On a day when Caspius slew dead the man named ‘Bradbury’ using no more than a well placed c-word jape – little else of note transpired. Of least note was Nintendo’s E3 conference, it would seem. The company which had to shunt its own 3DS console from the official conference billing just so they could successfully sell their Wii U message, turned out to do very little in the way of selling said system. Reggie Fils-Aime in all his broad-faced hubris proudly declared before the conference that he would be announcing twenty-three Wii U games, yet it would turn out that only a handful were relevant to the core audience, and fewer still constituted software unique to the Wii U platform. Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, the dreadful looking ZombiU, and a collection of mini-games titled NintendoLand. Pikmin 3 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii U are certain to be well loved additions to their respective series, yet this is not the cut-through software that Nintendo needed to be announcing in order to sell gamers on the necessity of purchasing an overpriced current-gen console.
After last year’s E3 there was much confusion as to whether the Wii U would support more than one of Nintendo’s gigantic Wii U gamepads, and today Nintendo was able to allay fears by stating that the system would support up to two of them. This was the end of Nintendo’s good news however, as it was accompanied by the admission that using more than one gamepad would result in the game’s framerate being effectively cut in half. Moreover, it was also revealed that a fully-charged Wii-U gamepad would last gamers no longer than a 3DS charge, a paltry three hours of battery life (one refuses to dignify the upper limits of Nintendo’s usage range). Worse still is the fact that the Wii U gamepad takes a perplexing 2.5 hours to charge, meaning that it features an almost 1:1 usage to charging ratio.
After Microsoft’s contemptuous E3 conference yesterday, it would seem a little disingenuous and spiteful to declare that Nintendo have lost E3, yet, given the stakes of this particular conference to Nintendo and their Wii U, that is precisely what happened. Nintendo’s conference was definitely more entertaining than Microsoft’s very poor conference, yet they failed to deliver the cut-though message that the Wii U so clearly needed – leaving only the Tokyo Game Show for them to make a successful appeal to gamer’s wallets. Following their poor-showing at today’s E3 conference, Nintendo shares have slumped by 1.83 percent in Japan.
On a related note, evil CEO John Riccitiello today declared in front of a room of investors that “We looked at the Wii U launch line-up yesterday and we’re very pleased that there was a lot of applause for ME3, in fact I think it got one of the loudest applauses, so we’re pleased that people see it as the single best piece of software that’s been announced to the platform.” Riccitiello obviously did not get the memo that Nintendo have a Mario game in development, to say nothing of the vastly superior Arkham City.
The second big story of the day was that Square Enix debuted their next-gen Final Fantasy engine, which sure looked to be… something. The engine itself (Luminous Studio) looked to be technically impressive, running on a god-PC and throwing around particle effects like they were the dying breath of Ray Bradbury – yet the world which they illustrated looked grimdark and drab, populated by people made of dirt. If this is the Final Fantasy team’s concept of the series’ next-gen aesthetic (which verily appears to be the case), then the next generation stands to be even more brown than this one. Moreover, one certainly does not wish to see the Taliban and their AK-47s in a Final Fantasy title!
This is not actually the first time that we have seen Square Enix’s Luminous Studio engine, as they have previously released footage of it in action, yet it was used to animate relatively nondescript urban architecture – a far cry from the near CG quality of today’s Arabic dustbowl. It also bears mentioning that Luminous Studio will be used to render the lighting for Square Enix’s perpetually in development title, Final Fantasy Versus XIII. One looks most forward to watching as Square Enix attempts to create a game matching the fidelity of today’s presentation – over the next fifteen or so years that it will take them to do so.