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[DF] The Secret Developers: Wii U - the inside story

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The Secret Developers is Digital Foundry's occasional series where game-makers come forward to talk with us - and you - about topics they are passionate about, or in the case of this article, to give you the inside story behind a particular hot topic. As the future of the Wii U looks uncertain in the face of the successful launches for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, this "warts and all" tale from a respected third-party creator gives you some idea of how Nintendo handled the transition to the high-definition gaming era, and the challenges developers faced in bringing their games to the Wii U platform.

I was there when Nintendo first pitched the Wii U to developers, I worked on the hardware extensively and helped to produce one of the better third-party titles. Now, as the fate of the hardware looks uncertain after a second Christmas of disappointing sales, I wanted to tell the story of what it was actually like to work with the console, and with Nintendo, and perhaps give some context to the mixed fortunes of the machine and its third-party titles.

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You can never discount Nintendo, but based on my experience - and the sales of the platform - the company's facing its most testing challenge in modern times.


It's a good, and telling, read. Nintendo better get its head on straight if it plans on excelling gamer expectations, and of course its own.

Right now, it's quite grim looking for 3rd party developers. Enough for some to say "no more games for Wii U"
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post #2 of 14
Great find, thanks very much for posting this. I find it very interesting because I just got a Wii U and I'm not interested in the PS4 or Xbox One (I have my computer for those kinds of games).

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post #3 of 14
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Originally Posted by neurotix View Post

Great find, thanks very much for posting this. I find it very interesting because I just got a Wii U and I'm not interested in the PS4 or Xbox One (I have my computer for those kinds of games).

rep+

Yup, I pretty much think your way.

It's a bit sad, because no good third party support means drastically lower sales... And that means less money for Nintendo, which also potentially means less first party games, which are the only reason why I got the system in the first place.

Here's hope Nintendo gets the console to print money during the next years and that it delivers the experience Nintendo originally wanted to.
   
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post #4 of 14
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Originally Posted by Artikbot View Post

Yup, I pretty much think your way.

It's a bit sad, because no good third party support means drastically lower sales... And that means less money for Nintendo, which also potentially means less first party games, which are the only reason why I got the system in the first place.

Here's hope Nintendo gets the console to print money during the next years and that it delivers the experience Nintendo originally wanted to.

I got my Wii U very recently, the day after Christmas, but I wanted one since launch.

The game that sold it for me was Super Mario 3D World. Best Mario game since SMB3 imo. I have a few other games for it too, but I think 3D World is probably the "killer app" for the system.

Aside from that I'm really looking forward to Mario Kart 8 and "X" (Xenoblade sequel).

I thought the game pad was gimmicky at first and didn't really care for it but the more I use it, the more I realize it's what sets the system apart from the PS4 and Xbox. We got Art Academy Sketchpad for it and it's really cool to be able to draw on the gamepad and upload those drawings to Miiverse.

The only reason I ever had a Playstation was for Final Fantasy, but I've been playing it so long that I hate the new ones. Every one since X has sucked IMO, and FF15 doesn't look to be any better. Bring back the White Mages, Black Mages, etc and turn based combat already. Enough with the anime reject characters flying around like Dragonball. That's not Final Fantasy. Since I have no interest in FF15 I have no interest in the PS4.

The Xbox will primarily be for first person shooters, the killer app is going to be the next Halo or Call of Duty. Since I don't play those games and prefer Unreal Tournament, which I play on my PC, I have no interest in the Xbox One.

To me, the Wii U is the only system worth having almost solely based on the first party games from Nintendo. I grew up with Nintendo, I still have a NES and Super NES and N64, and I grew up with Mario. As long as they keep putting out amazing games like 3D World they will continue to have my business.
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post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by neurotix View Post

I got my Wii U very recently, the day after Christmas, but I wanted one since launch.

The game that sold it for me was Super Mario 3D World. Best Mario game since SMB3 imo. I have a few other games for it too, but I think 3D World is probably the "killer app" for the system.

Aside from that I'm really looking forward to Mario Kart 8 and "X" (Xenoblade sequel).

I thought the game pad was gimmicky at first and didn't really care for it but the more I use it, the more I realize it's what sets the system apart from the PS4 and Xbox. We got Art Academy Sketchpad for it and it's really cool to be able to draw on the gamepad and upload those drawings to Miiverse.

The only reason I ever had a Playstation was for Final Fantasy, but I've been playing it so long that I hate the new ones. Every one since X has sucked IMO, and FF15 doesn't look to be any better. Bring back the White Mages, Black Mages, etc and turn based combat already. Enough with the anime reject characters flying around like Dragonball. That's not Final Fantasy. Since I have no interest in FF15 I have no interest in the PS4.

The Xbox will primarily be for first person shooters, the killer app is going to be the next Halo or Call of Duty. Since I don't play those games and prefer Unreal Tournament, which I play on my PC, I have no interest in the Xbox One.

To me, the Wii U is the only system worth having almost solely based on the first party games from Nintendo. I grew up with Nintendo, I still have a NES and Super NES and N64, and I grew up with Mario. As long as they keep putting out amazing games like 3D World they will continue to have my business.

+1.

Not only I grew with Zelda, Mario and Metroid, but they also are the only games that right now justify paying for a gaming system IMO.

There's something about their games that no other studios have. I keep playing Animal Crossing, I keep playing Pokémon, I keep playing Zelda (The Wind Waker HD was the reason why I bought the Wii U), recently picked up again Mario Sunshine, and Mario Kart always hooks me into the system for at least a couple hundred of hours per installment.

As you said, that alone makes Nintendo deserve my business.
   
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post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artikbot View Post

+1.

Not only I grew with Zelda, Mario and Metroid, but they also are the only games that right now justify paying for a gaming system IMO.

There's something about their games that no other studios have. I keep playing Animal Crossing, I keep playing Pokémon, I keep playing Zelda (The Wind Waker HD was the reason why I bought the Wii U), recently picked up again Mario Sunshine, and Mario Kart always hooks me into the system for at least a couple hundred of hours per installment.

As you said, that alone makes Nintendo deserve my business.

Super Mario Bros on NES was my first video game. I got Super Mario Bros 3 when I was 7. I got a SNES and Super Mario World when I was 10, as well as the original Mario Kart. In my teenage years I really got into Final Fantasy and other Japanese RPGs, as well as Street Fighter II, so I didn't play Nintendo games as much as a teen. Still, I always loved Mario. Zelda is hit or miss for me- I loved Link to the Past (only one I've beaten) and the original Zelda on NES but I haven't gotten into any of the ones after that. That may change as I'm considering picking up Wind Waker HD for my Wii U.

Now that I'm older and these classic consoles and games are pretty cheap, I can go back and play all the old stuff I missed. I love both Nintendo and SEGA and have all their systems. However, in the modern day, Nintendo is still making fantastic games whereas SEGA really isn't. Nintendo franchises are legendary and are brilliantly designed. Shigeru Miyamoto is a genius. The games don't need amazing graphics to be fun because they stand on the merits of their gameplay. Given the choice of shooting people in the head over and over in a tactical shooter with photorealistic graphics, or playing the latest Mario installment, I'll choose Mario every time, because I know it's going to be fun. The tactical shooters just frustrate me.

Here's hoping the Xenoblade sequel for Wii U (look up the trailer) is the RPG "killer app" for the system. Here's hoping it gets released here, because Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii almost wasn't. Final Fantasy doesn't do it for me anymore and it's sold it's soul to jump on the bandwagon of flashy graphics and battles with badly designed gameplay, flat characters and too many lengthly cutscenes. I don't want to watch cutscenes and feel like I'm barely interacting with a movie, I want to explore a big world with engaging characters and develop them through leveling up.
Edited by neurotix - 1/13/14 at 3:07pm
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post #7 of 14
Nintendo makes such good first party games that a large amount of people are able to ignore third party all together. I fit that bill perfectly, I only bought my Wii U for Zelda's and Mario's ( well maybe DK/SSB ). Same can be said about my 3DS.

I personally think the Playstation brand is the best of the bunch, but it all comes down to preference. Recently I find myself playing on my PC 90% of the time though.

Speaking of which, I'm selling my PS4 but keeping my Wii U. I think the PS4 will be better in the end I'm sure, but Wii U has more good games out now and all the PS4 games I'd want are 1 year away at least.
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post #8 of 14

good read + rep  for finding it  but AMD and Nintendo have 1 thing in common they are always the underdogs but they still punch damn hard tho  sort of a never back down spirit so to speak

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post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by davcc22 View Post

good read + rep  for finding it  but AMD and Nintendo have 1 thing in common they are always the underdogs but they still punch damn hard tho  sort of a never back down spirit so to speak

The difference is that Nintendo keeps largely profitable tongue.gif
   
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artikbot View Post


The difference is that Nintendo keeps largely profitable tongue.gif

yeah true amd must be rolling  it right now cos of the mining  thing

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