With GDC 2015 (Game Developers Conference) in full swing, Nintendo has taken the opportunity to pitch an exciting and extensive line-up of eShop games that are coming to both Wii U and 3DS this year. Its announcements included new games, release dates for others and information on GamePad features for some notable upcoming arrivals.
Some of the Indies - or Nindies, if you prefer - have been speaking to gamesindustry.biz at GDC, at an event specifically promoting a number of the titles highlighted today. It's been a gathering that was impressive for the numbers and quality of developers on board.
Dima Veryovka, art director on Never Alone, represents a studio (E-Line Media) making its first appearance on Nintendo hardware. From their perspective it's been an impressively smooth transition to Nintendo's home console.
It was really fast, everything happened in like two weeks. We didn't have the build and now we already have the build running, and that's not something we would be able to do without the support of Nintendo . I think it's really good that they have opened up to independent developers. To be honest, that's the future. We really want to see the smaller groups [succeed] and the way Nintendo has supported us is tremendous.
Dave Proctor of 13AM Games - which is bringing Runbow to Wii U - is particularly effusive about Nintendo and its support for Indie developers. He emphasizes that Wii U sales numbers - while low in the grand scheme of things - are significant enough for Indie developers; the big N's supportive relationship is also a notable factor.
We grew up with Nintendo, so did a lot of people and the people who went on to make Sony games. So that's a big honor, and Nintendo has a real commitment to quality, so when a game is fun they will support it whether it's their own game or an independent game. We've been noticing that trait as we get closer and closer with them.
Just playing a build of Runbow, Nintendo saw what it could be and that was just the shot in the arm that we needed.
I wave the banner. I can't not support them after what they've done for us, which is amazing for a team and a game that didn't exist two years ago. If you put time and effort into making your game fun Nintendo will recognize that across the board. With other indies we're watching them put stuff out on Nintendo faster than they ever would otherwise, and I feel like the tide is kind of turning. Everyone gets a little scared when they look at Wii U sales numbers from two years ago but when you look at them today, I'm ok with 10 million units. That's an ok platform to be on. That's punching weight with the other two. What they've done is they've made people remember that Nintendo cares about fun. They made consumers remember that and they've made the industry remember that
Jaspar Koning of Romino Games, which has a track record on Nintendo systems and is bringing Swords & Soldiers II to the Wii U as an exclusive, highlighted that visibility on the eShop is an important factor - for an Indie developer, too, the numbers can add up.
eShop is actually pretty good to indies right now. For the type of traditional, say $10-$15 fairly polished indie game it's a really nice safe haven from places like iOS and Android, which are crazy crowded, and even on Steam it's hard to stand out.
It's a well known fact that the Wii U is not the most successful platform out there but at the same time I feel that in our space, or for the kind of numbers that we generally do, we don't need a platform with a billion users. Even though this game is a lot bigger than the original and took us a lot more time it's still not like a AAA title where we need to make millions back. I think we're in a good place.
It certainly feels reinvigorating when Nintendo uses events such as GDC to show a range of exclusives and high-quality Indie ports, demonstrating just how far the company has come since its first steps with the Wii and DSi shops. For fans of intriguing download-only experiences, the Wii U and 3DS looks set to continue to offer plenty of choices and high quality gaming.