updated 01:21 pm EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
Amiibo NFC figurines usable in Nintendo games for new characters, other effects
Nintendo is continuing to focus on its well-known stable of franchises during its E3 event. Opting for a pre-produced YouTube stream instead of a Sony or Microsoft-style live event, the brisk 45-minute show revealed the game producer is still looking for ways for the Wii U to stay relevant to gamers, with the only major hardware announcement of the event involving NFC-equipped figurines.
The Amiibo system operates similar to the Skylanders toys and games, consisting of a collection of statuettes depicting a number of Nintendo characters. By pressing the model onto the Wii U Gamepad, data from the figure is transferred to the game being played, adding more characters or making other changes to gameplay. The NFC chip will also store data sent from the Wii U, making the model's capabilities evolve over time. The first game to use the system will be Super Smash Bros. Wii U, with Mario Kart 8 and others set to make use of the system in the future.
Other major mainstay games brought up in the event include Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros., Zelda Wii U, and the fabric-based Yoshi's Woolly World, though some spin-offs also made an appearance. Zelda Warriors, a spin-off of Dynasty Warriors, will see well-known Zelda characters take on entire armies, while Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for Wii U appears to be a rotatable puzzle platforming game. Gamers will also be able to make their own versions of classic Mario levels, with Mario Maker heading to the Wii U in 2015.
While the bulk of the event focused on existing characters, including a sequel to Bayonetta, one new property was unveiled for the first time. Splatoon is an eight-player team-based online shooter, where players must use squirt guns to cover floors and ceilings in an area with ink. Players can switch between human and squid forms, with each having their own benefits, as the two teams battle for territory.
At the end, the company seemingly hinted at a new Star Fox game. Jokingly teased throughout by a nagging animated fan, the event ended with Shigeru Miyamoto playing a game on a blurred display. While not officially mentioned in the video, Kotaku confirmed the game's existence, reporting that Miyamoto demonstrated it to a number of reporters during a private event on Sunday evening.