LOS ANGELES -- Link is set to return to the Nintendo 3DS before he arrives on the Wii U.
Nintendo announced plans Tuesday during the Electronic Entertainment Expo for a multiplayer-focused installment of "The Legend of Zelda" on the Nintendo 3DS set to debut this fall. However, the Japanese gaming giant didn't provide any more details about a previously teased open-world "Zelda" edition coming to the Wii U console next year.
"The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes" for Nintendo's handheld Nintendo 3DS system was shown off during a prerecorded video presentation Tuesday, with sword-wielding hero Link teaming up with a pair of allies. The trio could climb atop each other to take down taller enemies and reach higher locations.
"This time, I wanted players to co-operatively enjoy more serious 'Zelda' gameplay elements, like solving puzzles and going through dungeons," said "Tri Force Heroes" director Hiromasa Shikata during Nintendo's E3 presentation.
The previous "Zelda" adventure, "A Link Between Worlds," was released in 2013 for Nintendo 3Ds and sold more than 2.5 million copies. While previous "Zelda" games have been released for the Wii U, Nintendo has yet to premiere an original "Zelda" entry for the console, which has lagged behind Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.
For the Wii U, Nintendo showcased "Super Mario Maker," which invites gamers' to create "Super Mario" levels with the Wii U GamePad, as well as "Star Fox Zero," a space combat game that utilizes the GamePad to project a view of vulpine fighter pilot Star Fox's cockpit, while more cinematic scenes are shown on TV. Both titles are set for release later this year.
"You can have that first-person and third-person view at the same time, managing those two different views as you play the game," said Nintendo executive and designer Shigeru Miyamoto during a preview event Sunday morning.
Nintendo displayed a few new figures for its "amiibo" toys-to-life franchise, including the guitar-playing canine K.K. Slider from "Animal Crossing" and a pixelated rendition of Mario that will be released in honour of the 30th anniversary of "Super Mario Bros." Nintendo also unveiled four figures -- Donkey Kong, Bowser and their accompanying vehicles -- that can be employed in Nintendo games and the upcoming Wii U edition of "Skylanders: SuperChangers." It marks the first collaboration between a pair of toys-game franchises.
"If you put the figure on a 'Skylanders' portal, they act as a Skylander, but you can you can twist the base and switch it to 'amiibo,"' said Karthik Bala, CEO of "Skylanders: SuperChargers" developer Vicarious Visions. "It can be used as an 'amiibo' in another Nintendo game."
Other titles previewed Tuesday included the supersized sports title "Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash," party game "Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival" and sci-fi role-playing saga "Xenoblade Chronicles X" for the Wii U, as well as the 3D adventure "Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam," interior decorating simulator "Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer" and intergalactic multiplayer game "Metroid Prime: Federation Force" for the Nintendo 3DS.
For the third year, Nintendo opted to unleash its E3 announcements in a streaming video presentation at E3 instead of a live briefing. However, Nintendo did host an e-sports competition Sunday at the newly christened Microsoft Theater in the LA Live entertainment shopping complex in downtown Los Angeles. John "Numbers" Goldberg of New York bested 15 competitors to win the daylong Nintendo gaming tournament.