While the US, Europe, and Australia have been enjoying Frontier's amazing WiiWare launch title LostWinds for quite some time now, Japanese gamers have had to sit back and wait in anticipation that eventually the game might see a release in Japan.
While it's certainly no Duke Nukem, Frontier's Elite 4 title has seen its fair share of delays and supposed project cancellations since development on the game began back in 2000. After a successful run on the various personal computers of the 80's, Frontier was all set to take their hit franchise into the modern era of video gaming, making use of the more advanced technology found in today's computers and game consoles. Unfortunately, technical setbacks have kept the project from seeing completion, even leading many media outlets and Elite fans to assume that the project itself had been abandoned altogether.
Frontier Development’s excellent LostWinds is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the first batch of WiiWare games, and thankfully the general public seems to have acknowledged this because Nintendo of Europe’s Laurent Fischer has revealed that the inventive platformer is sitting pretty at the top of the European WiiWare sales charts.
WiiWare may only be a few weeks old but one of its titles is already gaining recognition from within the industry. The game in question is Frontier Developments' sublime LostWinds, which has been nominated in the ‘Best New IP’ and ‘Visual Arts’ categories in the prestigious Develop Industry Excellence Awards. Frontier has also been nominated in the ‘Best Independent Developer’ category.
With WiiWare now officially launched in Japan, it’s difficult not to feel a slight sense of disappointment when looking at the opening salvo of software. Sure, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles looks lovely and the Dr Mario update is addictive as ever, but a few too many of the titles appear to be either over-priced shovelware or ‘too Japanese’ to appeal to a Western audience.
Frontier’s David Braben – the industry veteran behind the classic space trading game Elite, as well as many others – has given an insightful and interesting interview regarding his new game and the state of WiiWare development as he sees it.