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!)
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.
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.
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.)
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!
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?