News Article

How To Survive Developer Points Out Reason For Lack of Online Multiplayer In Wii U Version

Posted by Orla Madden

More focused on the story mode and GamePad features

Back in August, we reported that zombie title How To Survive would be slaying its way on to the Wii U eShop. However Wii U owners will be receiving a watered down version of the game with the online multiplayer found on other platforms being absent - something that is becoming more common for Nintendo fans.

In a recent interview with Nintendo Everything, Jules Benjamin - director of the title's development studio, Eko Software - explained how the team decided to focus on the story mode and putting more care and attention into the features of the Wii U GamePad:

The Wii U has a lot of unique features and we needed to make the right choices. We preferred to improve the biggest part of the game – the story mode – and develop specific features for the Wii U instead of doing a straight port and not taking care of the second screen.

As a form of consolation, Benjamin did include that the Wii U version was "fully redesigned" and is set to include features that wouldn't have been possible to do on other platforms.

So, zombies didn't attack the studio before completing any online features for the game, it was intentional. Are you satisfied with the developer's response to the situation? Throw some of your thoughts in the comment section below.


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User Comments (72)



Shambo said:

If the story mode and other Wii U features are indeed good enough, and survival focused, I'm still very interested.



Ryno said:

Even with my PS3 I hardly ever play online so this doesn't bother me.



Sceptic said:

So there you have it. Finally a dev that's up front about the reasons for dropped features.

Releasing on WiiU takes more work than other platforms because of the tight gamepad integration required. That extra work needs to be offset either by extra sales (forget about that), or then it means dropped features to meet the budget.



JadedGamer said:

I call be bs too. everygame has to be tweaked to make use of the gamepad. They aren't doing anything groundbreaking and shouldn't be praised for tiptoeing around the issue



marioreport said:

It is called "being lazy"... Companies see that at the moment the Wii U is not selling a ton of units, so instead of investing a ton of time and energy making a killer app for the system they do lazy ports of the 360/PS3 versions and let their PR guys put some spin on the features missing.



gspro15198 said:

I hardly ever play multiplayer games. I'd much rather have the focus on the single player experience.



WinterWarm said:

Pssh, all this haters are the same people whining about developers overlook WiiU. And now that a PORT is PAYING ATTENTION TO THE GAMEPAD, you're all angry.



audiobrainiac said:

I'm VERY much ok with them focusing on the story mode. We don't need every game to be Call of Duty. Multiplayer can be so impersonal sometimes.



ACK said:

I will never complain about the inclusion online multi; however, at this point I hardly have the time or the desire. The important thing will always be nailing the singleplayer... So we will see.

That said, Wii U developers should never ignore the possibilities for local multi (Splinter Cell).



ToniK said:

I'm not interested in multiplayer in the slightest, so this is ok. Will keep my eyes on this one.



Einherjar said:

I also rarely play anything online, because most online communitys consist of people i wouldnt even want to meet if they were the last source of meat on the looking at you XBox LIVE...
I was and will ever be a much bigger fan of couch co-op / vs modes.
And if the workforce is shifted away from implementing online multiplayer to improving the overall game i cant see anything bad about that.
Also, i love it that nearly everyone is crying about the missing online MP when at the end, no one will use it since they are playing some sort of "shoot the other military guy with pew pew guns" game and comparing the body mass of each others mother to that of planets in the solar system.



odd69 said:

In this day and age,everyone wants online,me, i just like the story mode. I say good move for people like me, bad move for the rest of the community



Emblem said:

I'm more interested in local co-op for games like these, do we know if it will support it?



GamerJunkie said:

Devs know that mostly little kids play on Nintendo consoles, kids don't mind no online play. They have other children that come over to their house after school for multiplayer kid games.

Adults and serious gamers prefer online as they work or go to college or do both or have families and don't have many people come over the house and have limited times when they can game. So, they need online multiplayer so they can find people to play with at anytime.

Nintendo already has proven the Wii U is a kids machine and also a machine for family and another gimmick machine that will advertise itself as an exercise machine again, etc. Devs see it and will always either skip the console altogether or give it a watered down version.



AceTrainerBean said:

Why can't we have solid gamepad integration and online play. It should not be one or the other it should be both.



Davidiam007 said:

Well, I'm buying.
If they put more effort in wii u's story mode and make awesome gamepad specifics then I will be more then happy to buy it.



ScorpionMG said:

i was looking forward to this but with the no online then no, but on the other hand, i'll just wait and see what others think of it



Azikira said:

I kind of need online in games to play with my far-away friends. If you're like me and move at least twice a year, then its hard to do anything with friends in your old town.



Robot-Carnival said:

Thing is, I only buy games like this to play with friends or strangers because it enhances that "zombie-survival vibe" I enjoy so much. If the game's style had more in common with something like ZombiU or Resident Evil, then I definitely wouldn't mind the focus on the single player experience. I would encourage it in fact. The lack of multiplayer basically ensures my lack of interest in this title.



ECMIM said:

It takes more work because, again, Nintendo's toolset for online implementation is terrible,something devs cannot tell you due to NDAs.



brandonbwii said:

I tend not to complain too much due to lack of online, even though I do miss the feature when its not there. I know people, including myself , who don't have friends nearby. Still I've played games where online is way more boring than local anyway. The ACNL island tour minigames say hi.



Laxiom said:

Personally, I would have settled for tacked on game pad implementation, if it preserved online multiplayer functions.

Edit: or even no game pad functions at all.



Urbanhispanic said:

People seem to forget that not everyone has the time to invite people over to play games or that their friends have different schedules; which is why online mutiplayer makes sense for some games. This game we are talking about makes sense to have the online component. While I appreciate the developer for coming out and saying why it won't be in the Wii U version, I don't like the impression I'm getting: that when it comes to the Wii U, developers can't be bothered to include all the things that are coming out for rival consoles. It's almost like the developer is saying that they cannot improve the story, make use of the GamePad AND optimize the online multiplayer feature all at the same time.

It just rubs me the wrong way. And yes....I know what it is to play against jerks online on the PS3 and Xbox 360.



JaxonH said:

It is what it is. The fact is, Wii U just doesn't have enough people who play online. That's all it boils down to. There has to be enough demand to warrant a feature. And there just isn't enough demand.



JadedGamer said:

It's the same song and dance from developers and us the consumers...But isn't the pc version,the game of the year 2013 per IGN?



Sinister said:

3rd Party Devs are pretty much begging me not to buy their games. Well i am glad i can comply most of the time.



luminalace said:

Honestly I don't believe them but if indeed the story mode has been expanded and the gamepad features are more than just mapping weapons on the touch screen then I will be happy to be wrong!



Senario said:

Not really, if you want a game to do well on several platforms they have to be of equal content on all platforms at the very least. And if you see an opportunity to add more features thanks to things like the gamepad you should put that in. Exhanging a feature available elsewhere with other features is not the way to do it.



brandonbwii said:

I agree with @ECMIM. It's not as easy to make games online on Nintendo platforms. Sure it's great that they lifted certain restrictions, but the poor toolset causes the developers to have to prioritize. Since it's indie I highly doubt there's any sort of ill will against Nintendo.

I think once Mario Kart is released and ups the number of users who play games online, only then will you see a more concentrated effort to bring games online.



XCWarrior said:

I love zombies and survival horror, but this looks like a big pile of terd. Looks slow, and boring, and the view does not lend to a good zombie game.



MAB said:

Yeah, I work full-time, have my own family to raise, no time for people to couch co-op and even I don't care about online poopydoodledinglesdorf these days. Online multiplayer is just sucking the fun out of gaming for me and alot of other peops and comes off as a waste of everyones time or an overly massive disappointment in the end... Especially when nobody is as good as me it just becomes a bore



hcfwesker said:

Survival Horror ( not 100% sure if this is survival horror genre material) is built on the feeling of isolation. Co-op is what killed Resident Evil for me ( and RE4 but that's for another debate ...). "No online co-op" does not affect my interest in this game, i prefer it that way. The only game I have to have online play for is Smash Bros lol.



Sir_Deadly said:

@Everyone FYI not all games need multiplayer! I thought not having multiplayer on ZombiU was a big mistake but as i played through the story i became less worried about a multiplayer mode. This will do just fine w/out a multiplayer. Besides, the online community has turned to garbage in recent years.



NMH-TRI said:

505 games is publishing this. Everyone may remember they also published that gem of a Wii U game "Sniper Elite: V2". Notice a trend?



micronean said:

"...we needed to make the right choices". <<-- I think this is the key sentence in the article. They, for whatever reason, felt like they couldn't have everything included in the Wii U version, and had to do the best compromise. That's life.

What bothers me most, though, is how sometimes online is...shoehorned...into a game that doesn't need it. Take, for example, Metal Gear Online. Metal Gear is a single-player stealth game. by its very nature online should not be required. Same thing applies to the recent GTA V. Suddenly, everyone wants to put some online component to their game, and I think it ruins the integrity of the software to stand on its own.
If developers want to do an online component, they should ONLY make an online game for genres that are a natural fit (sports, certain "tournament" shooters, fighting games). and leave a good single-player story alone without compromising manpower or resources.



sinalefa said:


I wonder if there is no demand or if the install base is just small so they don't care. So not enough people playing online makes devs skip online, and since there are so few online games, then the demand will never be there.

Anyway, online or offline I am not interested on this one so these devs won't see my money. Hey, I need to make my right choices too



JaxonH said:

@sinalefa Probably all the above. A trifecta of catch 22's. No online because demand isn't there. Demand isn't there because small install base. Small install base because many games cut out the online (well, one of many reasons contributing to small install base- it certainly isn't helping to GROW the install base, that I can tell you).

It's a shame too cause Wii U games with full online and chat are beyond amazing. I'm playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate right now and wow... THAT'S a game right there!

Truckloads of content good for up to a thousand hours of playtime, free DLC and lots of it- dozens and dozens of hunting and arena quests available at no charge to download, full in game voice chat with gamepad mic OR headset/headphones, USB keyboard support, full off TV play, local co-op with up to 3 other players on 3DS version (that's awesome btw), cross-save functionality with 3DS version... and the game is so addictive, fun, and packed to the brim with detail and content. It's becoming my favorite game on the Wii U...



element187 said:

@ShadowFox254 agreed. BS.

Another dev cheating us.... Whether the online component is good or not, it's still treating Wii. U owners like we are stupid....... I'm guess I'm going to pass. Which is a shame because I love everything zombies.



element187 said:

@WinterWarm programming for the gamepad is cakewalk. Acting like it requires much resources is a cop out.... If you can program for two monitor support on PC, you can work with this gamepad.



element187 said:

@ECMIM that's absurd. Capcom uses online just fine with MH3U. Call Of Duty online works just as fine as the ps3 version, just as ME3 worked just fine.

505 games is cutting corners again, they did the same thing to Sniper V2. Cut out the online because they think Nintendo gamers are dumb and won't notice... I am thankful that 505 is helping me to save money, though.



Sceptic said:

@element187: CAPCOM. Great example. Read the news lately?

All you wise guys should open a game developing company. You seem to have it all figured out.

When you're paying for every hour spent by your programmers on something, opting not to spend a week on feature A to be able to improve feature B has nothing to do with "lazy" or "cheating". It's how you run a business, to stay in business, to be able to pay wages and make more games. When you're all grown up you'll understand.



MAB said:

They won't make money anyway because it will score 2/10 and nobody will buy it as there is better games to be played



Alienfish said:

Another failed game on the way. Even if there is a crowd for it, that crowd would be ten times as big on Wii U if they put in the extra work and finished the thing. Wii U would be doing so much better right now if developers would just get their heads out of their bungholes. I can understand the constraints, but they shouldn't even spend the resources on a Wii U release if they're going to lop off half of it and make the other half look just a little bit better.



element187 said:

@Sceptic if they want my business it will have to be feature parity.... I'm a consumer, not a charity.

If they think they will sell more copies this way, more power to them. I will be skipping it.

Capcoms money problems didn't come from adding online to monster hunter.... I'm a network programmer myself (business software) it really does not take up very many resources. Games programming and logic is far more complicated and time consuming than the networking or gamepad side of the coin. These excuses are cop outs.

You may enjoy being lied to by developers and 3rd party publishers, but it ticks me off. And as a consumer I have a right to not purchase a product.



Macarony64 said:

This guys are doing on pourpose sabotage. Wiiu version with online. Could actually hurt the sales of the 360 version. Free online and pad features could easy start making 360 owners to abandon the console.



SkywardLink98 said:

Swapping out a minor feature to make sure no version was plainly better than the rest, but the Wii U features would have to be incredible to warrant taking that off. @Macarony64 Um, did you ever think maybe they don't want to hurt the sales of the 360 version?



gregrout said:

Can a developer really be blamed for Nintendo's lack of multiplayer infastructure and policy? I just can't see the logic of blaming a developer for not designing a feature that's barely supported by the hardware manufacturer. Sure you could blow your development budget on multiplayer, but a single development change on the Nintendo side of things could undo all your hard work. Until Ninetendo starts investing and defining it's own multiplayer infrastructure, I really can't fault developers for ignoring it.



MAB said:

It will bomb on PS360 also because the lack of a first person perspective



WinterWarm said:


I'm no programmer, but doesn't that depend on how much you use the Gamepad? For example, if you only use it for a map versus a map, weapon inventory, etc.?



erv said:

If you know any form of developing you know these reasons are full-on bs or glaring incompetence. It sure takes effort to get online going, but especially if there are versions out there that do it already, this is not as much effort as developers seem to suggest. Making "the most of the unique wii u features" is a heck of a lot more work.

I love gaming online, so this is a major no-sell for me.



Senario said:

@gregrout Yes they can because other devs have made great online play for games like Capcom and their Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. They have plenty of online worlds to pick from and way more than what is needed. They have no good excuse for no online as it is not Nintendo's infrastructure.



FJOJR said:

Online play actually means little for me for a lot of games now as I'm more into single player or local co-op. I think there are games conducive to it, some that shoehorn them in but didn't need to and those that just need simple leaderboards and/or tournament challenges.



BertoFlyingFox said:

As long as it still has local co-op and the game is actually good, then I'm interested.

I like the idea of these survival games with day/night cycles but if there's no plot or a reason for me to keep moving other than "dont die!" then I could see this shooting gallery getting old fast.



Araknie said:

@WinterWarm The point is getting ports with not all the features of other versions that can be easily implemented since the Wii U online works great.

That's the BS we're calling.



Turbo857 said:

i gotta call BS on that one as well. By default, when you port a game to system hardware that has unique features, of course you want to take advantage of those features.

However, there's no excuse for omitting features that are available on other system versions especially when the unique hardware you're developing the port for can handle an online mode!



banacheck said:

GTAV Online has been done very well, you've got missions just like you have in the single player you can play with 4 others or on your own. It's one of the best examples of online, and the best thing about it the game lasts for months years even as thay'll be adding more content, but not every dev is like R*.

I think if you've played GTAOnline you'll know it hasn't comprised anything.



Gameday said:

Its 2013-14 if a game screams online multiplayer and/or was on another system but yet they cut it out of Wii U version... I find it lazy to be honest don't push the game with excuses. The system is more than powerful enough and it seems these developers aren't up to challenge for the Wii U pad itself... Also i might add whats going to happen with the new gens for the developers ? Are they going to make excuses for certain gameplay on those newly acquired specs / system hardware also ~

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