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Ubisoft: ZombiU Development Was a Learning Experience in Second Screen Gameplay

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Have "learned some interesting [things about] gameplay thanks to the Wii U"

When the Wii U launched it was inevitable that the day one library would make sketchy use of the system's GamePad. Nintendo Land was a showcase, but other releases such as Assassin's Creed III did little beyond offer menus, maps and a horse whistle. One of Ubisoft's other launch titles was designed with the controller in mind, however, and in the opinion of various Nintendo Life staffers did an excellent job — ZombiU.

As a dual-screen experience, the genre and GamePad usage are arguably a strong match. At E3 2013 Ubisoft emphasized the importance of dual-screen play in relation to a couple of games but not, ironically, titles confirmed for the Wii U. Utilising tablets and/or smartphones, Watch_Dogs will have an app that will interact with the game or keep elements active while on the move. While this feature of the Wii U can occasionally be overlooked or underestimated, Ubisoft's EMEA managing director Alain Corre acknowledged to Polygon that the GamePad had been an early trailblazer for second screen gaming in the home console space.

We have learned some interesting [things about] gameplay thanks to the Wii U. With ZombiU last year, it was one of the first times we could explore asynchronous gameplay thanks to the second screen. When we look at that today, it's also thanks to that we've been able to create gameplay for games like Watch Dogs.

This kind of technology is thanks to the learning we've done on the Wii U tablet. So it helped us also to be quicker and to have today some of the best offerings in terms of second screen gaming.

Despite a lack of multi-platform announcements confirming Wii U as a platform in major upcoming projects, Corre repeated the company line that it's still backing Nintendo, even if that's not quite the case in its 2014 lineup at this moment.

We believe in Nintendo. Nintendo is a company that has proven in the last 30 years that they are able to fascinate tens of millions of gamers.

Nintendo is a great game creator; they are magic to a lot of gamers. And we've had a lot of great experiences with Nintendo in the past, such as the Wii and the Just Dance franchise. It has become one of the major franchises on the Nintendo system and is growing on Wii U.

...What we wish is that Nintendo can put more energy behind the Wii U, and find a solution to put more machines in the hands of the consumers. We feel that this machine can find its place, we just need more push from them to help find the market.

What the GamePad will continue to offer, beyond alternative options, is dual-screen gaming right out of the box, without the need for external devices. Whether the system will improve sales enough to satisfy Ubisoft's projections and bring the company's future games to utilise that technology, only time will tell.

Thanks to Ryan Millar for the tip.


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User Comments (19)



Hunter-D said:

Apart from Legends debacle Ubisoft have been great towards Nintendo & the Wii U. They support them not only through their words, but with games too.

It's nice to see that their ZombiU risk paid off for them when it came to developing Watch_Dogs too.



SCAR said:

Rayman should do fairly well. It will be multiplatform, but anyone that has a Wii U will opt for the Wii U version. It's just better.

Hopefully Ubisoft makes some good stuff this gen. I haven't really liked any of their stuff since gen 5 and Dreamcast, which I guess is gen 5.5.

Splintercell looks a tempting buy, though...



KingBoo01 said:

Even though they did the poor decison (from a pr stance) to make Rayman Legends multiplatform, the fact alone that their putting in the effort to make quality ports, and say nice things about Wii u is enough for them to be a great software company. They're pretty much the only third-party to invest in the second screen gameplay mechanic, and I'm definitely thankful.



Shambo said:

ZombiU is actually one of my favourite survival horror games ever. This being one of my favourite genres, says a lot about the game, for me personally. Some of my other favourite games are Red Steel 2, Splinter Cell series and Rayman series. Watch Dogs looks very promising, and every time I see Beyond Good & Evil 2 mentioned anywhere, the hype level goes through the roof. I have the first BG&E twice on gamecube (Dutch/French version, and English/Spanish). So yeah, Ubisoft should definitely stay on Nintendo!
I hope their multi-platform Wii U games sell enough to make it at least worth the investment for now. And in time... ZombiU 2 and Red Steel 3 PLEEEASE!



Dambuster said:

I loved how the game pad was used in zombi u, just wish nintendo would use the game pad for more than off tv play. Games like zombi u could save the wii u, imagine if nintendo brought out 2 new Ip's every year aimed at the core gamer, which used the pad in a different way, the thing would fly out of the shops.

Hope Blacklist uses the pad as well as zombi u did. ANY CHANCE OF A REVIEW NL??



Tysamu said:

I agree with Corre. Ninten needs to put much more energy behind the U system. Seriously.



element187 said:

@Dambuster Nintendo has used the gamepad brilliantly already... Its invaluable in PIkmin 3 for multitasking. It would be impossible to get any platinum medals without it in treasure collection mode.

I'm doing a second play through utilizing the 'Go here' function for every single day (minus days 1 and 2) and I'm able to accomplish tasks while collecting all the fruit..... If you haven't played P3 yet, I highly recommend it. I couldn't possible imagine a better use for the gamepad in a Real Time Strategy game than what Nintendo did with it.



Warbeard said:

Rotten people - learning a lot of cool stuff from Nintendo, then applying that to their entire business-strategy for the future, while omitting Nintendo from any future releases.



Samurai_Goroh said:

Ubisoft has been the best friend Nintendo's got with the Wii U. Hope they stick to it. ZombiU is a great game on Wii U, apart from some bugs and stuff that got rushed to make it a launch day title. Patches, people, patches. Rayman Legends looks amazing, and WatchDogs could have the best version on Wii U if the GamePad integration is done right. This gives me confidence that it will.
Ubisoft could start thinking about a third Red Steel game, perhaps something unlike the other two. Always liked how Red Steel 2 is a great sequel that has nothing to do with the first Red Steel. Each is like a different IP.



djtwenty9 said:

If ubi can update and fix all the problems on the Wii U Splinter Cell I will be happy and support their 3rd party efforts even more... I just hope they make a Wii U versions of all their next gen games.



TromboneGamer said:

I'm going to beat the (maybe) dead horse of "make Red Steel 3." Reason enough for me to buy a Wii U right there.



MrGuinea said:

Just finally got the Wii U and played the ZombiU demo and it is by far the BEST survival horror game I have played hands down. The use of the gamepad worked flawlessly I thought. I plan on picking up the actual version soon and I hope Ubisoft really considers ZombiU 2 if Wii U sales do well this holiday! I don't understand how that game could have possibly got bad reviews!



yenly said:

The funny thing I would like to say is that the Wii U in its final form will support 2 gamepads, it will be very interesting to see how multiplayer and single player gameplays are going to be affected by that..

The console war is going to be epic, with nintendo leading I don't see XB ONE and PS4 adding 2 controllers but I could see nintendo adding cloud components synced with miiverse..



Cart00nish said:

I would have played Zombi U a lot more if it had an off-screen option, I see no real reason they could not have included it. Zombi U like most Wii U games would still play better with both screens but the option for off-screen should still always be there when possible.



SmearyToast said:

Everything is learning experience. Its nice to hear they were able to transfer what was learned to their new IP Watchdogs

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