Nintendo has revealed details about several new and upcoming Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games.
The news, carried in a Nintendo Direct presentation, included the reveal that iconic video game character Cloud from FINAL FANTASY VII will be added as a playable DLC fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.
Other notable announcements included the reveal of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U console, and news that the Pokémon games that started it all – Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version and Pokémon Yellow Version – will launch with wireless communication functionality on Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS family systems on February 27th. To view the Nintendo Direct video in its entirety, visit http://www.nintendo.co.zaNintendoDirect or go to Nintendo UK’s YouTube channel for the complete video and additional new trailers.
Some of the highlights revealed in the presentation, according to Nintendo, include:
Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
- A New Challenger Approaches!: Cloud Strife – the legendary protagonist from the classic RPG game FINAL FANTASY VII – will enter the battlefield as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS in the future. Additionally, a special broadcast – the last one for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – will be released in December. More information is available at http://www.smashbros.com/en-uk/dlc
- Animal Crossing Series amiibo: Resetti, Blathers, Celeste and Kicks join the ranks in early 2016.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD: Originally released for Wii and Nintendo GameCube systems in 2006, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is a visually-remastered remake of one of the most critically-acclaimed games in The Legend of Zelda series. The new game launches on 4th March in a bundle with a detailed new amiibo figure modelled after the Wolf Link and Midna characters in the game, plus an official soundtrack. The game will also be compatible with five other The Legend of Zelda amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. Collection.
- The Legend of Zelda for Wii U (name not final): Next year marks the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series. And with that comes The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, the next entry in the legendary series. During the Nintendo Direct presentation, it was revealed that certain saved data from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on the Wolf Link amiibo can be carried over to this new game. To help ease the wait somewhat, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks have been released on Wii U Virtual Console shortly after the presentation. Until November 19th, players who buy one of these two games will get 50% off the other if purchased on the same Wii U.
- Pokkén Tournament: A collaboration between The Pokémon Company and BANDAI Namco Entertainment, Pokkén Tournament is a new fighting game that lets players use their favourite Pokémon characters to battle it out in fighting arenas. Fans who purchase a first-run version of the game at retail will receive a limited-edition Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card that immediately unlocks the character in the game after tapping it to the GamePad. Pokkén Tournament launches in spring 2016.
- Star Fox Zero: It’s a new beginning for the Star Fox series, with a unique control scheme that uses both the TV screen and the screen on the GamePad, players pilot multiple vehicles through intergalactic levels with Fox and his classic crew in Star Fox Zero. The game launches exclusively for Wii U in April 2016.
- Splatoon: On 13th November a free software update adds over 40 pieces of new gear including more winter items, while a new stage called Museum d’Alfonsino will become available on 14th November. Further stages and features will be added in future updates through January.
- Super Mario Maker: In December, a new web portal that can be accessed anytime, anywhere will offer a more detailed search function to find and filter levels on the go, register them to your “Play Later” list and then have them ready to play when you get home!
- Xenoblade Chronicles X: Massive RPG Xenoblade Chronicles X launches exclusively for Wii U on 4th December, and Nintendo Direct viewers were treated to some unforgettable scenes directly from Planet Mira.
- FAST Racing Neo from Shin’en (Wii U): It’s almost here! The high-octane racing game with up to four-player local multiplayer and up to eight-player online multiplayer, launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U in December.
- Typoman from Brainseed Factory and Headup Games: Using the GamePad in a unique way, in Typoman players set out on an adventure to explore the incredible power of words, how they can be used to survive the environmental hazards and overcome vicious enemies. The game launches exclusively on Nintendo eShop on Wii U on 19th November.
- Pokémon on Virtual Console: The original Pokémon games that started it all – Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version and Pokémon Yellow Version – are coming to Nintendo 3DS on February 27th, the same day that the original games first released in Japan in 1996. Using the wireless communication on Nintendo 3DS family systems, players can trade Pokémon with other players.
- Hyrule Warriors: Legends: Take the epic Hyrule Warriors experience on the go! Hyrule Warriors: Legends offers players the entire Hyrule Warriors game on Nintendo 3DS, but with even more content! This time, Tetra, Toon Link and the King of Hyrule from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker join the Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask on the battlefield. In addition, new character Linkle, a girl who lives in a small village filled with Cuccos and wields two crossbows, joins the large cast of playable characters. Players will be able to command multiple characters on the battlefield for strategic moves and immediately switch between any of them to be in the thick of battle at all times. Hyrule Warriors: Legends launches also as part of a Limited Edition bundle including a Compass watch and the game on 25th March.
- Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros.: The hilarious Mario & Luigi series meets the charming Paper Mario series in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros., launching on December 4th. Using compatible amiibo, players can create a corresponding character card in the game, which have powerful effects during battle.
- Fire Emblem Fates: There are multiple adventures waiting to be experienced in Fire Emblem Fates in 2016. By purchasing one of the two main games – Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright or Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest – either at retail or on Nintendo eShop, players choose to embark on a unique quest with a different story and different experiences. After purchasing one game, the downloadable version of the other is available at a reduced price via an in-game purchase. There will even be a third downloadable version, Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, which will reveal some secrets about the story that will affect the way you think about the other paths. For fans of the series, a special edition will be available that includes all three games, plus an artbook.
- The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes: New free DLC is coming on 3rd December, adding Linebeck’s Uniform and Fierce Deity Mail outfits, each with unique powers, and the new Den of Trials with more than 30 stages to conquer. The upcoming software update also makes it more convenient to get Friendly Tokens by purchasing them from the Street Merchant once the princess’s curse has been lifted. Additionally two adjustments will ensure a more comfortable online experience: by answering a question before matchmaking, you will be matched with other players who gave similar answers, plus players who leave a game in progress through the Pause menu can be added to the blacklist.
- Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon: Players can become one of 20 Pokémon in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, launching on February 19th. With turn-based battles and ever-changing dungeons, players can encounter every single known Pokémon in the game – all 720 of them!
- Nintendo Badge Arcade: Freshly available on Nintendo eShop shortly after the presentation, Nintendo Badge Arcade is a free-to-download game that lets players control a variety of badge catcher machines to earn badges from popular titles used to customise their Nintendo 3DS HOME Menus. Players can purchase plays using Nintendo eShop funds or enjoy 5 free practice plays per day in which with a bit of luck free plays can be won.
- DRAGON QUEST: The line-up of RPGs on Nintendo 3DS continues to grow with classic games DRAGON QUEST VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and DRAGON QUEST VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. Both remastered titles are coming in 2016.
- Pokémon Picross: The popular Picross series meets the lovable world of Pokémon when free-to-start game Pokémon Picross launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop in early December.
- Bravely Second: End Layer from Square Enix, Inc.: The successor to the cherished Bravely Default arrives in Q1 2016, also as part of a Deluxe Collector’s Edition including an Original Soundtrack CD, Agnès Mini Figurine* and a Deluxe Artbook of around 250 pages.
- FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS from Square Enix, Inc.: In the first FINAL FANTASY action-RPG on Nintendo 3DS, journey to an island filled with mystical crystals. Up to four players can connect in local or online multiplayer and team up, assigning allies 4 different combat roles. More than 20 jobs can be learned, each with its own set of special skills. At launch on 29th January, it will include all the DLC that was previously released in Japan. The game will also be available as part of a Collector’s Edition that includes an artbook, a 20-track CD sampler, a Nintendo 3DS case and exclusive quests that unlock legendary FINAL FANTASY weapons.
- Mega Man Legacy Collection from Capcom: Capcom’s iconic Blue Bomber has been a classic part of Nintendo history since the NES days. Mega Man Legacy Collection launches on Nintendo eShop on February 23rd and features faithful reproductions of the first six NES Mega Man games (Mega Man 1-6), plus new ways to experience these classics with Challenge Mode’s remix stages and Museum Mode’s repository of original production art.
- SteamWorld Heist from Image & Form: For a limited time, players that purchase side-scrolling, turn-based strategy shooter SteamWorld Heist in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS when it launches in December will receive an exclusive Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu theme.
Netflix to make SA series
The world leader in streaming movies has announced the first South African production to join its Originals roster.
World leader in entertainment streaming services Netflix this week announced its first Original series in Africa, with South African series Queen Sono.
The news comes immediately in the wake of local rival Showmax announcing it’s first original drama production. In this context, it heralds a new phase in the evolution of streaming video-on-demand in South Africa.
The action-packed series follows Queen Sono, the highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life. The series will be created by Director, Kagiso Lediga and Executive producer Tamsin Andersson.
South African actress, Pearl Thusi, will star as Queen Sono, with the character having been created with her in mind. Thusi is also known for her performance in the romantic dramedy, Catching Feelings, available on Netflix.
“We are excited to be working with Kagiso and Pearl, to bring the story of Queen Sono to life, and we expect it to be embraced by our South African users and global audiences alike.” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Original Series at Netflix.
“We are delighted to create this original series with Netflix, and are super excited by their undeniable ability to take this homegrown South African story to a global audience. We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world” added the director and executive producer of the series, Kagiso Lediga.
The series is due to start production in 2019.
Showmax shoots its first local drama
Showmax has completed filming its first commissioned drama, as it builds out its roster of original content.
The Girl From St Agnes, Showmax’s first original drama, wrapped on 28 November 2018 after filming in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Johannesburg. The eight-part whodunnit premieres on Showmax on 31 January 2019. It is the second series in a programme designed to build out its roster of exclusive, original content.
As Netflix takes hold as South Africa’s preferred streaming video-on-demand service, Showmax owner MultiChoice has made a string of strategic announcements designed to take the DStv paid satellite broadcasting service into the streaming era. Original content is critical to this strategy, as Netflix is on track to become the world’s biggest movie studio.
Showmax is available in 70 countries.
“Our first Original – last year’s light-hearted comedy Tali’s Wedding Diary – had the most successful launch day of any series on Showmax ever,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “This is a complete change of direction: The Girl From St Agnes is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing and taps into the current conversations in South Africa about #metoo and teen sexuality.”
At St Agnes, a prestigious all-girls boarding school in the Midlands, a popular and beautiful student is found dead at the base of the old mill. Fearful of the scandal it might cause, the school is quick to declare the death of Lexi Summerveld a tragic accident.
But drama teacher Kate Ballard doesn’t believe it. On the night of her death, an upset Lexi had been trying to contact her, and Kate had ignored her. Now wracked with guilt, Kate attempts to piece together the terrible truth.
The more she investigates, the more Kate realises that she didn’t know Lexi or the school at all. Behind the imposing walls of St Agnes, Lexi’s killer won’t be the only person exposed…
Newcomer Jane De Wet was handpicked to play Lexi by legendary South African casting director Moonyeenn Lee (Tsotsi), who’s been nominated for two Emmy Awards in the last three years, for The Looming Tower and Roots.
Kate is played by Nina Milner, who modelled for Vogue Germany and at Paris Fashion Week last year and most recently starred in Troy: Fall Of A City as Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.
Jane and Nina are joined by an impressive supporting cast that includes internationally recognised South African talent like Robert Hobbs (District9), Tyrone Keogh (24 Hours To Live), Tessa Jubber (Wallander), Karl Thaning (Dredd) and Shamilla Miller (Troy: Fall Of A City) opposite local favourites like Celeste Khumalo (The Queen), Richard Lukunku (Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word), Zakeeya Patel (High Rollers), Graham Hopkins (The Lab) and three-time South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winner Jerry Mofokeng (Heist, Tsotsi), not to mention hot new talent like Paige Bonnin and Tristan de Beer.
The Girl From St Agnes is being produced by Quizzical Pictures, winners of the SAFTA for Best Drama for six of the last eight years, as well as a Peabody. Producer Harriet Gavshon, Quizzical Pictures’ managing director, is drawing on her own private school experiences, which sparked the original idea for the show. This is the first time Harriet has produced a series, rather than just executive producing, since 2009’s Hopeville, which won Best Drama and Miniseries at Rose d’Or, was nominated for an International Emmy, and was a finalist at Monte Carlo.
Catharine Cooke, who won this year’s Best Director In a TV Drama SAFTA for iNumber Number, co-directed the shoot with Cindy Lee, a commercials director helming her first drama series, having previously worked as the social media director on the Emmy-winning Black Mirror. Double SAFTA winner Gillian Breslin (Umlilo; 4Play: Sex Tips For Girls) is head writer. This makes Girl From St Agnes a rare TV series commissioned, produced, written and directed by women.
“What links Girl From St Agnes, Tali’s Wedding Diary and the other Showmax Originals in the pipeline is our aim to work with the best South African talent and be the home for brave, quirky and at times edgy local stories you wouldn’t find anywhere else,” says Candice. “Creating new characters that audiences come to love and follow is an incredibly rewarding experience and we want to establish a platform for more ‘Tali’s’ across varied genres.”
All eight episodes can be binged on Showmax from 31 January 2019.