2. The Wii U has no Games
Ok, that’s a straight up lie. Here’s a photo of my personal collection:
And that’s not including games like CoD: Ghosts or Batman: Arkham Origins that are also on some of the other systems. Nevertheless, I’ll entertain this theory anyways. First, however, as with all things, we have to go back to understand how this way of thinking came into fruition.
They say that the Wii was a one-trick pony. A fluke. A fad. A glorified children’s toy which by pure serendipity captivated those who wouldn’t even call themselves “gamers” through its gimmick motion control interface. It was a system that completely dumbfounded “hardcore” gamers and third parties alike. The former would cry “Sequelitis!” while growing bored with rehashed genre after rehash while mocking Nintendo for its dedication to unorthodox business approaches such as “lateral thinking with withered technology,“ Nintendo’s R&D modeus opperendi for the past quarter-century. Oh, and of course, curse those casuals! As for third parties, their efforts toward penetrating an audience of 100 million were both disrespectful to Wii owners and a disgrace to the craft of game development. With games such as Dead Rising (Wii) promoted as third-party “support,” it is no wonder that such developers were often unable to achieve one million copies sold, the gaming golden standard for a smash-hit game (Arguably, the post-Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare video game industry might consider just one, two, or three million a flop. I have used Tomb Raider (2013) as a poster-child for high-stakes HD gaming, and it would eventually turn a profit, but only after Tomb Raider: Definite Edition was announced and vanilla Tomb Raider would be sold for a bargain at $10 rather than $60 as Square Enix expected.) After all, it was often difficult to discern between the mountains of shoveware that [insert generic company here] released for the Wii for a quick cash-in and the pathetic efforts of “reputable” companies on the same system. Many gamers pined for the days of the “Nintendo Seal of Quality.”
They say that third-party companies struggle to sell on Nintendo’s systems. This wasn’t true with the GCN, when Capcom was developing and publishing REmake or Silicon Knights was porting over Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes. You can quintuple the selection of shovelware in the above image and that would be a more accurate representation of how third parties flooded the Wii ecosystem with its toxicity, alternating between starving the system for games and flooding it with toxic shovelware and games designed to “test” gamer interest, such as the before-mentioned Dead Rising, or even Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbits games. Casual or hardcore, gamers are not stupid, and they began to disdain third parties while focusing on Nintendo due to the quality of its exclusives. It’s not Nintendo’s fault that nobody but them took their system seriously, is it?
In terms of the Wii U, EA is unofficially on record for abandoning the Wii U because the company feels that it caters towards kids. And this is after being officially on record for having an “unprecedented partnership” with Nintendo.” But I’ve said enough about EA. After all, they are in the running for “worst company” third straight year.
There are many other third-party developers discriminating against the Wii U, but at least one company has shown some commitment. And I’m not talking about Sega, because they’re practically a second party to Nintendo right now. Naw, I’m talking about Ubisoft, a company that has shown support for Nintendo at arm’s length. When I bought my Wii in the final shipment to my local TRU two weeks before Christmas in 2006, the store arbitrarily required customers to buy “bundles.” Three games. I’ve written about this before, but along with LoZ: TP and Elebits, I also purchased Rayman: Raving Rabbits. The game was decent, but I certainly wouldn’t have bought it out of my own volition, and would be among the few Wii games that I did sell over the years. I wanted a real Rayman game, not a collection of minigames–I would ultimately buy the outstanding WarioWare for that. Ubisoft would eventually release Rayman: Legends on the Wii, but it was multiplat, and I always gravitate toward PC releases, even for sprite-based platform games that I can play around my kids. I can’t argue with less than $10 on Steam. To its credit, Ubisoft released Wii versions of Splinter Cell, which was its big-name franchise…during the PS2 era. The Wii would never host the company’s modern cash cow, Assassin’s Creed.
Ubisoft would deliver a remarkably stronger effort with Zombi U and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. For those who have played the game, Zombi U would eventually become known as one of the better survival horror games in modern video games…that is, after a patch or two addressing some game-breaking bugs. While the Wii U launched with respectable numbers, Zombi U would not meet retail expectations, and it is because of this that Ubisoft may have flaked at the thought of releasing Rayman: Legends in January of 2013. Their decision to delay releasing the game made pretty big waves in the industry, especially because the game had already gone gold, and Rayman is the kind of franchise that many believe to be aimed toward Nintendo’s “target audience.” Most importantly, nothing of note was scheduled for release on the Wii U for months, meaning that Ubisoft would have had every Wii U owner’s undivided attention. I’m not going to get into all the details of what it means to a game development crew when their game is delayed, but it’s not good. Ubisoft decided to release Rayman: Legends in the fall when the PS4 and XboxOne would hit the market, which meant that Raman would also be in direct competition with games such as Grand Theft Auto V. As predicted, Rayman: Legends would fail to meet sales expectations. Ironically, the game would sell the most copies on the Wii U!!!.
There’s just too much poor logic by third-party developers going on here. Too often are they concerned with testing the profitability of the Wii U audience with low-risk software such as ports, but I have already addressed that such a mentality is how third parties failed to penetrate Wii audiences in the prior generation. Square Enix had to reskin/relaunch Tomb Raider to compete with the Uncharted while ME became more shooter-heavy to compete with Gears of War (and of course, other shooters). I do not understand the rationale behind pushing mediocre software to compete with Nintendo’s intellectual properties. Innovate or imitate. Perfunctory publication is pitiful.
Finally, ubiquitous they also claim that the lack of efforts by third parties can be attributed to not wanting to develop for an inferior system. Artistic vision and all that. Such ideas make me want to cuss. Have these companies seen the mortality rate of their competitors this past generation? With very few exceptions (Nintendo Bayonetta and Microsoft Titanfall), gone are the days of the 90’s when third-party developers could sign deals to release games exclusively to a single platform; with the astronomical costs of game development, they can’t afford to pick and choose. This is why, besides hardware compatibility and the rise of digital distribution, the number of ports between PC and console games is unprecedented! Companies need to make dat money, and I have already said that Nintendo sold 100 million Wiis. If some bootleg company ran out of Joe Schmoe’s garage can make a profit of $100k from M&M Go Kart Racing on the Wii, then certainly, a company with more talent, passion, and resources could muster the kind of production value that would be worth the consumer’s dollar while also campaigning and advertising to get word on the street. But that never really happened. B-tier companies like Grashopper Manufacture and High Voltage Software gave the Wii No More Heroes and The Conduit, respectively, but the Wii did not host the more “prestigious” games published through EA, Activision, or Ubisoft. And as with games like Dead Rising (above), when third parties did ghetto-rig some games for the Wii, the finished product would be insultingly inferior to those offered on the PS3 and 360. The GCN was more powerful than the PS2, but the port of RE4 from the GCN to PS2 still looked respectable. In contrast, Madden on the Wii not only looks inferior to the PS2 version of the game, but it also resembles NFL Blitz with giant head features more than the simulation games I remember playing since 1995 when I played Madden for the first time.