News Article

Blitz: Forget The Specs, Wii U Is Getting Developers Excited

Posted by Damien McFerran

UK studio speaks out on Wii U tech specs, and why they're irrelevant

Blitz Game Studios has spoken exclusively to about the forthcoming Wii U console, and has addressed some of the irksome issues regarding the technical specifications of the machine.

With many Nintendo-hating nay-sayers pointing out that the Wii U is only capable of matching the Xbox 360 and PS3 - two machines that are coming to the end of their respective life cycles - Blitz Games Studios' design director John Nash made it clear that from a developer's perspective, the power of a platform is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Nash said:

It's very easy for people to get hung up on hardware specs and technical specs. It's great to have a massive processor that's got a graphics pipeline that uses DX11, but what people need to focus on particularly for games going forward, is, what kind of experience can you build in the space of possibility afforded by the hardware in terms of features? Not in clock cycles. Does it connect out to the internet well? Does it connect to mobile well? How does it connect to your other friends and involve them in that experience? That's where games are moving forwards.

Nintendo's approach is to say, we're going to package that other screen with the console straight out of the box so there's nothing to worry about and the developers have a stable platform, whereas maybe the other platform holders are saying, maybe we're going to involve other devices. That will bring another set of problems. Sony and Microsoft will go toe to toe again as they have done on this rev. They will do the same on the next one. Nintendo are doing something different.

It's not about beating everyone else in a surface shader processing clock speed war. That's not what they're about. They're about saying, we've got this great roster of IP, all these great characters, how do we build a piece of cost-effective hardware - they're a business, they've got to make profit - that will allow our players, our very loyal Nintendo players, to interact with this IP and great worlds and characters in a new way?

If you think about the Wii U in that light, suddenly it makes a huge amount of sense. Suddenly we're going to be able to explore the world of Zelda and Mario in a new way with our friends. And that's the rationale behind that platform. It's not a gunning war in terms of hardware. As soon as you do that, you start to think about the games in a different way. You start to get excited about what it affords you as a game designer, and players should get very excited about it as well.

The feature is a fantastic read, so be sure to check it out.


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User Comments (46)



Lan said:

Damien, I just wanna say you're a pretty damn good writer from what I've seen. I'm no expert in the field or anything, but you word things very well.



Azikira said:

Great article. I, for one, have always placed fun over specs. I mean, the PS3 had amazing specs when it came out, but it didn't have a single game worth playing for almost two years, whereas the Wii (while had insane amounts of shovelware) had hits right off the bat, and only got better the older it got.
This is also why I play my 3DS daily, and my Vita weekly at most, it's all about the games.



antdickens said:

@Azikira I totally agree, specs are interesting but without creative games it really doesn't matter - as-long as the raw hardware is of a suitable level then it doesn't play a massive part.



Chunky_Droid said:

Personally I'm happy that I can play future Mario and Zelda titles in HD, but other than that I was a huge fan of the Wii itself, my PS3 does get played quite a bit, it's used mostly for Play TV, lol.



Zyph said:

Great post by NL. Great article by Eurogamer
A very nice read.



Shirma_Akayaku said:

I hope this doesn't annoy many but, can somebody PLEASE explain to me what are IP's? And don't even think about telling me to google it. I just get a over highly complicated definition.



Zimeon said:

As long as the games are really good and doesn´t take ten years to develop I am happy.



Sean_Aaron said:

@Ulala IP in this context means Intellectual Property. It's shorthand for the games, characters, etc. covered by copyright law which are owned by the company.

I believe it came into more common usage by companies as piracy on the Internet became more of an issue because of the psychological effect. It's almost like a subliminal mantra "this is our stuff, we own the rights." Seems like something lawyers would advise...



Grodus said:

"It's great to have a massive processor that's got a graphics pipeline that uses DX11" Does this mean the Wii U is gonna be this powerful? jk Ive been sayin' that (what the guy said in the article) ever since... Well, this one guy said the Wii sucks, I asked him why, he said graphics. Ever since, 8-bit and 64 games look better then today's to me. (no, they dont really look better, but you get what I mean)

@Ulala It stands for Intulectual Prperty, and basiclly means in this case a charcter in a game.



SkywardLink98 said:

Everyone's expecting a repeat of the Wii. Somehow I doubt we'll get that again. It'll probably be more like PS1 to N64 at worst.



Rect_Pola said:

I think the issue is all the demand for power is too zeroed in on this stigma of obsolescence, without realizing the old tools don't have to go away. The very fact this isn't the first generation proves that great games in almost every sense can be made with a fraction of today/tomorrow's power. The only exception is when the uptick in power allows game design the past generations simply couldn't. And I generally mean functional game design. Graphics are nice and all, but it's also been proven time and again that a good asthetic is vastly more important.



KatoStudios said:

Developers at Ubisoft stated because of the way the system is desgned, it runs at least twice as much as a PS3 today can handle at 100% usage (which has never been done on PS3). Wii U also has better hardware allowing it to have much more realistic shaders/lighting than the current gen consoles. It will be a good competitor against next gen systems, but of course, microsoft and sony will update theirs to have better graphics. But with the way they designed the Wii U, i think it will probably outsell Ps4 and the next xbox. As the Wii did this gen.



rjejr said:

After watching the WiiU Denver video on Nintendo Channel yesterday specs are the least of my concerns. Sing, WiiFitU, NintendoLand and NSMBU. Im not sure I even want one now. They're years late to the HD party and all they have to show for it are mimigames compilations and flat 2D games. I'm pretty sure all 4 of those could be Wii games. If specs don't matter, games do, then they better show us some next gen HD games.



ajcismo said:

Good stuff here. This is what those of us who don't give a shiny frogs butt about the juice under the hood have been saying for months.



Wheels2050 said:

@ajcismo But you should give a shiny frog's butt if you want more than token 3rd party support once the next Xbox and PS3 come around.

Things will probably look good for a while with the Wii U, but if it can't keep pace with the other two, devs won't bother spending the time to optimise a Wii U port so they'll either release an inferior stripped down version or just not bother.

I don't understand why people don't see this as a problem. Sure, the first party games will obviously be there but you'll miss out on a lot of stuff on the Wii U if it's not that powerful.



dimi said:

" That will allow our players, our very loyal Nintendo players, to interact with this IP and great worlds and characters in a new way". Some of our very loyal Nintendo players are sick and itred of Mario and want to try some new ip's maybe?



fortius54 said:

I know that I stand corrected. I had just the Wii for a few years, and last year I bought a PS3 thinking I was finally stepping into the big time of gaming. However, with the exception of just a couple of series, I have bought myself a pretty expensive Blu Ray player. I guess you can chalk it up to nostalgia, but for me, Nintendo has the best IPs. They also know how to use those IPs the most effective way.



EvansLegends said:

Why are there people who obsess over specs? I don't get it. Do people need to be consciously aware of shaders, polygons, clock speed, and tessellation to be immersed in a game?



SteveW said:

It's nice to hear from a developer that isn't hung up on specs. I don't mind that Nintendo isn't cramming $600 worth of hardware into the Wii U. I'm sure it will be stable and not have overheating issues.



Silverbullet89 said:

Seriously, how much better can the specs get anyway while there being a noticeable difference? I still believe that the WiiU will be running the same games as the PS3 and 360 but as their minimum specs. They will have newer, more advanced, and cheaper hardware due to the fact that it's releasing a lot later than the other two did. Even if I'm wrong in that assessment, I don't really care. I play more Nintendo first party games than anything. My biggest complaint about the Wii was the lack of quality first party content.



Samholy said:

no. NO and NO.
Power is huge into videogames. whatever you say. Yes games are important,they make a console. but when the console cant cope with the developpers mind and freedom, then you got a sub-console that wont get the big devs all the attention, motivation or interest. There is a marketing side to gaming that we must not forget. stay into the market to a minimum.
Note that i love nintendo's mood. but my budget restricts me to one home console. sadly for them sony wins me. ill stick with my 3ds for nintendo. I truly wish i could afford both, but I cant. sony's PS3 offered me much more memorable titles (ratchet and clank, uncharted,god war,infamous,skyrim,GTA,battlefield,shadow of the colossus,etc ETC) than the gamecube and the Wii together. i wont even talk about the PS2 that also gave me tons of memorable titles... i dont consider myself a fanboy of anything, but damn nintendo. I miss that snes era when devs could do anything they wished for you. your latest consoles felt like they were leaving you cause you cant swim fast enough to follow their game dreams.
Sad era for nintendo I say... but...maybe they will sell the wiiU low ?



mamp said:

Well according to New Super Mario Bros U we're not really experiencing the world of Mario in a new way and I doubt we'll be able to explore the world of Zelda with our friends since it's a single player experience only
@Samholy I totally agree with you about how power plays a factor in videogames, and I am also sticking to my 3DS for my gaming, in my experience Nintendo's handhelds have a wider variety of games to choose from and their handhelds feel like they are more for the hardcore than their console counterparts do. Nintendo gets alot more third party support on their handhelds than they do on their consoles.



armoredghor said:

@26 developers couldn't do whatever they wanted on the SNES. by then there were plenty 3D games that needed to backscaled for mode 7. Besides there were the limits such as the Mortal Kombat modifications. I understand they need the support of the devs but unreal engine 4 and Cryengine 4 run on it, so there's no problem with that.



NintendoLand said:

@mamp said "Totally agree with you about how power plays a factor in videogames, and I am also sticking to my 3DS for my gaming"




mamp said:

@NintendoLand I could explain my reason for my contradiction but I'm too lazy and my guess is you just wanna troll so enjoy your victory, you must feel so proud.



Syntax said:

If Nintendo can creative games that looks and play beautiful on a system that's 2 GameCube taped together, i can't imagine the games ninty can make when they use the wiiu to its full potential! Most games on today and next-gen platforms will just be glorified tech demos. im looking forward to playing games on wiiu!



millarrp said:

I'm looking forward to the Wii U more now because of this article. It's nice to see that there's a developer out there that realises it's not all about how powerful a system is but how to make games in new and creative ways



Nintendoro said:

Well said, Damo! I have to agree on this one. I own both 3DS XL and Vita. We all know that Vita is way ahead of 3DS in terms of performance, but I still prefer my 3DS. It's the "Nintendo thing" again that makes it more enjoyable to use. Wii U is going to prove it once more, that best graphics are nothing when a gameplay can deliver awesomeness. I just hope Wii U will not be abandoned by 3rd parties when new engines will start being used widely on 720/ps4. It's only thing that worries me



Marty-O said:

It's like trying to explain to your Metallica friends, why The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a great band. They'll just never understand how less is sometimes more. And how creativity matters.



skywake said:

Things don't change as fast in computing in terms of actual gains from more power as much as they used to. If in 2002 you had what was a mid-to-high-range computer from 1998 (which'd be like a 1Ghz Athlon with 64MB RAM) and wanted to play, I don't know, Halo on PC you'd have some headaches. Try that in 2012 with Mass Effect 3 on a 2008, 2.5Ghz C2D and 4GB system and you'd be pretty fine.

It's not like you hook a gaming console upto 5x 1080p monitors with 3D and then stop to encode a 1080p video while browsing flash heavy webpages and talking to someone over HD skype. They're one use devices with a single screen which is currently limited to 1080p and viewed at from a couch. You're not going to get that much out of more power....... or at least not quickly.



Mandoble said:

Nintendo fanboys are weird people, with the Wii they were saying HD is not needed, power doesnt count, Super Mario Bros is the best game ever ... But it happens that Wii is dead, and Wii U is not just a Wii HD with a tablet, but a way more powerful console, and now all of them say WOOOOW, when the rumours were pointing to having the WiiU even able to compete with next PS4720 all of them were saying TAKE THAT! And now that everybody is stating that the WiiU will just match current gen all of them are back to the "Power doesnt count" song. Nintendo knows pretty well that for all of you the only thing that counts is that the box have "Nintendo" written somewhere. The funny part is that all of you are expecting to have far better Nintendo games with the WiiU than with the Wii, and of course not thanks to the tablet, but only thanks to the extra power. Everybody else goes in the opposite direction which is always marked by PC gaming, and Nintendo already suffered 3 premature console deads with the N64, NGC and now with the Wii.



Syntax said:

@Mandoble Apple fanboys are weird people, with the iPhone they were saying HD is not needed, power doesnt count, Angry birds is the best game ever ... But it happens that iPhone is dead, and the iPad is not just a giant iPhone, but a way more larger mobile device, and now all of them say WOOOOW, when the rumours were pointing to having the iPad even able to compete with next android Windows8 all of them were saying TAKE THAT! And now that everybody is stating that the iPad will just match current gen all of them are back to the "Screen sizes doesnt count" song. Apple knows pretty well that for all of you the only thing that counts is that the box have "Apple" printed somewhere. The funny part is that all of you are expecting to have far better mobile games with the iPad than with the iPhone, and of course not thanks to the tablet, but only thanks to the oversized screens. Everybody else goes in the opposite direction which is always marked by android gaming, and Apple already making companies suffer with Nokia, Motorola and now with Samsung. I fixed it!



Syntax said:

The point of being a fanboy is to support and love your favorite companies no matter its current conditions, another part is defending and wage wars to all those who OBJECTS! I am Ninfandroid, Come at me PS360APPBROS! XD



Wolfgabe said:

I agree, graphics don't mean everything in a game. Gameplay is what is ultimately the most important and Nintendo knows that. If you keep trying to compete solely on graphics and power it will just lead to a dead end. Nintendo realized that at the time of the Gamecube. GC is one of my favorite systems by the way. I like Nintendo because of how they have so many great franchises. More powerful does not always mean better either. For one thing there is the risk of a higher price which could alienate the consumer. Sony learned that the hard way with the PS3 and they still have not learned their lesson with the Vita either. Then the higher price can come back to haunt the developers in the form of higher development costs. Many developers are happy with the Wii U specs and it has been confirmed to be able to run UE4 and Cry Engine 3 so those naysayers who say its not next gen can just shut it. Iwata has said the power gap will not be as huge this time around.



MeloMan said:

Just Nash's opinion, but it's pretty much what I've felt for the longest about the consoles today. Devs are still too caught up in "who has the biggest playground?" but very few actually create experiences that make "good use" of "all" of that space. I'd rather have a refined, confined, conhesive game than a game that's big and beautiful "because it can be"... but, I'm just one person, it's the devs who have to decide for themselves.



Nature64 said:

Who sold the most units for this
Generation? And if specs were everything then ps3
Would not be in last place. Its obvios that if the wii
Came out with hd it would have crushed xbox n ps3.
I dont care bout the whole fanboy stuff I like all systems but the wii I have to say beat the stovetop
Stuffing out of ps and xbox. And imagine xbox had a one year lead of 10mil units and still got blown out by the wii who's graphics were garbage...



Nature64 said:

And by the way I dont think ps3&xbox360 can eber reach wii number of units sold cause ps4& xbox720 will stop sales which is a great loss for both companies. In truth clockspeed and graphics are not
What brings the money its strategy and timing. So the wii was garbage in this current gen with graphics. In truth nintendo will
Not reach those numbers again until they realize how to market the wii u for the next gen.

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