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North America - This week's digital releases (Feb. 16th, 2017)

Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS

Tank Troopers – ATTENTION! Calling all troopers for six-player tank warfare! Choose a tank, pick troopers and battle your friends via local wireless. Each trooper has a special ability, from electric shocks to healing. Deploy them tactically to win more than 30 custom tanks with unique stats. An engaging single-player mode contains 30 stages, so you’ll have to devise a multitude of strategies and maneuvers to conquer them all. Battle with bombs, on teams or in a free-for-all – but always fight! Fight! FIGHT! (When playing in multiplayer mode, additional games and systems are required and are sold separately.)

Nintendo eShop on Wii U

Back to Bed – Back to Bed is a 3D indie puzzle game set in a unique and artistic dream world, in which you guide sleepwalker Bob to the safety of his bed. To achieve this, you must take control of Bob’s subconscious guardian named Subob. The pair travels through a surreal and painting-like dream world, filled with objects used to guide Bob toward the Bed, but also dangers that must be avoided.

Virtual Console on Wii U

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber – Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber is a tactical RPG originally released for the Nintendo 64 system. The game tells the story of Magnus Gallant, a recently graduated officer of the Palatinean Army who is assigned to the troubled southern region of his native land. With civil war brewing, Magnus is faced with a terrible choice: betray his own noble origins in the name of liberty, or turn a blind eye to the evils of his rotten society.

Nintendo eShop sales:

Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS

Great deals this week include The Keep, Art of Balance TOUCH! and Soul Axiom, plus several more! Check out the full list of deals on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals.

Activities:

Celebrate The Legend of Zelda with My Nintendo Rewards – With the upcoming launch of the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game, it’s a great time to be a fan! Celebrate by redeeming My Nintendo points for 30 percent off select digital games at https://my.nintendo.com/:

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (Nintendo 3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (Nintendo 3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (Nintendo 3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Wii U & Nintendo 3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii U)

In addition to all of these discounts, don’t miss out on digital content, such as the special 30th anniversary HOME Menu theme for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems and a selection of orchestral music videos featuring music from the series:

The Legend of Zelda Main Theme Medley
The Legend of Zelda Ballad of the Goddess
The Legend of Zelda Great Fairy’s Fountain Theme

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS:

New themes this week include:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: A Wide World
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: A New Adventure
Rune Factory 4
STORY OF SEASONS

Also new this week:

Wall Ball (Nintendo eShop on Wii U)
Color Cubes (Nintendo eShop on Wii U)

GoNintendo Talking Points - Zelda: Breath of the Wild's anger-inducing DLC

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the first mainline Zelda title to include paid DLC. Quite a number of fans are very angry about this. Let's break things down and see if the rage is worth it.

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Nintendo's Koizumi on Switch's philosophy, bringing in new gamers, importance of two Joy-Cons & more

The following comments come from Nintendo's Yoshiaki Koizumi...

“When you have a deck of cards, you can get family and friends together and play games that everyone knows the rules to. It’s very accessible, everyone can sit down and play together, and that became kind of a root for us as we thought about this. For generations, people would play eye to eye as they thought about strategy. We wanted to recreate some of that experience using technology.

You need a certain kind of hardware to make that social situation possible and in the past we’ve had that experience with NES and SNES of having two controllers and it definitely felt like the social experience where your friend would come over to your house and play with you, and so we wanted to make that situation not only more possible, but more visible outside the house, to see people playing together like that. It’s the addition of two controllers from the start that makes creating those things possible.

Of course you could go online and play video games with strangers that you’ve never met before, but something a little bit different is possible here, where you can take the system outside of your house and run into someone you’ve never met before, hand them a controller and start playing right there, and that’s the sort of thing that, when you experience it, makes the other person and yourself very happy.

...The original concept for Nintendo switch was trying to come up with these ideas for play which offer anybody the chance to play these games wherever they want, and that was really the genesis of the idea for Nintendo Switch.

In our goal to reach as many people as possible with interesting new gaming experience of Nintendo Switch, we had considered the needs of a lot of different types of people, you have more of the core gamers who want everything out of the system, and you want it to also appeal to people who might just be looking for new experiences and coming into it for the first time perhaps. But the thing that we decided that we wanted to focus on in both of those instances was the fact that they could carry it around with them. And not only that they would be able to carry it around but that they would be able to experience the same quality of gaming that they could in their living room outside of the house as well. For that reason we also wanted them to be sharing it with other people when they were outside, and that’s why we included two controllers, so that they could hand one to another person.

When thinking about trying to provide that play experience and what would be required of the hardware to do it, this is where we landed. In particular, the fact that there are two controllers is especially significant to us. When thinking about why that is important, the idea is that in previous generations we’ve had the experience included in one controller only in the hardware, and that really starts to railroad us into a situation of focusing on one player games. We didn’t want that to be the case this time round, we wanted people to go outside of their house and invite others to play with them, so having two controllers from the start was very important for this.

And we made the colours different so that it would be very easy to understand who was who. That’s how we settled on this iteration of hardware, based on trying to incorporate these various themes that could be applied in these situations.

Speaking as someone whose job it is to make as fun games as we possibly can, one of my biggest goals is to see people who have perhaps never played a game of this type experience it for the first time. We want to think about how we can create something that will fit into that person’s lifestyle, and for us that answer is Nintendo Switch.”

Aonuma/Miyamoto discuss the importance of story in Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Check out the video interview here

- Miyamoto knows people think he believes story isn't necessary, but he believes his feelings were misconstrued
- the story is there to give the big world some substance
- this helps guide the protagonist in what they should be doing
- when the story is too strict, it means you can only follow a certain path
- there's also the issue of when setting up the story takes up so much time, and you just want to get into the gameplay
- that is not the case with Breath of the Wild
- Aonuma also feels similarly about the story
- when it came to Ocarina of Time, it was important to have a more detailed story as a way to meet the characters
- aside from gameplay itself, Aonuma does believe story is an important factor
- Miyamoto says that with Breath of the Wild, every player has their own story they can experience
- Aonuma once again brings up the secret idea he's implemented in Breath of the Wild, which he's had brewing for 20 years
- this ties together the open world nature of the game, as well as the detailed story elements
- the player can certainly miss a lot of story elements if they want to, or if they don't hunt them out
- they storyline will connect with the final goal, and it's important

Pokemon GO expands with over 80 More Pokémon and New Features later this week

Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile, and many more Pokémon are nearly here! Starting later this week, you’ll have the opportunity to catch more than 80 Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region in the Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver video games. We’ve also implemented some new features to enhance your Pokémon GO experience.

Additional Pokémon: More than 80 Pokémon that were originally discovered in the Johto region in the Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver video games, as well as Pokémon with gender-specific variations, will start rolling out in Pokémon GO.

New Evolutions: There are now more opportunities to evolve your Pokémon in Pokémon GO than ever before. Some Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region will soon be able to evolve—into Pokémon that inhabit the Johto region! Be on the lookout for new Evolution items at PokéStops, which you’ll need to evolve some Pokémon.

New Encounter Gameplay: When you encounter Pokémon in the wild, don’t be surprised if they react in new ways as you’re trying to catch them. You’ll also notice the addition of new item carousels that allow you to select Berries and Poké Balls directly from the encounter screen. Hone your skills and catch those elusive Pokémon!

New Berries: Pokémon enjoy eating Berries, and you’ll have the opportunity to get two new Berries by spinning the Photo Disc at PokéStops—Nanab Berries and Pinap Berries! Giving a Pokémon a Nanab Berry will slow its movements, making it easier to catch. The Pinap Berry doubles the amount of Candy you’ll receive if your next catch attempt succeeds.

New Avatars and an Expanded Wardrobe: Now you’ll be able to give your avatar a complete upgrade! Customize your look with a whole new selection of hats, shirts, pants, and other items.

Be sure to use the hashtag #PokemonGO on Twitter to share your experiences as you explore your local neighborhoods with family and friends. We can’t wait to see the Pokémon you catch!

Gabe Newell originally thought the DS was "kinda stupid", believed PSP would crush it

Coming from Gabe Newell...

"Personally, I thought the DS was kinda stupid. I thought Sony was going to crush Nintendo in that generation of handheld devices. I was totally wrong. I hadn’t worked on it. I hadn’t tried to design any games for it. And clearly the DS ended up the winner. On the flipside, the first time I played Wii Sports, I was like, ‘Oh, my god — there’s so much potential here.’ But it turned out that Wii Sports pretty much nailed it, and that was it. And there was less innovation that I expected.”

2D Zelda on Switch a possibility, Aonuma wants 3DS Zelda dev team to evolve 2D

Coming from a Game Informer interview with producer Eiji Aonuma...

“The dev pace is not really dependent on how many people are on a team, so combining them would not necessarily expedite the development pace. The 3DS team and the Wii U team have different approaches to game development, so I don’t necessarily want to combine them and have them think together, but rather have each think about what they can bring to Nintendo Switch from their own perspective.

The handheld development team will not be phased out because of Nintendo Switch. Switch will allow the users to bring their home console on the go, but this doesn't mean handheld game development like Nintendo 3DS will be discontinued. Yes, there is definitely a possibility (that 3DS Zelda team is working on a Switch title).

There are definitely good things about the 2D world and the playstyles of the 2D world. There are a lot of fans who enjoy that style. This Nintendo Switch style, which is the evolved style of gameplay is not necessarily… I want you to think of it more as an evolved style of 2D style. For the 3DS team, I am trying to make them think in a more evolved 2D-style approach"

Nintendo Prepares Downloadable Content for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U consoles is one of the largest, most engaging video games Nintendo has ever created. While the main game offers players an engrossing quest that will keep them entertained for hours, as well as the freedom to explore the vast Hyrule at their own pace, the game world provides a rich canvas that offers the opportunity for additional adventures. As a result, the first-ever downloadable content for the main-line Legend of Zelda series is in development.

Starting when The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches on March 3, players will be able to purchase an Expansion Pass for $19.99, granting access to two new sets of downloadable content for the game when they become available later this year.

Starting when the game launches on March 3, players will be able to purchase an Expansion Pass for $19.99, granting access to two new sets of downloadable content for the game when they become available later this year. Immediately upon pre-purchase or purchase of the Expansion Pass, three new treasure chests will appear in the game’s Great Plateau area. One of these treasure chests will contain a shirt with a Nintendo Switch logo that Link can wear during his adventure, exclusive to the Expansion Pass. The other two will deliver useful items. The first content pack is scheduled to launch this summer, and will include the addition of a Cave of Trials challenge, a new hard mode and a new feature for the in-game map. The second content pack will launch in Holiday 2017, and adds new challenges that will let players enjoy a new dungeon and a new original story. The Expansion Pass will be available for both the Nintendo Switch and Wii U versions of the game and are identical. Content packs cannot be purchased individually.

“The world of Hyrule, which we created for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is so large and vibrant that we wanted to offer more for players to experience within it,” said Nintendo developer Eiji Aonuma, the longtime producer of the series. “With this new Expansion Pass, we hope that fans will play, explore and enjoy the game even more.”

Aonuma also created a brief video to share more details about the Expansion Pass. It can be viewed at http://zelda.com/breath-of-the-wild/expansion-pass/.

For more information about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, visit http://www.zelda.com/breath-of-the-wild.

Remember that Nintendo Switch features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/switch.

GoNintendo Talking Points - Does ARMS stand a chance as an eSport?

Nintendo wants to position ARMS as a big eSport on Switch. Is this wishful thinking on Nintendo's part, or does the game stand a fighting chance?

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Miyamoto on the philosophy of Switch, Iwata's input, VR, story in Zelda: BotW, 10 year goals

A portion of a TIME interview with Shigeru Miyamoto...

TIME: A question that goes back to the beginning, about Nintendo designer Gunpei Yokoi's idea of "lateral thinking with seasoned technology." What if anything about that philosophy factored into your approach to Switch?

Shigeru Miyamoto: As a company, we take in all different kinds of new technologies as they become available. The tendency for some companies is for their technical people to be more important or treasured. Companies like that tend to want to move forward and be at the top end of everything. But at Nintendo, we really place importance on finding something unique, something that only we can do.

So there's nothing specific from Mr. Yokoi that went directly into the Nintendo Switch. But as a company, Nintendo really puts the idea of fun up front, and I feel like that perspective was something Mr. Yokoi had established. Mr. Yokoi had this way of stepping back and calmly observing what's going on, too. In my younger days, we had a tendency to want to move forward so quickly, and we several times had Mr. Yokoi kind of hold us back and say, "You need to look, step back and observe everything."

And so we learned from him the importance of really putting ideas into forms of play. There's a term in Japanese that indicates someone who wants to always say the opposite, so if I say yes, someone says no. It's not like we're trying to be that, but when everybody is saying the same thing, we need to be a little bit more suspicious and have keen eyes to observe what's going on—we've been kind of trained to be that way.

It's not that Mr. Yokoi was against new pieces of technology. Sometimes, when he would get a new technology, he would just stare at it for an entire day. For example, he had this magnetic object that would float, and he would just put it on his desk and stare at it and play around with it and really observe it. In that sense, I felt like a lot of people were able to trust him, because he was really open and keen to observe things.

TIME: Is there anything in particular about Switch that reflects Satoru Iwata's involvement? [Iwata was Nintendo's president from 2002 to 2015, and passed away in July 2015.]

SM: I mentioned that Mr. Iwata, Mr. Takeda and myself provided feedback and made decisions, but ultimately Mr. Iwata was the head of development, so he put a lot of thought and time into Switch. I think that the idea of Nintendo Switch being a device you can take out and anywhere, and the idea of it being a system that really allows networking and communicating with people, I think that's something Mr. Iwata put a lot of emphasis on.

Because Mr. Iwata was tech-savvy, a lot of our discussion involved trying to figure out how to make the technical things like network capabilities or servers or whatever fun. For example, think about when we added the ability to use a browser on the DS [Nintendo's two-screen gaming handheld—the browser was added to North American systems in 2007]. As time goes on, all of these services become more and more advanced, and so we need to think about "How do we incorporate mobile devices or new browser features that come up?" That's something Mr. Iwata and I discussed a lot, really trying to decide what to do and what not to do in our hardware.

TIME: When we spoke in 2014, you said of virtual reality that you had "a little bit of uneasiness with whether or not that's the best way for people to play." Has your view on this changed since then?

SM: In terms of being together online in virtual reality, I think a lot of the problems have been solved or are starting to be solved. This is something that we're looking into, too. But when I see people play virtual reality, it makes me worry, just as for example if a parent were to see their kid playing virtual reality, it would probably make them worry. Another issue and challenge that I think everybody faces is how to create an experience that's both short enough while also fully fleshed out in virtual reality.

TIME: I've read you weren't a fan of story-heavy games early in your career. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is clearly more story-driven than the franchise's earliest installments. What are your thoughts these days on story in games?

SM: Let me start off by saying that Mr. Aonuma [Eiji Aonuma, the game's producer] and his team, instead of creating a game where you're playing the story, you yourself are embarking on an adventure, and I think they've found a unique way to strike a balance between the story and the fact that you're on an adventure. It's not that I don't like story, that I'm denying the importance of story. I think after someone has played a game, it's important that a story lingers in their mind. But what I do think is a challenge, is to cut down on playtime to set up and explain a story that's already been set.

I think what's important, especially for the Zelda series, is for the person to be able to think it through for themselves, and to really live the story. I think that's the challenge we've been working on through the many iterations of The Legend of Zelda. And so in this game, while you're playing, you start to kind of dig the narrative out and see the overarching story that lies in the background.

And so I think the story in Breath of the Wild still doesn't break the balance that's been established in previous Zelda games. But we also wanted to make a game where, after someone is done playing, their own experience in that game is what the story is, and I think we've been able to accomplish that with this title. And really in this game, everybody can take very, very different routes and approaches. How long it takes to beat the game has a huge range.

TIME: Is there anything in particular, when you think of the next 10 years, that you'd like to accomplish, in or out of gaming?

SM: As a company, we've carefully gotten ourselves involved in the mobile industry, and that's something that I was personally involved in. Then with the Nintendo Switch, the idea of having a console that's also a portable device, I think that opens up new doors to all kinds of possibilities. In the industry of fun, I think there's still a lot we can still explore. I think what I want to accomplish is kind of laying down the standards for what those possibilities are going to be over the next 10 years.