Finally! Nintendo 3DS Release Date & Details Given!

Finally! Nintendo 3DS Release Date & Details Given!

As promised, Nintendo held a major press conference giving gamers more details on the 3DS and what to expect in the months to come.

Satoru Iwata was on hand again to bring on the new announcements such as the final design for the 3DS, that pesky release date, and so much more. Starting things off was some great news for Pokémon fans: Black & White has already sold 2.5 million copies!

Hironobu Sakaguchi, the man behind the glory that is Final Fantasy and CEO of Mistwalker, is releasing a new game called The Last Story for the handheld on January 27th in Japan. Currently there is no date for North America or other countries. Back in July, Sakaguchi announced on his blog that The Last Story could very well be his final game. Should that be true, it will be a sad day for the gaming community, and one I will not be looking forward to.

Nintendo is also slated to release a Super Mario 25th Anniversary game for the DSi XL (DSi LL in Japan), clearly showing that, even though the release of the 3DS is quickly approaching, they are still determined to support the handhelds they already have. Japanese gamers should expect that to hit store shelves on October 28th, which is right around the corner.

The Wii Remote Plus was also confirmed, and while no official date has been given, it will include MotionPlus functionality built-in. Something Wii owners will really be excited about. There is also talk about having support for the Wii a little longer than expected, so the next-gen console might not be coming anytime soon.

Things then took a shift back to handhelds when videos for Resident Evil: Revelations and Metal Gear Solid 3DS. Once that passed, details for the 3DS itself were released. By way of a promotional video, this is what was shown:

  • Tag Mode Functionality: can store data for multiple games at once, and you don’t even have to be playing the game in order for that to happen.
  • Selecting notifications from a list
  • Mii’s being received from Tag Mode
  • Stopping of gameplay to connect to the web via browser
  • An Augmented Reality game was shown
  • Mii Creation Studio
  • The ability to put the system in a cradle for quicker transfers
  • All 3DS games can communicate with each other, even while in sleep mode
  • A light will be on the upper-right corner of the device, near the R button, and it will show you when another 3DS has passed by you, and that new data has been received.

Companies like Namco Bandai have already said that they are looking forward to using the Tag Mode feature, especially on games like Ridge Racer 3D. Capcom is ready to give gamers the ability to battle anywhere in Street Fighter IV 3DS. Konami has even shown interest in a LovePlus game that will use the Tag Mode functionality, although it isn’t quite clear on how that would all go down. Since Tag Mode will be available straight out of the box, no set-up is required, however there is some speculation that it might have to have an initial set up on your home Wi-Fi.

Utilizing the camera, 3DS owners will be able to take a photo and use it when creating their Mii. It will convert the image into a template, ensuring that it will look like you as much as possible. There will also be the option to save all images to your SD card if you want. At launch, the device will come with a 2GB SD card, so don’t worry about having to buy an additional accessory already (For those of you who might wonder, it will support, out of the box, SD cards up to 32 GB, however Nintendo might plan, at a later date, to release a firmware update enabling owners to use SDXC cards).

Taking things one step farther, gamers will be able to convert their Mii’s into QR codes and either print them out or put them up online. From there, your friends can use their 3DS cameras to take pictures of the code and retrieve your Mii into their device.  According to Iwata-san, there are over 180 million Mii’s around the world right now, and there will even be a Tag Mode Wii Plaza where you can view all of the Mii’s you have accumulated wirelessly.  A feature some might have fun with is the ability to take two images and merge them into one. The example shown was a rather disturbing one of Iwata merged with Shigeru Miyamoto.

Pressing the HOME button will bring up a screen, similar to those that can be found on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, that will allow gamers to access their “Memory Notebook”, their calendar, or pull up your stats like how long you’ve been playing or how many steps you’ve taken, similar to a pedometer (clearly making use of the built in accelerometer).

Included with the handheld will be a series of Augmented Reality games, and even in Sleep Mode, the 3DS will be able to access Wi-Fi. Ghost Data, rankings, items, free software, and content can all be downloaded. NTT will be the ones supporting the 3DS internet connection with NTT BP’s Wifine areas providing support and hotspots throughout Japan in 2011. The device will also be able to automatically connect when near a Nintendo Zone or a DS station, like the ones that can be found inside Japanese McDonald locations.

Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, and classic Nintendo titles will be available in 3D through a Virtual Console. Clearly Nintendo is really going for it with the 3DS, and who can blame them?

Another trailer was shown featuring games like Pilotwings Resort, Chocobo Racing (hells to the yes!), Paper Mario, the aforementioned Ridge Racer, Professor Layton, Starfox 64, Animal Crossing, and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Japanese gamers can pick up the 3Ds on February 26th, 2011. It will retail for 25,000 Yen (which translates to about $298.6150 US Dollars). Fuji TV, a major television station in Japan, has partnered with Nintendo to distribute free 3D videos daily, but only on an experimental basis. Should the idea go over well, odds are it is likely to become a standard feature.

North America & Europe will get theirs in March, but no prices have been given. If I had to guess, I’d say that the US can expect $299.99, but I could be wrong. Details for those countries are expected to be given at a later date.

At launch, players will have the ability to choose from two colors: Aqua Blue or Cosmo Black. Nintendo also plans to take steps to change sales of third-party games on their platforms. The 3DS is only the beginning.

Going into another video showcasing testimonials from third-party developers like Capcom, Level-5, Kojima Productions, and Square Enix. Basically it was them talking about the hardware, and praising it for what it is capable of. The video also showed Link’s Awakening DX, Super Mario Land, that a Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is in development (which is separate from Resident Evil: Revelations), and Tetsuya Nomura dropped this bomb: Square is highly interested in releasing numerous titles for the 3DS after the already planned Kingdom Hearts. RPG fans, squee with delight! Level-5 is especially excited as they have big plans to do some amazing things with the Professor Layton series.

There’s currently no news on if downloadable demos will be available, but it is certainly a feature that could be coming our way. Also, it wasn’t said if the 3DS is region locked, but since the Wii and DSi are, gamers can probably anticipate the 3DS to be as well. There was also no info given on the OS of the 3DS, but it most certainly will be an improvement over what is currently available. Battery life will be comparable to that of the DSi, anywhere between 9-14 hours on low brightness, but compared to other handhelds and smart phones, that’s pretty damn good.

Almost all images taken by Mark MacDonald and shared with the gaming community via his Twitter account.

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