Everyone’s heard it all before. “The Wii U is doooomed! Nintendo is the new SEGA! They’ve destroyed the video game industry forever!!1!” A lot of video game publications may be overdramatizing Nintendo’s situation when they make these ridiculous claims, but it's hard to deny that the Wii U has seen shockingly weak performance, putting Nintendo’s home console business in a bit of a bind.
Nintendo has plenty of money. Their portable console business is healthier than ever and their less-than-successful consoles are continually supported by Nintendo software and Nintendo fans. For these very reasons, I have faith that the Wii U will be fine—it does not need to be “saved.” However, its sales still do pale in comparison to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and Nintendo has displayed far too many issues with public relations, advertising, branding, online infrastructure, and more to reshape that hierarchy. It’s simply too late for Wii U to become anything more than a pacifier while we wait for Nintendo’s next console. Thus, Nintendo’s goal should not be to make the “ultimate console” in any sense of the term, but rather to provide the best-selling pacifier they reasonably can.
To accomplish this, Nintendo must focus on a clear goal for the Wii U and make every decision with this goal carefully in mind. Nintendo must create the best consumer value and properly inform the public without expending misguided or excessive resources. In this light, there is plenty that Nintendo can do to ensure a faster turnaround, greater success, and longer-lasting significance for the Wii U, even *gasp* without third-party support.
Head past the jump to keep reading!
From Studio Fawn, Bloom: Memories is a top-down 2D adventure game with a beautiful art direction (screenshot above) and loads of interesting, choice-based mechanics, taking inspiration from, among other things, Zelda, Thief, and point-and-click adventures. One of the most interesting aspects about the game is the way it seeks to "move away from" the common gaming cliches of "violence and domination," including mechanics such as "the bridge" to support that idea. Bloom is currently in the latter half of its third Kickstarter attempt and has already garnered the majority of its $40,000 goal, sitting at approximately $34,000—at the time of writing.
We had the chance to discuss the game Studio Fawn artist Dani Landers, whose "attempt to create a graphic novel" served as the basis for Bloom. Within, Landers describes the game's "great forest" setting, the choice-influenced RPG-esque gameplay which strives to have players "look past numbers and optimization strategies and be more connected with the world / experience," and much more. Head post-jump to check it out.
Today marks the beginning of the end for The Girl and the Robot's Kickstarter campaign. With less than 40 hours on the clock, they've so far successfully managed to reach their base goal of $15,000 and pass their "new castle maze area" stretch goal at $20,000, but the question still remains of whether or not it will reach its important $25,000 stretch goal, which guarantees a Wii U version of the game, an iteration which will likely decide for some whether or not, in the practical sense, The Girl and the Robot even exists.
Following up on our recent Wii U and Nintendo-focused Q&A with the Flying Carpets Games member, we had a chat with The Girl and the Robot's designer Salim Larochelle covering an array of topics related to his studio's project: what the experience of playing The Girl and the Robot really is, what it's like to be an indie developer, what sorts of places we can expect to see throughout the game, what happens to the Wii U version if the campaign feels to meet the stretch goal, and more! Head past the jump to read it all!
When Nintendo first announced Super Mario 3D World, I thought to myself, “Great, a game just like the one on 3DS. This is just what the Wii U needs.” The sheer frustration I felt that Nintendo had seemingly slapped a few new players into 3D Land and tried to pass it off as an interesting new title for their desperate console had made me begin to wonder if Nintendo had lost their golden touch. I played the demo at E3, and it was exactly as I had expected—gimmicky, disjointed, and completely predictable.
Then they started to announce new features. They showed off creative levels and inventive power-ups. They revealed exciting music. Finally, it was all coming together. This was more than just an upscaled 3D Land; it was everything wonderful that Mario has ever been. Head past the jump to see why!
With this being the season Microsoft's and Sony's new console releases, Wii U and Nintendo have sort of slipped under many gamers' radars in terms of discussions on indie developing. But that doesn't mean they've slipped under the radars of the indie developers themselves. Indie studio Flying Carpets Games' debut title, The Girl and the Robot, is currently in the last couple days of its Kickstarter campaign, and it's just added a Wii U stretch goal at $25,000—$10,000 above its already-reached minimum goal of $15,000.
We had the chance to do a little Q&A with Flying Carpets designer Salim Larochelle to get an inside look at what it's actually like to work with Nintendo as an indie developer, and along the way he even answered a few specific questions about The Girl and the Robot's hopefully-impending Wii U version, like what ideas they have in terms of Wii U GamePad implementation. Head inside to check it out!
I will not bullshit you: I very much have an emotional investment in the belief I've just implicitly promised to defend. That out of the way, I do think that—despite the director technically departing from Sony, despite the game being delayed for over three years, and despite having not seen a trailer since TGS 2010, The Last Guardian is still actively being developed by the mastermind behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Ueda, and the rest of Team Ico.
But even I'm not naive enough to think there's nothing abnormal about this game's very long development cycle. It's being created by a team comprised of some of the most well-respected perfectionists in the industry, it's their first HD and physics engine-enabled project, it's being done within SCE Japan Studio, it's probably switched platforms, and Sony doesn't even give the game deadlines! However, where you might say that these abnormalities indicate The Last Guardian's cancellation, I'd say they're actually the justification for my taking the opposite stance.
There's a lot to consider here, so head inside and read all about it.
Like a million other people, I bought a PlayStation 4 last week with the intention of playing video games on it. But guess what I didn't buy: a video game. Maybe that’s a tad unfair considering that I have spent a couple hours with Contrast and Resogun from the “Instant Games Collection” that came with my free month of PlayStation Plus, but as of now, I have put zero dollars down towards the purchase of any software for my shiny new PlayStation 4, and I’m far from the first person to express apathy toward the system's launch titles.
Why I actually decided to buy the PlayStation 4 in the first place knowing full well that two maybe-good indie games were the only titles I was really interested in is another story entirely—I have faith in a lot of the titles coming down the road—but it did get me thinking a bit on the subject of why launch lineups just don’t seem to house any of the big, new triple-A games people are going to be praising as “the definition of next-gen” a year from now.
One could say that it simply has to do with time constraints and a lack of familiarity with the new hardware, and that ‘one’ would certainly be correct to some extent, but I think there might be more to it than that. I think it has to do with the fact that, in order to be considered successful, those “generation-defining” triple-A games need to sell more copies than is even possible at a console’s launch.
Read on inside.
The PlayStation 4 has just launched in North America to fantastic sales numbers. Video game players all over the continent are beginning to experience the next generation of Sony consoles, and the European release date of November 29th is quickly approaching. This is a great time to be a Sony fan, but the party is just getting started. Both Nintendo and Microsoft have big plans for this Friday. November 22nd is a gigantic day for video games in North America. A new console is launching with a full line-up of games, and Nintendo is unleashing two Mario games and a new Zelda.
The industry is beginning to fire off its holiday cannons. Companies can compete, but the fans are the real winners in this situation. November 22nd is jam-packed with releases, and all of us should have huge grins on our faces. It's the most wonderful time of the year.
See what's available and tell us what you're buying after the jump!
It's been 24 hours (give or take) since the PlayStation 4 launched in North America. For better or for worse, ready or not, here it is, with a price tag of
$599 $399 US dollars (Sorry, I can't seem to forget 2006 for some reason). We have a hands-on look at the PlayStation 4, its launch, its games, its bugs, and its glitches. Not a review so much as it is just an experience with the PlayStation 4 and it's first 24 hours on the market.
(DISCLAIMER: The following article is the opinion and experience of the writer, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or experiences of the staff, nor of Gamnesia as a whole.)
Now that that's out of the way, hop in after the jump to see my thoughts.
Lately a lot of criticism seems to be surrounding our coverage of the video game industry lately, specifically in regards to the Wii U. There definitely has been a lot of negative press, much of which Nintendo has admittedly brought upon themselves. It’s very hard to create positive vibes for a console where very few positive vibes seem to be appearing. The best looking game on the console is a HD remastering of a GameCube title.
While a fantastic testament to Nintendo art style choices, that doesn’t exactly provide any uniqueness to the Wii U itself. The best-selling game is New Super Mario Bros U – a series that has a release on every currently sold Nintendo platform, making the Wii U non-essential to enjoy similar content. While other great games exist, they only appeal to niche markets. The advertising efforts have been lackluster and the naming convention has proven to be more confusing at a consumer base level than actually building off the Wii’s branding success. A more clearly defined Wii 2, Wii HD, or Super Wii would have likely performed better. It would have also followed Nintendo’s own prior naming conventions.
Sales of the console are on the up-swing thanks to recent releases and a price drop, but the console is still well on a sales arc to be the worst selling console Nintendo has ever released (unless you want to count the failed Virtual Boy). I just wanted to put this all in context because it’s extremely understandable why all the news lately has been rather negative in nature. It’s not our fault – we didn’t cause the console to sell poorly, only have niche games, lack third party support, get wrecked in hardware comparisons, or cause a branding issue at a consumer level. None of that has anything to do with us. To look at us and call us negative nancies with the Wii U is just unfair to us. We aren’t the ones creating the negative vibe.
While I can’t truly speak for every staff member, I am fairly certain a majority of the staff here at Gamnesia own a Wii U already just based on conversations in staff. Also based upon that some plan to own or already do own a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Still, it seems the Wii U will remain for some time the most owned current gen (can we say that now?) console amongst the staff. It’s safe to say we all tend to enjoy the Wii U.