Nintendo’s next-gen console, Wii U, launches in North America on November 18th. There are over 50 launch window (November through March) titles already confirmed. Wii U is launching with two versions; a basic white 8GB version for $299 and a deluxe black 32GB version that includes NintendoLand and a few other items for $349. Both versions are completely sold out of pre-orders at the moment, and GameStop’s President Tony Bartel recently stated that “Demand for Wii U has been off the charts.” All indications are that Wii U will be as hard to find after launch as the Wii was back in 2006, so the Big N looks to gaming’s hottest item of the Holiday season and a potentially massive success on their hands.
The Wii U has revived people’s interest in Nintendo. Down in our forums, the Nintendo forum has actually seen the vast majority of our activity this month and it was previously dormant. As the only Wii owner on staff, I can say that my Wii has largely been collecting dust for a while despite recently playing it to finally beat Donkey Kong Country Returns. All that seems poised to change with the Wii U. I have my Wii U Deluxe pre-order in, two other staff members that will be participating in this feature also have Wii U pre-orders locked-down (a Deluxe and a Basic).
As someone who grew up playing and preferring Nintendo consoles (NES, SNES, N64), it feels pretty good to once again be excited about a Nintendo console’s launch and the titles already confirmed for it. Wii had some tremendous games on it, mostly first part titles, but suffered from a serious lack of third party support. Third parties loved to throw their shovelware games on the system; their mini game collections and their kiddy products. The past year and a half have been rough on the Wii owner, as quality games have been few and far between. The Wii U’s launch shows us one thing; third party support is there for the so-called “core gamers.” The Wii U is shaping up to be a system that embraces all gamers, not just kids and old women. For the first time ever, Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed will be available on a Nintendo console. Black Ops 2 will launch on Wii U and not be a stripped down barren port. Nintendo itself is publishing Bayonetta 2, an M-rated hack and slash. There’s much to be excited about.
It’s because of that excitement, and to welcome Nintendo into the HD world, that we have this feature today. Five staff members listing their most anticipated Wii U titles, starting with the game they are most anticipated in. Since most of us are getting the deluxe version, we’ve left Nintendo Land off our lists. With the exception of one title, all games featured are Wii U launch window titles (and not necessarily Wii U exclusives). In addition to myself (Gary Smith, Editor-in-Chief) we also have Game Reviews Editor Brian Hall, News Editor Eric W., Content Editor Bryan Micklus, and Associate Editor “The Monkey.” Now lets get to it.
It’s like this, Internet: I’ve been playing video games in some form or another since about 1986. Yeah. ’86. That’s how old I am. I’ve been gaming since the point in time when your mom was hot.
Technically, the first system I played was my friend’s older brother’s Sega Master System, but that was only for a few months. That’s when he got a Nintendo for Christmas.
The rest, e-peeps, is rock & roll history, and that history is traceable back to one icon above all others– Mario.
For me, Nintendo has always been and will always be synonymous with gaming. To me, their are three brands which have become literally synonymous with their industries of specialty and Nintendo is one of them. The other two are Band-Aid and Kleenex. That’s some pretty good company if you ask me.
If you’ve yet to work it out, I’m totally looking forward to Wii U, and the anticipation really only matches that which I had boiling within me when the Nintendo64 was preparing to change the world.
I (as well as other TVE staffers) have been tasked with narrowing my broad-spectrum salivation and focusing it the five specific titles making my mind water the most, and they are as follows:
Number One, with the proverbial bullet, can be no other title than New Super Mario Bros. U. I wouldn’t be writing these words tonight had it not been for that plumber, his brother, and the royal-pain-in-the-ass-chick for whose love they vied all those years ago. For me to say any different would be to lie through my teeth. This is THE GAME that I just can’t wait to play. That was the case before it was even properly announced or whatever. and the revelation that it’ll be a 2D side-scroller is gravy on top of the icing on the cake. I just can’t wait.
The title for which I’m almost as excited as I am for Mario goes back to the time I mentioned earlier.
Number Two: Remember my friend’s brother’s Sega Master System? Well, my friend and I played two particular titles more than any others his brother had: Shinob, and a somewhat similar title called Ninja Gaiden. It was almost touching for me when they rebooted the Ninja Gaiden franchise on the original X-Box in something like 2003 and everybody whined about how hard it was, about how there weren’t enough save points, waa waa waa. You should consider yourselves beyond lucky that there were any save points at all. Back in the day, if you died completely (meaning that you’s run out of lives and ‘continues’) you had to start over. FROM SCRATCH. And you sissies are crying about having to do one level over again instead of getting to start from somewhere in the middle. Really. Really? REALLY?! I can’t wait to see what they throw at you this time. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge.
One more thing– it’s pronounced “Guy-den”. Not “Gay-den”. If you’re running around saying “Ninja Gayden”, stop it. Just stop.
The Number-Three spot is going to whatever Zelda title comes out for the system, even though I feel like I’m cheating in all kinds of different ways with this pick. First of all, it doesn’t look like it’ll be a launch title, and we’re technically supposed to be talking about launch titles I think. Also, I’m pretty sure just about everybody but maybe G-Smitty (who’s something of a stickler when it comes to the rules– especially when he writes them) is going to have this in their lists too, so it almost looks like I’m just re-wording other peoples’ compositions.
Those concerns aside, I’d be lying if I said I was anything other than stoked for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to U. Or whatever they wind up calling it. I’d also be lying if I said I was some kind of life-long, die-hard Zelda guy. I’m not. I’ve played the series on and off over the years. I hated the first one because I was terrible at it. I couldn’t even get out of the first level. Seriously. When they put it out on the Game Boy Advance SP, I found out that I still hated it because I still couldn’t get out of the first level. Yeah. Really. Also, I didn’t try Ocarina of Time until about a year ago, and I still haven’t played Majora’s Mask to this day. Both titles were released at the same times as a couple of the greatest wrestling video games ever produced, and those are what got my attention. I did, though, enjoy the second one for the NES, The Adventures of Link, and I liked A Link to the Past on SNES. And I absolutely LOVED The Wind Waker. I contend to this day that the GameCube is one of the most underrated systems ever to have been, and it is my experience with The Wind Waker that has me looking forward to the next installment. The Wind Waker reinvigorated my interest in the franchise, and that interest hasn’t waned since.
Here’s looking at the next round.
Number Four will I think be a selection unique to my list, and that’s 007 Legends. My reasoning may very well seem a little bit silly to many of you, but I can’t ignore that, to me, the footage released thus far has me thinking of the legendary Nintendo64 title Goldeneye. I have absolutely nothing but the fondest of memories of that title. As a matter of fact, it’s actually the only first-person shooter that I’ve ever truly enjoyed. If 007 Legends winds up being even half the game Goldeneye was, has a fraction of the re-playability Goldeneye had, I think we’re all in for a treat.
The fifth and final title to make my list is Grand Theft Auto: LEGO City. Or whatever they’re calling it. Oh– it’s going to be called LEGO City: Undercover, you say? I like mine better. Oh, well. I guess it’s better they not get sued by a bunch of angry Rockstars.
In any case, LEGO City: Undercover looks like an absolute blast. It looks silly, and snarky, and, since they look to be lampooning action movies and cop movies and stuff, I’m even holding out a little bit of hope for in-game parachuting. There is literally NOTHING I like more in video games than parachuting. Well, except for beating the hell out of create-a-wrestler versions of people I can’t stand in really real life from the comfort and safety of a wrestling game, anyway. But other than that, it’s parachuting. Just the thought of a virtual parachute canopy with the top dotted with those LEGO bumps that make it so LEGOs can stick to other LEGOs is making me smile. I bet the ropes will be made by like thirty of those little 1-dot blocks stacked one upon the next.
1.) TBD Zelda title - So I’m cheating on this one a bit as the game hasn’t been officially announced, and is at best a year out from being released. As a massive RPG fan whom stayed up passed his bedtime many nights navigating my way through the dungeons of the original NES entry; I have to be excited for a new Zelda title every time a new Nintendo console is announced. Plus the thought of the land of Hyrule in stunning HD is one that I simply can’t shake.
2.) New Super Mario Bros. U - One thing that is guaranteed with the Nintendo brand is the quality of it’s Mario Bros. series. With the quality of the three main Mario Bros. games released on the Wii you can’t help but be excited with the next evolution in the series. This also marks the first time that an entry in the Mario Bros. series has been available directly at launch since the Super Nintendo’s insanely addictive “Super Mario World.” Quite simply put, there is no way possible that this game will be anything less than fantastic.
3.) ZombiU - I fully admit to being a bit of a zombie game whore. While I surely can’t try and say that all of them are hits, I still like to at least take a crack at them. This game gets my attention for other reasons though. By all accounts it is said to be the first game to truly use the “dual-screens” in revolutionary ways; as your very survival depends on your ability to be able to keep a close eye on both screens. The game also utilizes a fun technique that Demon’s Souls used where using your internet hookup you can leave tips and hints for other players whom get to the same place you were at. You can even warn them about the zombified you following a death.
4.) 007 Legends - It’s hard not to get at least a little bit excited when you hear about a new 007 game being available at the launch of a new Nintendo console. The FPS craze that has dominated the holiday console sales for years was in part kick started on the Nintendo 64 by a little game called “Golden Eye.” While it’s unfair to compare any game to something that was so groundbreaking for it’s time, it’s not out of the question that Nintendo could very well catch lightening in a bottle twice. At the very least the game looks like a blast and a good fun way to kick off the system.
5.) Darksiders II - My reasoning for waiting for this game is more about me seeing this game in action. I already own the game for the 360 so I already have a good gauge to judge by. My curiosity is peaked simply because I think this will be a good measurement of the capabilities of the Wii U and whether it hangs with the it’s competitors. Some may cry foul over comparing the graphics of a Next-Gen console to the graphics of the previous gen, but the fact of the matter is that I’m perfectly content of the graphic and processing capabilities of the current crop of systems. If this game is on par (as it looks to be) then for me it’ll be a huge cap in the feather of Nintendo. Not only will it show off the upgrade in graphics but it will also show that Nintendo is gearing back towards putting out a more variety of titles (thanks to great third party support) as well as a willingness to embrace that Nintendo has many types of fans.
I’ve been a gamer since the early 80s. I’ve played almost everything but the home base through a lot of that time period was always Nintendo. The SNES is still arguably the best gaming platform I’ve ever owned to this day.
There’s always going to be a loyalty and soft spot in my heart for Nintendo even though I’ve been perplexed by a number of decisions they’ve made over the years.
Long/short: The Wii U is essentially everything I wanted the Wii to be so I’d be a hypocrite if I weren’t interested and my dormant Nintendo fanboy inside wasn’t starting to stir a little bit. I WANT this to succeed madly for the sake of the gaming industry. We need more competition, not less. We need fresh, unique voices and Nintendo has always been that.
These are the games in the launch window I’m looking at. I’ll be using the Wii U for exclusives I can’t play on the PC or anywhere else.
Nintendo makes fun games that people want to play. With that in mind:
5.) Pikmin 3 - This is a brilliant and original game series exclusive to Nintendo that frankly, only Nintendo could do.
It’s fresh. It’s different. It’s one of those series where Nintendo is at their best: Shooting for the “kid in everyone” vs “for the kiddies”
4.) ZombieU - This one of those titles you buy at launch because it’s there and it’s completely different than something like Mario. Is it going to be good? I hope so. It looks like it has potential. I’m casually interested in it.
3.) NINJA GAIDEN 3: Razor’s Edge - This series has always been high quality action and HARD. The fact that Nintendo themselves is handling the publishing duties here sends me a very strong, positive message about this game.
In all honestly those above games are bonus items for me.
For me there are only two “absolute must have at launch or date of system purchase” titles for me out of what we know will be available in the launch window as of this writing.
2.) Rayman Legends - A perfect companion to Mario.
This gorgeous 2D (always my favorite) platformer from Ubisoft is my number two must have title behind Mario. Ubisoft guarantees 1080p/60fps on all of their games coming to the Wii U which means nothing but awesome from both gameplay and production values on this game and the rest of their titles. The footage that’s out there for this game is just jaw dropping. It’s gorgeous and it’s going to be fun to play. If I weren’t a PC gamer the Wii U would be my leading system on multiplatform titles hands down.
1.) New Super Mario Bros. U - THE must have Wii U title.
Watch that video and it should explain itself. 30 some odd years of gaming says I absolutely must have this homecoming taken to the next level and in full glorious HD to boot.
THAT is everything great about Nintendo right there. They wisely bring out THE king of arguably all videogame marquee titles if we’re honest about it AND they listened to a lot of fans from all age and time groups and finally gave us some 2D lovin’ taken to the next level.
This is the game that’s going to be moving Wii-U’s off shelves fast whenever they are actually available. I submit to you this game is a big reason if not THE big reason the preorders disappeared in less than 72 hours from start to finish.
This is everything I wanted Nintendo to do. Take everything they do vest and bring it to the next level. They did it here. I’m so glad they finally got the message about not abandoning 2D entirely. I prefer 2D for these kinds of games always.
If I don’t get any other game on the Wii U for however long, THIS is the game I HAVE to have from day one of a Wii U purchase.
I see solid looking launch as far as software goes. As of this writing I’m hoping there will be more batches of Wii U console preorders made available by Nintendo and conspicuously absent retailers like Amazon and Newegg get on the ball. We have no idea how many preorders were made available but the fact they all were spoken for inside of a 72 hour time window suggest to me that Nintendo has a runaway hit on their hands at least as far as the launch goes.
Please Nintendo: Let’s not have a repeat of the Wii launch. Have plenty of systems ready to meet demand for the launch this time. Do it right across the boards.
1.) New Super Mario U – How can you not get excited for a new Mario game, much less one in HD. Having not had a Nintendo system since the N64, I’m like a junkie needing to chase that white unicorn, or whatever the hell it is they chase, only instead of drugs, I need a Mario fix some kind of bad. Kratos, Nathan Drake, Master Chief, Max Payne. Name anyone you want, they’re all awesome, but they’re not Mario. Mario is the Bugs Bunny of the video game world. Show his picture to just about anyone, and they know who he is. I have lacked that little Italian plumber in my life for far too long, and it is time for that to be remedied. My gaming plate is ridiculously full, but there is always room for that bristly mustached bastard, and there always will be.
2.) ZombiU – Another thing there is always room for on my plate is zombie games. This looks like it could be the greatest incarnation of a zombie game that we have ever seen, to the point that it put on a steel toed shoe, and kicked Left 4 Dead squarely in the testicles. Have we ever had a zombie game before, where if you get bite once, you die, and have to start over as a completely new character? I can not recall ever hearing of one. Great potential here, almost sounds like The Walking Dead in the UK.
3.) 007 Legends – Ahh, James Bond. I’m not sure what all to say here, or what even needs to be said. Golden Eye was the reason I wanted an N64, and this shall be one of my first acquisitions on the Wii U.
4.) Lego City Undercover – I’ve never gotten a Lego game before, been tempted to check a couple of them out, but I think this one might become the first. From the sounds of it, it seems like this is Sleeping Dogs + Grand Theft Auto + Legos. That sounds like a plate full of awesome to me.
5.) Scribblenauts Unlimited – I have not played any of the prior version of Scribblenauts, but it sounds interesting for some reason. I’ll definitely at least keep an eye on the latest installment in this series.
1.) New Super Mario Bros. U – Could there really be any other choice? There’s a reason three of the four of us have this at number one on our lists (and of the launch titles, at the top of all our lists), and that’s because the game looks to be nothing short of fantastic. Everything about this game screams New Super Mario World, which is really what I wish they would have called it. There’s something special about a new 2D Mario platformer launching alongside a new Nintendo console; it’s the way all Nintendo consoles should launch. After all, Mario is still the undisputed king and the face of video games. Finally, we’ll get to stomp goombas, shoot fireballs, defeat Bowser, and save Princess Peach in glorious HD.
New Super Mario Bros U. looks to be simply amazing whether you’re playing by yourself, or with three or four friends. Help, or hinder, your buddies and create platforms using the GamePad. There’s also something really cool about taking Mario away from the TV and continuing to enjoy the game in a different part of the house using the GamePad. With tons of hidden areas, and multiple modes (including new Boost Rush and Challenge modes), New Super Mario Bros. U appears to be loaded with replay value and should easily become the first Wii U classic.
2.) LEGO City: Undercover – I know the LEGO games have been successful, both in terms of sales and review scores, but I’ve never purchased a LEGO game before. I’ve played trials on Playstation 3, but something about the games have always turned me off. For the first time ever though, I’m actually quit interested in, and excited for, a LEGO game. Unlike previous LEGO games, this one is being published by Nintendo and will be exclusive to Wii U (and eventually 3DS). It’s also an open-world sandbox title, which is my favorite type of game.
You’ll be able to use the GamePad to scan for clues and criminals, receive mission updates, and use it for a map of the city, which to me is a big plus over having to bring up the map by pausing the game. Like Sleeping Dogs, you’ll be playing as an undercover cop working to take down criminals in LEGO City, with your main target being the dastardly Rex Fury. There’s puzzles, disguises, and over 100 vehicles (including helicopters to fly around the city). LEGO City: Undercover could easily be the sleeper hit for Wii U, since it isn’t too high on most people’s Wii U lists.
3.) Rayman Legends – Here’s another Wii U exclusive, and yet another 2D platformer at that. That’s not a bad thing, I LOVE 2D platformers and definitely think there’s a place for them as retail products today, especially when they look as good as this one does. This is the follow-up to amazing multiplatform title Rayman Origins, and it’s taking full advantage of the Wii U GamePad. This one was initially number two on my list, but more and more comes out about it that just makes me think this one is going to be more focused on co-op rather than being a single player experience. Heck, one of the developers recently stated that for a large portion of the game you’ll be playing as Murphy having to protect Rayman.
Still though, that’s not enough to sour me at all on the game at all. Rayman Origins was one of the finest games released this current generation, and certainly one of the prettiest and all indications are that Rayman Legends will manage to top Origins. The bright spot here, in regards to co-op, is that unlike Rayman Origins, Rayman Legends will feature online multiplayer (in addition to local multiplayer). That’s huge for me, and I honestly don’t know why Rayman Origins didn’t include online multiplayer. Gathering up some buddies, and random strangers, to explore the wonderful Rayman world sounds like too good of a time to pass up to me.
4.) ZombiU – Another Ubisoft title in my top five, and I give Ubisoft credit for really being the third party publisher who has gotten the most behind Wii U to start with (two Ubisoft Wii U exclusives on this list, not to mention Assassin’s Creed III). I’m not real big on zombies and horror titles, although I enjoyed Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare and The Thing, but ZombiU is definitely one of most anticipated Wii U titles. Firstly, the studio behind it, Ubisoft Montpellier, hasn’t put out a bad game that I’m aware of it. This is the studio that has put out the Rayman games, Beyond Good and Evil, and From Dust. They know what they’re doing. That alone makes me forget about the Ubisoft’s “hardcore” Wii launch title, Red Steel (which suffered from poor controls and generally boring everything), which was developed by Ubisoft Paris.
ZombiU is shaping up to be a hardcore survival experience. It’s been described as Dark Souls type experience, which means brutally challenging (in a good way) where you will die a ton, but will learn from your deaths. You’re going to need to be careful, manage your resources, and try to avoid large swarms of zombies. Play like a Rambo-inspired idiot, and you’ll be left with no ammo and continuously dying. This is the first true zombie game I’ve ever been excited for, and while the game doesn’t feature true perma-death, it is one that I definitely plan on treating as such. I want to make through zombie infested London with one character. That, apparently, is going to be quite the gaming challenge, which makes it a gaming accomplishment worth pursuing.
5.) Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – I haven’t been much of a Call of Duty fan, but that could change with Wii U. The Wii U version, when played on a TV, will be 1080p at 60fps, which is better than it will be on PS3 or Xbox 360. Factor in being able to use the GamePad to play the game away from the TV in multiplayer, or to use it as the map or the way to access or inventory, and I’m suddenly much more interested in America’s favorite first person shooter series. For the first time, Nintendo isn’t getting a gimped version of a Call of Duty title; it’s getting the full experience and possibly the definitive console version.
Black Ops 2 features numerous ways to play; the GamePad, a Pro Controller, or Wiimote and nunchuk, and I’ll be trying out all three ways. I really loved using the Wiimote and nunchuk in the Wii Zapper for FPS titles Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 and The Conduit. I thought both of those games were excellent Wii titles that really showed how good motion controlled FPS games could be. Hopefully that setup will be quality for Black Ops 2 as well, but if it isn’t, Call of Duty is pretty much why the Pro Controller exists.
With the exception of Bryan’s and Monkey’s inclusion of the TBA Zelda game, which should be coming in 2014 (and has been said to be the biggest Zelda game ever made), and LEGO City: Undercover, all of the games featured in our lists will be coming out on the Wii U’s launch date; November 18th. We barely scratched the surface here. There’s over 20 confirmed launch day titles to hit the system, and over 50 confirmed through March. We didn’t even touch on digital releases (Trine 2, Runner2, Nano Assault Neo, for examples). We could have listed much more. Personally, my runners up include Darksiders 2 and Mass Effect 3. I played and reviewed Darksiders 2 for PC, but I will be picking it up for Wii U as I do want a console version of it (I’m a console gamer first). I have Mass Effect 2 on PS3, and I’ll be picking up Mass Effect 3 for some point on Wii U. I am actually super interested in Assassin’s Creed III for Wii U, but I own all the Assassin Creed games on PS3 and I’m so looking forward to that game that I’m just going to pick it up on October 30th for PS3.
There’s also Bayonetta 2, the next Zelda title, the 3D Mario game (how I hope it’s Galaxy 3), the next Donkey Kong Country game, Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing. There’s a ton of announced, and unannounced, Wii U projects to be excited about. When the PS4/Xbox 720 comes out, they may very well blow Wii U out of the water graphically, I don’t care. Games today look great to me, Wii U games may be only slightly better (if at all for ports) than PS3/Xbox 360, but I’m fine with that. Wii U is a next gen system, and it appears early on that it will be a big hit for Nintendo (and I hope it is). I have my deluxe pre-ordered from Wal-Mart, which unfortunately didn’t have ship-to-store so I won’t have the system day one, but I’m fine with that as I’ll have it in my hands launch week (sometime between November 21st and November 26th, hopefully closer to the 21st).
I bought a Wii in April 2007, and I have enjoyed some great games on it. Initial excitement wore off when it became apparent that, for the most part, that only Nintendo was going to put out worthwhile titles for it, but so far I’m not at all worried about third party support with the Wii U. I couldn’t possibly be more excited for the new system and fully embracing a Nintendo console again (I’ve been largely a PS3 exclusive guy this generation).
Wii U is coming and the next generation is about to begin. We’re all excited, so expect to see a ton more Wii U stuff coming to the site soon. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this rather long feature, and let us know if it something you’d like to see more of here on TVE. Also be sure to let us know whether or not you’re excited for Wii U, and if so what games are YOU most anticipating for the new Nintendo HD system?