The graphics of the Wii U version of Darksiders 2 are "at least as good" as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions', developer Vigil has said.
Game companies and developers are under strict orders not to discuss the Wii U in detail publicly, a directive that has led to speculation about the horsepower of Nintendo's Wi successor. Indeed one report from earlier this year claimed the Wii U was "not as capable" as the PS3 and Xbox 360.
But with final developer kits now with engineers, and Nintendo just two weeks away from unveiling the final version of the hardware at E3, Vigil has insisted Wii U owners will see visual parity when it comes to multiplatform games.
"The visuals will be the same," associate producer Jay Fitzloff told Eurogamer. "It's still a work in progress. But I know, at least as good is the way to say it."
In July last Vigil told Eurogamer it spent just five weeks in the run up to E3 2011 creating a working version of the action adventure game on Wii U. Then, Vigil said the Wii U had "plenty of horsepower", "so we're not going to have to make any visual concessions at all".
At that time developers were working off of second generation Wii U dev kits - early versions of the console - and its horsepower was in flux. Then, game director Marvin Donald said, "If the Wii U turns out to be this ridiculously powerful machine, we will probably make changes to our budget and scope to take advantage of that." This hasn't happened.
"[Getting Darksiders 2 working on Wii U] is not as challenging as you might think," Fitzloff said. "Getting it working was not any issue on the Wii U. It's just the control scheme. It's new territory. It's a new frontier. The Wii, after a while, there's a lot you could have done with the Wii controls, but everybody kind of got into a groove, and it became, here's how you handle this or here's how you handle this. Now it's the wild frontier. There's no set system. You've got to think outside the box because there's no precedent.
"It's not getting the game working on the system. It's getting a cool control system that feels correct. And that's where we're at now."
Vigil was even able to quickly get Darksiders 2 running with the Wii U controller, which can stream gameplay from the console.
"When we first got it up and running, you can have the game download to and run on the pad, and everybody was like, that could take a while, little worried," Fitzloff explained. "It took a programmer two lines of code and five minutes. Working with it is not difficult."
Darksiders 2 will use the Wii U controller in obvious ways - for inventory and map use - but the impact of these "no brainers" on gameplay is, according to Fitzloff, huge.
"Any game would have their inventory on the controller screen," he said. "But even that little simple thing is a big difference because you never have to stop the game on the main screen. That will change people's perceptions because you've never had a game where you didn't have to.
"They take you out [of the experience], whereas this just goes."
He added: "And you're talking about the low hanging fruit. You're talking about the easy stuff. The rest of it is where the challenge comes in. What do we do beyond that that makes it feel natural and integral?"
One developer working on Wii U, who wished to remain anonymous, told Eurogamer Wii U ports will at best look as good as PS3 and Xbox 360 games. However, he indicated gamers will only see its true graphics capabilities with games built from the ground up for Wii U later in its life cycle.
For its part, Nintendo has said its focus with the Wii U is gameplay, not graphics. "We do not focus on technology specs," Nintendo said in March of this year. "We understand that people like to dissect graphics and processing power, but the experience of playing will always be more important than raw numbers."
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