What Developers Think of Wii U

Ancel! Jaffe! Bilson! Carmack! Zeschuk!

You know what you think of the Wii U. We know what we think of the Wii U. But what do game makers and game publishers, the people charged with actually working with the 2012 home console, think of the Wii U? At E3 this month Eurogamer asked them.

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.

Danny Bilson, core games boss, THQ:

I loved it [when Nintendo presented the console to THQ]. I just thought, there's nothing but creative possibility. What can we do with that controller that'll give some unique experiences with our games, or how does it make some of our games we already have in development better?

I was very enamoured in that meeting , and I just remember sitting there having a bunch of ideas of what we could do with different things, and what kind of problems it solved with some games, or what opportunities it opened up.

I was also excited to have a third platform to make core games for. We haven't been making many Wii games in core. It really hasn't made sense for the last few years.

Then Brian Farrell [THQ CEO] said, 'I want to be there at launch this time. I don't want to come in late on this platform.' So we flew up the next week to Seattle and met with them. I took them through the first year of the launch of their Wii U and what we were making. They got really excited about what we were making. And then Darksiders II was a natural for it as a launch title because we were already tracking to around those time frames anyway. Metro is in there as well, and they wound up in the press conference. I thought we looked really good up there as far as quality goes.

Todd Hollenshead, co-owner and CEO, id Software:

Five year cycle for everybody, right? But apparently not any more. Nintendo is going inside the generation and there's no expectation that Microsoft or Sony are going to respond to this. That's unique, at least since I've been in the business since 1996.

Jason Leigh, Blue Castle Games co-founder and Off the Record executive producer, Capcom:

Touch-screen is here to stay. My kids are three and five years old. Even when my son was a year-and-a-half, he knew how to take the iPad and scroll to his apps and play his games. It's because it's so intuitive. It's no different than having a bunch of marbles on the table. It's something natural that people know how to bat them around and move them and shift them to where they need to go. It's cool they've integrated that.

Dave Grossman, design director, Telltale Games:

I saw a picture of it and it looked kind of big and weird but then I talked to someone who actually put their hands on it and they said, 'No, no, it's light and seems cool,' so... It's either genius, or it's crazy, or it's both. I don't know. I do like the idea of the touch-screen in the middle as that basically means you can reconfigure the controls of your game to be whatever you want. From a development standpoint that's pretty neat.

Hiroyuki Kobayashi, producer, Devil May Cry 4, Dragon's Dogma, Capcom:

It's hard to know how the market is going to react. I think the potential is there. The fact that we now have a high definition system from Nintendo means that developers are now going to be interested in putting out games for that system. How it's going to play out though is anyone's guess.

Michel Ancel, creator of Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil, Ubisoft:

I think it's really cool because I just see opportunities. New things to do, fewer constraints, more freedom to surprise the player. That's why we make games. We want to surprise gamers, to make them say, ah, I can do that now without hundreds of buttons. There's the touch-screen, I can maybe handle my inventory or have an alternative visual. But at the same time you still have the two analogues so you can still control the game the way you like. You have choices. I like this idea of choices.

Nintendo, for some time, was more like, 'We have one direction, follow us.' Now it's more, 'We have all these directions, do what you need to do.' Making games is hard – if you have too much constraint on top of making games it's much more difficult. I think there is a big ambition behind [the Wii U] and we will follow Nintendo to succeed in this because we have the feeling that it's the right direction.

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