News Article

Silicon Studio Near "Maximum Performance" With Wii U, 3DS Hardware

Posted by Tim Latshaw

Also planning a new 3DS game

Silicon Studio, the developer behind the recently confirmed-for-the-West title Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, also works in creating software tools and game engines for a variety of companies, including Nintendo and Sony. Two higher-ups at Silicon recently sat down with Siliconera to discuss current and upcoming systems from their unique vantage point.

Silicon Studio President Takehiko Terada noted that, while the PS4 has moved “closer to the PC architecture,” the Wii U has maintained a more unique setup for developers. This may make things more difficult for some developers wishing to port their titles, but Silicon’s close ties with Nintendo has apparently given it more time and information on the system:

Wii U has very specific characteristics. Some game designers will like it. Some others will have a hard time to port their game. There are pros and cons. We are very close to Nintendo, so we were working on Wii U for a long time. We almost got the maximum performance with the hardware. Since we are working closely with the Nintendo support team they gave us a lot of useful information.

Principle Engineer Ian Graham added that many lessons learned by working with the original Wii can transfer to its successor:

I think it was a bit of having a headstart and there was a lot of continuity from the Wii in terms of architecture. They added a significant amount of horsepower, but there was no revolution needed at the engine level to take advantage of it.

Turning to the 3DS, Terada said his studio might be able to fine tune its work with the hardware and “almost have full power of the graphics chip.” He also added that the developer is planning an upcoming 3DS title, as well as something for the PS3 and the Vita, but provided no further information on any of them.

What do you think of Silicon Studio’s approaches to the Wii U and 3DS? Feel free to drop a line in the comments below.


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User Comments (71)



BossBattles said:

Sad that gamers care to even bother talking about "performance" of the console instead of how fun it is to play.

R.I.P. old school.



Meaty-cheeky said:

@rayword45 I was wondering the same thing when reading this article, the 3D effect takes up a lot of power on the 3DS. If a Nintendo 3DS game didn't us the 3D feature and used its GPU at its fullest, that is going to be one impressive looking game.



Zup said:

@Meaty-cheeky regardless i always prefer to play with the 3d on. I would be fine with less impressive visuals to keep the 3d effect intact.



TimLatshaw said:

@BossBattles Hm... But isn't how fun a console is to play dependent upon its qualities and a developer's ability to properly utilize them? If you have the same game, say, released for both SNES and Genesis, what determines which one is "more fun" to play? If they are exactly the same, does the console itself even factor into that?

But if you're implying that all consoles are equally fun on their own and its up to the games to provide the most flavor, I can be quite cool with that.



RetroGBHippie92 said:

@BossBattles makes a fair point, I'm with him on having fun, for example I'm playing both my DSi and 3DS at the moment, but despite the "performance" of the DSi compared to the 3DS, I'm having a lot more fun with my DSi.
But then again I love my 3DS and it's the latest Nintendo handheld, but I can't not be blamed for comparing apples and apples and not apples and oranges.



TingLz said:

@TimLatshaw In a sense you are right. The other part is the software itself. While some consoles may be more powerful, it's meaningless unless the software takes advantage of that power.



TimLatshaw said:

@LzQuacker I agree, and I think that's what Silicon Studio is talking about when referring to "performance." They're trying to make full use of the technology. It won't mean anything if the games aren't fun as well, but who knows what kinds of ideas you can pull off in terms of mechanics and gameplay if you can be a little more efficient or push some limits?



PokeTune said:

Maximum power already? Well then the Wii U must be weaker than imagined if it`s been maxed out so quickly.



MadAdam81 said:

@PokeTune Its more to do with Nintendo rproviding unprecedented assistance to third party devs. These guys also develop tools for other devs, so this should be good news for those developing games specifically for the Wii U, helping them make the most of the Wii U sooner rather than later.



PokeTune said:

@MadAdam81 I personally wouldn't find maxing out the Wii U so soon to be a good thing when its graphics already pale in comparison to launch PS4 games and it'll only get better from then onward.



Midnight3DS said:


That's what I felt the concern would be for some time now. In 2- 3 years, developers and consumers may see it as dog tired, when other consoles tend to start peaking.



MadAdam81 said:

@PokeTune At double the price of a Wii U, the graphics aren't that much better on a PS4 for me. The terrible controller with a poorly implemented gamepad touch screen rip-off kills it for me as well, and the fact that there are no exclusives I want (same as PS3).
I might pick up a PS4 or NextBox in 3 or 4 years when they are better priced, and don't forget the Wii was even more graphically beind PS3 & 360, and it outsold them a long way.



kevkeepsplaying said:

@PokeTune Match? Well, obviously not, Wii U's clearly as powerful as a seventh gen console, but I've yet to see an ugly game for the Wii U that... y'know, is good, or matters, in that case. They may not be wow-worthy, but what does it matter as long as a game is pleasant to the eyes, and looks up to date? At least it's not like the Wii, which was eons behind it's competitiors...



PokeTune said:

@CrabGats Very true but I whether they look as good in the long run won't matter if the system won't get the games in the first place.



IPrino said:

what game are they developing on wii u? i would like to see it to see what kind of results they are talking about. Also if they have had dev kits since 2011 and r working close with nintendo then two yrs is about right for getting used tp the tech.



Dpishere said:

I am by no means a graphic junkie, but the Wii U to me at least looks more than good enough visually. There is a reason I have always prefered Nintendo's systems and that is because even though the disparity in graphics between the 360 and Wii was fairly large, I simply never cared, as I felt the Wii's games were simply better. For all the bashing the Wii recieved about its technical capabilities, I still think most of the other system's games paled in comparison, artistically or otherwise. While I enjoy my 360 every now and then, the Wii is the system I always come back to when I simply just want to have fun, and the Wii U looks like it will do the same for me, though I do plan on getting a PS4 at some point too.



Pichuka97 said:

I remember before 3DS came out, Nintendo said if games did not use the 3D at all, there would be a lot more the system could process in terms of visuals, music, and such. I would love to see what the 3DS could do without the 3D being used for one game.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

The Mario Galaxy games blew my mind graphically when they came out, just like F-ZERO GX did on the GCN. Nintendo knows how to make their systems sing, and if they help third-parties along with some development tools, then we'll all be in good shape.



ReaperX30 said:

@MadAdam81 Okay...eeeee.....I'm really not a fan of Sony but even if what we saw during the PS4 reveal was really not the most impressive thiing, it's still beyond what the Wii U can do. Don't forget that the Wii U is comparable to the PS3 and 360 in power and not much more. Also Sony revealed pretty much nothing about the games so E3 will be where you might see what exclusive they have.

The Wii outsold the PS3 and 360 because of the innovation of the controller but even then if you check hardcore gamers that have all three console and ask them the one they use most I'm pretty sure the Wii falls in last because of it's lack of good games. Mine has been gathering dust for quite a while. My PS3 I use mostly for Blu-rays and I play games on my 360.

The Wii U came too late, it's not selling well cause at this point gamers are waiting for the next generations of consoles or because again of the lack of games. It could turn around like it did for the 3DS and I'd be happy to see it cause I always liked Nintendo and I really like my 3DS but I seriously doubt it. I hope they prove me otherwise but for now I think Nintendo is going the same way Sega went.



Mizzah_Tee said:

You're comparing 3rd Party ports of current Gen games on Wii U to 1st party test renders on PS4. All of the ports on Wii U aren't even using all 3 cores and they operate with coding not made to utilize the modern tech (multi threading) in Wii U. If nothing from Nintendo at E3 impresses, I would have to agree with you. Let's wait until then at least. Sony has a history of showing over performance renders of what their consoles will actually produce early on. Remember the PS3 early demos and promises...



nik1470 said:

Graphics have nothing to do with sucess remember the N64 and GC more powerful than the Sony equivalents and massively less successful.



SanderEvers said:

@ReaperX30 Nah. That will never happen.

The Wii U can actually fail. True, that would be tough for Nintendo but they will be able to survive that. Actually UNLIKE Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo is able to take a risk.

And they did. And I know the Wii U will be a success for at least 3 to 4 years. And then, well, we start thinking about the 9th generation of Nintendo consoles

Sony is going to get a rough time, the PS4 will not sell as good as the PS3. 3 simple facts:

1. PS3 is still powerful enough for the big masses.
2. DRM.
3. The system will be 500-600 euro. (Otherwise it will be either not very powerful compared to modern day PCs or they'll make a big loss on the hardware, which increases 2).

Same thing goes for MS, however they have Windows that can uplift the XBOX brand a bit.



DualWielding said:

Shut up about performance and just release a sequel to Bravely default and this time simultaneously in the west and japan



noirzillagamer said:

@PokeTune I honestly think thst maxing out the systems sooner will be a common thing especially on the ps4 and 720 simply because of the pc architecture being used.Now it would be like always imo that the ball is in the hands of the devs to make engines and use grand imaginations/artistic styles to wow us this time around.



aaronsullivan said:

If you made a lazy port for the Wii, it doesn't help you make good games for the Wii U. If you made a game specifically for the Wii you will more easily transition to the Wii U. It's a problem for publishers who want cheap ports to all consoles for maximum profit. It's a problem for Nintendo because that's the situation most publishers face and Nintendo needed to break the tradition of poor third party support. Really hope Nintendo can blow the doors off at E3 with exciting and appealing games.

@BossBattles Performance has always been an issue even back in the NES days. The NES was actually more fun for action games because it could maintain much higher frame rates than PCs, for instance. Different kinds of fun, of course, were possible on PCs but that doesn't change the fact that performance in different areas can open up new ways to have fun with games.



Godstrike said:

I seriously don't care much about these conversations(can't really call them arguements) because as it is right now I may very well be sitting with just PC and Wii U games this generation which I really don't mind



8bitforever said:

I like the 3D but honestly I would give it up for a higher resolution screen and more power. I have both a 3DS and Vita and I do love the 3DS, but the Vita screen is beautiful and the games are top notch due to the power it has. I just wish Nintendo would finally get a handheld that is not underpowered. I play old games all the time and graphics aren't the most important but games that look great are a plus for sure.



banacheck said:

almost have full power of the graphics chip. We almost got the maximum performance with the hardware.
Developers never max out consoles this early on in there life cycle, the Wii U will be well out dated in a few years when consoles like the PS4 will be just be hitting there stride. You also have to take in the fact killzone4 was made on incomplete hardware which only scratches what the PS4 can do. I cannot believe Nintendo have not made a console to last a few years never mind 5years, its sad in away for console lovers but Nintendo are not going to change.
Sony has not got anything to worry about unlike the Wii U,
1) The PS4 is future proof, and i cannot believe Nintendo hasn't gone the same route, which you don't need a powerful console to do.
2) The Wii U is looking to be more overpiced as time goes on, where the PS4 will be cheaper than previous consoles PS3.
manufactures get discounts on hardware parts and buy in bulk, which is no way near the same as buying from a shop.



drumsandperc92 said:

this is actually slightly disappointing.
typically it takes a number of years into a consoles lifespan for developers to be able to get the most out of the system.
This is good for gamers because while early games on Wii U look great, we could say, "Well this is just the beginning. Wait 3, 4, even 5 years to see what the system can really do".
Looking at every console in the past, this has been the case. On the 360, Oblivion vs Skyrim are worlds apart. Look at GTA 5 & watch dogs...look next gen but its on current consoles at the end of their life span, 7 years later.
This comment is disappointing because it tells me that there's no where to go from here with the Wii U...perhaps take advantage of the unique gameplay possibilities but as far as graphics goes we are already seeing the brunt of the power? With PS4 and the next Xbox being released this year, this doesn't bode well for Nintendo.
I thought that what we were seeing is just the beginning, but Silicon doesn't make it sound that way....



TheHeroOfLegend said:

I really like Silicon Studio. They have so many possibilities with Nintendo and I wonder though, what are they cooking up on Wii U?



th3r3ds0x said:

I'm glad they are able to tap the system to its fu potential early on. Making the move to HD resolutions was the single most important thing that Nintendo needed to do in my opinion. The games look great already. I'm a huge Nintendo fan but the only thing I didn't like was playing SD resolution games on HD TVs. I don't care that much if Link or Mario have 5000 polygons or 40,000 polygons. As long as the motion is fluid and the graphics are sharp and most importantly the gameplay is fun, I'm a happy camper. With this generation we reached a point where an upgrade in graphics power doesn't do as much to improve gameplay as it does to increase development costs. I remember getting Street Fighter II Special Championship Edition for my Sega Genesis and was so disappointed that the voice sounded like a garbled mess compared to the SNES version. Back then things like that really made a difference. Nowadays the differences are far less between the systems when it comes to things that are actually going to make a difference in the gameplay experience. Sony is going to have a nice powerful machine but as much as they are pushing the idea of more power they are also talking up all the social options that will set them apart. Increased graphics alone doesn't do it anymore. At the end of the day I like the pretty graphics but when it comes to gameplay, Nintendo still rules the day. I hope the games coming out for Wii U this year help turn the system around. I love it personally and everyone that has sat down with it has fallen in love with the machine.



BossBattles said:

I doubt that they are actually at maximum potential. there is always ways to squeeze more surprises out of a console, especially this early on. These kinds of reports have a tendency to get people worried or have a needless debate when really people USED TO just focus on which games were fun, and be thankful for what we got.



BossBattles said:

@aaronsullivan true. but for me, these goes without saying and has very little to do with my overall enjoyment of the hobby. technology improves, and with improvements, there can also be more annoyances. it kind of balances out, and what always ends up mattering to me is how good a game is.

I never worry about framerate, glitches, or "performance". for the most part, those things can never destroy a great game, because great games are usually created with more care anyways.



BossBattles said:

yeah, i own all consoles, and like them all for their own reasons. Each console is not the same, but has their own personality. You have to adjust your mindset for each system, and in doing so, you can expand your enjoyment of gaming because you get a much wider spectrum of games to play.



JSuede said:

In case it hasn't been mentioned (I'm not reading all of the comments)....the quote about the Wii U..... "We almost got the maximum performance with the hardware" most likely means "We almost have Paradox and Yebis 2 running at maximum performance using the Wii U hardware" and not "We have maxed out the Wii U hardware"

Suggesting a 3rd party has maxed out the Wii U 6 months in is absolutely ludicrous. Such a thing has never been accomplished in the past, and never will. Things will always continue to be optimized and run more efficiently, freeing up power to do more than was previously possible. If the architecture and everything inside the Wii U was literally exactly the same as the 360, it would be reasonable to suggest for a third party that has worked extensively on the system. Thing is, the Wii U is so customized, even Nintendo won't have it "maxed out" with their first round of software.

The headline should be changed as to prevent asinine comments suggesting the system is tapped out.



Emaan said:

I'd love to see some exceptional RPG's show up on both systems, so this is good news!



QuickSilver88 said:

You know there are a variety of factors why games keep improving over the life of a system.

1. The manufacturer continues to imrove and release new dev tools support new libraries and feautres.
2. The render equipment on PC/Macs keeps getting better and more sophisticated.
3. Early geneartion engines get optimized.....this is what happened with games like AC and Oblivion/Skyrim
4. Secret hardware features got figured out or unlocked.....what about that 'blob' of unkown silcon on the Wii-U mothetboard?

I own all systems but worry a little about ps4 in particular going to such a PC centric architecture....part of the lifespan of ps2 and ps3 were tied to the facts they had some exotic design elements that took a while to fully utilize. On the one hand we get better software earlier, on the other hand do they max out sooner?

I do always find it interesting that nothing looks as good on Nintendo systems as their first, second, or colaborated 3rd part games. Fzero, TWP, Mario Sunshine, RE4, SF Adventure all looked awesome on cube and I play a lot of legacy games. Sony is similiar...their stuff on PS2 and PS3 looks so much better than most 3rd party. As a result I don't think a lot of xbox classics have held up as well as the best stuff on $ony and Nintnedo systems.

The one game I am really interested to see at years end is Ubi's WatchDogs which will be on current gen, Wii-U, and Ps4 . Curious to see the differntiation of versions but honestly I think a lot of people are overestimating the grafx leap from here forward as we are definitly at the point of diminishing returns and this a reason why current systems went 7-8 years and are still going strong.



D2Dahaka said:

@QuickSilver88 Agree about your point regarding diminishing returns. Ill be able to build a pc with better specs than ps4/nextbox without going for top of the line hardware. I'll wager my present gaming pc has the capability to outdo them. It comes down to games at the end of the day. i'll get my 3rd party fix on other consoles and pc and Ill use wii u for its exclusive and unique games. The fact that wii u can handle ports of late 360/ps3 hardware out of the gate is a positive not a negative when you compare those games to launch titles on ps3/360. The "slow" wii u interface is also less laggy than my 360 dashboard which seems to only run smooth offline and with an empty hard disk. ok now ive gone on too much of a tangent. haha



P-Gamer-C said:

@BossBattles The better it performs the more fun it can be to play tight responsive controls have standards bro keep moving forward if more people thought like that in the nintendo air space the wii u would have been a much better console with more games



aaronsullivan said:

I believe the point about diminishing returns is that the amount of noticeable difference between the old and new technology is getting less and less. This is also true with PCs. The graphics cards cost the same to upgrade as they did the previous generation but the difference in visual fidelity is often not felt. It's not just from the hardware side either. You have to sink greater and greater budgets into games to make it better looking but you are still selling roughly the same number of games. Worse, the actual experience of playing is roughly the SAME as last generation, depending on the type of game.

This effect does not discriminate between platforms, but the jump from Wii to Wii U is probably going to feel a good deal greater than the jump from 360 and PS3 to their successors.

Nintendo had a pretty good strategy but I believe they aimed a little low with the Wii and the Wii U. Just HD capability on the Wii could have really helped in the last two years and Wii U feels like it needed a half jump over the 360 and PS3 rather than matching them.



aaronsullivan said:

Also, PC graphics visual performance has basically taken a year off. They are all about reducing heat and power needs this generation. I believe we'll see it slowing down for awhile because the big sales numbers now come from mobile, ultrabooks, and laptops.



ollietaro said:

@BossBattles Seriously, though, I didn't care about lack of graphical upgrade for the NDS but it definitely shows for the 3DS. I loving love my 3DS to death but I can't help but notice the graphical niggles such as a lack of definition. It's like a handheld 3D N64 when I want something more like Vita-level graphics.



ollietaro said:

@Meaty-cheeky How is Nintendo going to release games without 3D? I thought it was mandatory for every title to include it. How is it possible to release non-3D games for the 3DS?



ollietaro said:

@Zup How do you find it possible to play in 3D all the time? I always get eye-strains after only half an hour of play in 3D.



Meaty-cheeky said:

@ollietaro Nintendo allows the option for a 3DS game to not have 3D, for example the 3DS game fluidity spin cycle doesn't have 3D. So it's possible in the near future to have a graphically demanding game on the Nintendo 3DS to not have 3D.



Zemus-DJ said:

@ollietaro Not at all. But, my 1st play session over 4hours back with OOT, I got a bad headache. I've play 12hour sessions of MH with no headaches. I don't take the so called recommended breaks either. I believe that only headache I did get cause the way the 3D is implemented, it's kinda like wearing glasses (which I don't) so your getting used to it? Or something like that.



aaronsullivan said:

@ollietaro No Nintendo is not skipping E3. My understanding is that they will be there with bells on. They just aren't holding a big stadium press conference like they (and the others) have traditionally. In fact, I believe Nintendo is putting on an event at their booth for all the press to play games, instead. In addition, if you have a Best Buy near you, you'll be able to play pre-release games during the week of E3. There will be at least one Nintendo Direct which will show the things we might expect at an E3 presentation. For someone at home it won't be much different, I guess.

Here's the articles you may be referencing for details:

Did this headline throw you off?
"Pachter: Nintendo Made the Right Decision in Skipping E3 This Year"
As a rule, analysts don't get the details right.



QuickSilver88 said:

I have been watching some interesting things on YouTube. One was an interview with the head of $ony Europe out and out saying that PS4 is not going to be that much more powerful than PS3 and that it is all about improving user expierience and creating new game play methods to lure in casual and girl gamers.......hmmm sounds a lot like Nintendos strategy since the Wii first came out. People. In another 'talking head' video the guy talks about how Sony and Microsoft would not be able to have significant jump graphically over Wii-U unless they released in 2014 or beyong because they will not be able to incorperate killer silcon without the cost being thru the roof. I really expected both to wait until 2014 myself, but to his point they can't afford to because Nintendo is out so soon and they don't want to give up significant units installed. So all you 'spec' whores are likely going to be a little let down by the fact that the Wii-U will not be that far off these other new consoles. He equates it to the difference between the PS2 and the GC/Xbox which had marginally more powerful grafx and ram but never really showed a huge difference in multiplatform titles......I agree with that, but will say that Nintendo titles on GC look much better than the multiplatform titles that came out for all three.



ollietaro said:

@aaronsullivan Thank-you. Glad to hear they will be at E3. On a sidenote, the PS Vita communities I visited are pretty dried up and the users not intellectually engaged like here.



ollietaro said:

@Zemus-DJ You've played Monster Hunter for 12 hours in 3D? I don't believe it! I've played it for about 6 hours one day and I got a bad headache at the end of the day and I only turned the 3D up for the cut-scenes. To each his own. Also, I get eye strains quicker with MH than I do with Fire Emblem. Being an action game in 3D I think that's the reason it hurts my eyes. You're lucky!



ollietaro said:

@Meaty-cheeky Definitely possible. My head was at retail releases only, but I didn't think about the eShop contingent. I didn't think any of the games at retail would be without 3D but I certainly see the possibility to release non-3D ones on eShop. New DSiWare titles are still coming out, too.



ollietaro said:

@Midnight3DS YES! But I think it's b/c Jaggis are ugly to begin with LOL we are talking about MH3U, right? Do you think they chose to exclude Carapaceons b/c they're too graphically demanding for 3DS?



DaveC said:

@ollietaro :"How is Nintendo going to release games without 3D? I thought it was mandatory for every title to include it. How is it possible to release non-3D games for the 3DS?"

All games can be without 3D, and the good news is you can be the one who makes it that way, that is what that little slider on the right side of the screen is for

Some games already give a slight performance boost in framerate in 2D when the slider is off since it shuts off the 3D rendering. That is about all the performance upgrade you will get in 2D since the 3D is assisted in hardware.

I never play in 2D though, there is no point for me. If I want a flat 2D system I would just play a Vita.

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