How The Wii U Can Be “Saved”

A recent Yahoo article got me thinking about Nintendo. This wasn’t your usual non-Nintendo fan-boi site “Doomsday” article, but how the Wii U could be “saved” from it’s current state. I can appreciate this type of article, even if I don’t completely agree with it’s conclusion. I was kind of just glad that the Yahoo article wasn’t calling for Nintendo to pull up shop, give up consoles all together and go 3rd party. I’m tired of hearing that, and Nintendo has even announced before that it doesn’t intend to do so. (Look people, if you want Nintendo games, buy a freak’n Nintendo product!)

While Nintendo titles are almost always awesome, in an ideal world, Nintendo wouldn't have to save itself.

While Nintendo titles are almost always awesome, in an ideal world, Nintendo wouldn’t have to save itself.

The conclusion to said article was that there were two main games on the horizon (next year) that could save Nintendo’s Wii U console: Mario Kart, and the next Smash Bros. I’m not going to lie, I believe that Smash Bros. could be a system seller for some people, I don’t believe Mario Kart is as much as one though. I’ll pick it up and enjoy it myself, but to move a system by itself… I may just not believe in the power of a racing game. I may have possibly hit on this note more than once in the past about how certain games could come out for Nintendo and help a bit, but I want Nintendo to thrive! There is a difference between surviving and thriving.

So what does Nintendo need to thrive? There are a few things that need to happen that will make everyone say duh. They need better 3rd party support. They are getting some love lately and that’s awesome, but they need more than a 3/4 completed multiplatform game. Wii U versions should also have multiplayer as well as the PS3/4/360/One. Some times developers don’t feel it’s financially worth it to put something into a game that won’t be utilized by many. I can see where they are coming from. However, why should you make a two different versions of a game, one with all of the features and then another version missing key features and then complain when it doesn’t sell well compared to it’s brother product? That does not compute.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist came with no offline co-op, Sniper Elite V2 had offline co-op only (by the way, this game came out on the Wii U) & Batman: Arkham Origins had no online play either... argh...

Splinter Cell: Blacklist came with no offline co-op, Sniper Elite V2 had offline co-op only and Batman: Arkham Origins had no online play either… argh…

This is a perfect storm scenario, I know it would be tough for all of this to happen, but bare with me.

The Wii U needs more games in general. It’s decent right now, but we need somewhere in the ballpark of more and the “holy-crap-shovelwarepalooza” that was the Wii’s library. What we need is something completely new. We’d need a 1st or 3rd party dev to come up with a new IP that is A awesome and B complete (read that as “neat concept, but failed execution”). We don’t need any super cool/short games. I’m thinking 10+ hours at least. It should also believe in the mantra “easy to learn, hard to master” for some long term playability.

The single was amazing, but only about five hours long.  With better level design and an excellently smooth online multiplayer than most FPS at the time, I'm not sure how this game didn't take off and get a sequel like it deserves.

The single was amazing, but only about five hours long. With superior level design and an excellently smooth online multiplayer than most FPS at the time, I’m not sure how this game didn’t take off and get a sequel like it deserves. Oh yeah, people complained about the single player story and length while no one really buys CoD or Battlefield for the story.

I believe said game would have to be a hybrid platformer/rpg type to get a few different groups to jump in on this, maybe throw in some mechs for good measure and a reference to Downton Abbey to get… never mind, scratch the Abbey reference. A first person shooter could work as well since they have such a fanbase, but getting some of the hardcore fps’rs to jump to a Nintendo console with a game not called Battlefield/CoD/Halo would be extremely difficult if not pushed by the eSports community and media hard. Remember, this is a perfect storm scenario so it doesn’t matter  if we don’t see this happening with a Wii U exclusive game at this point in time.

Which coincidentally leads me to my second point about this game: exclusivity! It NEEDS to be available only on the Wii U. One of the main selling points of the Wii U is the Gamepad. So you’d need to find a developer that has a fan-freaking-tastic idea for it, or it will just look like a silly gimmick. To one person you’ll see a cleaner HUD, and to others it’s a gimmick, there’s a delicate balance. Some people feel the Gamepad is too much to hold for long term gaming, so I believe Pro Controller support would have to be there as well, but the premier experience would have to be achieved using the Gamepad. (Personally the Gamepad is super light and comfortable, but I would like a reason to use my Pro Controllers more.)

This is a great controller concept. I don't honestly care what naysayers spew. Integrating an actual touch pad in a regular controller and keeping it this light and usable? Kudo's Nintendo, kudo's.

This is a great controller concept. I don’t honestly care what naysayers spew. Integrating an actual touchpad into a regular controller and keeping it this light and usable? Kudos Nintendo, kudos.

The developer would need to fight the greed monster. If it’s 1st party, there’s not much to worry about. However, if the game is 3rd and you have Pro Controller support the people will be crying for “easy ports” and that can’t be allowed to happen. This game would have to do well enough to spawn a sequel and that can go multiplatform (with the premier gameplay still being found with the Gamepad); but the first game would have to stay on the Wii U. I would love it if it could stay a Wii U exclusive, but like I said, that would really only happen if it was 1st, not 3rd party. (Unless Nintendo buys the developer up!)

This perfect storm scenario doesn’t need to happen later in 2014, it needs to happen now. Soon at the latest. We’ve heard that there is something in the pipeline coming Shigeru Myamoto (end of the interview), but we don’t know what it is yet or when it will see the light of day. That leaves the indie game scene to create something for us. Nintendo is already making it easy on indie devs from my understanding of various articles I’ve read to get games on the Wii U. However, if it’s an indie game, that means that it will probably be available only on the eShop. Unless you already have a Wii U console, you’re probably never going to know this game exists. While Nintendo has started to advertise the Wii U a bit more aggressively lately even on Hulu (which wasn’t the case when this article was being conceptualized); I’ve never seen them show or talk about the eShop on any commercial even for the 3DS and there are a ton of awesome games on the 3DS’s eShop!

Both Pushmo and Mutant Mudds should have made a bigger splash.  While they may have done well, I didn't see a single advertisement anywhere... shameful.  Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but some people don't even visit the same game sites, how are they supposed to even know about these games? I've talked to people that didn't even know that the 3DS or Wii U had an eShop.

Both Pushmo and Mutant Mudds should have made a bigger splash. While they may have done well, I didn’t see a single advertisement anywhere… shameful. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, but some people don’t even visit the same game sites I do, how are they supposed to even know about these games? I’ve talked to people that didn’t even know that the 3DS or Wii U had an eShop.

This type of breakout game would need to happen more than once. I know I’m asking for a lot, but as long as this man is dreaming, he might as well dream big. Nintendo will need foster this kind of game making. They wouldn’t all have to be platformers, they could be adventure, straight rpg, some sort of funky space/mech thing… not racing though.  Who wants to fight Nintendo with racing games when Mario Kart is so good? I think the only other racer I would buy on a Nintendo console would be an actual sequel with all the same elements as before… or crap, a HD remake even to Diddy Kong Racing. Holy crap I loved that game! I put down Mario Kart when that came out. Maybe that’s all Nintendo needs… Diddy Kong Racing… Nintendo? Do you hear me? Hello?

Jonathan Amarelo Sig


4 Comments

  1. Ron Newcomb December 27, 2013 6:10 pm  Reply

    The gaming press has always been blind to anything that teens and twenty-somethings wouldn’t like. And that’s the same demographic that Nintendo doesn’t target, since it’s already well covered by Sony, Microsoft, and most anything indie. There isn’t much ink devoted to licensed games like Bratz or the latest Disney tie-in, but those games sell, and they sell the system as well.

    The press believes the WiiU to be a failure because they’re using the same yardstick as for hardcore: the initial number of units sold on opening week. Nintendo takes a longer view to things, competing in the videogame industry like It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    It’s still the only system you can buy your kids without worrying that a game will have bad language or gory violence in it. There’s a lot of value in that, but it’s not the kind of thing to make headlines.

    • Ailingforale December 27, 2013 8:03 pm  Reply

      There are a few things I’d wish for as far as this goes: that people would take what they read/listened to with a grain of salt, that gamers (new and old) would give Nintendo more respect in general, and that vocal majority would look at the grander picture. I guess I can’t have everything I want.

  2. MacGordon January 3, 2014 9:09 am  Reply

    I personally think the Nintendo will always be that “fun” console, full of games that regardless of high def and billions of polygons, the games will be super fun nearly every time. And that’s coming from a guy that has specialized his theater room with a 90″ LED and full HD across the board in every room.

    Bought a Wii U “Wind Walker” edition for the fam for Christmas, and I’m glad I did. We’ve had tons of fun with it, individually and as a family. I started playing Wind Walker for the first time just the other day, and I was instantly enthralled…it taking me back to that first time I threw in the first gold cartriged Zelda into my first NES system.

    They jumped it up a notch with Wii U, HDMI, a really cool Wii U lcd screen controller, and a few other nick nacks. And…it is a LOT cheaper that ONE or PS4. Does that mean it’ll last, not necessarily…but I like to think so.

    And, can’t wait for Smash Bros. and Mario Cart; I’ll just leave the across the board FPS releases for the XBox One.

    Thanks for the article Ailingforale.

    • Ailingforale January 3, 2014 1:06 pm  Reply

      No worries Mac. I really do want them to be doing a lot better than they currently are, but we’ll see how 2014 goes for them.

      Oh, and I’ve been told that CoD on the Wii U with pointer controls is actually more fun than traditional controller setups… you should rent it and let me know!

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