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Feature: WiiWare Games That Bit the Dust

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

And one we may still see

Today La Mulana finally arrives on WiiWare in Europe and North America, bringing an end to a particularly long development saga. Nigoro had already released the title in Japan, but problems apparently related to DLC content led to a number of delays, with original publisher Nicalis eventually pulling the plug on the localised version of the title. You can read more about it in our interview with La Mulana's director Takumi Naramura, but suffice to say that it was a rocky road with no certain end. Thankfully the developer didn’t let the problems hold it back, and EnjoyUp Games stepped into the breach to localise and publish, albeit without the troublesome DLC.

WiiWare has had its share of release sagas, however, due to a number of different reasons. Sometimes those reasons are financial, as we’ve seen developers back away from WiiWare due to low sales projections, or even the dreaded minimum sales payment limit. Cancellations also seem to come back to two major issues imposed by Nintendo, however, which can’t be easily dismissed as mistakes from the big N, but are problems nevertheless. We’re talking about the 40MB file size limit, which bordered on being restrictive in 2006 and is practically unworkable now, and problems developers have experienced with the stringent approval process, which can be costly and time consuming.

The size limit is very much a result of the technical capabilities of the Wii, and a reflection of the lacking internal memory, despite SD card expansion. The approval — or lot-check — process is also easily justified, as Nintendo seeks to maintain a minimum standard and functionality to any games on the WiiWare platform. There are examples of buggy, arguably broken games that have slipped through the net, but in general Nintendo has ensured that games, even if they’re not actually any good, at least function properly.

Still, La Mulana is a feel-good tale for those of us that have been waiting, but there are others that have either been cancelled, redirected to other systems or are, perhaps, still sitting in limbo. Whatever the case with each, here are some games that should be mourned by WiiWare enthusiasts.

Super Meat Boy was an early hope for WiiWare, an outrageously difficult but addictive platformer that would have found a good home on Wii. The problem was the Wii file-size limit, with Team Meat unhappy with the idea of cutting the game back to fit into 40MB. There was talk of a retail release instead, but it never surfaced, so those that want to play this one need to find another platform.

Sabarasa’s Protocol is an ambitious FPS project, but it seems that those ambitions weren’t a good fit for WiiWare, with confirmation earlier this summer that the title will be released on a “to-be-confirmed platform”. With Wii sales fading badly and Wii U around the corner, our optimistic hope is that it’ll be redirected to the Wii U eShop; time will tell.

Machinarium is a visually attractive and charming point-and-click adventure game, which sounds like a good fit for Wii Remote controls. Despite an initial announcement, the subsequent arrival on other platforms and WiiWare silence was worrying, and in November last year developer Amanita Design's founder, Jakub Dvorský, confirmed the cancellation and blamed the limitations of the Wii system and WiiWare.

We don't like Wii because the resolution is so low and there is a size limit on WiiWare of 40MB, which is so low for nowadays. It's crazy.

Still, the developer is apparently considering Wii U for its next title, so that’s one positive.

Super Motherload was an action-puzzle game that tasked you with strategically digging through different environments. All went quiet after an initial announcement, before a Super Motherload Kickstarter campaign emerged – which was unfortunately unsuccessful — promising contributors a PC or Mac version of the game. We naturally followed up with developer XGen Studios, which informed us that Super Motherload was cancelled on WiiWare, and that there are no plans at the moment to bring the game to any consoles.

Retro City Rampage is still confirmed for WiiWare, with a press release as recent as June still listing the Wii platform and setting a release period of Summer 2012. Summer is ticking away, but developer Vblank Entertainment is still saying that it’s coming without providing a firm date; pre-orders are being accepted for PC copies of the game. It’s supposed to arrive on all major home consoles, as well as Sony’s PS Vita, but we’ll believe it’s coming to Wii when it’s downloaded and running.

Which of these titles did you miss when they were cancelled, and are you still optimistic that Retro City Rampage is actually coming to Wii? Let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (59)

Omega

#1

Omega said:

There are > 280 WiiWare titles, many of them pretty good. Why complain about those few? And maybe we still see some new ones in the future.

Squashie

#2

Squashie said:

I was really looking forward to Super Meat Boy! That one is a real shame!

seronja

#3

seronja said:

just bought Machinarium this week on ps store... dude that is the BEST indie game i have ever seen or played EVER! too bad it is not on wiiware that would be cool since it's a point and click game and it would work nice with the wii remote... maybe it would work well on the wii-u i myself would recomend nintendo to publish it

jkshaz

#4

jkshaz said:

Ahh Retro City Rampage. I'll believe it is coming out when I'm able to download it (on any platform) and not a second before.

Hokori

#5

Hokori said:

They still have a chance, I mean look at DSiWare, but anyway IDC about any of those titles, but I hope they come out for WiiUWare or a later wiiware title for those who want. It

MeloMan

#8

MeloMan said:

Nightsky should be in there too, even though it went elsewhere. i REALLY hope Retro City Rampage comes. Also, wasn't there a River City Ransom 2 that Aksys was working on? What happened with that?

Katernity

#10

Katernity said:

what happened to last flight? i remember seeing articles on here for that around the time wiiware started but then i never heard anything about it actually being released.

CrazyOtto

#11

CrazyOtto said:

Wiiware would've also gotten Marvel VS Capcom 2, Scott Pilgrim VS the World, and Sonic 4 Episode 2 if it wasn't for the STUPID and POINTLESS 40 MB limit.

SKTTR

#12

SKTTR said:

Machinarium, I hope you get a chance on WiiU. Motherload too.

RCR, hope you're still coming!

bezerker99

#16

bezerker99 said:

Retro City Ransom is what I'm anxiously awaiting on WiiWare. However, I am having serious doubts at this point about a 2012 release. :o

ecco6t9

#17

ecco6t9 said:

Nothing wrong with a 40MB limit, developers did a lot more with a lot less room in the olden days.

retro_player_22

#22

retro_player_22 said:

TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-shelled, Sonic 4: Episode II, The Binding of Isaac, and Clay Fighter were also among the many games that were once announced for WiiWare but never see the light of days.

Fudge

#24

Fudge said:

Eternity's Child. Anyone remember?? It looked so cool, also what happened to Bplus and Vektor Tank?? Is the 3DS version still on the way

moomoo

#25

moomoo said:

It really sucks that some people didn't get to play Super Meat Boy. In my eyes it is the best 2D platformer this gen, and that's saying quite a bit.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#26

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Stands up very slowly...can I just point out the EU hasn't gotten a large selection of wiiware games that NA did - and most likely will never see a release here....smiff sniff ....I'll sit down now...

Geonjaha

#27

Geonjaha said:

Funny how Machinarium was the one to complain about specs. Really? The thing was a flash game.

Tony_342

#28

Tony_342 said:

It's amazing what some developers were able to accomplish with only 40MB. Look at Shin'en, for example. Jett Rocket, FAST Racing League, Art of Balance... I read somewhere the assets for FAST Racing League were over 900MB, and somehow they squeezed that down to 40 without losing anything. If only all developers had access to the black magic these guys used.

sketchturner

#30

sketchturner said:

I wanted Explodemon so badly!
I have complete faith that Retro City Rampage is still coming. I've got my last 1500 Wii points waiting for that game.There have been multiple game events showing off the game, and the developer has consistently posted updates on Facebook.

zane

#35

zane said:

Last flight, an airplane filled with vampires never happened either :(

TKOWL

#36

TKOWL said:

Well, at least Nintendo learned from their mistake in that 40 MB was absolutely ridiculous.

I can make Word files bigger than that.

accc

#37

accc said:

The quote from the Machinarium developer is a bit baffling. If they didn't think the game would work in standard definition and in under 40 megabytes, why did they bother porting it to Wiiware in the first place?

PikanRikan

#38

PikanRikan said:

To #7 and #35 - I too was really looking forward to Descent. That game used to fit on a few 3.5 mb disks back in the day and after Interplay released MDK2 on WiiWare, I had hopes for Descent. The Interplay website still lists a potential release in 2012 but I'm not holding my breath.

cyrus_zuo

#39

cyrus_zuo said:

Eternity's Child (think that was the name) was supposed to be remade into a brilliant platformer for WiiWare (it was a brilliant looking game on the PC). Never made it :(.

rjejr

#41

rjejr said:

Animals las Muertes. Wasn't that announced even before Wiiware started publishing games? Who could have ever thought that a game that involved running around shooting dead zombie animals in Mexico would NOT be released on a Nintendo home console? ;-)

coolvw93

#43

coolvw93 said:

ive been waiting for retro city rampage forever, since the day i saw it in an article in an issue of nintendo power, v.256 July 2010, im hoping it still comes around to wii ware. if it doesnt, ill be getting it off the Xbox live Marketplace will have to do...

lockelocke

#44

lockelocke said:

is anyone else having an impossible time getting on the wii shop server? too many mulana downloads?

BulbasaurusRex

#45

BulbasaurusRex said:

Yes, Retro City Rampage should be good, but what about Descent? Although Interplay hasn't said anything in months, as far as we know it's still coming.

SKTTR

#46

SKTTR said:

Worms Battle Islands was another WiiWare game that was cancelled, but at least it got released on Wii disc. The Wii version is actually the WiiWare version that didn't fit: It's only 60MB, so... kinda funny.

What about that Advance Wars clone? Mecho Wars or something? It was by the same guy (Luc Bernard) who made Eternity's Child. It looked promising. What happened to it? And the other games by him... He announced so much... Eternity's Child 2: Retro Child, Rose Princess... nothing was released.

Then there was Bloober Team with Last Flight. Actually they had another WiiWare game in production not many know about. It was called "Egypt: Engineering an Empire".

I'm also pretty sad about the Archon remake that was announced many years ago but never made it to the service.

And will Nintendo ever release Snowpack Park in Europe? That game was made by skip (Art Style series, Captain Rainbow) and I really wish we could have it.

If Descent ever gets released (last I checked it was still in development) it doesn't look good for a EU release as Interplay has not released their other two games (MDK2 and Stonekeep: Bones of the Ancestors) in Europe.

As for Protocol, I think it is a safe bet for Wii U. Super Meat Boy could be revived for WiiU too.

More sad things were LostWinds, escapeVektor, Furry Legends, Pearl Harbor Trilogy, Sonic 4.... Unfinished series with no conclusion to their plot. They all need sequels.

Also, this game http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKFXVCwtPE0 somehow went to oblivion as well.

kobe1724

#47

kobe1724 said:

I'm just fine with Super Meat Boy on my Xbox. That's why it helps to have more than one system :) Still, it would've been cool to have it on WiiWare. Although I really do like the achievement system for the 360, I hope the Wii U implements that (and maybe the 3DS in the future); it makes you feel more accomplished when you do certain things in a game. Imagine, New Super Mario Bros. 2 achievement: Collect a million coins. At least then all of your friends would know you did it, instead of some underwhelming new title screen.

DarkCoolEdge

#48

DarkCoolEdge said:

@kobe1724 do you really need an achievement for that? What's the point? Look my friends, I play much more than you do. Yuhu

Don't get me wrong, some achievements are well thought and make you play more the game you like but most of them are stupid/look how big is my...

nasachi

#49

nasachi said:

@Omega
of course there are many many awesome Wii Ware masterpieces out there (La Mulana... fantastic game!!!), but especially Super Meat Boy would have been nice to play with classic controller imo... have bought it on PC, ok, bit i hope Meat Boy (or possibly a sequel?) makes it to WiiU or 3DS eShop, game is pretty awesome, imo the best non-Nintendo platformer in gaming history!!!

LEGEND_MARIOID

#50

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

In EU:

Carnival King
Ghost Slayer
Magic Obelisk
Shadow Play
Liight
Night Sky
Amazing Brain Train
Tumblebugs 2
Astrobugs Revenge
Darts Rage
Big Kahuna Party
Eduardo the Sumurai Toaster
Burn the Rope
Jellycar 2
BItto+

Three of those I've found on iOS and downloaded, but a travesty we haven't got these in the EU

SKTTR

#51

SKTTR said:

@LEGEND_MARIOID

Where's your taste man? ;)
Frobot, MDK2, and Snowpack Park are the essentials that Europe is missing from the American Wii Shop.

GreenDream

#54

GreenDream said:

The possibilities of data compression really are miraculous... Don't forget that titles like Perfect Dark N64 can fit into a 32 MB cartridge, though! Adding the 8 MB expansion pack and 32 KB controller pak, that made for about a 40 MB game.

So if you cut some graphical corners, even a measly 40 MB is enough to make a great game. Ironically enough, without the hindrance of data cramming these days, data wasting has become more of a problem. So, of course we think that every game needs to use at least 4.5 GB these days...

kobe1724

#55

kobe1724 said:

@DarkCoolEdge Having achievements gives a player more incentive to do certain things on their games, because each achievement would have a number (like gamerscore), and then all their friends could see what they've accomplished. I just used the million coins as an example, there are many, many more instances where achievements would be beneficial. It's just my opinion though, I'll still love Nintendo whether they do that or not.

Jukilum

#56

Jukilum said:

Machinarium probably could have fit under 40mb if they had lowered the resolution to what the Wii can accomplish. And so many indie developers seem to have a severe case of sour grapes whenever they don't get everything exactly how they want and when they want.

Marioman64

#57

Marioman64 said:

now what i'm wondering, is if they are allowed to make a game more than 40mb by selling a (let's say) 35mb game and then have required free dlc that fills in the rest of the game.
if that's possible i'm surprised no one's found that loophole

gojiguy

#58

gojiguy said:

The one I'm most sad about is Noitu Love 2. While not officially cancelled, there hasn't been a WORD from Golgoth since its announcement.

On that note, what happened to Toki?

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