*Reproduced archived editorial originally posted by Acesonnall. Previous comments, have been deleted.
The debate on whether Wii U is a next-generation system or not continues to go on. Some would agree and others wouldn’t, but what do developers think? In the past, we have actually gotten some developer takes on this topic, but here is a more recent discussion from GameMaster magazine on the topic:
ZombiU senior scriptwriter Gabrielle Shrager:
“Next-gen? Or Next-next-gen? Depends what you mean by that. With the Wii U, Nintendo has definitely recognized the importance of fast chips speeds and cutting-edge graphics, but that is not the hart and soul of the machine.”
Frozenbyte’s Mikael Haveri:
“Wii U is next-gen in the way the Wii was. Clearly revolutionary in many ways, but possibly slightly less on the pure power side. It is a reasonable guess that the next round of competition will trump the specs by a bit, but the important question is if they will also implement a touch interface. So in this way the GamePad is the most important new addition, clearly combining the console experience with the now-very-popular tablets. All of the games are designed whit the GamePad as an integral part, and if that proves to be even nearly as popular as the Wii Remote, then Nintendo might actually define next gen.”
FIFA 13 line producer Matt Prior:
“The Wii U is an exciting new piece of hardware that offer opportunities that other consoles can’t, simply because of the uniqueness of the platform, in particular the GamePad. We wanted to ensure that we utilized that uniqueness and delivered features that utilized the GamePad, not just in a gimmicky way but in ways that added real value and improvements to the game. Just as important, we wanted to use the power of the GamePad to open up the game to more gamers. Graphically, the Wii U is on par with the Xbox 360 and PS3, and we were even able to make some key graphical improvements.”
Mass Effect 3 external producer Melanie Faulknor:
“The way that the GamePad works, where you can take the game that you’re playing on the TV and instantly transition it onto the GamePad, I think that in itself is going to become a household standard, because if you are sharing a television, this constant fight for the TV is no longer an issue.”
Here are some past developer comments:
THQ Employee: The Wii U is much more powerful than the other HD consoles, so Wii U doesn’t have a huge problem doing 1080p for the majority of its games. Will Darksiders 2 and Metro: Last Light be in 1080p on Wii U? I can’t speak for the teams behind those games. I don’t work on those specific teams so I can’t say what they plan to do with the Wii U versions of their games as far as graphics or content go. I do know based on the specs I’ve seen, the console is more than capable of graphics that surpass current consoles. It’s like I said before. Expect majority of third party Wii U games from most publishers to have true 1080p, additional content, and smoother framrates than what the PS3/360 versions offer. If you want the DEFINITIVE version of any game in your library, I would suggest either the PC version or the Wii U version…at least for now. This is not a knock against the 360/PS3 versions of any games either. Fans of the 360 and PS3 are the majority of the gamers who games…period. So publishers have to give them the best product we can.
At a later date, THQ went on to report a “horribly slow CPU” on the Wii U, but the claim became controversial over the internet, THQ later came out and clarified that Wii U’s CPU itself wasn’t slow, it was just one part of the CPU that didn’t meet expectations, but it didn’t mean the entire CPU was poor. THQ expressed frustration with the internet saying that they didn’t like how the story was spun out of context.
Epic Games: It will do things current HD consoles simply cant do its going to be a powerful box.
Not too sure if this is the full statement, but the original source has been buried. They went on to later say that the Zelda demo was gorgeous and that they can do even more than that. Either way, here are some more comments from Epic where Unreal Engine 4 is discussed.
Epic Games: Epic Games doesn’t intend “to bring Unreal Engine 4 to Wii U, but the engine could run on Nintendo’s upcoming console “if a customer decides they want to port an Unreal Engine 4 game” to the hardware.
“We have Unreal Engine 3 running on Wii U.
“I’ll state that I don’t think it’s our intention to bring Unreal Engine 4 to Wii U, but Unreal Engine 4 is going to be supremely scalable.
“We’ll run on mobile phones and on a wide variety of things, so if a customer decides they want to port an Unreal Engine 4 game to Wii U, they could. But Unreal Engine 3 is a really good fit for that platform.”
In the same interview, Rein said that he would “rather [wait for] a massive leap in performance and capabilities” from next-generation consoles “than get something today.”
5th Cell (On a topic relating to Scribblenauts Unlimited): We’ve kind of had this in the pipe for a while. For a couple of years I’ve been wanting to do something like this, and the Wii U is also really, really powerful—Oh, that’s cool. With the Wii U we’ve been able to make the game way bigger, because with the object creation—putting all that stuff together—the DS just can’t handle all that stuff…even the Wii couldn’t handle it, but the horse-power of this can really handle it.
5th Cell later went on to say that the Wii U is “definitely more powerful than Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3,” adding that he finds the argument over the console’s capabilities “frustrating”.
Crytek had a lot of comments to make about the next-generation nature of the Wii U that, being Crytek, could leave one feeling very hopeful for the future.
Crytek: The specs are very good. It’s a challenge for designers, but once thought through it can add value, and that’s what [is] ultimately important. Our guys in Nottingham, they are very happy with their tests on the dev kits and they’re excited about it.
In an interview with Crytek’s Avni Yerli:
Crytek: ”My opinion of the Wii U is very high,” he said. “It’s just that we didn’t have a business case unfortunately that justifies us making a game for it.
“It doesn’t mean that CryEngine 3 doesn’t run on Wii U – it actually runs beautifully. In fact, there actually is a game in development from a respected developer that we will be announcing. I’ve seen the game running and it looks really great.”
Yerli estimated that the Wii U hardware is “minimum on par with the current generation.”
“From my perspective I do not understand the public’s concerns that the Wii U is weaker than PS3 and 360,” he said. “That I cannot see. From my perspective the Wii U is minimum as powerful as Xbox 360.”
In the same interview the Crytek boss claimed his studio’s technology is already “way beyond” next-gen console specifications.
Crytek later went on to and revealed that they were now actively “working with Nintendo”.
Vigil Games: We had the game at the same level as high end pc version in a matter of days and a few lines of code got the game up and running on tablet in 5 mins.
Not too sure if this is the full statement, but the original source for this has been buried as well. Vigil went on to say that Darksiders 2 graphics on the Wii U are ”at least as good” as PS3, Xbox 360 versions.
Gearbox: The Wii U is a powerful, powerful machine and it can do a lot of cool new things. And so the game itself, moving it over to work on the Wii U was not much of a chore.
Gearbox went on to say in a video interview that Aliens: Colonial Marines will also run the best on Wii U.
Havok as well had a lot to say about the Wii U’s next-generation capabilities. Specifically:
Havok: The platform has its own unique features, and has its own challenges as well. When we come across any new particular platform, we optimize specifically for some of the advantages that those platforms offer over other platforms, and Wii U has specific advantages that no other platform has, and we optimize directly for those, right down at the level of accessing the hardware.
I think we’ll see things done on the Wii U that we won’t see on another platforms… I think people will be genuinely excited with the range of titles they’re going to see come out.
Switching the mood here, Size Five Games founder Dan Marshall says he’s not sure about Nintendo’s latest console, the Wii U. Marshall goes on to say that Nintendo’s new Wii U console will be like the Wii in terms of being in a hardware generation behind, compared to competitors’ forthcoming consoles.
Size Five Games: I’m not sure about the Wii U because I haven’t touched one, but I bought a Wii on launch day and got my £179 worth of joy out of it by playing tennis with my mother. That was enough for me. I think Nintendo’s problem is actually one of software rather than hardware. I played Mario Galaxy, and enjoyed it, but played Mario Galaxy 2 for about an hour before I realized I was playing exactly the same game and was bored shitless of it. After a while, the Wii’s core buckled under its own success.
It didn’t have the hardware for many games like Call of Duty to justify making a port, so it was basically lumbered with Nintendo’s software for a large part of its lifespan.
The problem is, Nintendo end up putting out Mario, Zelda, Mario Kart, Metroid, all these staples over and over again to the point of self-destruction. I think the Wii U looks good in terms of the fact that it’s got Batman and Darksiders and LEGO all coming out for it, but because it’s suddenly going to find itself a hardware generation behind again, it’s going to suffer from the same problems.
I haven’t turned my Wii on in three years probably – it’s been gathering dust because it’s all Mario games that I’m not interested in. So I worry that, because of that hardware gap, the software is going to be lacking in the same way for the Wii U.
The demonstration as presented at GDC can be watched in the following video. The demo shown used CPU-processed physics (as opposed to GPU), which, Gargan said, would be the case when the engine runs on Wii U.
Even Nintendo NoA President Reggie Fils-Aime made a comment regarding Wii U’s power (I mention only power because we already know how Nintendo feels gameplay wise):
Reggie Fils-Aime (President of Nintendo America): We’re about to launch a tremendously powerful system.
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