Seven years and over 150 million sales have passed since Nintendo surprised the world by releasing its dual screen handheld back in 2004, introducing true touch screen gaming to the masses for the first time. The concept proved such a success that Nintendo has now implemented it in its next home console, Wii U, via a secondary touch screen in the GamePad, essentially creating a giant home DS.
Wii U is now in a rare position that no other home console has ever been in. While handhelds traditionally follow the lead of consoles, this time around it is Wii U that can take inspiration from DS, something we’ve already seen develop with the announcement of Scribblenauts Unlimited. So with that in mind, we’re taking a look at six other franchises that could be making the leap to your living room in the next generation.
Level 5’s puzzle-adventure series has been winning gamer’s hearts since 2007 thanks to its curious mix of investigation, puzzle solving and quirky characters. With a fanbase now secured, Wii U could be the perfect opportunity for Layton to make his move to the big screen.
The transition is a reasonably simple one too, requiring nothing more than a new story and another 200+ puzzles to be created. The Wii U GamePad offers exactly what the DS does, giving the player a touch screen through which to solve puzzles and explore the area, while the larger TV screen is the perfect opportunity to capitalise on one feature that many Layton fans want more of – cutscenes.
As seen in the recent DVD movie Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, creating a full story in video form is not outside the realm of possibility, and to get every cutscene animated so beautifully, and in HD, would be a real treat for any fan of the series. The current limiting factor on dialogue and cutscenes is the DS’s cartridge size; Wii U disks would eliminate this problem.
While Advance Wars: Days of Ruin wasn’t necessarily loved by everyone thanks to its darker tone, along with Advance Wars: Dual Strike it took the series formula and introduced touch-based map management, making any other version seem archaic in comparison.
With Wii U, the GamePad becomes the perfect command screen for Advance Wars veterans, allowing precise and swift implementation of tactics, while the TV screen could be used to watch your battles play out. Two GamePads would also allow for a multiplayer Fog of War game to exist in a Battleships-style scenario, with both players being unaware of the other’s movements until battle commences on the TV.
Obviously Advance Wars has made the move to the big screen before, with Kuju’s Battalion Wars proving to be a cult hit on both GameCube and Wii, so it would be foolish to ignore the potential of a crossover. One of the complaints thrown at Battalion Wars was its lack of effective battlefield management, something the GamePad could solve, while the TV could allow you to take control of individual units to turn the tide of battle.
It’s a well worn path by now, but could this be the generation that Pokémon finally makes its home console debut in all its RPG glory? The series’ transition to DS has improved the gameplay significantly, with touch screen controls benefitting the battles and the swiftness at which actions can be performed, creating an even more engaging Pokémon experience.
This experience is now in a perfect position to transfer to Wii U. The touch screen controlled battles would work brilliantly on the GamePad, while battles would take place in full HD on your TV, along with the exploration parts of the game. Using two GamePads would also allow for engaging multiplayer battles, ensuring the other player remains unaware of the other Pokémon in your squad.
With Pokémon Red and Blue’s 20th anniversary falling within the upcoming generation, an HD remake is at least a possibility. If all else fails, maybe Nintendo will release Pokémon Stadium U?
Another game that could only previously exist on DS, Elite Beat Agents took the rhythm genre and breathed new life into it with a mix of storytelling, humour and tapping away to classic tunes. And with a touch screen in your hands, it's a perfect candidate for Wii U.
With the demise of Guitar Hero and Rock Band on home consoles, Nintendo has the perfect opportunity to re-corner the music genre in the living room. With the GamePad used for the rhythm part of the game, the main TV can be used for the animation sequences, displaying the charming and often humorous clips to the room. This ultimately could allow it to become a party game, and if Nintendo somehow work in ways to keep everyone else entertained, could make it the next Rock Band.
Originally debuting on the Game Boy Advance, the Ace Attorney games found a new home on DS, thanks to its utilisation of the touch screen and, of course, the microphone. A crime investigation game at heart, the Ace Attorney games could very easily be transferred to a home console, as has already been shown with the Phoenix Wright WiiWare release.
Moving the existing framework onto Wii U would be a simple task, with courtroom evidence and investigations still being primarily controlled using the touch screen. The GamePad could also allow for 3D investigations to take place using the gyro controls; this would allow for full 360 degree movement, as you physically move the GamePad to examine a virtual room.
The TV would also allow for a more cinematic Ace Attorney experience, with the additional disk space allowing for more fluid animation and voice acting throughout. And, of course, the built-in microphone would allow you to continue screaming “OBJECTION!” throughout the game.
It’s been out for less than a year, but it’s safe to say that Pit’s return to prominence has won him some new fans, and unsurprisingly those fans want more. Sakurai was very specific about not using anything other than a touch screen to control Pit, so the angelic action game would fit in nicely on Wii U. We should also remember that Pit's latest adventure happened to appear on Wii during development.
The original Kid Icarus: Uprising was an undoubtedly beautiful game, with amazing locales mixed in with an epic orchestral score, making it a viable candidate to showcase the power behind Wii U as Nintendo pushes into the HD era. The GamePad substitutes perfectly for the 3DS’s touch screen too, meaning no loss in control precision; the GamePad also allows for dual analogue control if preferred, and there’s even an option for Wii Remote and Nunchuck control for those so inclined.
Add to that the potential of another great story with a witty script, and Kid Icarus: Uprising 2 seems like a natural fit for Wii U. However, with Project Sora now disbanded and Sakurai working on the next Super Smash Bros., don’t expect this one too soon.
These are just six examples of franchises that could, and perhaps should, make the jump from DS to Wii U in the near future, but what games would you like to see on Nintendo’s new console? Let us know in the comments below.