While last night's online Nintendo Direct broadcast may have been a bittersweet event, being the first one since the untimely passing of Nintendo President and long-time Direct presenter, Satoru Iwata, it certainly kicked things off with a bang. While things do seem to be winding up on the Wii U, the 3DS has heaps of games coming out for it over the next few months, with updates and new trailers for plenty we knew about - and several big announcements of all new releases. But with last night's broadcast being shown at the non socially/family/job friendly time of 10pm, there's every chance you may have missed the broadcast yourself - and if you don't fancy wading through 45 minutes to get to the good bits, we've rounded up all the biggest news here, so you don't have to worry (and if you want to know what happened on the Wii U side of things - and trust us, you really do - check out our Wii U round-up here).
Fire Emblem: Fates
While it may not have kicked off the broadcast, one of the biggest snippets of news to come out of last night's Nintendo Direct was about Fire Emblem: Fates. The long awaited sequel to one of the best games to ever grace the 3DS, Fire Emblem: Fates is a turn-based, grid-based strategy game set in a fantasy world, where you can not only manage your team on the battlefield - but you can manage their relationships off it as well.
What's most unique about Fates is how its release is being handled. On day one, there will be two different versions available: Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, with each following the same story, but telling it from a different perspective. Apparently, Birthright will be the easier game, suited to beginners, while Conquest will be more appropriate for seasoned Fire Emblem fans. Whether there'll be enough differences to warrant releasing them as two separate games remains to be seen, but we'll be keeping our fingers quietly crossed. As another announcement that leaves us somewhat on the fence, Fire Emblem Fates will also be having a third story released at a later date as a paid downloadable add-on. If you fancy getting all the Fire Emblem goodness in one go, though, you can always plump for the collectors edition, which includes all three stories, and an art book - although how much it'll cost remains to be seen.
Dragon Quest VII and VIII coming to the west
In news that had half the Everybody Plays staff (literally) jumping for joy, the long awaited Dragon Quest VII and VIII 3DS games - which it feels like Japan have had since the beginning of time - will finally be making their way to these shores. Both excellent Playstation role playing games that have been adapted for the 3DS, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King blend turn based battles with a lighthearted quest, interesting characters, and plenty of humour in a brightly coloured adventure. With Dragon Quest VIII being one of the best role playing games on the PS2, this announcement is great news indeed. Fans of Japanese role playing games should be keeping a close eye on these, although, sadly, there's nothing by way of a release date yet beyond "2016"
Bravely Second: End Layer
While there was little shown in the way of new footage, the Nintendo Direct did confirm two things - one, that Bravely Second: End Layer is still coming, and it'll have a fancy collector's edition to boot. Set for release in Q1 2016 (so sometime before the end of March), Bravely Second: End Layer is the sequel to the equally unusually titled (you guessed it) Japanese role playing game, Bravely Default, a game probably best described as being closer to the feel and gameplay of the earlier Final Fantasy games than any Final Fantasy game is now. With gorgeous hand-drawn backdrops, a huge world map to explore, turn based battles, a fantastic soundtrack, and plenty of witty dialogue, Bravely Default was a fantastic game held back by one thing - a crazy difficulty level. With the rest of the game looking like it's going to be every bit as great as the original, here's hoping they get the difficulty level right.
In terms of the collector's edition, though, it's a pretty fancy bundle. Along with a copy of the game (naturally), you'll also get a soundtrack CD, a figure of leading lady Agnes, and a pretty hefty artbook, with some 250 pages of the game's gorgeous concept art, although nothing has been announced by way of pricing as of yet.
Final Fantasy Explorers coming in January
Continuing a theme, last night's Nintendo Direct also brought us an update on another much anticipated role playing game - this time from the granddaddy of them all, Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy Explorers steps away from the series turn-based roots, and instead offers a real time combat experience for up to four friends to enjoy. Exploring the game's worlds and dungeons, you'll have to work together with your buddies to take down any enemies you come across - although if you're venturing alone, you can catch and train monsters to fight alongside you. New details touched on in the broadcast included a new move known as "trance", which lets you temporarily play as characters from past Final Fantasy games, including XIII's lead lady Lightning, and FF VII's Cloud - but perhaps the biggest news comes from what's going to be in the retail offering. To make up for the delay in bringing the game out over here, Final Fantasy Explorers will include all the downloadable add-ons that were released in Japan completely free of charge, while there'll also be a collector's edition available, which will come with a soundtrack, artbook, quests and even a 3DS case! The only potential downside is that this will only be available from the Square Enix online store, and will set you back £60.
Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam Bros gets a new trailer
Did we mention there were a lot of role-playing games in this one? One of the best looking role players of the bunch - and one that we also won't have to wait too long to get our hands-on, Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam Bros could easily turn out to be one of the games of 2015. With a "when worlds collide" style story, the universes of two different games - the Mario and Luigi series, and the Paper Mario games - are mixed together, leading to the team of Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario setting out on an epic quest to defeat all sorts of enemies from both games. Known particularly for their wicked sense of humour and incredibly sharp wit, both Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi games would regularly see you stifling laughs throughout - and having gone hands-on with it earlier this summer, we can confirm this will be no different. With turn based battles that let you time your button presses to dish out more damage (press A just as you land on the goomba's head) or protect yourself from attacks (press A at the right time to jump over a turtle shell), this is one for role playing fans to keep an eye on.
Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow coming to the 3DS Virtual Console
Hitting us right in the nostalgia, this was one of the best announcements of the night - although perhaps the only surprising thing is that it's taken Nintendo this long to do it! As of the 27th February 2016, you'll be able to download Pokemon Red, Blue, and/or Yellow from the 3DS eShop's virtual console. Letting you head back to where it all began, these are the games that kickstarted the Pokemon craze, with 150 Pokemon to catch, gym leaders like Brock and Misty to defeat, and Professor Oak's snobby son to give a schooling to. Letting you catch, train and battle Pokemon just like in the more modern games, this is a great chance for those who haven't played the originals to journey back to the very first games and see how things have changed - while for those who fondly remember the games the first time round... Well, this is a great chance to relive your youth. With full support for wireless Pokemon trading, this is well worth looking into. If you've never played the original trio, we'd recommend going with Pokemon Yellow. Not only do you get to start off with a Pikachu, but your little buddy will also follow you around on your adventure, and you can check in with him at any time to see how he's doing. This is also one of the only ways you can get a Pikachu that knows fly, or surf, and take part in the Pikachu surfing minigame, as seen on the trailer above...
Stepping away from the role playing games for a second, but sticking with Pokemon, this was the surprise announcement of the night - Pokemon Piccross. Blending our two favourite things - Pokemon and Picross - with our least favourite thing ever - free-to-play - Pokemon Picross was a game we'd have happily paid £20 for if it was a retail release, yet one that currently has all sorts of questions dangling over what you can actually do without paying, and what you have to pay for. Described by Nintendo as "free to start", if you can download the game for free, but have to pay a fiver to access all the puzzles, that's fine. But if you have a limit on how many puzzles you can do, etc, etc, like Duncan Bannatyne, we'll be oot. Still, what Nintendo have announced so far does sound pretty great. Much like other Picross game, you're given a blank grid, with a load of numbers around the outside. Each number represents how many tiles you need to knock out on that row or column to complete the Pokemon mosaic. The skill comes from whittling down the possibilities, until you can be sure which tiles you need to knock out, as making a mistake will penalise you. With over 300 Pokemon included for you to complete and catch, the only thing that's putting us off this is the free to play mechanics. We'll be asking Nintendo for clarification, so keep your eyes on the site!
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
And yet there's still more Pokemon! Coming on the 19th February next year, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon puts a slightly different spin on the Pokemon series, as rather than training Pokemon up as a trainer, you play as the Pokemon themselves, as you set off on a dungeon crawling adventure to discover why some Pokemon have been turning to stone. With all 720 Pokemon to befriend and team with, the Mystery Dungeon series always offer a great alternative take on the Pokemon world, and Super Mystery Dungeon looks no different.
Hryule Warriors Legends
From one alternate take on a series to another now, with an update on Hyrule Warriors Legends - the button mashing, baddie bashing action game from the team that brought us the Dynasty Warriors games. Hyrule Warriors Legends is essentially a 3DS version of the game that launched on the Wii U last year, only with a few extra characters bolted on for good measure. There's the King of Red Lions (in boat form), Tetra the pirate, and Toon Link, all from The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Skull Kid from Majora's Mask, and now, Linkle - a female take on Link. It was also announced that there'll be a collector's edition on offer, for which Nintendo have provided a handy trailer - but one that doesn't actually tell you what it is you're getting. Is it a compass? A pocketwatch? Answers on a postcard:
And finally! Nintendo also brought us news of a brand new update coming to their recently released top-down Zelda adventure, Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes. While it unfortunately won't be adding two player co-op (the game somewhat crazily currently only lets you play on your own, or as a three), this free update does bring with a decent amount of new features, including two new costumes - Linebeck's Uniform, that lets you look inside chests, and Fierce Deity Link, that lets you shoot in four directions - and a brand new dungeon to explore, in the form of the Den of Trials, a 30 level survival fest where you have to take out every enemy to survive. While Nintendo have yet to upload a trailer for it, the update will be available on 3rd December.
And that's your lot!