This is part one of a three part series.
With E3 right around the corner, us gamers are left to think about the future. Not just in terms of games, but where the industry is heading. This E3 could be one of the most important to date.
Nintendo will be showing off the Wii U and try to rebrand themselves as a hard-core company. Sony has said they will not be showing off their new console just yet, but have stated that it will announce “the future of gameplay and innovation”. Even Microsoft has had some rumours about a new console.
With all this swirling around many gamers should be asking “what are you doing for me now?”
This is a very good question. Nintendo seems to have itself focused on the future. Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword and Xenoblade Chronicles were treats for fans but since then, Nintendo hasn’t really released anything on the Wii that will make gamers go out in flocks to purchase.
To be fair they were forced to shift their attention to the 3DS, which only a few months ago seemed to be a doomed handheld. But this is no excuse; if Nintendo truly wants to rebrand itself and show they are still a hard-core company they need to show support on their main platform.
With that being said, if Nintendo is going into the next generation with the launch line up leaked by Blockbuster, that is not good enough. The big N should take notes from the 3DS’s weak launch window and learn from it. Nintendo surely doesn’t want to be caught with no must have game. They should look to the Super Nintendo’s launch for inspiration. Coming right out the gate with Super Mario World, Pilot Wings, and F-Zero.
There is no doubt that Wii U will be a solid system, but Nintendo is fighting an uphill battle with a reputation they brought upon themselves. In order to have a truly successful launch for the console, they need to start on the Wii. By leaving the fans in the dark with nothing but Mario Tennis and the promise of New Play Control! Pikmin 2, Nintendo is further segregating their fan base that already feels like they don’t care.
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword released in November, Xenoblade Chronicles was released in 2010 in Japan and re released just over a month ago in North America. While those are great games, and almost any gamer will say they would prefer quality over quantity, there needs to be more incentive to continue support for Nintendo.
They are probably keeping silent because E3 is just around the corner, but this year has been almost barren for the Wii.
Looking to the future however, Nintendo does have a fresh slate at the end of this generation. The Wii U will either be SNES 2 or Wii 2. There is no doubt that Nintendo is going to need Retro Studios to create (or re create) something great. Something that will make classic fans realize why they loved Nintendo, but at the same time something that gamers who didn’t grow up on Nintendo want to buy.
The Metroid Prime series was that. Even though it didn’t sell as many units as Halo, it was a quality game that almost every gamer can appreciate. Retro did an amazing job with Donkey Kong Country Returns, however Nintendo will need a franchise that can lend itself better to something darker or grittier. Maybe let Retro Studios create a whole new IP, something that can make a name for the Wii U. Naughty Dog does this every generation with Sony Consoles, so why does Nintendo struggle to create new original games?
Perhaps that is exactly what Nintendo needs to start fresh. Create something new, something original. Give it a bit of a Nintendo feel, but don’t just make a new entry in an old series. With creative minds such as Shigeru Miyamoto and Masahiro Sakurai, Nintendo shouldn’t rely solely on their classic franchises all the time.
Overall, Nintendo has its work cut out for them. The Wii is slowly dying with lack of support, but this is because they are looking ahead. There is a lot to look forward to with the promise of a new console full of potential, so maybe Nintendo learned from its mistakes with the Wii and will build a stronger foundation with the Wii U.