By Amanda L. Kondolojy
March 30, 2009 - If there was a theme to this year's Game Developers Conference, it was definitely the future. From Nintendo's forward-looking keynote to the reveal of the OnLive service, it seems everyone was buzzing about what was next at this year's GDC.
The first event everyone was really excited for was Nintendo's keynote address. It was certainly the most anticipated event of the conference, and Nintendo fans the world over were keeping an eye on the proceedings to see what would go down. Although Satoru Iwata spoke at length about why Nintendo was so successful as a game company and about his close relationship with franchise mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto, there were several important announcements made during their keynote.
First up was the announcement that the Wii Menu 4.0 had been released and made available for all to download as of the time of the keynote. This new Wii menu looks almost exactly the same as the old one, but now it has a little blue SD card icon at the bottom of the screen from which you can launch games you have downloaded and saved to the card.
After the introduction of the new Wii Menu, Iwata went on to announce several new titles from Square Enix that were hitting the WiiWare service. First up was My Life as a Darklord, which is the follow up to last year's WiiWare launch title, My Life as a King. They also announced that Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, which is a direct sequel to Final Fantasy IV and was previously only available for mobile phones. And, in even more Final Fantasy news, it was announced that Final Fantasy I-IV would be released in chronological order for the Virtual Console.
Nintendo also formally announced the new Wario Ware title for the DSi: Wario Ware: Snapped! Although the gameplay video was brief, it can only be assumed that this new Wario Ware title, specifically for the DSi, will rely heavily on the DSi's camera feature. But of course, the biggest software announcement from Nintendo came at the end of the keynote: a new Zelda game! Although the trailer was very brief, we know that the new game is tentatively titled The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and it will be available this year for the Nintendo DS.
In addition to Nintendo's new title announcements, several other companies came forward to announce new titles. Sony announced a new Ratchet & Clank Future game, subtitled A Crack in Time, which is headed for the PS3 this fall. Also announced was a new PC-bound RTS, Bot Colony. This game is especially intriguing, as it is the first game to allow players to converse with their computer and interact with it in a whole new way. Although there was no release date set, the idea of a game that can speak with and learn from you is an exciting prospect indeed.