The 11/12/15 Nintendo Direct has ended, drawing to a close the first one without former Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata. However, Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime and Bill Trinen did their best to continue the tradition, just as Iwata would have wanted. Just as with past Nintendo Directs, there was a mix of surprises that ranged from novel to mediocre to just plain shocking. There were also a handful of reveals for early next year, as well as an idea of what to expect from Nintendo for the rest of the year.
- The first item was one that had been rumored for quite some time. It was also on our personal wishlist for quite some time. It's The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and it's the next game in the series to get the remaster treatment. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD will not only restore the old GameCube/Wii classic, but it will also come with a new Wolf Link Amiibo. The game will also be compatible with the other figures in the Legend of Zelda line (Link, Zelda, Sheik, Ganondorf, and Toon Link), but the Wolf Link will be where the attention should go, especially since it'll apparently carry data over to the all-new Legend of Zelda game set to come later next year. Also of note was Fils-Aime emphasizing that the new Zelda game will come to Wii U, so rumors of it moving exclusively to the NX should be quelled slightly. The game is set to release on March 4.
- There's also new content coming to The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes. The 3DS game is set to receive a new area called the Den of Heroes, with over 30 dungeon areas to complete. This sounds daunting compared to the four areas that usually comprise a dungeon, but the Den will feature several checkpoints. Players can also look out for the new Linebeck's Uniform outfit, which allows Link to see into treasure chests, and the Fierce Deity Armor first made famous in Majora's Mask. Like in that game, the Fierce Deity Armor will up Link's attack power significantly and also grand him a four-way beam.
- It was a banner day for Pokemon and it went far beyond the upcoming Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon that's set to come out next week. Sure, 720 Pokemon in a single game is impressive by any metric, but there were some other exciting announcements related to the franchise, as well. The biggest of which will appear to the old-school crowd, as Nintendo will help celebrate 20 years of Pokemon by releasing the three original games (Red, Blue, and Yellow) on the 3DS next year. The games will be as they were, except they'll be adjusted to work online to allow for trading and battling. Pokken Tournament is still slated for a Spring release, but the first run of releases will include a Shadow Mewtwo card that allows players to unlock the character off the bat. Those that miss out will have to get him the old-fashioned way by completing the game. There's also Pokemon Picross, which will continue the Picross series with over 300 Pokemon-themed puzzles. This game is set to release in early December.
- Splatoon is getting another round of updates, continuing the game's outstanding post-launch support. Two new stages were revealed: Museum d'Alfonsino and Mahi-Mahi Island. The latter of these maps will throw a new wrinkle into the proceedings by revealing new land as the session is reaching its closing seconds. An update should be ready today at 5PM PT, which adds 40 pieces of new gear. Meanwhile, tomorrow at 6PM PT, the Museum f'Alfonsino will be ready for all players.
- Super Mario Maker is acknowleding that its search filters are imperfect, which is where a new web portal should come in handy. The web portal will offer better filters and more robust search functions to make finding levels easier. Search results can also be saved and carried over to Super Mario Maker itself. This announcement comes on the heels over Nintendo anouncing that the game has passed the 3 million level milestone.
- There hasn't been too much to say about Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, but Nintendo's Bill Trinen did unveil a few new previously-unknown features. As is the trend these days, they revolve around Amiibo. Amiibo can be used as AI partners in both Knockout Challenge mode and online doubles matches. The Amiibo partner's stats will also be fully adjustable.
- If Xenoblade Chronicles X looks like a tremendous package, that's because it is. Can players play what's on the disc and have a decent experience? Probably! But Trinen has pointed to a four-pack of data patches that will optimize a player's experience. At the very least, he's recommending the Basic Pack, which runs at 2GB. The full four packs, however, will run at a whopping 10GB. Considering the Wii U only has 32GB of internal memory, an external drive will likey be required here.
- The indies were also on display, albeit ever-so-briefly. But the three games that were shown off are some of Nintendo's heavier hitters. SteamWorld Heist appers to be coming along nicely, with the side-scrolling strategy game still slated for Holiday 2015. With no F-Zero game on the horizon, FAST Racing Neo may very well take the hyperspeed racing crown. This game is set to release in early December. Meanwhile, Typoman (previously covered at IndieCade) is coming much sooner than that. It'll arrive next week!
- Nintendo unveiled its big Wii U holiday bundle for this year, which will include a 32GB console with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Splatoon. Of course, as noted in the Target Black Friday ad, these games will be pre-installed, with updates eating up the rest of the hard drive space. Investing in an external drive will be highly recommended.
- Star Fox Zero now has a new April 22 release date, giving it a total delay of six months. It appeared that Nintendo was giving the game a re-evaluation, but Trinen touted the Wii U GamePad controls, making it appear that a classic control option is not in the works.
- Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam had been slated for a Spring 2016 release, but Nintendo revealed today that it will actually release ahead of schedule. The game is now set to release on January 22. On top of that, Trinen explained the game's Amiibo functionality, revealing that the Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Peach, Toad, and Bowser figures can be used to unlock character cards for special attacks and bonuses.
- Final Fantasy Explorers is an action-RPG from Square Enix that will send players to a new island on a search for powerful crystals. The game will feature over 20 jobs with different skills. Customization potential is high, with players able to adjust skills and dress characters in outfits from iconic Final Fantasy characters. The game will also include all DLC previously released in Japan. Final Fantasy Explorers is set to hit 3DS on January 26.
- Fire Emblem Fates looks to be quite an ambitious effort from Nintendo. Taking a page from the old Legend of Zelda 'Oracle' games, this game is split into two adventures. Each game will feature the adventure from a different perspective with different quests, choices, and interactions. One game is set to run for $39.99 with players able to pick up the second for $19.99. A third game is set to release, so super fans may want to hold off for the special edition that will feature all three games, an artbook, and pouch for $79.99. Fire Emblem Fates is set to release on February 19.
- Mega Man Legacy Collection is set to hit 3DS in February, months after it released on next-gen consoles and PC. What makes the 3DS version enticing? It'll include 11 exclusive 3DS challenges that can be unlocked with a Mega Man Amiibo. Nintendo will also be releasing a Gold Mega Man Amiibo that is almost sure to break Steve Watts' wallet.
- Hyrule Warriors: Legends is slated to hit 3DS on March 25 and Trinen unveiled a handful of new characters set to join the party. That includes Tetra, Toon Link, and King of Hyrule from The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and the Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. There's also a new character named Linkle, which appears to be a gender-swapped version of Link.
- Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King have both been announced for 3DS. In addition to bringing these classic games from Japan to North American 3DS owners, both games will be remastered.
- And finally, there was the announcement that nobody saw coming. With everyone's eyes on the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot, nobody was looking in Final Fantasy's direction. But now, Cloud Strife has entered the Super Smash Bros. arena, marking the first presence of FF7 in any form on a Nintendo platform. Cloud could be seen wiping out opponents with his giant sword and his Omnislash Final Smash. A stage based on Midgar also looks to be in the works, as are Mii Fighter costumes based on Final Fantasy favorites, like chocobos.
It was an eventful hour, to be sure. Join the conversation and let us know what excited you the most. If you need to catch up, catch the full Nintendo Direct in the video below.