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The information below comes from Eiji Aonuma. In addition to the quotes below, he said that the Skyward Sword team did not make the Zelda Wii U demo. However, Satoru Takizawa, art director of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, was deeply involved.

“You probably remember that when we introduced the GameCube, we showed a somewhat realistic Zelda demo. And what we actually created was the cel-shaded Wind Waker. So when we show a graphic demo, people think, ‘Oh, this is what the next Zelda will look like,’ but that’s not necessarily the case. I’m on one of the committees that oversaw the general steering and direction. We talked to each other a lot about several elements, one of which was, ‘How exactly will the HD graphics work?’ In doing concepts for that … we used Zelda assets quite often to examine, OK, how real will we make this look?”

One of the features of the Zelda Wii U demo allowed the inventory/weapons to be displayed on the controller. These elements could also be moved to the television. But Aonuma says that he’d like to bring much more to the table when an actual Zelda game for Wii U is made:

“I’d like to do things that are more surprising than that.”

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This information comes from Super Mario producer Yoshiaki Koizumi…

“As a developer at Nintendo, I had some information about the new system, but I didn’t really have all of the information prior to the announcement at our presentation. I only knew some of the things that were considered to be safe. …We’re always asking ourselves questions like this as we’re researching new games, about the opportunities presented by the hardware. When I think about the two screens being used at the same time, it seems like an interesting opportunity to allow us to create a console game where two people are playing at the same time but can’t see each others’ screens. It’s certainly an interesting approach, but I have to clarify that it’s not something that we’re working on just yet.”

Here’s an additional nugget from Koizumi: Like his idea above, Koizumi was working on a feature in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask that connected the Nintendo 64 and original black-and-white Game Boy systems to play on two screens. Obviously, that idea never made it into the final product. Koizumi wouldn’t share additional details, only saying that “The information’s going to be shared at some point, but I don’t think today’s the time.”

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This information comes from Bethesda marketing VP Pete Hines…

“Our motto has always been: We want to make our games available to the widest audience possible on whatever platforms that will support the game. So to whatever extent new consoles fit with the kind of games we are making and support them technologically, we would certainly do that. The Wii wasn’t even an option – we would have to make wholesale changes to the games we were making on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC to make them work on Wii. I honestly know nothing about the tech specs of the new platforms (Wii U and Vita) and whether or not they are a good fit for what we are making with say Rage and Skyrim and Prey 2. If they are a good fit for the kind of games we are making then absolutely, we would look to put them out for those. But beyond that I can’t get into specifics.”

A comment comment from developers/publishers we’ve been hearing lately is that Wii U can provide experiences that the Wii could not. Also, they’ve been saying that the increase in technical specifications make it easier to work on a Nintendo platform. I am wondering just how much more powerful Wii U is compared to the PS3/360 though, since that’s something more industry members have been avoiding lately.

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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is fully supportive of Wii U. In an interview with The Guardian, Kotick noted that it was difficult to support Nintendo’s current console because of “the expectations that our gamers have.” However, he’s pleased that Wii U is on par with its competition. Kotick also said that “it’s now more possible to do deep rich multiplayer games”, although Activision is in need of more details regarding the console’s online functionality.

“There will always be a need for specialised hardware to satisfy the needs of gamers. With the Wii U … from a development perspective, having a Nintendo device that is on parity with the other hardware from a graphics perspective was really necessary. For the kinds of games we create, it was becoming very difficult for us to support the Wii with the expectations that our gamers have. I think that the user-interface itself is very clever – there will be a lot of innovation to come from having the second screen. It’s also critically important that you can use the existing physical interfaces with the new device because those are really compelling. Nintendo has always done a very good job of thinking about the user experience and this is no exception. …Well, without telling you our title plans, it’s now more possible to do deep rich multiplayer games – we need more clarity from Nintendo on the online capabilities, but we’ve had development systems for a while now and we’re very enthusiastic about it.”

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Yes, Nintendo’s initial response about possibly bringing Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower to North America was lame. It was short and uninformative. Although they promised an update in the near future, it was not at all worth the wait.

This response, too, is useless and basically confirms what most Nintendo fans have feared: Nintendo of America is not bringing any of these desired titles stateside. Looks like Operation Rainfall is going to have a long, tough battle ahead of them…

According to a Famitsu poll, readers were most pleased with Nintendo’s showing at E3 2011. Additionally, fans voted The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as the most anticipated title from the event. Satoru Iwata took home the award for the person who had the greatest impact at E3.

Although gamers were pleased with Nintendo, one analyst was not. SMBC Nikko Securities analyst Eiji Maeda shared the following comments with Famitsu:

“Nintendo’s stock price plummeted after the Wii U announcement, partly because of 3DS sales falling below expectations. I also think that while the E3 presentation explained the device well, the mainstream press just described it as a ‘tablet controller’ and didn’t make a great effort to push the value of it. It was a lot easier for people to get the impression that Sony was trying hard with the PS Vita, especially on the price.”

Maeda also commented on the show overall:

“I think it was the most interesting E3 in several years. The hardware conferences had a lot of impact, as did the sheer number of third-party titles. The popularity of Capcom’s booth was also something that caught my eye. While they didn’t get the flashy displays of the console titles, there were a lot of private showings held for smartphone and social games, and a great deal of companies are putting a remarkable amount of resources into those markets.”

Game-shop owner Hisako Akitani also provided some commentary, discussing how she was disappointed by the lack of Japanese games at E3:

“Activision and the other Western third parties put on a good show, but my impression was that Japanese publishers weren’t putting in much effort. I’d like to think that they were saving their ‘A’ game for the Tokyo Game Show, but it was still disappointing.”

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Isn’t it refreshing to hear positive comments from third-parties about Wii U? EA in particular has been very supportive of the console, even showing up at Nintendo’s E3 2011 briefing to discuss the possibilities of producing Battlefield and other titles for the console. EA’s Frank Gibeau was once again asked about Wii U and you can hear about what he told GamesIndustry below.

Q: John Riccitiello was on stage at Nintendo’s E3 conference earlier this month, the first time he’s been on stage with the company before. EA is obviously betting big on the Wii U.
Frank Gibeau: We were really blown away by the unique innovation that Nintendo brings with the Wii U controller on a high performance machine. The ability to do HD graphics and access game experiences in a completely novel way and a way that’s never been seen before, it really struck our fancy. We were excited by what Nintendo presented to us, we thought about it and it fits well with what we’re trying to do with our franchises like FIFA and Madden and Battlefield. There’s great horsepower there, great innovation and Nintendo’s got fantastic branding. We’re platform agnostic as a company so if we find something we believe will have success commercially and critically, and has a business model that works for us, we’re in.

In Japan earlier today, Nintendo hosted a meeting for shareholders. Satoru Iwata answered a slew of questions about Wii U at the event, among other topics. For the important information from Iwata, read on below.

– Nintendo is releasing text book software through DS, has been well received, but many are against bringing game systems into classrooms
– Brain Age changed some minds about the above
– Earnings for board members dropped as did the lowered company earnings
– Iwata was the only person to make over 100 million yen (137 million yen)
– Six directors topped the 100 million yen mark
– Iwata’s earnings dropped 50 million yen from last year
– Wii U received great reactions from those in L.A.
– Iwata said a majority of overseas media offered congratulations to him
– Reaction for Wii U differed greatly between those who covered the product at the show and those who just covered it online
– Nintendo needs to consider how to convey the value of the product
– Nintendo hoping that low software output for Wii U launch won’t be an issue, unlike the 3DS’ situation
– Is Nintendo’s HD development ability okay? Iwata: Regarding Zelda HD, Japanese developers said that it could not be replicated on other machines. It was made in a relatively short period, so Iwata feels that HD development will not be a problem.
– Iwata said Wii wasn’t accepted by the core since they didn’t want to abandon their preferred control approach and it didn’t offer HD
– Wii didn’t have HD since HD const performance at the time was low
– Wii U makes it easier to use conventional controls
– Wii U controller not as big/heavy as it looks
– 3DS can technically be used as a Wii U controller
– You can’t go online if you use 3DS as a Wii U controller (unclear if this is for Wii U or 3DS)
– Iwata explained that if you connect Wii U and 3DS, then players have to purchase both systems

Thanks to Thomas N for the tip!

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A total of twelve gaming industry members have provided commentary about the Wii U to Eurogamer. We’ve heard from a few of these people before such as Frank Gibeau and Danny Bilson, though others have weighed in as well including Blue Castle Games’ Jason Leigh, Capcom’s Hiroyuki Kobayashi, and Greg Zeschuk from BioWare.

Frank Gibeau, president, EA Games:

We’re big supporters of it. There’s a lot of advances in processing and GPUs and also what’s happening on the interface level and online, and we’re very pleased Nintendo has come out with a machine that can do HD.

The controller is awesome. It’s fantastic. I loved the golf ball on the ground. That was a great visual. Like Miyamoto said, it’ll open up new ways to play games we haven’t even discovered yet. We have to spend time with the hardware and start to bring designs over to see what works, how it works and what you can do.

You saw with Madden football, obviously there are lots of cool new things you can do, and with FIFA [it could control] the way you call plays. We are looking at the Battlefield experience to Wii U. Nothing specific to announce, but we’ve already started looking at how we’re going to do that and what the features will be.

I believe it is [capable of reproducing PS3 and Xbox 360 visuals]. It certainly has the high-definition resolution. But it looks like it’s definitely competitive. And it’ll do some very unique things.

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