It's been available in Japan since last year, but the New Nintendo 3DS XL is finally coming to North America very soon — Nintendo just announced that the revamped handheld will be making its way to American and Canadian gamers starting on February 13th. Rumors of the release date first came yesterday, after several retail sources leaked promotional materials for the New 3DS. Only the larger, XL version of the device was announced for North America and you can buy the device in either red or black when it launches for $199.99.
New design, new features
The new version of the 3DS features a changed design including 3D face tracking, new shoulder buttons, and a much-requested second, very tiny analog stick. The device also has new, faster processors, though whether many games will take advantage of these improvements is another thing altogether. The first game built with the New 3DS in mind is the upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles, a port of a Wii role-playing game that will only be playable on the updated version of the handheld, and won't work on older models when it comes out in April. Other new features include NFC support, which will let you scan in Nintendo's new Amiibo figures into various games. The first title to support this feature will be the handheld version of Super Smash Bros., which was originally launched last year.
The news came alongside announcements of new 3DS games including a new, as of yet untitled entry in the Fire Emblem strategy game series and the puzzle game Puzzle & Dragons Z and its just-announced Super Mario spin-off. The two puzzlers will be bundled together for a May release in North America. Nintendo also furthered its progress into the free-to-play market, with Pokemon Shuffle, an upcoming puzzle play that limits the number of moves you can use until you pay up. It looks a bit like Candy Crush with Pikachu, and it's coming out in February.
The previously announced 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, meanwhile, has finally been given a release date, and will launch on February 13th alongside a special edition gold version of the handheld. Similarly, a special edition of the New 3DS XL will also be available bundled with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on the same day, as one of the earliest games to make good use of the handheld's new second stick.