?!?

Please, Nintendo. Please. PLEASE.

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