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Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass


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Here's all the info on the Iwata's Keynote address then. :p

GDC 06: Satoru Iwata Keynote

Iwata talks about Nintendo DS, Revolution's download service, and introduces a new Zelda game.

by IGN Staff

March 23, 2006 - Several of IGN's editors attended the opening keynote to this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Jose. Nintendo's Satoru Iwata delivered a 30 minute speech headlining the event in which he talked about the current success of Nintendo DS as well as the opportunities that lie ahead with the next console, code-named Revolution.

NOA's Bill Trinen and guests took the stage to demonstrate two Nintendo DS titles, but the big news was the unveiling of the new Zelda game for the platform developed by Wind Waker's Eiji Aonuma, as well as the announcement that Nintendo Revolution will feature downloadable SEGA Genesis and TurboGrfx classics.

We updated live from the keynote with this paraphrased minute-by-minute account of Iwata's speech:

10:45: The keynote begins. GDC conference director, Jamil Moledina, takes the stage and introduces Satoru Iwata.

10:48: Iwata talks about Nintendo's positioning in the market. Mentions how Pepsi is #1 in soft drinks worldwide by executing a disruptive strategy. He jokes that every developer understands that the three basic foodgroups are Cheetos, Doritos and Fritos. (laughter)

10:50: Iwata says that the game industry is ready for disruption. He talks about the power of the Nintendo DS and how it disrupted the market.

10:55: He then goes on to talks about Brain Training for DS -- known as Brain Age in the US. Introduces the concept of the title: using software to stimulate brain activity.

10:58: Tells story about how the prototype was demoed, they were measure the impact with a brain scanning device. Nintendo has been spending a lot of time on this.

10:59: He says that it was an up-hill battle to convince the industry of the power of this title. Says retailers and sales people questioned it, saying "it's not even a game."

11:01: Introduces Bill Trinen (NOA).

11:02: Showing a DS playing Brain Age. Described by him as "not really a game -- more an interactive training program." He shows off "Quick Play." DS is turned sideways (as IGN readers know from our coverage of the game). Bill shows off the main mode, including the different mental exercises which appear in random sequence. Exercises include counting, math, ability to read text out loud, etc. The content of the exercises is randomly generated so that users can't remember sequences and have to adjust on the fly. Shows off graphs tracking improvement. Stresses importance of the DS's unique features, such as recognition of hand writing and voice recognition.

11:06: Bill invites people up on stage: Jamil Moledina (the director of the GDC), Geoff Keighley (G4TV.com host), and developer Will Wright. The three try out Brain Age and compete in an arithmetic challenge. Bill beats everyone and gloats. Another competition. Will Wright wins this time.

11:12: Iwata takes back the mic and talks about the simple but addictive appeal of Brain Age. Calls the title one of the company's biggest successes. The development came from the idea that people wanted something new. The only real way to demonstrate the appeal of these games is to let people try them -- found that consumers without interest in games were soon hooked. Encourages gamers to share the title with their non-gamer friends and even parents. Iwata promises each person in attendance at GDC a free copy of the game to share with their families.

11:16: Nintendo is taking a different approach to technology as well as a different way to make it attractive to everyone. Says network gaming has been around since 1998, but Nintendo Wi-Fi evolves it in a unique way that opens it up to a new audience. Elaborates on challenges and successes of the Wi-Fi project. He says that the connection process needs to be simple and that some may find it more fun to play strangers, others may like to challenge friends. One million unique players in only 18 weeks -- 29 million gaming sessions so far. It took competitors more than a year to reach that number.

11:22: He says that Nintendo has added a new title to use the service: Metroid Prime Hunters. Invites Bill back on stage to demo the game. Another competition: Bill against the creators of the game. Introduces the different ways to battle, including the morph ball.

11:29: Iwata takes the stage. There's one more new adventure for you today: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for Nintendo DS. Short clip plays: cel-shaded-style graphics. Top screen: mostly maps. Action is on the lower screen. Use touch screen to draw things -- transitioning the bottom screen input to the top. Launches later this year -- from Aonuma and team (makers of Wind Waker).

11:31: Iwata says that he is asked all the time: "How did you get the idea for the Revolution controller?" Elaborates on how some people are afraid to touch regular game controllers. With that in mind Nintendo created lots of prototypes to arrive at the current design.

11:34: Reiterates backwards compatibility to all previous Nintendo titles and the need for the controller to function with it. Said after back and forth and taking in all the needs, they arrived (back) at the remote control concept.

11:37: In addition to NES, SNES, N64 and GameCube titles, games specifically developed for the SEGA Genesis and for the TurboGrafx console will also be playable on Nintendo Revolution. Not all of them -- but the best of them will be.

11:38: Most important story is still to be told: how developers will work with the new consoles. Huge amounts of money are needed to market games, to create the detailed graphics, etc. Elaborates on Nintendo's desire to do something different -- provide solutions for people with great ideas. Nintendo understands importance of graphics. Games like Mario, Zelda, Metroid will all look better than ever. But those will not be the only types of games. Stresses innovation. Essential to reach new audience: younger people, older people. Nintendo is commited to creating a development environment that lets developers and publishers expand and express themselves. In a few weeks, you will play and see and understand our philosophy. Videogames are meant to be one thing: fun.

11:44: Thanks everyone for inviting him.

Conference ends.

Related press release (hit the wire during the conference):

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Nintendo President Satoru Iwata today challenged a crowd of game developers to think differently and take a fresh approach to the creation of video games. During his keynote address at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Iwata said Nintendo will provide developers with the tools they need to disrupt the traditional methods of game creation, much as the company already has.

These tools include the controller for Nintendo's next home console (code-named Revolution), which lets users control the action on their television screens through the motion of the controller itself. The controller lets game developers create new kinds of gaming experiences, ones that enhance the experience for hard-core gamers while making video games more accessible and less intimidating to novices. The new forms of innovative software that can be created by any size developer will be made available for download via Revolution's Virtual Console service.

"This new approach is like stepping onto an unexplored continent for the first time, with all the potential for discovery that suggests," Iwata said. "No one else can match the environment we're creating for expanding the game experience to everyone. Our path is not linear, but dynamic."

Iwata also announced partnerships with Sega and Hudson to offer downloadable access to their classic games via Revolution's Virtual Console. Revolution owners will be able to relive their past gaming glories from the Sega Genesis console by playing a "best of" selection from more than 1,000 Genesis titles, as well as games sold for the TurboGrafx console (a system jointly developed by NEC and Hudson). These games join Revolution's access to 20 years of fan-favorite Nintendo games from the NES®, Super NES® and Nintendo® 64 eras.

Iwata also revealed for the first time that a new game called The Legend of Zelda®: Phantom Hourglass would be released for Nintendo DS later this year.

Iwata, a game developer himself, revealed behind-the-scenes stories about the development of three key initiatives. For the industry leading Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, internal engineers and developers overcame a series of hurdles to make the system seamless and flexible enough to allow players to choose to play wirelessly either with friends or against unknown opponents. The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection reached 1 million unique users in just 18 weeks -- nearly five times the adoption rate of the leading online game console network. He described a pivotal meeting in coming to agreement on development of the incredibly popular "brain games" in Japan. A leading Japanese scientist attached a sci-fi-looking wired helmet to a Nintendo staffer and then visually demonstrated stimulation of brain activity as the staffer played prototype software. Finally, he described the hundreds of sketches, dozens of prototypes and company-wide collaboration that led to the final form of the unique Revolution controller system, which resembles a traditional TV remote control. He called the related research and manufacturing costs of the new control system, "...our method to disrupt the market...realizing a new way to connect a player to his game."

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Ya... that was a fairly spectacular video. Finally with the DS Zelda. I was wondering when they'd get on that. Now I just want a collection of the GB/GBC Zelda games for the DS and I'll be happy (I wasnt aware the DS didn't play those games until after I sold my GBA... so my Awakening and Oracle games are useless :()

But ya... can't wait for more info.

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Ya... that was a fairly spectacular video. Finally with the DS Zelda. I was wondering when they'd get on that. Now I just want a collection of the GB/GBC Zelda games for the DS and I'll be happy (I wasnt aware the DS didn't play those games until after I sold my GBA... so my Awakening and Oracle games are useless :()

But ya... can't wait for more info.

Gameboy player ftw.

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If by next year, you mean 2nd quarter of this year...

In any case, I didn't like Diablo, so I hope Nintendo puts in D-pad controls. From the video, it's obvious that it was a Diablo-type thing.

With any luck Zelda will not fall into the trap of the anti-game that is Diablo II.

Diablo I have to respect because of nostalgia value. But Diablo II just sucked.

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