Nintendo announces ‘Year of Luigi’ with new 3DS, Wii U titles

Feb. 14, 2013 | 1:35 p.m.

Nintendo declared 2013 to be the “Year of Luigi” on Thursday, putting Mario’s perpetual sidekick in the spotlight with several new game announcements.

Addressing Nintendo fans by way of one of the company’s “Nintendo Direct” addresses, President Satoru Iwata donned a Luigi hat of his own, applauding the nearly 30-year-old character’s patience sitting in Mario’s shadow.

“Luigi has appeared in many games since then, but most of them in a supporting role. And even though he has appeared in so many games, he is still timid after all of these years,” Iwata said, keying off more details about the upcoming 3DS game “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.”

Set for release March 24, “Dark Moon” is the sequel to the original “Luigi’s Mansion,” which debuted alongside the GameCube in 2001. Nintendo mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto, in his first Nintendo Direct appearance, touted the game’s 3D capabilities, promising an immersive, inventive, “lighthearted” experience.

Iwata also announced a new entry in the “Mario & Luigi” RPG series, titled “Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.” Promising a summer release on the 3DS, “Dream Team,” takes place partially within Luigi’s dreams, where even the meek plumber, Iwata said, “can be a great, powerful hero.”

In addition to the two 3DS titles, Luigi will be taking over last year’s “New Super Mario Brothers U” with an exclusive DLC (downloadable content) revamp titled “New Super Luigi U.” Stepping aside from Mario, the expansion will rework all of the game’s levels with a Luigi-only focus. The release date has been set to some point before the end of the year.

A new Mario Golf game, a remake of “Donkey Kong Country Returns,” game-play footage of the upcoming “Animal Crossing: New Leaf” and additional “Fire Emblem: Awakening,” DLC for the 3DS were also quickly debuted.

Nintendo, buoyed by resurgent sales of the 3DS, has nonetheless had trouble building traction with its new console, the Wii U. With Sony expected to make several announcements about the specifics of its upcoming PlayStation 4 next week, and the rumor mill in full swing about Microsoft’s own Xbox 360 successor, Nintendo has recently taken its game announcements directly to its audience. But as much as the “Year of Luigi” may entice fans, it’s the promise of new Super Smash Bros., Zelda and Mario titles for the Wii U, teased in a previous Nintendo Direct, that really have Nintendo diehards on pins and needles.

Watch the full Nintendo Direct address below.

– Morgan Little

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