We're still hardcore - Reggie

As console launches in US.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has defended the company's hardcore credentials, arguing that it will continue to make "big epic games" despite its desire to expand into new markets.

Nintendo Wii goes on sale in the USA today, 19th November, with demand expected to be as high as it was for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and while Nintendo has repeatedly made it clear that it does aim to satisfy "core gamers", the success of the DS has led some to worry that it's focusing too heavily on the other two areas it's specified as important - re-igniting interest in disillusioned gamers and attracting new players.

Not so says Fils-Aime, who responded to such a question from GameSpot by saying, "The answer to that is Zelda, right?"

"For the passionate fan who wants something a bit more challenging, a deep story, 70 hours of gameplay, it's Zelda. It's all there, it's nine dungeons long, it is an immense area - that alone should stop all of the worries as to whether Nintendo will continue to make big, epic games. We absolutely will," he said.

"We're also going to do other things to bring that NES or SNES fan who now has three kids, a job, doesn't have time to play games; we're going to bring him Link to the Past that he enjoyed back in those days and has a great opportunity to play again on the Virtual Console.

"We want it all, quite frankly. So when we talk about bringing gaming back to the masses it is both for this core fan, which we will continue to have great content for, and this new expanded gamer who either hasn't played in 20 years or hasn't played at all," he concluded.

Fils-Aime also revealed that he expects Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3 and Super Smash Bros. Brawl to launch in 2007 ("Based on what I know today, the answer is yes"), with Nintendo's Wii Play package of mini-games to arrive in the first few months of next year too.

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