As usual this morning I find myself scouring the internet at my regular watering holes, checking up on the latest and greatest news that the video game industry has to offer. During my search I came across some details about the Nintendo Wii U launch. As I’m sure most of you know by now, that last year at E3 Nintendo officially announced that the Wii U would be their home console successor to the Nintendo Wii. At the expo everyone was expecting a detailed unveil of the Wii U with specs, trailers, and game announcements.
Instead, we got the official name, Wii U, and a general launch window of Holiday 2012. Along with that they spoke a while about the tablet-based controller and how it will function. Basically it’s an LCD screen with Nintendo buttons. Allowing for things like the map, HUD, or item inventory screen to be displayed at all times on your controller instead of on screen, taking up precious viewing space.
A very cool idea to say the least, and of course there’s always room for developers to do something new and innovative beyond the expected with this new tablet-based controller. It’s also been said by Nintendo that the tablet-controller can be used as a portable device (within a few feet range of the console) to play the full games on when someone else wants to use the TV and you still want to game. Aside from that though, Nintendo really didn’t go into anything more about the console. Instead of outlining the systems guts, they showed two tech demos. One of a bird flying through detailed environments, and the other being the highly praised tech demo of a High Def Zelda.
Now this morning I find reports that some well known developers are saying “Wii isn’t up to the same level as the PS3 or the 360”. There aren’t as many shaders, it’s not as capable. Sure, some things are better, mostly as a result of it being a more modern design. But overall the Wii U just can’t quite keep up.” This of course immediately raises two camps of thinking. The first being held by the hardcore gamer crowd, appealing that if this new console is coming out 5 years after the PS3/360, and only a year before the PS4/720, why isn’t it a bit better than current gen, or at least on par?
The other camp of gamers is comprised of people who don’t specifically care about HD graphics as much as they do gameplay, and playing their favorite Nintendo games in innovative ways. To me, this has always been Nintendo’s strong suit. I personally believe that with the graphics being almost the same as the PS3/360, but “just can’t quite keep up” sounds like the right amount of graphical upgrade for Nintendo to be considered on par with the other machines, but still be able to focus on gameplay. It’s been widely known that Nintendo first party games usually take a very long time to develop at the current SD standard Nintendo has set. Imagine having HD graphics that are better than PS3/360…..how long do you think it will take for your favorite Nintendo games to be brought to fruition??
Do you really want to wait 4-5 years as the standard dev time for your first party games? And what if the game falls into delay? Then do they rush the QA/testing that keeps their games top notch, in order to release within half a decades creation time? Or do they simply just not make as many games due to the lengthy development period, and just rely on third party games to carry them from one major first party release to the next.
I know most people purchase Nintendo to play: Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Kirby, Starfox etc. I’m sure some will be glad to see these third party titles they’ve been missing out on….but no one buys a Nintendo console to play third party THQ developed Darksiders 2. Think about how long it took The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword to release for the Wii……worrying yet? You should be. If it takes Nintendo that long to release an SD game, you have to think HD games will drastically increase the development time.
So what are your thoughts on the Wii U launch reports? Are you willing to wait 4-5 years for Mario to look better than Gears of War? Do you think Zelda needs to look better than Uncharted if it’s takes 9 years to make? Or are you satisfied with the step-up to HD and want more innovation in your Nintendo games? Let me know what you think in the comments. As of now, the Wii U launch is reportedly expected to be November 18th in the US.
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