Now before you read this article there is one thing I want to make abundantly clear, this article is not any form of flame bait or an attempt to start some kind of riot. It is merely an article expressing my own opinion on the Wii U’s third party support or lack there of, so please do not take it as anything more. But above all else, please enjoy the article as I am sure there will be points that you either agree or disagree with.
As I am sure you are all aware, third party support started off not too strongly on the Wii U and has gotten progressively worse as the months have gone on. A lot of you new school gamers might not realize but Nintendo hasn’t really had such amazing 3rd party support since the days of the SNES all those years ago. But we can all agree that 3rd party support is at it’s all time worse on the Wii U. What on earth has happened since the days of the N64 to make third party publishers want nothing to do with Nintendo consoles? It really seems so incomprehensible that Nintendo has been unable to do their bit by attracting 3rd party support back to their consoles after so many years. Yet it would seem that these days, another month goes by, another AAA game gets announced but does not get announced for the Wii U.
We all remember E3 2011, if you can’t I will quickly remind you that it was the event that saw the Wii U official unveiled. We got to see a video of so many games that will be coming out on it and developers/publishers all pledging their support. John Riccitiello, CEO of EA even got up on stage with Satoru Iwata to explain EA’s unprecedented partnership with Nintendo, a lot of people were buzzing! Fast forward to now and look at EA’s so called “unprecedented partnership” with Nintendo now. In fact, look at any major 3rd party companies partnership with Nintendo now, I cannot name a single 3rd party publisher who I can confidently assume will put their games on the Wii U. It’s worrying.
Onto some examples then, well since we have already talked about EA I may as well begin with them. You might remember that last year they basically pulled the plug on the idea of releasing any of their major brands on the Wii U. Such brands include: Madden, Tiger Woods, FIFA, Battlefield 4, Mass Effect 3’s DLC and Crysis 3. (although Crytek had finished development for the Wii U version, EA did not want to release it) It was around this time that EA’s CEO made the following statement “Ours is an industry where a lot of devices come in and represent themselves as the next generation, or the next generation after that. In many ways we would argue that the what we’re describing as “gen 4″ is yet to come“. This statement was made obviously after the Wii U had been released so he is implying that the Wii U is not a “next gen” system. It’s a virtual slap in the face and comments like this could get your company voted the worst company in the US two years running.
Square Enix next then, there are two major games that come to mind when I think about what I would like to see them bring to the Wii U: Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy XV. A rumor went around early on that both these two games wouldn’t be coming out for Wii U because they were being developed using DX11 which the Wii U does not support. This was later proved to be an incorrect statement and that the Wii U does support DX11 and Square Enix never even said that, what they said was taken out of context. So we haven’t actually had a clear reason from Square Enix as to why they have not decided to bring both games to Wii U, all we know is that they have not been announced if I am not mistaken. Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy XV will both of course be releasing on the Xbox1 and PS4, my argument to Square Enix would be that how on earth can they justify there being more demand on the Xbox1 (especially for Kingdom Hearts 3) than the Wii U? If you look at the history of those types of games and the sales of those types of games on Microsoft consoles compared to Nintendo consoles, surely you will find that there is as much reason to release on the Wii U if you are releasing on the Xbox1? Not to mention the fact that the install base of the Wii U is currently bigger than that of the Xbox1.
Creative director Noah Hughes of Crystal Dynamics, who recently developed the most recent Tomb Raider game gave us his reason why Tomb Raider never made it to the Wii U in the following quote: “All three [other console and PC versions] are really trying to deliver roughly the same experience, but delivered best on each platform, and I think something like the Wii U often asks you to do something unique based on a unique interface,” Hughes added. “That’s something as a gamer I love, but it’s something you don’t want to do half-heartedly as a developer.” So they basically couldn’t figure out what to do with the gamepad? Let me help you out as a Wii U gamer Noah, we don’t give a damn! We honestly don’t really care what you do with the gamepad, put an inventory screen on there or a mini map or something! Nintendo themselves don’t even know what to do with the gamepad sometimes, (remember Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze?) we just want to play your game. You cannot honestly tell me that is the soul reason for not bringing Tomb Raider to Wii U? Sounds like nothing but PR BS to me!
I feel this is a good time to bring up Project C.A.R.S which is a crowd funded game developed by Slightly Mad Studios who had signed a distribution deal with Bandai Namco for the console release of the game. Originally, the game was set to release on PC and Wii U only and was funded by the gaming community, no major publisher had a hand in this or the development. The game was later announced for the Xbox1 and PS4. It was only until this distribution deal with Bandai Namco happened who later announced that the Wii U version of the game would be delayed until 2015. This obviously led to a mistrust from the gaming community who funded the game so it can be released on Wii U and PC. PS4 and Xbox1 owners are still going to be getting the game this year though…seriously, this is messed up! Bandai Namco made the following statement: “We’re committed to delivering an exceptional and unique experience for racing fans on Wii U and for this we kindly ask our devoted and passionate Nintendo fans for a little more time in order to ensure the game delivers on our vision of being the most authentic, beautiful, and technically-advanced racing game on any platform.” So you are delaying the game on the console that the community funded it to be on even though it’s been in development for longer on the Wii U. Priceless!
Let’s look more recently, Yoshinori Ono, producer of the Street Fighter series at Capcom recently announced via Twitter that the Xbox1 and PS4 would eventually get the new Street Fighter game released but also tweeted that there are no plans for a Wii U release. As a die hard Street Fighter fan it is hard to take and almost makes me wish that my wallet would allow me to stretch as far as owning to consoles. (Cue the violins please)I guess I will just have to make Street Fighter 2 Turbo on virtual console last a bit longer…
Finally onto Ubisoft, who in fairness to them have been one of the more supportive major 3rd party companies on the Wii U until more recently. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot recently had an interview with Game Informer and when asked about the new Assassins Creed titles coming to the Wii U he made the following statement: “It’s very simple. What we see is that Nintendo customers don’t buy Assassin’s Creed. Last year, we sold in very small numbers. What we see is that they are very interested in Just Dance, very interested by other kinds of games. So what we are trying to do is to focus more on the types of games they are interested in.[Watch Dogs] is coming to Wii U. It will be the only mature game we publish on it.” So….after doing a little bit of research it has come to my attention that Just Dance barely sold more than Assassins Creed 3 and Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag on Wii U. According to VGchartz (and I know they are not 100% accurate) Just Dance 2014 sold 280,000 copies while Just Dance 4 sold 250,000 copies. Assassins Creed 3 sold 260,000 copies and Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag sold 190,000. So how does that exactly tell you that all we want is Just Dance and games like that? It doesn’t! it’s pure BS! Also look at Zombie U, it sold over 700,000 copies worldwide which is more than both Just Dance games combined yet we don’t buy mature rated games!? Also, why would you expect either of the Assassins Creed games to sell very well on the Wii U when neither were promoted in any way, shape or form and both were crummy Xbox360 ports? Digital Foundry managed to prove that the Wii U’s versions of these games were the worst when it came to bugs and frame rate issues, utter laziness! Also we have yet to see any videos or screenshots of the Wii U version of Watch Dogs, so yet again no promotion for the Wii U version of the game. Ubisoft, you do not have the right to complain about the number of sales for Watch Dogs if you are launching it months after its release on other consoles and if you are not going to promote it. Look at Rayman Legends, released on 3 consoles at the same time and sells best on the Wii U! It’s clear as day to me that the statement made by Guillemot holds no bearing on the real truth behind not releasing future Assassins Creed games on the Wii U and that he is expecting Wii U gamers to believe any poop smelling drivel that comes out of his mouth.
I need you all to understand one thing for me, There is no way in hell that I believe Nintendo has not played a part in the lack of 3rd party support on their systems. (including the 3DS) Like I stated earlier, 3rd party support has been dropping off since the N64 days and Nintendo clearly hasn’t done enough after all these years to get them back on board. I for one cannot see this changing anytime soon either, Nintendo has to make some drastic moves and soon if they are to see major 3rd parties bringing their content to Nintendo platforms in the future. In my opinion, Nintendo can start by properly embracing online, we all said they should do this during the Wii days, we are now a generation on from those days and still saying the same thing. We are moving in a world where technology is advancing fast and the convenience of digital is hard to ignore. Also give us a party chat feature, I know you want to keep your family friendly reputation intact and you don’t want the likes of children to be exposed to indecent language online. This is where the parents of these children need to step in and use parental controls on the console, gamers need to be treated as gamers not children.
Far too many publishers/developers are not wanting to put their content on Nintendo systems and we are given far too many excuses. My theory is that they do not want to put their games on Nintendo systems because they think they will not sell very well and the only games that will sell well are Nintendo’s first party games. This is fair enough and as statistics show is true for a lot of games on the Wii U so why not just say that in the first place? Don’t treat us like idiots! Don’t forget that the majority of core Nintendo gamers are not a young audience, we have been gaming for a long time and can easily smell PR BS when it’s in the air. Nintendo have gotten by with little 3rd party support in the past, but now that they are in the HD world development is harder and takes longer. They will not survive forever without big 3rd party multiplats filling in the gaps between their major first party releases. The gaming industry has changed a lot since the golden SNES era and would seem that Nintendo are in a tunnel with no light at the end in regards to 3rd party support. The biggest shame for me is that Nintendo gamers are the only gamers that are required to purchase two consoles in order to play multiplats.
I would love to hear what your thoughts are on Nintendo’s current and future 3rd party support. Let me know in the comments section below!
Written by Sammy J on 20 August 2014