It's been a long time coming, but Nintendo finally took the lid off its wonderful new box of toys this morning during its E3 address.
They're called "Amiibo," and the basic idea is that they're turning all of our favourite Nintendo characters into playable action figures that also augment gameplay in a number of upcoming titles beginning with the Wii U's Super Smash Bros. out this holiday season.
Speaking in video released alongside the announcement this morning (see above), Nintendo's Bill Trinen gave a quick rundown of how the toys are going to work come Super Smash Bros. time.
Judging by his description, they sound a lot like Skylanders, Activision's popular line of toys and related video games that birthed the entire "toys to life" hybrid genre for kids...and grown-ups that still like to play with toys, of course.
Basically, you'll tap an Amiibo figure against the Wii U GamePad, which will read the thing with its nifty and as-yet relatively unused NFC tech. Once you do that, the character will appear in-game and you can use them the way you normally do to pummel your enemies.
Trinen said nothing about the Amiibos being essential to the Super Smash Bros. experience, so it doesn't sound like the toys will be required to unlock any characters in the game. Rather, they add additional value by allowing you to earn experience and customise the characters as you play with them.
You don't even have to control the toy once you activate it in the game either. Trinen said that the Amiibos can be introduced as allies to help you with a fight or opponents if you want a good sparring match. Or you can just set two toys against each other and watch them have at it.
All of the tiny statuesque figures will absorb data from the Wii U they're being played on, so you can bring them over to a friends house or travel with them without losing any of your progress. It almost sounds like Nintendo is using the toys as a clever kind of remote storage—because we all know how frustrating it is that the Wii U still doesn't have robust cloud saving features.
The Amiibos aren't specific to one game, however. Or even one platform—there's also an adapter coming for the 3DS that will allow mobile-friendly Or even one platform. Trinen concluded his address by saying the Amiibos will also work with other Wii U games including Mario Kart 8, Mario Party 10, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Yoshi's Woolly World.
Please, god, let this mean that Nintendo is going to make a woolly stuffed animal version of the Yoshi Amiibo, because that last game looks so freaking adorable I almost had a heart attack watching the trailer.