We're currently sitting in on Nintendo's E3 briefing, an informal little get-together that's becoming quite the E3 tradition. Last year's brought us a Zelda Wii reveal; what will 2010's bring?
In attendance is legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of series such as Mario & Zelda, and 3DS director Hideki Konno, who during the session will be speaking with writers and journalists about things Nintendo showed off during its E3 press conference this morning, and some things it didn't. Eiji Aonuma (Zelda's director) will also be showing up later, while Nintendo of America's Bill Trinen is also at the table.
We'll bring you news as it happens from the briefing, so refresh the page to get the latest.
- The 3DS version of Ocarina of Time we first saw this morning is real. Sort of. Miyamoto is playing with it at the briefing (no press hands-on, sadly), but like a few other 3DS titles shown off so far is merely a tech demo for the new hardware. He says he liked the openness of Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time, and wanted to recreate that sensation in 3D to see how people liked it.
- As for Star Fox 64, Miyamoto says that he started work on a Star Fox game the instant Nintendo began work on the 3DS.
- Miyamoto says he doesn't just want to port old games to the 3DS, and that the Ocarina and Star Fox demos we've seen today are things the company is actively developing, at least in terms of scope and design if not in terms of literally developing.
- According to Miyamto, the depth of 3D effects really help you see things like whether Mario is actually standing right under a block or not.
- Back onto re-releasing older games, Miyamoto says Nintendo is looking at them individually to see how 3D can affect them and what possible new features they could add to the games.
- Miyamoto is talking Nintendogs + Cats: "So you know cats are interesting. They are kind of like girls. If they come and talk to you it's great. But if you try to talk to them it doesn't always go so well"
- Apparently the inner-facing camera of the 3DS can be used to recognise a player's face. If you're playing Nintendogs + Cats and tilt your head, for example, you pet will follow it. If you lean closer, the dog might try to lick your face, etc.
- The game can store several faces in its memory, which means your dog will know the difference between its owner (or owners) and strangers, and behave accordingly.
- The 3DS can allow game notifications to be "baked into" the hardware, meaning game requests or information can be shared by games all the time, even if your handheld is in sleep mode or while you're playing a different game.
- Miyamoto had a little trouble with his on-stage demo of Zelda: Skyward Sword earlier today. "It was supposed to be a spectacular playthrough", he says, "but it ended shamefully". He blames wireless interference for the technical woes, so he and series boss Eiji Aonuma are going to repeat the demo now in a more sedate environment.
- Skyward Sword will, they say, feature a new map, one that's a lot easier to follow than previous attempts. This should cut down on the amount of time you spend "lost", apparently.
- Aonuma says that recent Zeldas have been focusing on things like story and dungeons. Skyward will instead focus on "fun".
- Miyamoto says that this time last year, when the new Zelda was first unveiled, the core gameplay was already in an almost complete state. But the art was not. Hence the change in style from what we saw in 2009 to what we saw earlier today.
- While the game is now nearly finished, with only a few more dungeons and bosses to go, Nintendo want to give the development team the rest of the year to complete the game. Which makes it sound like a 2011 game.
- Aonuma says that the scene which concludes the trailer, in which Link leaps off a cliff into a sea of clouds, is an important story point. Instead of being raised in a village on the ground, he's been brought up in a town called Skyloft, which is a floating island.
- He's lived his life in the clouds, and has only recently "discovered" the land below, which he finds has been overrun with evil forces. You spend the game going back and forth between these two regions: Skyloft, and the ground below.
- The "Skyward Sword" you see in the trailer and screenshots eventually becomes the Master Sword.
- Skyward's unique visual style, which looks like a halfway meeting between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, was inspired by Miyamoto's love of impressionism, and the skies in the game are a tribute to Cézanne.
- Miyamoto jokes that if the game used Twilight Princess' art style, it "would have been done by now".
- Aonuma is quickly back onto Ocarina on 3DS, saying that it should make some of the tougher parts of the game easier; the Water Temple, for example, because with the touch-screen things like changing boots are a lot quicker and easier.
- Now back to Skyward Sword; Aonuma says that the final version of the game will ship with support for both MotionPlus and the sensor bar, so that things like archery can be as accurate as possible (similar to how Red Steel 2 was able to ensure the game never "lost you" if you stopped pointing the Wii Remote at the screen).
- The HUD we've seen in Skyward Swords can be switched off if you think it clutters things up too much.
- Mario Galaxy 2 had a big, thunderous orchestral soundtrack. Will Skyward follow suit? Miyamoto says Nintendo couldn't do what it did with Galaxy 2 and not do the same with the next Zelda.
- The long-awaited Pikmin game is a no-show. Miyamoto says that, because of the 3DS and Zelda, if Pikmin had been shown off today as well it would have been overshadowed.
- Miyamoto does want to assure everyone, though, that Nintendo is still working on a new Pikmin game.
- Back to the 3DS. Nintendo has not yet publicly revealed the average battery life of the handheld, but Konno says they're trying to match the DSi's performance.
- According to Miyamoto, the majority of the development team responsible for Spirit Tracks is now doing the heavy lifting on Skyward Sword.
And we're done! Thanks for sticking around everyone!