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Wii U

In Japan earlier today, Nintendo hosted a meeting for shareholders. Satoru Iwata answered a slew of questions about Wii U at the event, among other topics. For the important information from Iwata, read on below.

– Nintendo is releasing text book software through DS, has been well received, but many are against bringing game systems into classrooms
– Brain Age changed some minds about the above
– Earnings for board members dropped as did the lowered company earnings
– Iwata was the only person to make over 100 million yen (137 million yen)
– Six directors topped the 100 million yen mark
– Iwata’s earnings dropped 50 million yen from last year
– Wii U received great reactions from those in L.A.
– Iwata said a majority of overseas media offered congratulations to him
– Reaction for Wii U differed greatly between those who covered the product at the show and those who just covered it online
– Nintendo needs to consider how to convey the value of the product
– Nintendo hoping that low software output for Wii U launch won’t be an issue, unlike the 3DS’ situation
– Is Nintendo’s HD development ability okay? Iwata: Regarding Zelda HD, Japanese developers said that it could not be replicated on other machines. It was made in a relatively short period, so Iwata feels that HD development will not be a problem.
– Iwata said Wii wasn’t accepted by the core since they didn’t want to abandon their preferred control approach and it didn’t offer HD
– Wii didn’t have HD since HD const performance at the time was low
– Wii U makes it easier to use conventional controls
– Wii U controller not as big/heavy as it looks
– 3DS can technically be used as a Wii U controller
– You can’t go online if you use 3DS as a Wii U controller (unclear if this is for Wii U or 3DS)
– Iwata explained that if you connect Wii U and 3DS, then players have to purchase both systems

Thanks to Thomas N for the tip!

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A total of twelve gaming industry members have provided commentary about the Wii U to Eurogamer. We’ve heard from a few of these people before such as Frank Gibeau and Danny Bilson, though others have weighed in as well including Blue Castle Games’ Jason Leigh, Capcom’s Hiroyuki Kobayashi, and Greg Zeschuk from BioWare.

Frank Gibeau, president, EA Games:

We’re big supporters of it. There’s a lot of advances in processing and GPUs and also what’s happening on the interface level and online, and we’re very pleased Nintendo has come out with a machine that can do HD.

The controller is awesome. It’s fantastic. I loved the golf ball on the ground. That was a great visual. Like Miyamoto said, it’ll open up new ways to play games we haven’t even discovered yet. We have to spend time with the hardware and start to bring designs over to see what works, how it works and what you can do.

You saw with Madden football, obviously there are lots of cool new things you can do, and with FIFA [it could control] the way you call plays. We are looking at the Battlefield experience to Wii U. Nothing specific to announce, but we’ve already started looking at how we’re going to do that and what the features will be.

I believe it is [capable of reproducing PS3 and Xbox 360 visuals]. It certainly has the high-definition resolution. But it looks like it’s definitely competitive. And it’ll do some very unique things.

This information comes from Asssassin’s Creed: Revelations developer Brent Ashe…

“That hardware [Wii U] is interesting because, now it’s going to be in HD and wrapping that in with their control scheme – I’m curious to see where that goes.”

Just as a sidenote, Ubisoft Quebec is working on Assassin’s Creed Wii U. Ubisoft Montreal has been the main studio behind the franchise (and I assume that’s where Ashe comes from), though I do believe Quebec has chipped in a bit. From what I understand, Quebec is handling their first, true Assassin’s Creed on their own, so it should be interesting to see how the game turns out.

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Early on in the 3DS’ lifecycle, Capcom announced two brand new Resident Evil games for the handheld. Now that Nintendo has introduced another piece of hardware, might the company consider bringing the franchise to Wii U as well?

While nothing has been announced, both Resident Evil: Raccoon City producer Masachika Kawata and designer Kenji Matsuura expressed quite a bit of interest in the console when speaking to CVG. Kawata went as far as to say that he would love to work on a Resident Evil game for Wii U.

“Whether or not we actually will develop a Resident Evil title for Wii U, we’ll put that aside as obviously I don’t know yet. But for me personally, I’d love to do just that. It’s a very, very interesting piece of hardware. Whenever I see new game machines and their new possibilities get into my head, the ideas just start flowing. I’d absolutely love to make a Resident Evil on it. I really love the idea of being able to play the game even if my wife or my kids come and steal the TV. That’s great, brilliant.”

“As a game designer, when I see Wii U, my first thoughts are: ‘Oh wow, I could do this or that, or what would happen if I try to make a game like X,Y or Z.’ My motivation instantly goes through the roof and I want to try a lot of interesting new things. Nothing’s been decided specifically for Resident Evil but it certainly would be interesting.”

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Nintendo’s Katsuya Eguchi won’t comment on how the Wii U stacks up the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Instead, he’s more focused on what makes Wii U original.

In an interview with EGM, Katsuya told the magazine that he hopes fans consider Wii U to be a completely different console. Additionally, he believes that it’s most important to be unique – that’s where the controller comes in.

“Rather than compare specs with Microsoft and Sony, I’d like for people to view this as a different type of machine altogether. For me personally, what’s most important is what makes Wii U original, and that’s the controller.”

This information comes from Aliens: Colonial Marines producer Brian Burleson…

“We didn’t get the hardware for the Wii U until a couple of months ago, and we’ve been working on it since. The software, it’s pretty easy to work on, so that makes things a lot easier. When you already have something working, especially on the Unreal Engine, it’s a pretty basic, straightforward port at that point. Unreal makes it easier to do that, for sure. It’s too early too early to talk about the specifics on that [Wii U functionality], because we’ve just got things working. We’ll talk more about what that’s going to be and what’s going on in the future. But the goal is always to make it… for all the platforms to be the same. It really sucks to have a game be nerfed on one platform, or missing a feature on one platform. So the goal is always to make we’re fully-featured, and that everything is the same experience. It [the game] runs on the console, and you can do some really cool stuff with it. We’ll talk more about that in the future, but just think about the possibilities.”

A common compliment we’ve been hearing from developers is that it’s been easy working with the Wii U hardware. Here’s hoping that even more companies will be open to trying out the Wii U if teams can get content running without much trouble.

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It appears that Monolith Soft’s next title is for Wii U. The company’s job solicitation page was updated earlier today, stating that they are hiring staff for a game that will be created for Nintendo’s upcoming console. Other than that, we don’t have any additional information. With any luck, perhaps Nintendo of America will localize a Monolith Soft game… whenever it’s finally ready to be released, that is!

Thanks to Thomas N for the tip!

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This information comes from Shigeru Miyamoto…

“We’re not going to sit here and say that our goal is to become the number one online gaming company, because that’s not our goal. But, understanding that the types of experiences our consumers like to play do often contain elements to them that can be improved or may even require an online connection and also knowing that the system is going to have a browser I think suggests that obviously internet and internet connectivity is going to be very important for the system.

For example, there are opportunities to take advantage of online to expand a local, same-room multiplayer experience by connecting that to the internet and making new types of play that way. Also by having the smaller screen, being able to go online and perhaps see what game your friend is playing or see what TV they’re watching, I think there’s a lot of possibilities for how you could use that. Certainly internet functionality is something that will be important for the system.

We have introduced Miis to the world and everyone will hopefully have their own Mii, so obviously I think there’s possibilities along those lines there. And I will say that this is a system that will have a great deal of appeal for its online connectivity. A key word for Nintendo in the online sphere has been creating an experience that’s comfortable for all players, so we’ll still look at that and stick to our idea of trying to create an online experience that’s welcoming to everyone.”

Nintendo has started to take online gaming more seriously, but it will never be their number one priority. Still, it sounds like the Big N is a bit more serious this time. They’re working with publishers and developers to implement their own networks, though I’m wondering how Nintendo will handle their own online functionality.

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David Jaffe says he loves Nintendo, but that doesn’t mean he won’t make a harsh prediction about the company’s future. The Twisted Metal developer predicts that the Wii U will turn out to be around 50% less successful than Nintendo’s current console. Jaffe explained in a recent interview:

“I don’t think it will do anywhere near as well as the Wii did. This is no disrespect to anybody. This is just a Jaffe scenario, me playing Michael Patcher for a moment. I think there’s a large enough percentage of people who bought the Wii as something other than a gaming device, and turned it into the fad that it was. Most of that percentage is going to go away now. I don’t think enough of them have become ‘gamers’. They tried [the Wii], now they’re onto something like free-to-play MMOs and then they’ll move onto something else. How many of them got converted into actual gamers? I don’t think a large portion. Then if you look at families, a lot of kids want iPads, iPhones and iPods now. And a large portion of the people who would’ve been interested in traditional Nintendo stuff, beyond core gamers, are just as happy playing Storm in a Teacup on iPad versus a new 3D Mario. Between those two audiences going away and the number of choices core gamers already have on the other systems – which, let’s be honest, a lot of them like super-amazing graphics on their 3D TVs and stuff like that – a lot of people are going to be better served going to the competition. It doesn’t mean the Wii U isn’t going to work, but I think the perfect storm of interest that worked for the Wii won’t happen again, because there’s enough competition speaking to those interests at a cheaper cost. I think the Wii U is going to be less successful than the Wii, probably 50% less successful. I don’t think you’re going to see the Wii U at #1 in the next console generation. But I also thought the PSP was going to kick the shit out of the DS, so I don’t know. I’m not trying to be mean to Nintendo. I grew up with Nintendo and I love them. That’s just my guess.”

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Ninja Gaiden III: Razor’s Edge is will into development for Wii U. Actually, Team Ninja localization manager Peter Garza says that the title is already 30% complete. As Team Ninja has said previously, Razor’s Edge is being heavily influenced by the controls in the DS title, Dragon Sword.

“There was a DS version, so we have some experience with touch controls and it [Dragon Sword] seemed to be fairly well received. So, now we have the chance to give this full console experience with those controls on the Wii U. We’ve actually started development on it but we don’t have anything set. We’re just playing with it. We’re looking forward to emerging of Ninja Gaiden 3 gameplay and visuals with Dragon Sword touch commands. That’s where we’re thinking now. Honestly, we’re just playing with it, so it might change–that’s the focus right now.”

Another topic of discussion for all versions of Ninja Gaiden III is the title’s level of violence. Garza took a few moments to comment on that as well.

“What does it mean to cut someone with a sword, both physically and mentally? You’ll notice sequences when time slows down, the camera will zoom in. That’s the representation of the sword going into the body, getting caught in the bones and the muscles of the enemy, and you have to really push through the meat of the body to finish the cut. We call that steel on bone.”

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