A Nintendo without a plan – question mark

In only three days, the highly awaited Amsterdam-event will take place, accompanied by a simultaneous event in the USA. It´s expected to give gamers outside of Japan all the details they want to know about exact launch date and price of the Nintendo 3DS handheld, as well as some deeper insight into the features of said device. Meanwhile, negative news about the nextgen handheld have come up and then there´s that highly successful home console, called Wii, that´s seemingly left out in the dark. Nintendo, what are you up to?

Remembering the first half of 2010 makes any Wii-owner feel warm inside. The year started in a fantastic way, giving us the unexpected sequel to Endless Ocean (Forever Blue), followed by the exceptional Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Monster Hunter Tri, and culminated in the arrival of Super Mario Galaxy 2. Unique, high quality games all around. This year´s beginning makes Wii-owners feel confused and sad inside. The only announced Nintendo-games for Europe are Mario Sports Mix and Kirby´s Epic Yarn, both released in first two months of the year. Interesting third-party offerings are non-existent. Excuse me, dear Nintendo, but is that it? A multiplayer-game and gorgeous-looking, but short in content platformer?

Xenoblade and The Last Story still haven´t even been hinted at a western release, on the contrary, there have been hints that Nintendo has no plans to bring The Last Story to non-Japanese gamers, which makes any wishes for the less popular Xenoblade even less hopeful. Two quality Wii-titles remain. One is Dragon Quest 10, which maybe, and it´s a big, doubtful maybe, will be released this year in Japan, but definitely not anywhere else. The other one is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Originally expected to be released last year, then delayed to a spring 2011 date, and following the latest comments and rumors now a holiday 2011-title. There is a dim chance that Zelda might see a release around May, but there´s really no factual evidence for that, just the history of The Wind Waker being released in May back then.

Some gamers on message boards claim that Nintendo simply makes use of its “no announcement until close to release“, but that doesn´t make much sense when it´s already January 2011 and we don´t even know any releases for time beyond February! And it´s not like there´s a big conference happening where Nintendo could make such announcements. The Amsterdam-event is unlikely to feature anything other than Nintendo 3DS, and GDC also doesn´t seem like the time and place to throw out a release-liste of yet unknown games. And so I don´t forget that one: 3DS was confirmed to be region-locked, might have shockingly bad battery life and might even use the same damn friendscode-system for online-gaming. The software-lineup so far looks fantastic, but the hardware kept looking worse and worse these last few days.

If worse comes to worst, we´re looking at a 2011-lineup that consists of Mario Sports Mix in January, Kirby´s Epic Yarn in February, then nothing until maybe November, when Zelda is released. Or Zelda might come out in May, leaving the latter half empty. All that with not a single high quality-third party title to fill the gaps. One may give it to Nintendo that E3 2011 could see several completely unknown new Wii-games (Cosmic Walker, come on!), but that still leaves all the months up until said event. If there is a plan, Nintendo does an exceptional job at hiding it from the public´s eyes.

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