Wii U owners have had to endure plenty of game announcements that have skipped Wii U in recent months, so we're happy to jump on any news that suggests an upcoming project is destined for the Nintendo system alongside its new rivals in the market. It seems that a "new AAA Next-Gen title" from Tantalus Media, a studio based in Australia, will be including Wii U in its development that's scheduled to start this month.
A December job listing for Contract Engine Programmers cites "Nintendo Wii or Wii U development experience" as a desirable quality in candidates, with the similar development infrastructure between the systems likely meaning that those with experience on the Wii will at least have some groundwork to start on the HD system.
So what games is Tantalus Media best known for? On the Wii U it was the studio behind the much mocked but actually decent Funky Barn, a launch title on the system. The studio's sister company Straight Right was founded by Tantalus boss Tom Crago, with that younger company having worked on the Mass Effect 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut ports for Nintendo's console. Unfortunately for those fantasizing that this Tantalus project will be a gritty, high-budget mature game, Crago clarified the respective studio's roles in a previous interview with VG247.
I founded Straight Right, and I own and run Tantalus. The two are sister companies, and share the same studio and technology. Tantalus has been around since 1994, which makes it one of the oldest game development studios in Australia. We started the Straight Right label as a way of differentiating from the kids and family stuff for which Tantalus was growing synonymous. Tantalus is going to continue to work on those kinds of games, across a range of platforms. In fact we released a 3DS title with Ubisoft very recently.
Straight Right is focussed on games for more of a core audience, maybe with an emerging nod to digitally distributed titles.
For those that prefer a bit of optimism, Straight Right did post a practically identical job listing in September 2013, so perhaps there is a degree of cross-collaboration between the sister studios.
We shall have to wait and see, but it at least seems that these companies are keeping the Wii U on the radar. Funky Barn 2, anyone?