The Wii U sucks. There, I said it. It’s been seven months since release and all its fans (myself included) have to show for their loyal support is a next-generation dust collector. In fact after the E3 Nintendo Direct I wanted to stab my heart out with a plastic fork and sacrifice it to both Sony and Microsoft (yes, even Microsoft). Nintendo bigwigs have been quick to respond to its criticisms, claiming as long as they put a smile on people’s faces with content, they will be successful. But there is no content? After the games shortage of the original Wii, consumers need to see actions not words. What actions can Nintendo take? Well, they could put some actual horsepower into the machine, sustaining massive financial losses by recalling all Wii U hardware and replacing it with new tech. Or they could just follow these five easy steps:
5Create Better Smash Bros. Characters
Brawl introduced super-iconic Nintendo characters suitable for a fighting game into the legendary series. Names such as Solid Snake, Wario, Pokemon Trainer and the unstoppable Meta Knight were all instant hits. Fast-forward to today and only three newcomers have been announced for Super Smash Bros on the Wii U and yet, even in such early days, it’s hard not to be disappointed. Mega Man admittedly is a great addition, but what about the villager from Animal Crossing? Yep, this ultra-threatening average citizen comes equipped with his staple shovel, bug net and fishing rod, and will intimidate his mighty enemies with a talent for customization matched only by Minecraft. As if a villager wasn’t generic enough for Nintendo, you’ll also get hands-on time with the Wii Fit Trainer – dishing out insane levels of damage with her super flexible leg stretches and eye-poppingly tight yoga pants. Come on, Nintendo, even PlayStation All-Stars didn’t suck this bad.
4Where is Metroid?
When news broke Retro Studios was working on a game we all wanted to see, Ninty fans across the globe simultaneously collapsed into life threatening bouts of ectasy. “A NEW METROID GAME”, they screamed. Finally we have something to take advantage of Nintendo’s newfound power, equally that of a console released over seven years prior. Then just a couple of weeks ago that game was revealed – a 2D Donkey Kong platformer… wait, WHAAAAT!
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the work that when into that stupid gorilla’s revival, but setting one of the few Nintendo studios capable of delivering quality games for the system on a genre that is no more than an advanced jumping simulator, is depressing. Where’s the big, atmospheric worlds? Where’s the legendary arm cannon? And where the hell is the greatest body to ever grace a space suit?
3No More 2D Platformers or Cel-shaded Zeldas
We get it Nintendo, scaling down the graphical requirements of your two biggest franchises – Mario and Zelda – lets you focus on what matters most: gameplay. Still, how many people can you honestly say were excited when they saw the art direction for Skyward Sword and New Super Mario Bros. U? Then you release an impressive tech demo featuring Link and a giant spider claiming this is what the Wii U is capable of. I still get hard from that mouth-watering one minute trailer. If the Wii U can do that, why aren’t you working on the new Zelda game, LIKE RIGHT NOW?
Maybe the console can’t run something like that and you’re just a company of liars like the folks responsible for Aliens: Colonial Marines. Do you take pleasure in teasing fully grown men like a stripper prancing outside a men’s maximum security prison? A word of warning old buddy, keep doing that and eventually you’ll get screwed.
About a year ago Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said that the gaming community always ‘wants more’; that their appetite for new titles is ‘insatiable’. And he’s partially right, we do ‘want more’, but even a fat man gets full at some point. Ever since the launch of the GameCube, Nintendo fans have been like homeless bums, begging ceaselessly while deprived of the one thing they need to survive: games. You can’t starve your consumer base after they shelled out hundreds of dollars for your product then expect them to be satisfied with a super rare steak, no matter how good it tastes. I’m incredibly happy with my PS3 because it keeps my belly full. Meanwhile the Wii reduced me to a blind beggar with half my face burned off, an image the Wii U seems eager to repeat.
Unfortunately, Nintendo’s really dug itself a hole here. It claimed not to make the same mistake twice but then went out and developed a machine that’s already outdated. Lots of third party devs have already declared the machine dead and won’t develop for it because it lacks power and offers little financial return, and they’re right. You don’t buy the console for third party games, do you? The Nintendo ports always suck. You buy it for Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing and Smash Bros., and wait five years for each iteration to be released. Annualised franchises are a bad stain on this industry, but when they’re the only games you’re selling, you need to be outputting them as quickly as possible.
One alternative is to establish new IPs. Monolith Soft’s Project X is a step in the right direction; it takes a critically acclaimed and commercially successful Wii game (Xenoblade Chronicles), made by a legendary team of developers (many of them worked on the incredible Chrono series), and reinvents it for a new platform. The Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3 are also smart choices. But they’re not enough, we need more. Why not delve deeper into the companies rich history and reintroduce classic series. Pokemon Stadium and Snap, Star Fox and F-Zero all hold a dear place in people’s hearts and minds, which in business terms means Wii U hardware sales.
1Make a Pokemon RPG
If Nintendo released a Pokemon RPG for the Wii U it could jack the price up on the console to four figures, sell it from a single retailer in Antarctica, restrict its availability to legal dwarfs, and it would still manage to sell millions (and give Antarctic tourism a boost). The latest Pokemon title sold 6.5 million copies and counting, the one before that hit 14.5 million. It’s not a cash-in, it’s a huge install base and untapped market. Even the PlayStation 3 ripped the franchise off with its own pocket monster based RPG – it’s called Ni No Kuni.
But Pokemon has always been portable I hear you say, Game Freak would never allow it. Did you also know women lacked the most basic human rights less than a century ago? Just because something has always been doesn’t mean things shouldn’t change. Link the Wii U version to the 3DS if you still want it to be portable. You’ve already done it to the new Smash Bros so why can’t it be done with this? If Game Freak refuses to do it pay a Martin Luther King impersonator to inspire the entire development team. If that fails chain them to their offices and whip the little lads until they’re pleading to work on a console release.
Oh and one more thing Nintendo; if there will never be a Pokemon RPG for the Wii U, then why did you design the gamepad TO LOOK LIKE A FLIPPIN’ POKEDEX?