The Captains Speaketh: Wii U Expectations

The launch of the Wii U is almost upon us. Since its reveal, the latest Nintendo console has garnered the most skepticism since the reveal of the original Xbox. Almost every facet of this console has been monitored by both press and fans alike. “What’s the CPU?” “What’s the tablet gonna be like?” “Are the games gonna suck again?” Now, it’s our turn. What do we hope Nintendo does with the Wii U? What games, features and tablet controls do we want to see? Hit the jump to see what we speaketh.

For reference: StevenDPX=Steve, Suikoinfinity=James, Prota=Anthony, Hachi76=David, Daikuma=Bryan, LSlick=Lewis, Venusbull=Jikelmis, xhipsterpanda=Jon

Daikuma: I have a ton of good expectations for the Wii U because of what Nintendo did for Platinum Games.

StevenDPX: I’ve been noticing that too. It’s making me wonder if some kind of major deal might be struck between Nintendo and Platinum Games. Nintendo seems to be utilizing them way better than SEGA did.

Daikuma: Can’t wait.

Venusbull: I personally think it is going to be better this time around. Like, they dealt with so many backlashes due to the previous console, they certainly learned from their mistakes. I’m kind of hyped for what exclusives will come out for the system later on in its lifecycle.

Suikoinfinity: Let’s not forget, Nintendo wasn’t so much the problem last generation as it was Nintendo of America. We were denied quite a few fabulous games, and I’m sure Japan and hopefully Europe were spared shovelware shit like Ninjabread Man.

One thing they were guilty of was forcing the Wii-mote use and toning down or ignoring the fact that up until the last Wii revision, the console had gamecube ports! I bought Pikmin with its New Play Control expecting that they would at least retain Gamecube support for those who preferred that control method, but there was no option to change it. Donkey Kong Country Returns controls like shit if you’re playing coop and have to shake the controller to roll. It could have at least had classic controller support, but no.

Now that we have a new console and controller, the Wiimote can finally enjoy life in the back seat. I can live with single player games that force using the gamepad/touch screen as long as the couch coop games allow different control methods.

Nintendo’s making strides with their online system: holy shit friend codes are outta here. Maybe now I’ll actually care to add my friends to the console, especially if there’s the chance I’ll be able to play more than an awful Mario Kart iteration with them.

Look at the 3DS. The Fire Emblem series has been getting increasingly difficult lately and we have a new one due out in March. Some are also calling Paper Mario: Sticker Star one of the most hardcore games on the handheld. It looks like they’re getting their act together, now that it’s become clearer how unreliable the casual market can be. They might be good for selling a console and a couple of games, but it’s the more dedicated gamers like you and me that keep their sales consistent.

Reggie has let me down many times, but I have no doubt a whole library of excellent games are on the way. Will we get them? Hopefully recent movements like Operation Rainfall provided NoA the wake-up call they desperately need.

Fire Emblem Awakening will be coming out next year in March, bring with it increased difficulty compared to previous iterations. Could this be a sign of Nintendo hardening up after the Wii?

StevenDPX: On the games side of things I like where the Wii U is going so far. True its got mostly ports of games already released, but a lot of them already have the DLC included on the disc, like Batman Arkham City and Mass Effect 3. So in essence if you’re getting a Wii U, you might be saving a lot of money in getting the full experience these games. The original stuff is looking good too, like ZombiU and The Wonderful 101. And they netted themselves Bayonetta.

For Nintendo itself, they really gotta stop the Japan-Only bullshit. I notice most people say that Nintendo doesn’t do a lot original stuff. The reality is that they actually DO, but Nintendo of America puts no effort in bringing them over. Like James said, the release of Xenoblade and The Last Story seems to have made them budge just a bit. They even bothered with bringing over Fire Emblem Awakening. If I remember correctly, they didn’t do that with that Fire Emblem remake with Marth in it. [Editor’s Note: Suikoinfinity corrects StevenDPX after he says this.]

For me, I’m more curious with how Nintendo, as a company, will do this generation. Ever since The N64, Nintendo’s been making some pretty dumb choices. Then there’s Yamauchi that ran his mouth off when he said that RPGs were for no life basement dwellers. Then the Gamecube happened. In hindsight, the Gamecube was a great console. But geez was it tough being a Nintendo fan back then. The Wii brought them back to the forefront, but the “Cammie Dunaway Years” was probably the worst moment in Nintendo’s history. Nintendo seems to be coming back in a big way, and I’m hoping they continue this momentum going into the Wii U and not make some outright bone-headed moves like Wii Music and Pac-Man Vs. as an E3 main event.

Suikoinfinity: We got Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon actually, so there is a lot of Marth love to go around. Haven’t gotten around to playing it, but I’ve heard mixed reviews. One thing we never got was Disaster: Day of Crisis which is probably one of the finest Wii games most of you never played. Fatal Frame fans got fucked over too.

StevenDPX: Wait, we got Shadow Dragon!? When did this happen? See, that’s another thing I wish Nintendo fixes with the Wii U: Actually advertise some of your games. It always seems like if there’s no Mario, Zelda, or Metroid in the name, it doesn’t get advertised much.

And it’s a sad fate with Disaster: Day of Crisis. Not only may it never come out in the U.S. after the Japan earthquake and Tsunami, I think Hurricane Sandy might’ve sealed the deal. Lots of games around that time in Japan got altered for the sake of showing respect, but hoo boy… And yeah, Fatal Frame. Buy hey, maybe the Wii U might call for an international resurgence in that series. Imagine the Gamepad as the camera!

Disaster: Day of Crisis. One of the many games Nintendo of America refused to bring over during the Wii’s lifecycle

Prota: I hate to break it to you Steven, but Disaster: Day of Crisis wasn’t coming out here even before the earthquake and tsunami. Reggie went on record saying that he didn’t feel the game was worth $50 and that it had “laughable” audio. He was all over Wii Music at the time though. Now THAT was worth $50 in his eyes. Seriously, Monolithsoft has made two of the best games the Wii has to offer, yet NoA didn’t plan on bringing either of them to the west. We were lucky just to get Xenoblade, but it’s still a shame Disaster never came over. One of my biggest worries with the Wii U is whether or not it really will cater more to core gamers.

Of course, we already can see that Nintendo is at least trying. Bayonetta 2 is a big push in the right direction, but I’m really hoping to see more. WiiU versions of games that have been out for months aren’t exactly the most thrilling. And while you make it a point to say that the value for these games are good due to the included DLC, I don’t think you’re really saving much money. Batman Arkham City has a GOTY version that you could get for pretty cheap and for the same price as the Wii U version of Mass Effect 3 you can get the whole trilogy. Unless you really want to check out the gamepad functions, I don’t see too much merit in these. At least Ninja Gaiden 3 is adding new features unavailable in the other versions. And I want to see more games, like The Wonderful 101, that make me want to buy the system for them.

There’s a lot of potential in the Wii U, I’m just not convinced enough for a day-one purchase. But if NoA can get their heads on straight and the system continues to have good third-party support, then I can see the Wii U really come into its own.

xhipsterpanda: I got to play around with the Wii U at Best Buy. Only downside was that you couldn’t play any demos, just use the remote to navigate the menu and watch trailers for launch games. It seems like an interesting console, but I’m going to wait a while before deciding to invest in one. I’m usually very iffy about getting a console at launch.

Suikoinfinity: What’s the point if you can’t test out a game? They could at least put a Nintendo Land game or two to try out…

The thing about launch consoles are that they’re either really bad or really good. I was unfortunate enough to wait til the PS3 lost its full backwards compatibility. And until the 3DS hit the market, the only survivor out of one launch model, 2 DS Lites and 1 DSi was the old brick. As we all know by now, later models shave off the size, and usually durability and features go right along with it.

Then again, the PSP didn’t get TV output until its second model I believe (I’m still waiting, Vita). Wii U preorders are apparently so backed up that most of you guys might not even be able to get the console anytime soon even if you wanted to… which might not be so bad if the launch was like for the 3DS, but I have a lot more faith in the Wii U starting library. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that I get shipped a console that doesn’t bust in 2 years.

I was the only guy around with a Wii for a while, so it’s nothing new. Still waiting for people to get a 3DS so I can play Code of Princess. With the Wii U I can at least invite you guys over so we can go wild on Nintendo Land just like some of us did with Wii Boxing so many years ago.

While there are demo stations in retailers now, you can only watch trailers on them. No games are playable.

StevenDPX: Waiting it out is one thing I’ll probably do this generation. Besides money being pretty tight for me right now, I’m kinda sick of being burned by getting a console/handheld early on. My PS2 has that Disc Read Error bug (and thus can’t read some PS1 and Blue-Disc PS2 games). My original DS has a broken hinge, a jittery touchscreen, and shitty shoulder buttons. The 360 Red Ringed. And my launch Wii has some issues reading dual-layered discs. If those pre-orders are backed up, it’s fine by me. I’ll probably wait it out to see if any improvements are made to the console itself. Shit, I’m reaping the benefits of having gotten some really cheap games for the PS2, GBA, and DS.

The Wii U’s looking to be a good console coming out the gate, and the launch line-up holds up pretty good. If this was any other time, I’d be on the console. But as it stands, I’ll be waiting both for a better situation and for any improvements made to the console as time goes on. But I’ll try out some NintendoLand at James’! Still gotta give back your camera!

Hachi76: To understand my feelings on the Wii-U, let me give some context. I was an early adopter of the Wii, I stood on the Best Buy lines, with their tickets and their limited supplies. Yeah, remember those? Good times, I was 9 of 20 in my line when I got my Wii a cold winter’s morning in January. My first four games were Twilight Princess, WarioWare Smooth Moves, Elebits and Rayman Raving Rabbids.

In a strange, funny way, looking back on it years later, the initial purchase was almost an allegory for the entirety of the Wii’s existence. Two minigame collections, one slightly more substantial (though still quite liked) gimmickfest, and…Zelda. For the first two years, business with the system was pretty consistent, but like most of us, my Wii fell into major disuse after 2009, with me at one point going an entire year without touching it. When something would hit, it would hit hard, and it’ seen some use recently due to some late life surges with Rayman Origins (a multiplatform personal choice, to be fair) and The Last Story, but generally speaking, the high amounts of shovelware and general lack of support have led to it being waylaid while my others took precedent.

With all that lead in, we get to my point. The Wii-U, I think, is going to be the victim of gunshy gamers and disheveled everymen. The ones who don’t really play games all that much, who bought the Wii as a “novelty”, are not really gonna want to fork over more money for, well, more novelty. More concerning is the more devoted gamers, us of the hobby itself, who have been burned firsthand for the past few years. The thought of investing in yet another thing to just gather dust seems rather unappetizing at this point, especially with the quality material still coming out for the other two consoles, handhelds, and the recent triumphant return of PC gaming into my life, not that it ever really left, I can’t see the point. A console is a big investment on anyone’s plate, and you need enough reasons to grab one. I think when the Wii came out, we were all slightly drunk on possibility, and although the launch lineup there was solid, we adopted anyway because of what the Wii meant for the future, what it would offer down the line. And although some of my fave experiences of the past gen were on the Wii (SMG2, No More Heroes), deprived of that sort of shall we say “trust” in the future, the proposition seems…darker.

For my money, I think I will be waiting to get the system for a little while, at least. Does the Wii-U have some exciting ideas? Yes, of course. Creative use of the pad has as much potential to revolutionize the gaming scene as the Wiimote did in its early days. And that launch lineup is certainly something to be admired, although of course one must mention the amount of ports. The presence of known “Gamer’s games” developers like Kamiya and Mikami here at the outset also seems a good sign, and their titles are on my radar quite prominently. Bayonetta 2 alone would be enough for me to pay attention to ANY lineup. But then again, recall that there was a time when they tried to force deeper, more effort-centric games on the Wii and they died in the crib (Madworld, anyone?). Can Nintendo get over their fear of financial reprisal and take more chances, or will they end up, much like the alluded to audience in this concept, too afraid to trust?

As a final point for late adoption, mentioning Madworld above calls to mind that Nintendo is sort of like a console boulder rolling down a game hill, to use an obtuse metaphor. It starts out strong merely through virtue of, well, actually MOVING. But it takes time to pick up its speed, and when it does, we get our No More Heroes‘ and our Madworlds and our JRPGs and of course our Mario Galaxys. Only time will tell if, this time, Nintendo can make the slope a little longer and a little steeper…

And to call back to Anthony, yes, let’s see if Nintendo’s localization division can make some… better decisions this time out.

Some of the more dedicated games on the Wii suffered from little-to-no advertising. Either that, or the advertising did little to inform the public of what exactly the game was. Case in point…

Suikoinfinity: Dave, the problem with your attitude is that it would just continue the cycle of Nintendo catering to the demographic of gamers who support their console from the start. Casuals bought the shit out of the Wii, and look at what happened to their library when the core games started flopping. Shovelware and Wii Music. You mentioned Madworld and No More Heroes — where were the core gamers when those products needed some sales?

You can talk all you want about your disappointment (as can I), and we can speak for the whole lot of us who bought the Wii at launch expecting more, but the fate of new IPs and serious games on the Wii was sealed by what sold good and what did not.

I know trust takes a while to build back, but the games we get in the future will be shaped by the games that sell on the console from the beginning. What kind of message are you giving when Nintendo tries to change their ways and you’re not there to buy Bayonetta 2 or The Wonderful 101 because you’re strategically observing how the console pans out? It might not matter because you’re one person, but I’ve heard the same shit from a number of people. They can’t wait for the niche games, but can wait for price drops or security. Aside from Steve who pointed out that he’s broke, I’m disgusted by the passive “Yeah, I’m gonna wait and see how things fare” attitude that’s going around.

One thing I’m guilty (along with a lot of other people) of is waiting for games to go on sale before buying them. I partially blame myself for the failures of Enslaved and Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom because I didn’t buy ’em until they found their way to the bargain bin… and, you know, games are usually in the bargain bin when they sell like dishes filled with my own shit. I can buy Kingdoms of Amalur now that the price is down, but it’s too late to save a whole company. Buying a game months down the line is like not buying it at all as long as primary sales figures are concerned.

If the Wii U falls victim to anything, it’s going to be the sad cluster of gamers who wonder where the original and core games are but are at the same time not around to buy the bones Nintendo throws at them. They’re usually the first to complain and cry “kiddy console” too.

You guys who are all demanding good stuff on the Wii U, keep standing on the sidelines. Observe as the only games that sell are the Marios, the Zeldas and the Metroids. While you’re at it, let the fickle casual market decide the fate of what gets released. Budgeted shovelware games practically defined the Wii in America, why? Because soccer moms and grandpas can’t tell good games from their varicose veins. Let ’em define another generation.

Nintendo, especially NoA might not have made the best choices lately, but they’re only half the problem.

Hachi76: Oh, I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying. Indeed, it is a twofold problem. But the thing is, like most gamers of my ilk, I have to pick and choose what I invest in. And part of the vicious cycle or not, I simply cannot place this much money on such a risky proposition.

Suikoinfinity: That’s what sucks. We’re not exactly the richest people on the planet and choose to support multiple current consoles and PC. Not only that, but Nintendo’s raising the stakes by entering 60$/game territory.

At that price point, risky game development might become even less palatable. It raises questions too such as “What makes NSMBW worth 50 and NSMBU worth 60″. Do we get more content for the higher prices? If they made Super Mario Galaxy 3, would it be even bigger in scope than 2 was?

My logic is that Nintendo can’t afford to play it safe this time around. Not when they want to pander to the mainstream and the niche crowds for survival, cause the previously mentioned soccer moms and grandpas might start raising eyebrows at having to pay even more for games. One advantage I forgot mentioning about the Wii is that it had cheaper games than 360/PS3. That appeal is gone now and they’re gonna need us more than ever if they plan to make it.

Hachi76: The only apprehension I have given the seemingly good logic there is the initiative they once showed which went… nowhere. Remember when SEGA was gonna put out like 3 really, really mature, gamer focused games Madworld among them. They did, but they barely marketed them and so they withered on the vine. I think Nintendo has even more of a job, they not only have to get us back, they need to not be afraid of offending their other demographic…

Supposed “hardcore” games on the Wii suffered from a conundrum of gamers wanting games like this, but not buying them. (pictured: Dead Space Extraction)

StevenDPX: Shoot, I remember when Guitar Hero III came out on all three consoles. This highest selling version was the Wii version, and the difference between the Wii version and the PS3/360 version was 10 bucks. The price range for the Wii games partially explains why my Wii library is larger than my PS3 games. But now I think more than ever people will be more keen on what games they think are worth $60, especially now that the playing field is level.

On the downside, like James mentions, is that those who wait for a price drop will contribute to a game’s potential failure. But that’s what some publishers want us to believe. To me, it is not us waiting that makes the games fail, but the companies that think they can get away with selling a 4-hour campaign with minimal content for $60. Alongside Nintendo, all videogame companies need to let go of this overblown conceit that we should be thankful they’re even giving us a game and not be “entitled.” I want to see a game MADE by VIDEOGAME DEVELOPERS and not a bunch of investors and CEOs with lavish digs and Ferraris.

Also, as David said, ADVERTISE! That stint with SEGA on the Wii was probably the saddest series of events to happen on the system. Madworld, House of the Dead Overkill, and The Conduit (somewhat) were some pretty great games on the system, especially the first two. But damn what the advertising lacking. I barely saw a commercial for Madworld and Overkill.

Prota: There is no one factor in determining how well or poorly the Wii U will do. But in response to James’ comment earlier about those waiting on the sidelines who hope to see some good come out of the console, there is nothing wrong with waiting. Do I want to see the Wii U do well? Sure thing, but by not purchasing it at launch I am not dooming the console to failure. Regardless of who you are, times are rough and money spent needs to be justified. This month I’ve been debating on what to spend some saved up money on, and decided to invest in purchasing a new PC rather than opt for a Vita or the Wii U. I just found that to be the most appealing option and can’t afford to buy everything that may tickle my fancy.

Waiting to see how things fare is completely reasonable. Did I purchase a Wii at launch? Nope. How about my PS3? I was late on that one too. Sometimes it takes awhile to come to a conclusion on a console in regards to whether it’s good for you. I jumped the gun on getting a 360 when I expected it to be a console that would have a steady stream of exclusive RPGs and would cater to me, and that still remains one of my most regretted purchases. After waiting a bit on the Wii and then the PS3, and eventually having the money to get them, I purchased them seeing as they had the games I was looking for. The WiiU has a lot of potential, but I’m not sorry that what I’ve seen so far is not enough to have me lay down the dough for a day-one purchase. Am I waiting for a price drop? No, if I had enough interest in the console I’d have it pre-ordered just like the rest and my PC would have had to wait. What I’m waiting for is to be convinced that this is something I really want. And I think some others may feel the same way.

I also agree with Nintendo’s marketing being lack luster for anything that wasn’t first-party or casual-oriented. Great games for the Wii have already been mentioned that got little to no marketing from Nintendo. If the Wii U has some really cool things coming our way, we need to see them. Nintendo helped create the stigma that eventually plagued the Wii, so they need to work twice as hard to turn things around. Bayonetta 2 is a great start, and I commend them for that. If they can keep taking the initiative like that and really push to assist and market third-party core titles, then I can see myself picking up the Wii U down the line.

Suikoinfinity: Dave and Steve: Madworld and the other earlier Platinum titles being poorly advertised is SEGA’s problem, if anything, Nintendo just now decided to pick up the ball they fumbled. It’s sad, but when it comes to a lot of core games, they expect us to do our own research and know about them well before the games come out. With so many news sites to do the advertising, there’s the possibility that some of these companies assume that the core demographic keeps up with release dates and that the audience is active enough to keep up with them. I had to look at release schedules since at least the PS2 days to find a lot of interesting games that weren’t being advertised – it’s nothing new.

It might sound a little assholish, but why should advertising have to matter now? It costs a lot of money and if anyone needs to be spoonfed info on what’s coming out, it shouldn’t be the gaming demographic that can easily keep themselves up to date with a quick trip to a site that has a coming soon list like Gamestop or even Gamefaqs. I think dedicated gamers are smarter than that, and in all cynicism believe a large portion just held off for the eventual sale.

How do I know they’re smarter than that? The Wii U sold out in days when preorders were available, and there was hardly any external advertising. All the other kids in my family (8 of them) didn’t know what the fuck the Wii U was when I mentioned it to them. Nintendo didn’t even need to advertise because for the hardware at least, the gaming community was all ears.

Expectations are high. But quite a few are waiting it out on the Wii U.

Speaking of price drops, Tony, my frustration isn’t about the eventual sale, but that everybody seems indifferent about the system right now. Between me and you, we know a lot of gamers outside The Wired Fish and every single person I’ve asked said they’re going to wait, and I’m willing to wager that any Wii U discussions you’ve had with others went the same direction.

Such widespread apathy among educated gamers suggests to me there’s something wrong. Consoles are selling, but there’s a lot of people who just want to jerk their new-tech boner and of course the Nintendo loyalists who will ensure at least the first party games sell like crazy. They’re not reliable. By the time the waiting crowd gets the Wii U, the first wave of game releases will be finished. By then it’s too late for Zombi U if it sells horribly. Some people might not even get there in time to add a Bayonetta 2 or Wonderful 101 sale when it matters.

And again, I’ve bashed Nintendo and consumers over the course of this discussion to stress that core games selling poorly and Nintendo (especially of America) revoking great games seems to be one great big cycle. You mentioned what Reggie had to say about Disaster, but only 5 months later Madworld bit the dust. Figures talk, and apparently, more people were out buying Wii Music; in a way bringing truth to his claim. If our relationship (as a gaming community) with Nintendo is going to be salvaged, both us and the company have to solidify that commercial bond. It seems to me that they’re making the right steps, but I don’t see the rest of us doing our part to meet them half-way.

Prota: Advertising still matters in the sense that Nintendo needs to let consumers know what their system has to offer. They need to convince dedicated gamers that this is a console they’d want. As you mentioned James, we know plenty of fellow gamers that are indifferent towards the console. I believe that most of the people I know aren’t waiting for a price drop to pick up the system, they’re just not interested in it, or not interested enough. I understand your worry for new IPs that are taking risks on the console, but that holds true for every console. I will admit though, it’ll be even riskier for those on the Wii U.

Similar to what you were saying earlier, early adopters are really going to shape the path of the console. If Wii U owners want more core games, they have to show it by taking a few risks themselves. It all comes down to supply and demand. At the same time, the Wii U needs more ways to grab the interest of gamers who aren’t just looking forward to the next Nintendo game or various ports. It’s going to be a very give-and-take relationship, but if Nintendo sticks by its promises of a more core gaming experience on the Wii U, then they may find an eager audience waiting for them as long as they prove it.

xhipsterpanda: I’m not all that savvy to the Wii U, but will there be some form of integration with the 3DS?

[Editor’s Note: We forgot to answer this question. But yes, Nintendo has plans to. The next Smash Bros. comes to mind in this regard as it was confirmed to have cross-play. Also, Nintendo-Network IDs will be unified on both Wii U and 3DS]

LSlick: Personally I am going to wait on purchasing the Wii U until more games come out. The only game that looks interesting is ZombiU and that is an exclusive. All the other games that looks decent or interesting are just ports.

I remember when the DS first came out and I saw the launch titles. I wasn’t hyped for any of the games because they were either gimmicky or just ports. Anyway, I didn’t buy it until a full year after when Mario Kart DS, Sonic Rush, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and Advance Wars: Dual Strike were all coming out around the same time. And looking back at the launch titles to the games that were released up until those games came out, there hardily was a reason to buy it the first year it came out.

The lackluster Nintendo 3DS launch was a sort of wake-up-call for Nintendo.

Suikoinfinity: The same goes for most of the recent handheld systems. Even the 3DS and Vita are just getting traction now after a slow start, which indicates a trend for the handheld systems definitely, but that has nothing to do with home consoles. They typically mature faster because, well, there’s a lot more on the line.

Sony needed to grab people to stay in the game because of their ridiculous launch price. The Xbox, after a mediocre first system finally caught some success, probably from a ton of gamers who weren’t about to drop top dollar for a PS3 like me, and they needed to keep that audience satisfied. What’s the big thing for the Wii U? They’re selling consoles at a loss just like when they reduced the price of the 3DS, they might alienate their surefire casual market from last generation by raising their game prices to that of the big boys.

With handhelds, there’s also a lot less competition than on the console market, so the stakes are raised. Here, you can afford slouching and saving the so called “AAA” games for a year later. Nobody can afford that with consoles, not with how intense the competition is becoming.

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