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Mario is an icon. In a gaming culture increasingly focused towards guns and marketing, Mario still manages to stand tall in his red shirt and blue overalls. While the Mario games explore all sorts of genres, the heart and soul of Mario—where is all began—is on a 2D plane, running across the Mushroom Kingdom and stomping down Koopas along the way. When IGN had the chance to discuss Mario with the director and producer of Mario's latest adventure, New Super Mario Bros. U, they explained that as consoles evolve, it gets harder and harder to innovate Mario without losing the simple yet fun gameplay that makes Mario so wonderful.

“When we finished [New Super Mario Bros. Wii] up, we thought,'It’s gonna be hard to add any new features to this.' Once we started fleshing out the next concept, though, we realized that we could still come up with new ideas for [New Super Mario Bros. U]. Right now, I can’t really say what might come next, but I think we’ll still manage to find new stuff for the series. I think that innovation is important, but it can’t be something that destroys the core fun that defines Mario in 2D. We need innovation that retains 2D Mario’s play sensation"

Head past the jump to keep reading.

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacies is the upcoming installment Professor Layton series, a popular brand of puzzle-adventure titles for Nintendo's handheld consoles. Following the events of last year's Miracle Mask, Azran Legacies will be the final Professor Layton title to feature Professor Layton himself as the protagonist. Azran Legacies was shown a few days ago via Nintendo Direct, and thanks to Siliconera, we now have a better understanding of the title. Head past the jump to read all about it!

Let's be honest, Watch Dogs looks like it was made to take full advantage of the Wii U's GamePad, but according to Ubisoft they don't have a clear vision of what they'll do with it.

“We’re still investigating how we’ll use the tablet on the Wii U, but with the things I mentioned before, for us it’s not going to be a weird stretch...

...It’s natural. What’s really cool with Watch Dogs, when we start thinking of those devices, it’s not a weird abstraction, it’s not like I’m a space alien and now I’m using a tablet. Why am I doing that?...

...Aiden Pearce is using a device to control the city, so it’s quite easy to imagine what we could do with that.”

I think Aiden's device is the best route to take with the GamePad, but that doesn't mean it will necessarily work like we hope it will. I for one am excited to see what Ubisoft will do with the GamePad and hopefully it won't be use as a gimmick. If the screen was split down the middle to display both Aiden's device, the current objectives and perhaps a mini-map, then I think it could work out just fine in the end. But only time will tell us what Ubisoft has in store.

I'm a Cliffy B. fan, he seems like a fun Nintendo-lovin' guy, and he knows when something could very well change in the industry. Don't take his word for fact though, it's merely his view on the matter, but he thinks that we're very close to the day when Nintendo becomes a software-only company while Sony and Microsoft suffer major blows for similar reasons.

“This business has not been in a state of transition like it is right now since the video game crash of the ’80s. I really think we’re in a massive state of turmoil. I think Nintendo could possibly be faced with the situation of becoming a company that only makes software moving forward. I think Sony and Microsoft are about to come to major blows. But at the same time, people love playing games on their iPad. The PC is going through a wonderful renaissance right now. I think we’re ready to do digital download games all the time…I just want to see what happens. In regards to the industry, it’s like the Super Smash Bros. of business right now, and I want to see if Peach or Mario wins.”

I wouldn't doubt it if Sony or Microsoft went under anytime soon, but Nintendo has enough money to keep themselves in business for a long time. If Nintendo ever did become software-only they'd more than likely lose that magic touch that only their games could accomplish on their consoles.

Ubisoft loves the Wii U, it's not a big secret, and it's quite clear especially since they're releasing a series of new titles for the console like Rayman Legends and Watch Dogs, but what about their next-gen targeted game Beyond Good & Evil 2? Ubisoft developer Mathieu Audrian is said to be working on the game and under his Linkedin profile has the title listed as possibly coming to the Wii U. The way it is listed still leaves room for it to be false, but I for one hope it isn't.

Another Linkedin profile from a Ubisoft developer has Splinter Cell: Blacklist labeled as coming to all available home consoles and PC. It's a no brainer to figure it would come to the PS3 and 360, but the Wii U was only a rumor up until this point. Of course these could be results of being misinformed and plans are still subject to change, but anything is possible. Be sure to hit the comments to tell us what you would like to see come out of Ubisoft for the Wii U and question why they've been so silent on these supposed Wii U versions.

While it's true the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 are going to offer a nice hardware boost over their previous systems, Bioware doesn't feel games are going to look noticeably better.

 I think the main thing is that the industry doesn't get itself into a corner where it becomes economically unviable to make a game. The last technology iteration caught folks by surprise - especially the number of people you needed and the skillset jump that was required to do the work that people expected. In the last generation the perception was that it was going to be a ten times improvement over the previous generation.

For the next generation there will be a big leap, but it won't be as obvious. People will do things in a cleverer fashion - and I have to be careful here as there are non-disclosure agreements involved! I think they'll be better prepared, shall we say - but we can't see a ten-fold team increase again as the budgets would just be ridiculous. You'd have to sell 20-30 million copies before you broke even.

Thoughts after the jump.

I know many fanboys world over are reading the title of this piece and going “Nintendo be like Sony? That’s blasphemy. They should each do their own thing.” You aren’t wrong for having that thought process and in many regards I don’t want Nintendo to be like Sony. Nintendo doesn’t need to have GDDR5 RAM, a Share button, or even franchises like God of War and Killzone. That’s just not Nintendo’s style.  Rather, Nintendo should be seeing how Sony markets their stuff and take a few notes.

It’s no secret that I think Reggie Fils-Aime is a great leader for Nintendo of America, but it’s been awhile since he really stirred the pot with gamers. Remember when he burst onto the scene talking about kicking ass, taking names, and Nintendo is about making games? Those days are long behind us, as is the infamous quote about his body being ready. Reggie is a polarizing figure and a great PR savant, but what he hasn’t done well is the main focus of his job: Advertise Nintendo products to Americans.

Kid Icarus: Uprising is one of the most critically acclaimed games on Nintendo 3DS at the moment. Bringing Pit back from a 21-year hiatus, Kid Icarus: Uprising returns to the world of our favorite Greek angel and introduces friends and foes new and old along the way. A year after its initial release, Amazon France has listed a version of the game for Wii U at a tentative price of €69,99.

More likely than anything, this is a mistake on Amazon's part—Sakurai has said he has no intentions of developing a sequel; not to mention it's bizarre that Amazon France would hear news of a game before the rest of the world's media outlets. Whether or not Amazon's listing is any indication of anything, how would you feel about Uprising getting a Wii U port? Resident Evil: Revelations shows that the handheld-to-home console jump isn't too bad these days; would you like to see Pit and friends make their way to Wii U?

Castlevania: Lord of Shadow — Mirror of Fate is the upcoming 3DS entry in Konami's Castlevania franchise. Mirror of Fate has consistently shown us trailers displaying strong gameplay, but now we see a story trailer to go along with it. This trailer shows us the motivations of Simon Belmont, the hero of the original Castlevania, in pursuit of his missing father.

The video shows that the game features full voice acting which is none too shabby. Unfortunately, the cinematics accompanying much of it seems to drag the experience down. The trailer concludes with another display of the Lords of Shadow gameplay, ensuring us once again that it will be a fun experience. Most of this video is really hit-or-miss for me, but what do you think of the new story trailer?

As you can see form the above tweet, WayForward, creator of the hit eShop game Mighty Switch Force has announced a sequel to the successful first entry. Very little information is currently known about Mighty Switch Force's successor, but WayForward promises that more information is on its way. On top of this, WayForward has also confirmed that the Wii U version, subtitled Hyper Drive Edition, is headed to Australia and Europe sometime soon. 

While Mighty Switch Force is no behemoth, a sequel is not exactly unexpected. Did you own the original? Do you plan on buying Mighty Switch Force 2 when it officially launches? Sound off in the comments!

Look, the truth behind the development of the six year project in Aliens: Colonial Marines is a three tiered tail, but Jim Sterling, after collecting information from several of his inside sources, finally feels confident enough to confirm and reassure the beans being spilled. For those unaware, Aliens: Colonial Marines was a disaster. The "demo" shown last year was a vertical slice and completely pre-rendered material, most of which never made it into the final game, and the parts that did weren't even remotely close to as detailed as we saw. There was also no "demo" of the game released publicly and NDA's restricted the truth about how bad the game is from coming out until the day of release, when it was already too late for pre-order folks to cancel.

There are three major players in this whole mess: TimeGate, Gearbox, and Sega. Sega is at fault for a few things, but nothing overly terrible. They announced the game back in 2007 before development began, which in general isn't a good idea, especially with a series that isn't a normal recurring franchise. Sega's board became aware of the mishandling of the funding they gave Gearbox for the game in 2008 and thus canceled the project entirely. At some point, Gearbox came to Sega offering to get serious about the game and somehow Sega decided to refund the project and give it a green light (sounds like this happened roughly early 2009). The main board member who initially became aware of Gearbox spending the first run of money on other non-Sega projects was no longer with Sega at this time.

Oh, it gets worse. Read on for more.

Kotaku recently had the chance to interview creative director Johnathan Morin about Ubisoft's upcoming Watch Dogs. Knowing that the game is coming out on just about every available console, editor Evan Narcisse was concerned that some console owners would see a different experience than others. When asked specifically whether PlayStation 3 owners would feel out-shined by the game's PlayStation 4 counterpart, this is what Morin had to say:

"No, I don't think so. I think it's more… I mean, of course, new machine means new tools and means an extension of the original vision. So, PlayStation 4 will be great for Watch Dogs. That being said, I firmly believe that creating a game experience starts with what you want to do and achieve as a team. It has nothing to do with tools. The tools are there to facilitate certain things. So the same experience is there on the PS3 and other consoles. Players will have the same enjoyment; they will not feel any letdown."

It's good to know that no one type of player will feel any drastic differences in the game. It's always nice to hear that developers are trying to offer the same experience across the board. Now the question remains whether or not this mindset will translate to in-game content. Do you think Watch Dogs will feature console-exclusive bonus missions?

If you'd like to read the full interview, click here.

The top-loading Wii Mini was announced a few months back to a lot of confusion from fans and retailers alike. It was a redesign of the original Wii, sold at barely-reduced price of $100, with Wi-Fi and GameCube support removed, and, it turns out that the new model is actually just about the same size as the original console. Most bafflingly of all, the Wii Mini was released only in Canada.

A user on NeoGAF has spotted a listing on the Nintendo UK website for the Wii Mini. This is the first indication we've seen of the console releasing anywhere but Canada. Could this be a fluke, or is Nintendo planning to breathe a little bit of extra life into the massively successful console? Would you like to get your hands on a Wii Mini for collector's purposes?

It's been a bit since we heard anything on the Pokémon front, but we just got slammed with a slew of new details straight from 4Chan. Now, as things typically go with 4Chan, you should take all of the following information with a massive truck of salt. Yes, sometimes the anonymous users are spot on at 4Chan, other times they are yanking our chain. Either way it gives us a lot to talk about.

  • Main characters are Jean and Jane; names are non-customizable
  • Trainer now appears in the bottom screen during battle, with a speech bubble interface holding the trainer commands inside
  • Trainers now have their own leveling system that affects how in-game NPCs react to you and grants various bonuses such as increasing capture rate and the rarity of Pokémon encountered
  • A new key item called the Whistle can be used once per battle with differing effects, such as waking up a Pokémon or snapping it out of confusion.

There are so many more details than that. Hop inside!

Trine 2: Director's Cut on Wii U is arguably one of the best looking games on the platform, but lost in all the hubbub this week is that there is now a demo available for those that are skeptical. The platforming isn't without a few minor gripes, but it's a lot of fun. I completed the demo myself which introduces you to the three main characters and takes you up to the first Frog boss. It's rather neat seeing the variety on the three characters and the game seems to be a lot of fun playing co-op. The best part? They support online co-op in the full game which is on sale right now for $15 USD.

If you were on the fence with this game then now is your chance to try it out. I haven't purchased it myself just yet, but the demo is definitely tempting me to complete the full experience.