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.