So, E3 is coming up soon and one of the big questions out there is what Nintendo will bring to the show given all the bad news its been weathering lately. I got my Wii U at launch and have enjoyed it greatly but there’s no denying that the system is struggling.
Now, I would love to say that I have high hopes that Nintendo can turn the Wii U around but the system is going on 2 years old and the outlook is still pretty bleak.
One of the major causes of the Wii U’s current woes is its lack of third-party support. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s response seems to be to try to work things out all by its lonesome. Commendable but the problem is that the Wii U needs high-quality games by the boatful to attract a variety of audiences and Nintendo simply can’t produce games in that quantity and targets mostly the family-friendly demographic.
So, it seems to me that if Nintendo hopes to improve its situation it must make a concerted effort to work with other developers to get games on the system as opposed to hoping that their 2-3 notable games a year will drive sales of the system. With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about things Nintendo could do to get games on the system, specifically by working with other developers to get games out at a far quicker pace than Nintendo could do alone while, hopefully, engendering better relations with said third parties and possibly encouraging others.
Nintendo is currently working with third parties on several projects. Hyrule Warriors, a mash-up of the Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors, is currently being created by Omega Force and Team Ninja, along with Nintendo. Then there is the Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem, in production between Atlus and Intelligent Systems. Finally, perhaps Nintendo’s biggest current collaboration is the New Smash Bros, which is mostly being developed by Bandai Namco Games, the company behind fighting franchises Tekken and SoulCalibur.
So, the following are all pie-in-the-sky wishlist fantasies that I don’t expect to ever come to pass…
The long neglected series is overdue for a reappearance. The last console release, Star Fox: Assault, was developed by Namco and did very well. Sure there were criticisms over certain elements, the on-foot control scheme and the longevity of the multiplayer mode, but those could be improved or omitted altogether.
The game was a borderline melodramatic space opera but it was a fun ride and it really felt like the stakes were high for your team. I would be glad to see another game from the same team, especially since this game would be establishing the state of the Star Fox team after the fun, but inconclusive Star Fox Command.
F-Zero and Mario Kart both started out on the SNES with F-Zero having a 2 year headstart on Mario’s karting series. Despite having 2 years on Mario Kart, F-Zero has only seen 5 games released in North America. Compare that to Mario Kart which is now on its 11th entry (including 3 arcade games).
The last console game in the series, F-Zero GX, was released nearly 11 years ago and was actually developed by Amusement Vision at Sega. The game was a critical success and looked absolutely stunning. Given how critics have been singing Mario Kart 8’s praises in the graphics department, it would be amazing to see what the team at SEGA could do on the Wii U.
Another long-dormant franchise, this series only saw two entries before going AWOL 11 years ago. 1080 Avalanche was fun but was overshadowed by the SSX series, which was appearing on the Gamecube at the time.
Nintendo’s consoles would see an exclusive SSX game on the Wii in the form of SSX Blur, which got excellent reviews. Now given the silent feud between Nintendo and EA its unlikely that the same team could work on a new 1080 but if they could bury the hatchet, this could be the place to start.
Something of a partner series to 1080, Nintendo’s other extreme sports series. Only three games were released with the last being a launch title for the Gamecube. The game was universally praised for its water and weather effects and I can’t imagine what would be possible on the Wii U today. There are too few games that really make use of water in the way WaveRace did so its difficult to think of who’d I’d like to see tackle this game.
Now, there was a new Punch-Out game on the Wii and it was great. The problem with that game however was that it did tread very little new ground. There was maybe a single new fighter (though the title defense fights did change them up quite a bit) and the mechanics stuck very close to the original Punch-Out on the NES. This is despite the first sequel, Super Punch-Out bringing lots of new characters and mechanics to the series, almost all of which was ignored for the Wii game.
Regardless, Next Level Games did a great job on the game and I would love to see them take a shot at a more adventurous entry in the series.
Custom Robo has seen two entries released in North America and focuses on battling with customizable robots. Now it would be awesome if someone like From Software of Armored Core fame and who previously worked on the Wii exclusive, Tenchu: Shadow Assassins, would tackle a new Custom Robo game.
One of my favorite franchises born on the Gamecube (and spun-off from the Advance Wars games), Battalion Wars puts you in the role of a grunt in your fictional nation’s war machine and allows you to jump from one unit to another including foot soldiers, tanks, planes and boats. With some work a new entry in this series could be positioned as Nintendo’s online multiplayer answer to EA’s Battlefield; allowing large armies of players to battle it out against each other, a presence Nintendo sorely needs.
Now, Metal Gear 5: Ground Zeroes recently launched for current and next-gen systems meaning a port to the Wii U is not beyond the realm of possibility but Nintendo has never received a current Metal Gear, aside from the NES-exclusive Snake’s Revenge. All that said, Hideo Kojima is a fan of Nintendo so its perhaps possible to parlay that into some support.
For example, Nintendo and Konami, along with Silicon Knights collaborated to remake the original Metal Gear Solid in the Twin Snakes. Despite the mixed reception with fans, Twin Snakes is still currently the only way to play an updated version of the first Metal Gear Solid game. Should Nintendo reach out to Konami and Silicon Knights then perhaps Twin Snakes could be updated to HD standards and have missing features like the VR Missions and rewards for collecting dog tags added.
Konami has released the Metal Gear Solid series as a set several times in recent years. Starting with the Metal Gear Solid Essential Collection on the PS2 (collecting MGS 1-3), followed by the HD Collection for the Xbox 360 and the PS3, and finally the Legacy Collection on the PS3. Konami previously worked on an iteration of Metal Gear Solid 3 for the 3DS so maybe the game could be brought over to the Wii U, maybe with a port of Metal Gear Solid 2 With an HD Twin Snakes, Nintendo could offer one thing that has been impossible in previous collection releases.
No More Heroes
Grasshopper Manufacture released two cult hits on the Wii in the form of two No More Heroes games. Goichi Suda has said that he has ideas for No More Heroes 3 for the Wii U. Perhaps Nintendo could give him a call and help that game along somehow.
N-Space made an interesting Gamecube game in the form of Geist, a property now owned by Nintendo. Perhaps Nintendo could bring that back for a sequel.
Or, maybe Nintendo could get in contact with n-space and pick up their game Winter, which has been looking for a publisher for years. Granted, there’s possibly a reason why it’s had so much trouble finding a publisher but I’m sure with Nintendo’s supervision they can help polish n-space’s rock into a gem, or a least a unique game.
The Conduit 3/High Voltage Software
High Voltage Software’s games may not have been the triple-A blockbusters everyone might have wanted them to be but they really showed something that the Wii was severely lacking; a developer that cared. When developers put third string teams on their “big” Wii games, High Voltage came in and developed an impressive game engine for the Wii that showed off features typically reserved for the industry’s HD players. On top of that, they launched a new IP, The Conduit and followed that up with a more impressive sequel plus more unique games on the Wii’s downloadable platform.
Since then, High Voltage has developed titles across a wide variety of platforms but what if they could be convinced, with the power of the Wii U and Nintendo guiding them and pushing their game design further than they could on their own? Seeing a new Conduit on the Wii U could be an impressive sight indeed.
Mistwalker, the studio started by Final Fantasy creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, created an RPG late in the Wii U’s lifespan in the form of The Last Story. There hasn’t been any talk of anything new from the studio but the Last Story showed the studio’s willingness to work with Nintendo and if Nintendo reached out then maybe they can make something happen.
New Retro Game
Retro Studios, the force behind the Metroid Prime trilogy and the recent Donkey Kong Country games has been reported to be working on a new game. Nothing else has been said about the game or whether or not it is a new IP or another revival. Either way, Retro’s games have always been top quality and are something to look forward to.
One thing you might notice about the list above is the lack of Mario. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mario but my problem is that Nintendo has come to rely on these games like a crutch. Many of the IPs on this list may have fewer than 5 entries in the past 20 years yet in just two years there are already 2 Mario Games on the Wii U (New Super Mario Bros U/Super Mario 3D World). The saturation of Mario games has become one of the long-running criticisms of Nintendo and its such a shame because Nintendo has such a wonderfully wide array of properties and they’ve been inexplicably incapable of leveraging them.
Now, perhaps I’ve become a bit too cynical given Nintendo’s recent activity to believe they would announce all of this or even half of it. Its a sad state really. Nintendo has said that they’re going to focus on maintaining the profitability of the 3DS but haven’t said much about supporting the Wii U. Nintendo’s MO for recent announcements seems to be to announce or to reveal more information about a small handful of Wii U games then focus the majority of their time on 3DS games and I don’t see that changing much for this E3.
- Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)