Water is usually a background element in action/adventure games. Or at best, water gets a temporary spotlight in levels that let you take a break from standard play -- a quick splash and then back to land. It's rarely e...
Nintendo should go third party, they say. "Nintendo should have their IP on every platform," they say. No matter how many times CEO Satoru Iwata or anybody in Nintendo management have repeated themselves, there's always some new chucklehead with the brilliant idea that putting Nintendo games on other consoles will result in a massive influx of revenue.
You should be happy to know that Satoru Iwata agrees with you! Nintendo would make a lot of money... in the short term, that is.
In a discussion with CVG, Iwata made himself as clear as possible: "If I was to take responsibility for the company for just the next one or two years, and if I was not concerned about the long-term future of Nintendo at all, it might make sense for us to provide our important franchises for other platforms, and then we might be able to gain some short-term profit. However, I'm really responsible for the long-term future of Nintendo as well, so I would never think about providing our precious resources for other platforms at all."
When Nintendo saw what "realistic polygon-powered graphics" were possible on the GameCube/Xbox/PS2, their first instinct wasn't to make a game about human beings doing crimes, saving the world, or even talking to each other. It does not seem that Hollywood-style activities are in Nintendo's DNA.
Instead, they came out swinging with a game about harvesting little carrot people born to die selflessly in battle against giant cute/ugly wildlife in a lush, bustling wilderness. On the surface, there isn't much here that resembles the "realistic life experiences."
Scratch that surface and you'll see that underlying concepts of Pikmin are all too "real." Balancing concern for others vs. self-centered greed, experiencing the frailty that comes from accepting the inevitable passage of time, and facing the anxiety that comes from voyaging out on your own are the core components that make this series tick. Basically, it's adult life in videogame form -- specifically the life of a boss.
Nintendo's latest earnings have come in an overall things aren't that bad looking for the company. They had a positive net return with ¥8.62 billion ($88 million) this last quarter. Nintendo is forecasting its net profit to increase to ¥55 billion ($563 million) by the end of the fiscal year.
So here's the bad news. The Wii U moved 160,000 consoles around the world between April 1 and June 30. 90,000 in Japan, 60,000 in the US, and 10,000 across Europe and Australia. Ouch. This bring total lifetime sales up to 3.61 million now. Meanwhile, the Wii moved 210,000 in the same time period. This also helped finally hit 100 million Wiis sold worldwide, by the way.
Good news is that the 3DS is doing great! It was the best selling hardware the last two months in a row here in the US, and has moved 1.4 million units this quarter.
Software wise, just over one million games were shipped in this same quarter on the Wii U, while the 3DS saw over 11 million software units moved. The biggest contributing factors have been Animal Crossing: New Leaf moving 5.4 million, and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon moving 2.65 million.
Anyone eager to see their favorite Nintendo characters interact with one another in a cinematic capacity in the new Super Smash Bros.should begin preparing for disappointment right now. CG cutscenes won't be included in either the Wii U or 3DS versions of the game.
Creator Masahiro Sakurai wrote in his column on Famitsu that because the Super Smash Bros. Brawl cutscenes ended up being uploaded to the Internet, they wouldn't be included in the newest iteration. "You can only truly wow a player the first time he sees [a cutscene]. I felt if players saw the cutscenes outside of the game, they would no longer serve as rewards for playing the game, so I've decided against having them," Sakurai commented.
The omission of cutscenes doesn't equate to a lack of single-player campaign, however. Nintendo has already confirmed that Super Smash Bros. will have a single-player campaign, but it'll be different than Brawl's Subspace Emissary, without cinematics tying together the entire experience.
In a way, it's kind of admirable that Sakurai's sticking to his guns with his beliefs regarding the cutscenes. However, it'll be probably be 2014 by the time his game comes out. Concern that video from his widely distributed media will end up on the Internet is something that he should've accepted about a decade ago.
EarthBound was re-released on the Wii U Virtual Consoles this week, with off-TV play and online access to the packed-in strategy guide from the game's original 1995 release on the SNES. Many fans of the game were overjoyed, while many more took one look and said, "You want me to pay $10 for this?!?" They may have grown to love Ness from his appearances in Smash Bros., heard about the game's influence on the creators of South Park, seen the amazing merch from Fangamer, or read one of the many brilliant essays on the subject, but when confronted with the actual opportunity to buy the game, they were left cold.
The sad fact is, EarthBound isn't any more marketable today than when it initially failed to meet sales expectations back in the '90s. Though Nintendo was wise enough to avoid telling the world that the game "stinks" and is "garbage" this time around, the underlying barriers between EarthBound and the mass market remain the same. It's very hard to see from a distance what makes the game so great.
Here's my best attempt to give you an up close look at why this game means so much to so many.
In a bizarre turn of events, Nintendo may be gearing up to release EarthBound on the Wii U Virtual Console today for $9.99. Thanks to a listing spotted on Nintendo's official website, it appears as if the game will be dropping in multiple regions.
Why Nintendo would release the game with zero fanfare is unknown, but stand by for official word from the Big N anytime now, as I prepare today's issue of Nintendo Download.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has revealedZombiU made no money, the Wii U launch title failing to become "even close" to profitable. Despite rumors and teasing, it now appears no sequel is on the cards for the foreseeable future.
The Ubi boss man went so far as to blame ZombiU's performance for the final decision to make Rayman Legends multiplatform. The implication seems to be that the great-but-flawed survival horror game did so badly Ubisoft has really cold feet about throwing exclusive support behind Nintendo's system.
In the same GI.biz article, Electronic Arts got some digs in at the Wii U too, stating, "The lack of online engagement that we see on Wii U [is troubling]. It's so integral to what we do. They're so small it's hardly worth running the servers. It seems like a box that's out of sync with the future of EA -- which is one that gives a real social feel to our games. The Wii U feels like an offline experience right now."
Publishers have been quietly distancing themselves from Nintendo's home console since launch, and now we have some solid statements of explanation. Between ZombiU's failure and perceived shortcomings of the system's online capabilities, it's not looking good for the console's third party chances. Nintendo's going to need about a hundred more Marios, stat!
Man, that sucks for ZombiU, though. I love that game.
Speaking to Polygon about what it's like to choose which characters make the cut for Nintendo's popular fighting franchise, Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai said that "The amount of stress I feel, it's almost to the brink of death.
"Because it's not just a matter of me personally thinking this character or that character is going to be in the game; it's that we also have the game balance, animation, graphics and sound to think about in order to make that character fully fleshed out in that universe. I have to think about all of that when I go through this decision-making process."
Cutting characters is similarly challenging. "Whether it's a minor character or a character that is one of the most highly skilled and most played, if that character is removed from the game, the people who live for that character in Smash Bros. are going to have their feelings hurt," stated Sakurai. "I think we have to really consider that, so I take a very serious, hard look at that and have empathy for the players who look for these type of characters when we're making these decisions."
Mega Man, the Wii Fit Trainer, and Animal Crossing's Villager have been announced as additions to the roster. So far, so good. I'm still cracking up over the Trainer. Sakurai says the team narrows down candidates by asking questions such as: "What is the uniqueness of this character? What does this character bring into the Smash Bros. universe? What do they have that other characters don't? How do they complement or contrast other characters?"
In an E3 interview with Nintendo executive Scott Moffitt, GamesBeat hit on a few aspects of the Wii U, such as the drive to remain competitive despite Sony's strong E3 presence, and the graphical power of the Wii U. But one particular part of the interview stands out, given recent events -- Moffitt says there are no plans to change the Wii U's price.
Last week, people were shouting from the rooftops that we'd see a Wii U price drop, but it didn't happen -- and it doesn't look like it's going to happen for a while. Moffitt explains the issue, stating, "with great hardware coming, that will drive the install base. The perception of our price has changed, but what’s also changed is that people now see what great content is coming. They’ll see the value in those games. They’ll be able to enjoy a Wii U in their household for a lot less than a competing console."
So there you have it. Not only was I not expecting a Wii U price cut last week, but I don't think they need one in general. Once Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 hit in full force, if they don't make a dent, then you can think about a price cut -- but not before.
Abe's Oddysee: New N' Tasty is coming to the Wii U and PlayStation 4, but neither the Xbox 360 nor the Xbox One will get a lick of Abe's meat. Lorne Lanning's reasoning is simple -- Oddworld doesn't sell out, and an indie has to do just that to get Microsoft's blessing.
"For Xbox One they’ve granted us a license for New ‘n’ Tasty! but they still say you need a publisher," Lanning told Eurogamer. "We don’t have a publisher so we’re not officially on the platform, even though we’re compatible, even though we’ll be ready to do it. Period.
"Why do we need a publisher when we self-finance our games, we build our own IP, we manage our own IP and we’ve turned nearly two million units online as indie publishers sold – not free downloads? Why? What’s wrong with us?"
Lanning's no fan of the kind of capitalism that dominates the game industry -- the exact brand of money-fueled cronyism the Xbox One is built on. Indie games requiring a publisher is ridiculous, he says, and adds this is coming from a guy who helped launch the original Xbox with an exclusive!
The grisly inevitable now remains -- a thorough assessment of the three shows to judge who "won" the event, and keep the bickering of the gamer community alive. As with prior years, I'm going to use my journalism power to analyze the three shows, and grade them as one would a dribbling school child. Doing so gives me an undeserved sense of power.
So, let's rate the conferences, and work out who won!
I expected Nintendo to give a little more of a third party push than Bayonetta 2, but the console is still young, and there's time to show off more projects in due time. I'm still reeling from Mega Man.
It sounds like you guys weren't impressed so far with the Microsoft and EA conferences, so Ubisoft had a chance to shine in their wake. With equal parts of over and underwhelming reveals, Ubisoft capped off a presentation with the very promising looking The Division, which will land on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
So far, it looks like Ubisoft has had the strongest conference, just like last year. The last minute reveal of The Division made its strongest case for the title, but of course we still have Sony later tonight, and Nintendo tomorrow morning. Anything can happen.
Assassin's Creed IV is going to feature a huge open world that you'll be able to explore seamlessly. There are only a few large locations that you'll have to load into, but everything else in the West-Indies Sea, spanning the biggest map in an Assassin's Creed game yet, will be explorable without having to load a thing.
The entirety of the demo I saw consisted of a bunch of side stuff you can do in the game, so don't worry about any story spoilers here. The world of Assassin's Creed IV is full of life and is going to provide a lot of stuff to distract players while sailing the high seas.
May was largely a quiet month for new game releases. Despite what felt like a slower schedule, especially coming off of a rather absurd April, here on Destructoid we did have a pair of 10s with the portable Donkey Kong Country Returns 3Dand captivating, clay-fueled puzzler The Swapper. Quantity isn't everything!
One thing is for sure, May presented us with an eclectic group of titles. Take a look at some of the genres represented in this breakdown of everything we covered.