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Wii U and Indies: Will it Work This Time?


July 9, 2012 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next
 

It's next-to-impossible to analyze just how well 3DS eShop developers are doing as of now, thanks to Nintendo's usual tight-lippedness about sales figures, and insistence that developers do not divulge figures themselves.

However, numerous 3DS developers have already applauded the success of the platform, including Mutant Mudds developer Renegade Kid and Marvel Pinball 3D's Zen Studios -- the latter of which called the eShop "a little gold mine."

Whatever the case, the platform certainly comes across as a huge step forward from the WiiWare store, which suffered from sales thresholds for developers and poor overall sales.

As a result, some studios have clearly been put off developing for the Wii U's digital service, including MDK2 re-release developer Beamdog, which suffered from the Wii's requirement that a game achieve 6,000 sales before Nintendo would pay -- at all -- and its drawn-out certification process.

La-Mulana's former publisher Nicalis also cancelled the WiiWare version of the classic game earlier this year, citing WiiWare and Nintendo's allegedly poor submissions process -- all issues that developers will be hoping Nintendo fixes for its next digital store.

Back on the Wii U eShop front, Bohatsch was "a bit surprised" that the Wii U's own eShop wasn't mentioned at all during E3, although having seen the social connectivity and online game services that the Wii U will provide, he is confident that Nintendo is heading in the right direction.

"I really like the asynchronous connectivity of the Miiverse. Especially the messaging system that can be built into the games -- it reminds me a lot of Demon's Souls," he muses.

"These kinds of social interaction turn games into living spaces, where other human beings can leave their marks and help each other out. I think Nintendo is on the right track, so let's see how their games will use that."


Toki Tori 2

Collin van Ginkel of Two Tribes is looking to bring Toki Tori 2 to the Wii U's download service. As with Gaijin and Broken Rules, Two Tribes already worked on games for Nintendo's Wii download service, and so had a foot in the digital door.

However, van Ginkel adds that expressing early interest in developing for the console helped the company to secure a dev kit and potential release for the Wii U launch window.

"As a general rule, I think it helps to keep Nintendo in the loop on what your plans are, even if they can't help you out straight away," he adds.

As for development on the Wii U, the Two Tribes dev notes that Nintendo has really upped its game, allowing for huge triple-A titles to be properly ported over -- unlike some of the downgraded ports seen on its predecessor.

"The old Wii used a type of graphics hardware that basically became extinct a couple of years after the GameCube was released, so you had to make quite a few changes to get your PC/Xbox/PS3 engine to run on the Wii," he notes.

"For Wii U this is no longer the case, which is why you see Unreal Engine 3 games such as Mass Effect 3 being announced. This should make it much easier for most people to develop their graphical engines for Wii U."

Like his fellow Wii U indies, van Ginkel has watched the way in which Nintendo has advanced its online services in recent times, and was extremely happy to get cracking with it.

"One of the reasons why we're so excited about Wii U is because of the recent changes at Nintendo regarding their online strategy," he explains. "Recent developments such as the 3DS eShop and the announcement of full priced titles getting day-one downloads give us confidence Nintendo won't stick to their WiiWare policies."

On the topic of Nintendo's Miiverse, van Ginkel finds it notable that Nintendo is presenting these social aspects as one of the main drawing points of the Wii U -- a far cry from Nintendo's past forays into the world of online social gaming.

However, he is wary of Nintendo's past, yet is hopeful that this leopard can change its spots. "I do hope they'll keep working on it after launch, since that was one of the gripes we had with WiiWare, the lack of updates to fix the issues it had," he adds.


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