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THQ: Wii U tablet will enhance uDraw games

uDraw means THQ has a Wii U "headstart".

Games for THQ's uDraw tablet will take advantage of the enhanced features of Nintendo's upcoming Wii U console, THQ has revealed to Eurogamer.

Andy Hodgson, THQ's global VP for uDraw, played down suggestions that the Wii U's tablet would usurp uDraw. Instead, he says, the two can "co-exist together". The Wii U is back compatible with Wii software, and presumably this is how uDraw games would be played on Nintendo's new machine.

"We have some amazing brands and software built for uDraw," Hodgson said. "Some of those we'll be able to continue to support on uDraw and in addition add to Wii U that will add extra functionality, tailor-made for Wii U. So it's possible for them to co-exist together."

There are "lots of possibilities" for what this extra functionality could include, Hodgson said, confirming the uDraw team had already "spent some time with the Wii U and seen everything it has to offer".

"The screen in there, the camera, the ability for co-op play with extra players using Wii Remotes, there's lots of possibilities."

"We feel we've really got a good start on Wii U."

Andy Hodgson, global VP, uDraw

"We feel we've really got a good start on Wii U," Hodgson added, explaining that THQ had a "natural headstart" on utilising the Wii U tablet's tech having already developed for the similar uDraw platform.

Was Hodgson worried the Wii U would make uDraw redundant? "No, because Wii will remain our focus... We see Wii U as yet another audience we're able to look at. I guess it'll come down to product life-cycles as to how long we support Wii for."

"We're committed to [Wii] but we also have PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 tablets which offer us two new audiences there again."

After 1.7 million units sold of the Wii uDraw, THQ announced versions for PS3 and Xbox 360 earlier this year that arrive on shop shelves today.

"Next year we will be expanding with titles that could be considered more 'core'."

Rebuilt "from the ground up", the PS3 and 360 versions don't require a controller to be placed in them to work, as the Wii version does. Wireless and motion control functions are instead built in, with an improved touch control pad and HD display.

New software is on the way too, with tie-ins for kid-friendly franchises such as Marvel Super Heroes Squad, Kung Fu Panda, Penguins of Madagascar. "Many" more titles are on the way 2012, including an as-yet unannounced Disney game.

Hodgson said that 2012 will also see the uDraw games roster expanding into a slighter older age-group. "Next year we will be expanding with titles that could be considered more 'core' or more interesting for the teen market." Dawn of War 3? "Ha, maybe not that core..."

Earlier this month Ubisoft announced Drawsome, a Wii tablet peripheral with similar functionality to uDraw that will launch in the US on 6th December. But THQ aren't worried about the competition. "I haven't seen much marketing from them," Hodgson said, adding that with 1.7 sold and a worldwide availability on multiple platforms, it would be a "pretty easy decision for consumers to see who's behind this technology".

Does he believe Ubisoft copied the uDraw? "I can't really comment on that," Hodgson replied.

With Drawsome and Wii U on the market, 2012 will be a far more crowded market for uDraw. But Wii U could open up new possibilities for THQ's tablet too.

THQ's Darksiders 2 is a Wii U launch title, but with uDraw available Xbox 360 and PS3, would it be possible for the THQ to recreate the same tablet functions for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game? "That's a really interesting idea and I can't comment on that," Hodgson concluded. "I might actually have a chat with my colleagues on the Darksiders team to have a look at that..."

uDraw on Xbox 360.