At its San Francisco press event, Nintendo followed up on its Japanese DSi announcement
by revealing the updated handheld won't debut in the U.S. until "well into 2009," also revealing Club Nintendo's North American debut.
The DSi itself wasn't the main thrust of the presentation, due to the fact that it won't launch in North America until significantly into next year, according to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. Nonetheless, the presentation kicked off with a demo of the DSi, which updates the DS's original design with the addition of a camera, the ability to play music files and an SD card slot.
Fils-Aime's English language explanation brought up a couple of notable clarifications compared to the Japanese launch.
Notably, the demo showed that the handheld will indeed have some internal Flash memory for storing games and data, and that the music player will play only AAC files, as opposed to MP3s.
The rest of the over an hour-long presentation showcased the top titles in Nintendo's North American holiday line-up, and also showed some of the Japanese titles demonstrated last night and coming to the States in 2009.
Wii 2008/2009 Game Highlights
Of the top 2008-launching titles on Wii, the company particularly highlighted:
- Wii Music
, launching October 20th, and the title that "...gives you the ability to play a wide variety of musical instruments by using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers to mimic the motions used to play real instruments."
- Animal Crossing: City Folk
: The other holiday mainstay for Nintendo on Wii, using the WiiSpeak microphone to chat to other friends in the game and continuing the much-loved 'town pottering-around in' franchise.
- WiiWare titles, including new announcements such as seminal 'dojin' adventure game Cave Story
and the NinjaBee-developed "bendy, stretchy little critters" Wiimote-utilizing title Boingz
, alongside stalwarts like World Of Goo
and Strong Bad Episode 3
Of the major 2009-confirmed titles for Wii, highlights are as follows:
Key games planned for Wii in 2009 include:
: As revealed last night in Tokyo, "...Nintendo is reviving one of its most storied and popular franchises with the first new Punch-Out!!
boxing game in 15 years. Players will once again follow the exploits of the up-and-coming challenger, Little Mac, and take on a series of opponents, including favorites from the past like Glass Joe and King Hippo."
- Sin & Punishment 2
: According to Nintendo's official PR statement: "The announcement of a sequel to one of the most popular Japanese import titles ever is a dream come true for avid Nintendo fans. This new sequel blends intuitive Wii Remote pointing controls with the shooting and sword-swinging game play that made the original an instant classic and fan favorite."
- Also showcased for 2009 release at the event were high-profile FPS title The Conduit
from High Voltage Software, as well as PlatinumGames' MadWorld
DS 2008/2009 Game Highlights
Even as the West awaits the enhanced DSi handheld, Nintendo has a large amount of new titles planned for release in the rest of 2008 and into 2009. The most-highlighted titles for the rest of this year included:
- Personal Trainer: Cooking
: This game launches on November 24 as the first in Nintendo’s new Personal Trainer series. According to Nintendo: Personal Trainer: Cooking
includes more than 200 recipes from around the world and transforms the Nintendo DS into an electronic, interactive cookbook, complete with a glossary of terms and even instructional videos.
- Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia
: Continuing the seminal franchise with a new DS title on November 10th, this new installment in the Pokémon Ranger
series, already released in Japan, uses the DS stylus to draw around Pokemon and capture them.
However, key games planned for Nintendo DS in 2009 are much more comprehensive, and include the following:
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
: Apparently a reinvention of the original NES titles with revamped graphics and touch control, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
"...will finally introduce longtime fans to the stories that gave birth to the series nearly 20 years ago in Japan, while introducing the Fire Emblem
franchise to a broader audience of strategy and chess fans."
- In addition, in 2009, the Personal Trainer series will expand with Personal Trainer: Math
, a collection of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division drills based on the Kageyama method. In addition, Personal Trainer: Walking
will introduce a wireless pedometer to help manage exercise.
- Mario & Luigi RPG 3
: The light-hearted Mario & Luigi
action RPG series is confirmed to get a new entry in North America, following its Japanese announcement at the Tokyo press conference.
- Rhythm Heaven
: This cult title involving abstract mini-games using audio elements, only released on Game Boy Advance in Japan previously, is now coming to Nintendo DS in North America in 2009.
Finally, the end of the press conference revealed that Nintendo is bringing its Club Nintendo loyalty program to North America. With exclusive DS games only available to club members in Japan, the program has been much-desired by Nintendo fans in the West.
According to an official statement, Club Nintendo will start this holiday season in North America, and "...rewards Nintendo loyalists who complete surveys and register Nintendo products with loyalty coins that can be redeemed for exclusive items available only to Club Nintendo members."
Gamasutra is at Nintendo's press briefing in San Francisco today, and will update with more information as it becomes available.