Why I’m Worried about the Wii U

Nintendo’s releasing a new console this year, with HD and all the games people loved on the Xbox 360 and PS3 as well!  Hooray, isn’t that awesome?

Well, I’m not really too excited for it.  From what I’ve seen and heard so far, while the concept and the unique controller idea shows promise, I have this fear Nintendo’s going to completely screw up the console’s launch this year and just throw away their chances of success.  But before people completely crucify me for going against ‘public opinion’ on the internet, here’s why I’m not sure the Wii U will do well, and why I’m not currently interested in it.

One reason is that I don’t honestly think the Wii U should be released this year.  Sure the idea of releasing a new Nintendo home console with a level of power more similar to that on competitor systems was an okay idea, and I really am looking forward to Super Smash Bros 4, but the fact of the matter is that it’s being released too close to the initial announcement.

Seriously, we’ve got what, about a year and a half between the console’s announcement and it’s projected release date?  That just seems too little considering how much of an upgrade the console is supposed to be compared to the Wii (in comparison, why the Wii only took about a year to be released after it’s announcement, it was nearly identical to the Gamecube as far as tech power goes).

It always worries me because it doesn’t seem Nintendo has left enough time available to make some good games to go with the console’s launch later this year.  Really, what could they possibly have ready for the console’s launch line up?

Zelda?  Probably not, Skyward Sword only came out in November, and your average Zelda game takes many years to make.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arHNcSMXaBk

The type of game shown above won’t be finished in just a year…

Super Smash Bros?  Development has only started this year, and the games up to now have taken at least three years from announcement to final release.

A 3D Mario game?  Super Mario 3D Land only came out in November, and I really doubt they’ll have one finished in under a year.  Especially with HD graphics and all the extra effects and fancy orchestrated music these games usually come with.  This wasn’t exactly the kind of ‘available in months’ affair:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA0vLrwuQHE

Super Mario Galaxy missed the Wii launch by a whole year.

Mario Kart?  They tried that, and we got Mario Kart 7.  And while Mario Kart 7 is a great game, it still felt extremely rushed to the point the game had to be patched to fix online and stop everyone abusing glitch shortcuts in Wuhu Mountain Loop, Island Loop and Bowser Castle 1. Don’t think Nintendo are going to make that mistake again and try and have the Wii U game out as an ‘act of emergency’.

So that already counts out quite a lot of big Nintendo franchises, doesn’t it?  We’ll be getting a 2D Mario platformer, which is definitely a good thing, but I fear that the New Super Mario Bros sequel will also be rushed.  Really, it’s always taken the team behind these games a good two or three years to make just one game, and Nintendo expects both New Super Mario Bros Mii and New Super Mario Bros 2 ready and out the door this November?

This leaves us with two things.  One, Retro Studios has finished their new project and it’s a launch title for the system.  If so, great news!  I’ll be looking forward to Metroid Prime HD, or their own take on Zelda or that magic Metroid and Star Fox crossover people were talking about!  But again, Retro seems like hardly a studio to rush games into development and try and get them done as quickly as possible, so I’m not confident their latest project will get any more than a trailer shown off for it.

There’s also Pikmin, but give me a break.  It’s a good series, but it doesn’t sell consoles on it’s own.  Sells a few million, but so does Wario Land, and the last time Nintendo tried to focus on that we got the Virtual Boy.  No, I don’t think Pikmin has quite the mainstream appeal Nintendo needs to sell their new console.

This then makes me think Nintendo are trying to sell the Wii U based on third party games and ‘interesting’ tech.  Problem is, normal people don’t buy video game consoles based on the technology they use, they buy them for games.  Maybe the types of hipsters who fawn over Apple products and constantly think about how ‘cool’ they are because they buy lots of new gadgets for the sake of owning them might, but they didn’t exactly make the 3DS sell by the ton until the likes of Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 came out.

But why would anyone buy the Wii U for third party games?  Oh yay, you get to try the same games already out on the Xbox 360 and PS3, except with a fancy new tablet controller.  Batman Arkham City is a great game, but it’s already out for consoles people already own.  Assassin’s Creed might be cool, but it’s coming out for all the other systems at the same time as the Wii U anyway.  There’s nothing exclusive Nintendo are offering if they’re relying on third parties, and I think this could be setting them up for failure.

If Nintendo thinks such games will sell the Wii U, they must have really had high hopes for Steel Diver.  What a massive success that was!

Indeed, let me say something to Nintendo as a whole that they don’t seem to get.  You are not Sony or Microsoft. Third parties don’t like you much, and if you rely on them for your next console, you are doomed to fail.  Heck, even if they did absolutely adore Nintendo and want to make a ton of games on each of their consoles (and as the Wii/Gamecube/Nintendo 64 proves, they generally don’t), there’s no practical reason for them to support the Wii U’s launch if there’s no Nintendo made games ready at launch to guarantee the system an audience.  It’s why so many new attempts at video game consoles die quickly, people don’t want to make games for consoles that don’t yet have an audience or any guaranteed way of getting one.

It’s a bit like the problem many forums on the internet face.  No one will join a forum that the admins/owners/staff don’t post on/try and keep active, because few people want to just talk to themselves and try and get some site they have no connection with active when they could just go somewhere with an actual community.  That’s what it’s like for video game publishers too, why release all your games on a ‘dead’ system or one just starting out when you can release them on one with an existing userbase and get far better sales?  Nintendo needs to lead the way with the Wii U and have at least three or four rock solid first party games available on launch.

Heck, look at it from a user point of view.  If you had the choice between spending about $400 on a Wii U and Batman Arkham City or just $40 for the Xbox 360 version, what do you think most people would choose?  Exactly.

What worries me about the Wii U is that it seems like Nintendo aren’t trying to have software available for it at launch, and seem like they’re making the original 3DS mistake of relying on third parties to make their own console popular for them.  I don’t want this to be the case, heck I really want to start buying Nintendo’s consoles on launch day again.  But it seems like nothing I’m interested in will be a Wii U launch title, meaning my interest in the console is low and my money better spent on some more 3DS games.

Does anyone else feel the same way about the Wii U?

Castlevania Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate Screenshots

First screenshots of this game, and I have to say it is looking to be an interesting one.  True, the game isn’t using the sprite graphics that were so beloved in the SNES, GBA and DS era, but it’s looking pretty decent despite being in 3D.  At least, much better than the likes of the mediocre Nintendo 64 installments and various other attempts made to bring the series into 3D before, and it sort of reminds me of Mario 3D Land gameplay style wise.  As in, a linear 3D platformer type game which directly translates the style of the sidescrollers into 3D without turning it into a open world collectathon.

Here they are:

Yeah, the game looks pretty good I’d say, and I’m cautiously optimistic that it could be a fantastic 3D Castlevania game, however foreign the concept sounds to some people.

Is a new Scribblenauts Game coming to 3DS?

Remember how awesome Scribblenauts was, and how many people loved the idea of being able to summon any object/character/etc on screen purely through typing its name, as well as how you could make all these elements interact with each other?  Well for a time, it seemed like the game had fallen prey to the developer obsession with the app store, with one of the game’s coming to the app store and no new DS or 3DS sequel in sight.

But could that now be changing, and a new Scribblenauts game actually be coming to the 3DS or Wii U?

Chances seem to be decent, since GoNintendo says that one ‘infamous tipster’ has told a fan that they’ll like what Warner will show at E3.  It’s possible, although the quote is vague enough that nothing can be really held to be certain.

If there was a new Scribblenauts game though, what should it have?  Because the series has never been just about adding a few new words for the dictionary each time.  No, while each game has widened the series vocabulary, there’s always been a fundamental change in the core gameplay that’s made the game better.  The first one just had the standard ‘say any word to summon the object’, but the second added adjectives and let you say things like ‘Giant Blue Cat’ and have such a thing magically appear.  Problem is, where you can go from there?

What’s the next logical step for a Scribblenauts game to take?

But hey, that’s if this rumour turns out to be true, and unfortunately the chances of it being so aren’t quite as high as people are thinking.  Who’s even to say such a game’s coming out on a Nintendo console, since they only mentioned a presence at E3?

Do you think there’s a new Scribblenauts game coming out?  And if so, what’s going to be the major addition used to differentiate it from both the original and Super Scribblenauts?

Here’s some more Castlevania information!

Lots of interesting stuff here.  Right from the latest edition of Nintendo Power I’d assume.

It’s a direct sequel to Lords of Shadow.

Gameplay stretches across time, and you’ll eventually control Simon Belmont as well.  Does this imply some kind of time travel gimmick will be in the game, or just that the later parts of the game will take place many years later with a different character?

Because apparently, there will be different time periods you can explore with different characters.

Four playable characters in total with different abilities.  Reminds me a bit of one of the NES era Castlevania games, I think Castlevania 3. Apparently various areas will be explored by different characters, and you can’t explore certain areas with the wrong characters.

Simon uses the Vampire Killer whip, Trevor the Combat Cross.  Simon can also summon guardians to protect him (this reminds me of of the GBA or DS era games, can’t remember which, but some games had summons).

StreetPass and SpotPass features will be included.

All in all, it sounds a very interesting game, and the fact it uses things like StreetPass means the series has definitely moved on to integrate the main new features of the 3DS.  Could be some problems with this game however, the 2.5D gameplay mentioned by various previews might end up not being as good as the classic 2D stuff, with the ‘shifts into 3D’ mentioned making me think it could be a Metroid Other M like affair (albeit minus the terrible storyline).

 

Castlevania Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate Confirmed!

Hardly much of a surprise given how believable the rumours about the game were, but apparently Nintendo Power has proven the games existance, with it’s recent cover feature being the game’s debut.

Seems to be a 2.5D game, with a few interesting things about it:

Press X for stronger attacks, Y for ones with a wider range. Character is Trevor Belmont.

You also block/dodge attacks with L and grab them with R, which is a little different from the gameplay in your old school 2D Castlevania games, is it not?

It also has light and shadow magic, and you unlock new combos and attacks by levelling up in some way.

Here are some pictures:

Come on, admit it, we all knew the 3DS was going to get a new Castlevania game soon, right?  They’ve always been a dime a dozen on the early handheld consoles (the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance and DS all had two or three each), so even with the new gameplay style of this installment I suspect we’ll get quite a few sequels in good time.

Anyone excited for this new Castlevania game?