While the current rate of arrival for new download-only titles on the Wii U eShop could be considered rather slow, the coming months look set to bring us a handsome range of new games, many of them multiplatform. With Nintendo's free Unity tools and generally supportive terms attracting a number of studios — including some that'll be publishing on a Nintendo system for the first time — the future of the eShop platform is looking positive.
While the console's eShop functionality and its publishing terms are a long way ahead of the Wii Shop, there are naturally still substantial areas for improvement. The influx of interested developers actively working on the Wii U has included plenty of those that are most experienced with PC platforms such as Steam. Just this week Astrogun's Xander Davis told us that he'd be interested in the option for beta availability on the Wii U; sometimes smaller developers on Steam give you an opportunity to either buy or freely download a game early, and your feedback assists with later stages of development. It's win-win, as you get an early crack at an anticipated game and the developer gets valuable user information.
Another developer interested in features such as these is SnowCastle Games, which is bringing its intriguing Festival of Magic RPG to the Wii U eShop; its target release date for the early episodes is Q4 2014. Speaking with Dromble, the studio's co-founder Bendik Stang explained how Nintendo won the company around, but highlighted key areas for improvement on the platform.
We met with Dan Adelman and Tim Symons at GDC in San Francisco in March this year. Before GDC we had no hopes for developing for the Wii U, but the meeting changed this. Coming back from the conference we found ourselves fast tracked through the certification process. It was our first experience working with one of the 3 big ones, and we feel really well taken care of.
At PAX Prime a few weeks ago, we met with Mr. Adelman again, and talked about our need for some extended eShop features. We would like a lot of stuff that the eShop currently does not support; like public beta testing and an in-game shop for the DLCs. He told me that they wanted to accommodate our needs, but it would take some time to get all the features in. So hopefully by the time we are ready with FoM, those features will be added to the eShop.
In terms of influences for the title, meanwhile, a notable Nintendo franchise got its traditional name drop.
There’s too many influences to list here, but in general it’s high quality stuff we all love like Disney classics, Studio Ghibli, Legend of Zelda, Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy series and western games such as Beyond Good and Evil, and Monkey Island. So all fairly big budget stuff!
We think it'd certainly be worthwhile for Nintendo to include more intuitive DLC purchasing options and early beta access for games, and it's positive that Nintendo of America's Dan Adelman has reportedly suggested that it's a possible future development. Do you think these sorts of features should be a priority for Nintendo's eShop teams? Let us know, and you can see a trailer for Festival of Magic below.