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Nintendo Stresses Wii Innovation and Inclusion

Wednesday, May 10, 2006, 11:12AM EST

Wii will be released worldwide in Q4 2006 with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess as the key launch title, but Nintendo is keeping precise dates and price under wraps.

"Risk allows progress. We run toward risk. Change is good." That was the bullish take-home from Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales and marketing, as the company unveiled more of its plans for the groundbreaking Wii console.

Fils-Aime predicted it would be affordable. "It will provide more fun for less money," he stated. The focus of the press conference at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre wasn't hardware, or even the console's online features however. "This is about inspiration, not information," he said. Software was key with the 3,000-strong audience thrilled by footage of new versions of classic Nintendo franchises such as The Legend of Zelda, WarioWare, Mario, and Metroid Prime.

Fils-Aime argued the company isn't just relying on its back catalogue. Three new titles in development include Project H.A.M.M.E.R, Disaster: Day of Crisis, and Excite Truck.

Another game that particularly highlights the potential of Wii's innovative remote controller for casual and party gaming is Wii Sports. This collection of sports such as tennis, ping-pong, golf, and baseball uses the main controller's positional and acceleration sensors to enable players to use it as a bat, club, or racket, with subtle techniques such as backspin or slice enabled by a flick of the wrist.

The flexibility of the system was also demonstrated as a player fought his way through a dungeon in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

"Wii will entice new players with new experiences," explained Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. "To expand the total number of players, we must make our experience friendlier and more compelling."

It was also revealed that Wii's Nunchuck controller contains motion-tracking features, while the main Remote features a speaker to enable interactive sounds to be used to enhance gameplay.

As for the issue of the console's name, Fils-Aime remained unrepentant. "Wii is the sound of inclusion," he said, also thanking those who had supported Nintendo's decision. "All two of you," he joked.

The company's response to such commentary will be available on the show floor, with 27 Wii titles promised. Support from third-party publishers includes Ubisoft's launch game Red Steel, Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog, Square Enix's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers, and EA's Madden NFL.

"Feel our answer," Fils-Aime said. "Playing is believing."

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