On May 13th, Nintendo held their annual E3 press conference to show off some of their new products that will hopefully push sales of the GameCube and GameBoy Advance to the next level. From what we witnessed at the event, it looks as though Nintendo will be milking the GBA/GCN connectivity feature for all it's worth with over twenty titles coming in the next year that will utilize this feature!
The conference began as George Harrison came on to the stage and talked about Nintendo's market performance. Since the release of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, GameCube sales have surged, giving GCN the nod over MS's Xbox in terms of sales, but still far behind current market-leader, Sony. In an effort to maintain this momentum, Nintendo is looking to increase its development capacity and reach out to third parties for further support.
Next, we were treated to some video footage of upcoming games such as Mario Kart Double Dash and Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike. Mario Kart Double Dash is looking to continue the series' trademark fun-filled racing, but will throw in a few new elements as well. For one, each cart will now seat two characters; one will concentrate on driving while the other is responsible for sending opponents spinning off the track using a variety of weapons. Rebel Strike looked fairly similar to its predecessor Rogue Leader, with a few notable differences. For one, the graphics look sharper, but more importantly, the gameplay looks much more varied than in previous titles. We've all played through the Battle of Hoth more times than we care to count, but this time around, the video showed the player climbing an ATST and cutting through the underbelly with a light saber.
Other games shown included the eagerly awaited Resident Evil 4 which Capcom promises will be scarier than any RE game you may have played in the past. The game looks like it may include supernatural enemies in addition to the standard brain-craving zombies. A new game called Geist is looking to put a new spin on the FPS genre; in this title, players must possess various characters and even animals. You'll be able to use the skills and the memories of the character you've possessed to help you through the game.
Brief video clips were also shown of various games such as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Final Fantasy Tactics, Advance Wars 2, F-Zero GXand Capcom's P.N. 03.
As mentioned above, Nintendo is planning to make the most of the GBA/GCN connectivity feature. In fact, EA is developing a special version of The Sims for the GameCube, and for the GBA. Players will be able to transfer data between the two and even have a GBA character set up residence in the GCN version of the game, or vice versa. Pac Man is coming to the GCN as well, and three players will be able to control the ghosts on the TV screen, while one player plays as Pac Man on the GBA! The TV screen will only display a limited area surrounding the ghosts, so the three ghost players must work together as they search for the dot-eating Pac Man. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords was also shown and allows four players to play on the TV at the same time using the GBA. When one character enters a house or cave, they can look at their GBA screen to follow their character since their character on the TV will have disappeared into the house.
The last thing shown was something that many people had been expecting. Hideo Kojima of Konami came out on stage and announced that he will be making Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for the Nintendo GameCube. The game is basically a remake of the original Metal Gear Solid, but with updated graphics and undoubtedly some extra features that weren't decipherable from the video shown.
Overall, the conference was solid, but far from overwhelming. The emphasis put on GBA/GCN connectivity may not appeal to everyone, but there were several key games in the lineup that should do well on the sales charts. We'll have more from the E3 show floor on some of the GameCube's stellar titles over the next few days, so keep reading CVG for the latest!