The industry revolves around relationships. While every company will ultimately do what’s best for them, having a healthy working relationship, or even a close friendship can go along way. To think that companies don’t ever having a falling out and begin making their “business” decisions purely out of feelings of resentment towards each other would be naive. It happens. Part of the console race is to try and butter up third parties so they choose you over your competition. One example that comes to mind is how Resident Evil 4 ended up becoming a Gamecube exclusive instead of a Microsoft exclusive after Mikami had grown frustrated developing on Sony hardware. But, if we were to get into examples of developer relationships across the industry we’d be here all year. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have a relationship with every single developer who they have ever dealt with– either close, distant, or somewhere in-between.
Instead let’s hone in on what is more relevant to us. Namely, Nintendo’s relationship with third party developers in regards to the Wii U. No doubt Nintendo is much closer with Japanese developers. They’ve grown quite close with Namco, Atlus, Level 5, Hudson, Treasure, Mistwalker, Natsume, Banpresto, Sega, Tecmo Koei, and others. Other relationships that have occasionally yielded results have been Capcom, Konami, and even Square Enix, more recently. Nintendo also has its own slew of Japanese studios that are considered subsidiaries, second-party Nintendo developers or sometimes just contractors. Some examples are Monolith Soft, HAL Laboratories, Intelligent Systems, Game Freak, Camelot, Monster Games, and Next Level Games. But, what about the massive Western market? What about all of those companies that appeal so much to North American gamers?
It’s no secret that Nintendo sent out Miyamoto on something of a foreign diplomacy mission, trying to connect with North American developers. While the ties might have been strengthened with Ubisoft, others haven’t fared as well. One such example is EA. And from hereon in, I will be mostly gathering quotes from different news stories, and you can connect the dots together with me:
No More Madden for Wii U and 3DS
“Madden may be missing Nintendo’s home console for the first time since 1991.
The Madden series has been available on Wii since Madden NFL 07, and the GameCube received Madden every year from Madden NFL 2002 through Madden NFL 07. Before that, the game came to Nintendo 64 in 1997 with Madden 64 and came yearly after that through 2001. The series made it’s Nintendo debut on Super Nintendo in 1992 and was available yearly through 1998.”
No More Tiger Woods PGA Tour for Wii U
“EA has confirmed that there will be no Wii U version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour this year. Speaking to Kotaku, EA Sports deflected a question about a possible Wii U version stating that “We’re currently focused on delivering a great Tiger Woods PGA TOUR experience for our fans on the Xbox 360 and PS3, where we have a great opportunity to connect fans to the real world of golf and each other. We don’t have any further platform announcements at this time.”
If only the Wii U was online enabled and had some way to connect fans on the game together. Not only that, remember when Nintendo actually showed developers a different way to play Golf on the Wii U?
The Wii versions of the Tiger Woods games in years gone past were arguably the definitive versions of the game. With the Wii Remote then Wii Remote Plus, the Wii offered a never an immerse experience Golfing experience. Now it seems like EA just don’t have time for the Wii U.”
No Mass Effect 3 DLC for Wii U
“A BioWare representative tells IGN that “There are no plans to bring Citadel or Reckoning to the Wii U at this time.”
EA’s CEO: Wii U Is Not Next-Gen
“Riccitiello: I wouldn’t say that we see a correlation between the results that Nintendo has shown with their console debut of the Wii U and what we see coming. We see a pretty sharp distinction, and unfortunately I’m unable to go any further than that.
Ours is an industry where a lot of devices come in and represent themselves as the next generation, or the next generation after that. In many ways we would argue that the what we’re describing as “gen 4″ is yet to come. It’s that that we’re excited about, and that’s what we’re investing in. And frankly, we’ve been quite consistent with that for some time, while recognizing the frustration our inability to articulate precisely why causes for you.”
Crysis 3 Already Completed by Crytek on Wii U, EA Doesn’t Let it Get Released
“GamesBeat: Is the Wii U from Nintendo even on your radar as far as making games?
Yerli: We did have Crysis 3 running on the Wii U. We were very close to launching it. But there was a lack of business support between Nintendo and EA on that. Since we as a company couldn’t launch on the Wii U ourselves — we don’t have a publishing license — Crysis 3 on Wii U had to die.”
All the Rest
Crysis 3 and Dead Space 3 were two of EA’s biggest recent releases but both skipped the Wii U. Other games coming out this year from EA are Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, Fuse, and Dragon Age III: Inquisition. None of them are coming to Wii U.
Battlefield 4 is supposedly going to be revealed at E3 and I’m starting to worry it will too snub the Wii U. And BF4 is arguable a lot more important than most of EA’s other franchises. So, what is the explanation for all of this?
EA’s Origin Deal for Wii U Gone Sour?
Along came the rumors that EA is upset over being turned down in a Wii U-Origin partership. Once again, I’ll quote someone, this time from a Destructoid blogger who lays it down better than I would have:
“When Nintendo announced the Wii U in 2011, EA immediately came off as its strongest advocate. Riccitiello talked of an “unprecedented partnership”, and EA execs constantly talked up the console in the months that followed, sharing their excitement with the world, saying the Wii U was real next-gen and not transitional. There were reports that EA was helping Nintendo with its online infrastructure. Then came rumors that the Wii U would use EA’s Origin as its online platform. That of course didn’t materialize, and incidentally neither did that unprecedented partnership.
One year later, at E3 2012, EA had nothing noteworthy to show for the Wii U. When the console launch finally arrived, EA’s offerings were limited to a port of a march 2012 game and scaled down versions of its sports franchises, and none of its big hitters for early 2013 (Crysis 3, Dead Space 3) will grace Nintendo’s console. Not only that, EA doesn’t have anything else announced for the Wii U, as far as I remember, other than Need for Speed, another port of an old game. On top of all that, EA has now taken to badmouthing the Wii U, which is very unusual (and not very smart, really) for a publisher.”
This discrepancy between love and hate is jarring. So, what do you think is the motive behind this crack in the relationship between the two publishers? Is it because of the Origin deal? Or is just the poor sales of EA games at Wii U’s launch? Or is all of this just paranoia by Nintendo fans? Let us know in the comments below.