News Article

Ubisoft Studio Boss: People "Need to Experience" Wii U to Understand It

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"The depth of what you can do with that console is really hard to get across"

With Wii U now settling into the home stretch of its "launch window", and with the recent sales figures and projections from Nintendo's financial results, there's plenty of discussion around the system's early days and its potential for the future. A theme that's been reiterated by Nintendo is that it feels it needs to communicate the concept and value of the system more effectively, ideas echoed by Xavier Poix, managing director of Ubisoft's Annecy, Montpellier, and Paris studios.

Ubisoft has been a major supporter of Wii U in its early days, delivering exclusives with the launch day ZombiU and the eagerly anticipated Rayman Legends, which is now just a few short weeks away. Speaking to Gamespot, Poix spoke about the challenges in communicating the Wii U concept, how it perhaps impacted negatively on ZombiU, while also mentioning multi-screen trends that could encourage future success for the system.

The depth of what you can do with that console is really hard to get across unless you play with it. It's different from the Wii, where seeing was believing. With the Wii U, people really need to experience it.

The whole idea of the asymmetrical gameplay and using two screens to do two very different things is not simple to explain to people. ZombiU was designed to be a game for core players launching with a new Nintendo console. We should have communicated better in this respect to let people know what kind of experience to expect. It wasn't obvious enough that there would be a new controller and new gameplay and a new skill set to develop.

We are at a new start in the industry, a moment where gaming is no longer just for geeks. We have consoles like the Wii to thank for that, and the rise in mobile gaming. It's all leading towards interconnectivity. What will you do on your phone in the future will impact what you do on your console back home, and so on. There will be different applications for different devices.

On another point, Poix stated that he feels releasing games at the start of a system's lifespan allows developers to be creative and push new ideas.

You've got a new toy to play with, and for the first time you need to think differently. It's hard to achieve but it's the best moment.

ZombiU can be a divisive title, but it undoubtedly made significant use of the GamePad functionality to provide a distinctive survival horror experience. With Rayman Legends bringing its own GamePad touches soon, we'll see more of what Ubisoft can do on Wii U.


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User Comments (41)



Wonder_Ideal said:

I agree that you need to try the Wii U before you fully understand the possibilities for the system.



LavaTwilight said:

I'm LOVING my first playthrough of ZombiU and although I have never been a Rayman fan since it's first days on the PS1, I am - thanks to the gamepad uses and rhythm-tuned levels - now also looking forward to Rayman Legends! Keep up the good work Ubisoft!



defrb said:

the wiiu is an epic machine with endless possibilitys, best game machine ever made.



Sean_Aaron said:

I didn't really care for the Zombi U demo, but the Rayman demo was a very pleasant surprise. I'll be happy to be supporting Ubisoft with a purchase at the end of this month.



aaronsullivan said:

Completely agree with the Wii U experience thing. It's Nintendo's biggest challenge right now. It may very well have to rely on word of mouth and parties.

That odd video with non-specific action guy was trying to convey part of it and it was very awkward, but some clever marketing might be able to get this across. It needs to be situational with a couple of aha! moments and not as "estatic" as that video with the family playing Nintendo Land and Wii Fit U. Maybe somebody visiting someone's house who is playing and just seeing all the differences.

Glad it's not my job to do the advertising, but here are the 4 big messages I think Nintendo needs to get across (besides Wii U is an entirely new console):

Asynchronous play
Play on just the Game Pad sometimes
MiiVerse (which is just going to be incredible as new games keep coming)
Multiplayer - two player games are no longer split-screen, but two screen.



WanderingPB said:

The obstacle i believe Nintendo has to hurdle over is advertising and of course software(which the last Direct covered for all those naysayers). Everytime i play ZombieU i take a breath b4 i open a door, then make sure every door is closed b4 continue and then look at above me b/c sometimes they drop out of nowhere…needless to say the fear keeps me on my toes and am loving every minute of it. The way Ubisoft has used the gamepad is brilliant and i believe the new experience of using the gamepad frightens people out of their comfort zone then they complain and even with the pro controller they arent happy. Negative reviews? I dont even acknowledge them because they already began playing the game negatively closed minded. Ubisoft started the earthquake with ZombieU and will quiet the masses with Rayman Legends. I agree with Ubisoft and personally want to thank them for these great games on this great new system



Burning_Spear said:

Ubisoft and Poix in particular are great advocates for Nintendo. Unlike EA, Ubisoft put themselves behind this console from day one and have followed through, whereas EA showed up for the booze and ice cream and then bailed with some hag.



element187 said:

Its going to be Nintendos biggest hurdle with this system.... I wanted the Wii U because its the only way to play my favorite franchises, and I was unsure about how I felt about a screen on my controller, and figured Off TV-Play was a nifty feature I don't really need.

But those preconceptions changed dramatically after the console was in our home less than a few days, it really slapped me upside the head how great it is to have the off tv play ability. I use it non-stop, especially games with really long cut scenes (AC3, ME3) and the element of using the panoramic feature in games like ZombiU and Batman Arkham City (i'm sorry, but looking for "evidence" using the thumbsticks was so bland on the PS3, the Wii U version actually makes the tablet controller feel like a piece of Batman's equipment)

The better immersion created by a game/console the better the system is. I'm not impressed with companies that slap a faster processor into a box, throw it on the shelf for double the price and calls it a day. I already have a computer that can do that better, faster, and at higher resolutions than any future system Sony or Microsoft will throw in a box.

Doesn't matter, Steambox will annhilate both companies in 2014.



element187 said:

I think it would serve Nintendo's interest if they figure out a way to inform parents that the system can rescue their TV back from their kids video games.... If they can communicate that to parents it will be a hit.



cornishlee said:

Communication does seem to be a problem for Nintendo right now. Long may they continue to enjoy Ubisoft's support though.



TheHeroOfLegend said:

I agree with this article. I really hate how people and analysts say that Wii U is a stupid console without actually experiencing it. It just makes me so mad.



AgentAPE said:

everybody is crying a river about the Wii U, just wait until E3 and everybody will be singing a different song and having discussions about what game to play next especially after seeing nintendos major titles in HD for the first time with a level of creativity the industry rarely sees these days.



FiveDigitLP said:

Some great ideas going on here, guys. I agree in that the biggest hurdle Nintendo has is trying to iterate what the selling points of the system are. Most people just don't seem to "get it" by reading about it and watching videos.
I'm trying to do my part by having people over and playing it, but I must say, my influence is quite limited...especially when it comes to the gaming community!



Mahe said:

The funny thing is, Rabbids Land is better in showcasing Wii U than Nintendoland is.



gsnap said:

It's a very strange problem. You'd think the fact that the DS has been out since 2004 would help keep people from being confused.

Nintendo has a tough rode ahead of them. But it's not impossible. They just have a lot of small things they need to do to get people pumped.

1.) Keep making Nintendo Directs. We need a new ND at least every two months. This will keep people who actually pay attention to the industry interested. Hardcore fans, the media, and investors will appreciate it. Not every ND can be a huge hit like the last one, but if they're consistent, and just keep giving us a bunch of them, they won't all need to be show stoppers.

2.) ADVERTISEMENT. And by that I mean good advertisement. Multiple types of commercials would be best. Perhaps one commercial shows a wife playing pikmin 3 when her husband comes in and asks to use the tv to watch basketball. It shows the new game (pikmin 3), it shows the convenience of off tv play, it shows how you can switch channels using just the gamepad. No cheesy one liners, no goofy junk. Just simple things like that. Then you have commercials that advertise just the games (the fire emblem commercials were very good). Just have a bunch of simple commercials to show of the aspects of the Wii U and how they actually apply to life. Showing people flailing around in a bunch of multicolored boxes doesn't do anything for anyone.

3.) E3 E3 E3. Destroy E3. Destroy it. You come and say, "Yeah, the ps4 and 720 were cool and all, but check this out" and then you just destroy the competition. Nintendo has the content to do it. The last ND proved that.

Now here's the funny thing. Everything I just listed was INCREDIBLY obvious. You all already know this, and Nintendo already knows this too. They've always known this, but for some reason, in the past they've chosen to not do these things. They've chosen to just rely on the fact that they had hit franchises. But they can't do that anymore, and I feel like they know this. It's gonna be an interesting year.



Haywired said:

But maybe the fact that the DS has been out since 2004 is why people aren't seeing anything particularly new or exciting about a console based predominantly around a touch-screen/dual screen.



gsnap said:

That statement wasn't about excitement. It was about confusion.

People may or may not be excited, but it's funny and sad that they're still confused.



Haywired said:

Sure, but we don't actually know that they are confused. That was just Ubisoft's opinion/excuse. It may very well be that the general public totally understands the Wii U, but just isn't interested.



gsnap said:


That would be my first thought if Ubisoft was the only ones who said that. But that's what everyone is saying. Ubisoft, Nintendo, the media. Even commentors keep saying that their friends don't understand it.

So you may be right, but there also might be some truth that there's a lot of confusion.

Whatever. Either way, Nintendo is gearing up to get people interested. So we'll see how things play out this year.



rjejr said:

Here's an idea.

If people need to experience the machine rather than just watch it, maybe Nintendo could not be SO STUPID as to have a kiosk machine set up in every retail store with the video for 25 games on it but every single game has the word DEMO grayed out. Really, what freaking moron thought it was a good idea to have a new game system set up in stores for people to play it but none of the demos work? How stupid can you get?



sdcazares1980 said:

@rjejr You took the words right out of my mouth. People would have to BUY the damn thing for people to truly experience it. Ubisoft's talking point is not gonna work.



Hardy83 said:

@rjejr I was gonna say the exact same thing.
They admit they have a problem conveying the system, yet their kiosks sucks SOOOOOOO much.

Having actually played the Wii U, it's a pretty fun system, but those kiosks definitely suck something hard in comparison.



erv said:

I always buy nintendo's new home console.

And so far, the experience has been incredible. And wiiU is definitely the best one yet.



andrea987 said:

The only problem Nintendo has with the Wii U, at least in Europe, is advertising, or lack of it.



JayceJa said:

isnt this what was said about the 3ds? which turned out to be a ds with an analogue stick and a less used touchscreen



Yosh said:

I have been a rayman fan for a long long time, and when I saw legends, I knew that ubisoft was regaining interest in an awesome character, but I want this to be his last game with the gameplay of origins, they are amazing, but why I love rayman is that every game is different.



Yosh said:

Look steam is great and all, it's a great place to store games and accessing your account on a TV is all fine and good, but nintendo, sony, microsoft, aren't going to take that big of a hit, Gabe even said he doen't know what the steambox will be, so it might not even be a console



rjejr said:

This article appears in a entirely new light after Ubisofts' newest announcement about the Rayman delay and multiplat, doesn't it?

This blog post needs a soundtrack of a big fat bad guy laughing
bwah ha ha ha ha
while you're reading it.

Experience the Wii U - in September 2013!



element187 said:

its inexcusable to delay a game just to bring it multiplat... Sure we are a little bummed that Aliens Colonial Marines comes slightly later, but we will live, but delaying this Rayman game because you want to release them all at the same time? Please, this game is finished, put it out this month, because I can guarantee my money will buy something else in September.



123akis said:

ubisoft this completely DONT MAKE SENSE!! and now you delay rayman legends!!!



Emaan said:

This is really amusing to read after today's breaking news.

Lol. Good one Ubisoft.



Gamer83 said:


The good news is the game is still coming to Wii U and is probably still going to be the definitive version of it. The delay sucks though. I don't own the U and I'm not a huge Rayman fan but I really liked the demo for this game so I'm happy it's headed to systems I do have if I decide I want to buy it. Absolutely no reason for the U version to be pushed back though. And they delay it until the same month as GTA, I mean come on. Different demographics maybe but still not a wise choice.



Oscarsome said:

This is soooo funny. Oh, he feels it's good to release games at the system's launch, huh? Real funny. Man, he changed his mind pretty darn fast.

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