Over the last couple of days Wii U rumours have started flaring up all over the place, and I love it.
Yes OK, both myself and John have made valid points against hype and speculation in the past and my view remains the same as ever, I don’t approve. All the same, the rumours still excite me. Now I’ve read them I can’t get them out of my mind, they have piqued my enthusiasm for the Wii U all over again. So, for anyone else who can’t wait for the Wii U, I thought I’d share a couple with you.
Right off the bat, according to current speculation, Ubisoft will be releasing a card game for the Wii U. Immediately the thought “shovel-ware” comes to mind, but this doesn’t have to be the case! After all, with the Wii U’s cameras and fancy graphics it is entirely possible that it could incorporate features like augmented reality, allowing high-res battles to take place in your living room.
Then there is the rumour about THQ, one of their staff having posted on Linkedin that they are working on one unannounced multi-platform title that will be released on the Wii U as well as the PS3 and Xbox 360 and another that is a Wii U exclusive. This could be great news, THQ produce tonnes of great franchises. So as long as they say away from the uDraw tablet style games the Wii U could be getting an ace exclusive release for a franchise like Homefront.
On top of all this there was a recent rumour that Lego City Stories was going to be among the launch games for the console. As strange as this makes me sound, if this were true, it would make me so very happy. I can imagine little better than a game that is effectively a Lego version of Grand Theft Auto.
*Explodes with excitement.
Yes, well, exciting as these rumours have the potential to be if true, amongst all the hype and excitement the one small piece of actual news about the Wii U was almost overlooked. It is a tiny quote from Panoptic Management Consultants that is very easy to pass over without a second thought. It goes something like this: third party developers “have already received final devkits” Panoptic then conceding that “EA and other companies have a better idea about the support of multiple Wii U controllers than we do.”
For those of you who haven’t twigged it yet (or simply haven’t been following the Wii U) this seems to confirm that the Wii U will support multiple controllers, an addition to the console that Nintendo were shying away from confirming at last year’s E3.
So, why would Nintendo choose to incorporate multiple Wii U controllers into the Wii U as opposed to just having a single Wii U controller functioning with several normal Wii motes (aside from the fact this would be like asking people to play multi-player games on the Wii with a Gamecube controller)?
OK, stupid question. It’s because multiplayer games are awesome.
No, seriously, having good multi-player in a game is what can often make or break a game. Not always and not for every game, but certainly for many games multiplayer is where real enjoyment of the game can come from.
One of the biggest markets for the Wii U will surely be from developers porting their games straight over from other consoles. Now, while this sounds initially undesirable, it is at least more preferable to them ignoring the Wii U completely. They might do this well if to port the local multiplayer sections of the game they had to map the controls to both the Wii U controller and old Wiimotes. Honestly, it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.
The reason why they would care so much about struggling with porting multiplayer sections of their games? Well, it goes back to the above answer: multiplayer games are awesome, or at least they can be if made properly. Take FPS games for example.
Now, personally, I think of FPSs as among my least favourite game genres in the world, in fact I cannot think of a scenario where I would be willing to sit down and play an FPS by myself. However, other people make all the difference. In fact, I will go so far as to swallow my pride here and say that in fact there is one, just one, mind you, scenario where I have enjoyed playing a FPS and would enjoy it again. That was the times I have played CoD with my friends. The competitive nature of such games makes them all that much more fun. I genuinely enjoy games more when there is someone to help, show off to or, preferably, beat. It is not that FPSs are intrinsically bad then (that’s just my personal opinion), rather that the multiplayer in games like these actually lets me have fun playing them.
Even when the rare game is made without multiplayer gameplay, most studios make an effort to include some kind of pseudo-human involvement through the presence of other characters who you have to help or compete with. This can vary from having the odd and much hated escort mission, to Irrational’s decision to have Elizabeth present throughout all of BioShock Infinite.
All the same, actual multiplayer, when done well, will add a certain edge to a game that you won’t get else where. This is why the provision of second Wii U controller support is such a vital concept. Sure we’ve know that the Wii U was always going to support Wiimotes, but gameplay would have been so unbalanced if local multiplayer was always going to be confined to one player with a superior controller facing several with inferior ones, as the E3 demos seemed to infer.
So in summary:
Not that this is a spectacularly innovative or clever move by Nintendo, it’s just good that they seem to not have missed a trick here … unless of course they have. After all, I may have just completely misinterpreted the quote from Panoptic and they could instead have been referring to multi-controller gameplay online.
Oh well. I guess we’ll find out eventually, but if the Wii U is without multiple controller support then it may be worth questioning whether to get one at all.