Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-10-03 16:07:15
Wii U Woes
Poor old Nintendo. They can't seem to catch a break at the moment with the Wii U. Don't get me wrong - I desperately want to see the Wii U do well, and every time another shitty port gets released on it I cry a little inside. But I see the awesome line-up for the 3DS compared to the Wii U, and the multitude of games getting released on the former over the latter, and I can't help but wonder when the Wii U's fortunes will turn around. Perhaps it'll be after this agreement between Nintendo and the UK supermarket Tesco, who have pledged to advertise the Wii U more effectively during the Christmas months. They might struggle to do so.
What really bothers me about Nintendo's strategy with the Wii U right now is that their many suggestions that 'software sells hardware' seem to fall a little flat when there is barely anything coming out for the system. It's rare for a system to go through spells of having nothing out for it, but other than Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101 (neither of which held my attention for long) that is exactly what the Wii U is going through - there are maybe five or six good games on the agenda for the system (Bayonetta 2, Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros., Monolith's new game, Donkey Kong, that Fire Emblem/Shin Megami crossover) but otherwise there really isn't anything worth getting excited about. If you consider that the majority of those games are coming out way into the future, we're left with a system that seems to have very little in development for it, which astounds me.
I don't know why Nintendo isn't putting all sorts of development teams onto different projects. It feels as if they're making a handful of games, while most of the employees are sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Statements from Nintendo keep saying that the Christmas period will be the time for the Wii U to sell, but I don't see it happening - not when Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has been delayed until February of next year. I guess we have Mario to tide us over, but, quite honestly, 3D World certainly isn't Mario Galaxy 3.
It annoys me that Donkey Kong has been delayed. Nintendo knows how important it is for software to hit this system before Christmas, and yet one of their system-savers over the next couple of months has been pushed back. This is almost unacceptable when you consider that Nintendo has very little else to offer the player, bar maybe one or two other games, over the next three or four months. I'm no video game developer, but I'm wondering how such a substantial delay could occur on a side-scrolling platform game that is being worked on by Retro Studios, one of Nintendo's most trusted teams. I'm sure that it is because they want to release a perfectly polished product, but Nintendo can't really afford to delay their games right now when their competition (the Xbox One and the Playstation 4) are about to hit retail in the next couple of months.
I'm not all that excited for Donkey Kong myself, but I did consider it as something to put on my Christmas list that would prompt me to pull out the Wii U over the winter months. Alas, by the time it comes out I'll have myriad other games to occupy my attention. It's a pity, because two strong first-party titles would have been great over Christmas. Now that we're left with Mario, I feel as if Nintendo could have managed its time a bit more effectively to ensure that Donkey Kong hit shelves on time. Why even tell people it was coming out in 2013 and advertise it as a flagship pre-Christmas title that would turn the Wii U's fortunes around if development wasn't going as planned?
I want the Wii U to do well, but in order for that to happen Nintendo needs to get its act together and deliver more than one decent game every three or four months. There simply isn't time for software delays on the Wii U - it needs to hit the market hard with its games and it needs to do it sooner rather than later. Donkey Kong isn't much use to me in 2014 when I'll have a Playstation 4 taking up the Wii U's space in the living room.