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United States

Tue 16th Jul 2013

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jmax commented on Hundreds of Limited Edition Majora's Mask New ...:

In the United States, diehard Nintendo fans belong to Club Nintendo - and Nintendo can make special edition systems available to dedicated fans that way. Nintendo is not "powerless". This is an intentional choice made by Nintendo.



jmax commented on E3 2014: Zelda Wii U Looks So Great You Really...:


Nintendo is not just reusing assets from Skyward Sword here; models are different, textures are different, animations are different, and yes, even the engine is brand new. Skyward Sword was never produced with HD visuals in mind and importing its 480p textures and models into a 720p or 1080p game on WiiU would not only look downright disgusting in terms of graphical fidelity, but also painfully out-of-place.

The world of Skyward Sword (SS) was highly stylized and its physical world was directly influenced by the cartoony shader. As such, a SS table was not perfectly rectangular, nor a SS window perfectly square. The cartoony style of the shader essentially dictated that geometry be exaggerated and expressed in forms of asymmetry.

In the Zelda WiiU video, however, we are actually seeing the exact opposite. The cartoony shader not only appears more detailed and complex, but it is also being applied with greater variation. For example, the grass is the field heavily flat-shaded, as well as both Link and Epona. The trees, rocks, mountains, and cottage, however, are not. This is very signficant because the shader is no longer completely defining the world and therefore geometric details need to be properly aligned to that new visual style. If the cottage in the background were tilted, and featured with a heavily arced roof and funky-shaped windows, it would look out of place here. By choosing to fine-tune the shader and be more selective with how it is applied, Nintendo is essentially forced to render a world with an increased level of realism than SS. Indeed, this world absolutely is more rooted in reality than SS.

But I digress...

Obviously, the art style here is inspired by Skyward Sword and that did likely speed up at least a few aspects of development - although I believe it would have only been a minor boost.

As for the release date, though, it's really anyone's guess. I think that a game of this caliber and scope has a high likelihood of being delayed (especially given the history of the franchise), however, it now also has the largest development team in the history of Nintendo currently working on it.

As much as I would love the game in 2015, it really is better delayed than rushed out. This is an incredibly important release for them to get right; they are (finally) modernizing Zelda and likely (re-)setting the tone and direction for the next 1-2 releases. Given the time and resources being used to develop this, I think fans can safely expect a second Zelda adventure within the lifespan of WiiU (similar to Ocarina of Time / Majora's Mask); Nintendo will need to get some great mileage out of this.



jmax commented on Nintendo Confirms Dedicated Development Team f...:

@Gustaf89 The news is not entirely wrong, though. Nintendo has now said that they will have a dedicated development team for mobile platforms, and that those teams have not been given "any restrictions". Content that is created could very well be game software, although Iwata was very quick to point out that this does not mean "Mario on cellphones". Kotaku isn't wrong, really. Nintendo very well may have certain mobile applications / games that are developed - but with the goal of bringing users back to their dedicated platforms. I suspect that you might find clever little mini games to unlock exclusive trailers, and things like that - although I'm hoping that they can be even more creative.



jmax commented on Talking Point: Is There A Future For The Wii U...:

I only time I even touch the WiiU gamepad is for a rare instance of off-tv play - and I have several WiiU games in my library.

The gamepad is already an optional accessory as far as I am concerned. Nintendo would be wise to offer a SKU that does not include the gamepad - consumers could still have a great (and much cheaper) experience without it.

And, when that game finally comes along that uses it in a special way - consumers can always purchase it separately at a later date. The lower system cost will drive more systems into consumer's homes. Imagine a $199 WiiU deluxe system around holiday 2014 after their game library includes Donkey Kong, Mario Kart 8, and Smash Bros (all of which will also not be using the gamepad in any meaningful way).



jmax commented on Talking Point: Is There A Future For The Wii U...:

@Neram - so then what exactly are people saying now? You think they are looking at the gamepad and saying "Wow - look at how that is changing the way I play games?" --- no, they are not. And WiiU sales can certainly prove that.

Whether bundled with the gamepad or without it, either way, WiiU is just "WiiHD", because nobody is using the gamepad in any real meaningful way. The difference is that the WiiU could be a hell of a lot cheaper and potentially increase sales without it, versus requiring consumers to buy the bundle with no other choice.

The WiiU is a tough sale regardless, might as well have it be cheaper and have the gamepad be an optional accessory sale for those who want it at a later date.



jmax commented on Talking Point: The Wii U's 'Relevance' Is Abou...:


How exactly are you defining 'casual'? 'Casual' isn't necessary defined by an age group and nothing more; you can have casual 16-30 year old gamers and you can have 16-30 year old hardcore gamers.

That said, what you are pointing out one of the reasons why the WiiU is not doing well. They designed a system that is arguably "NOT" for casuals, while they are attempting to market it in a way that still appeals to a casual group of gamers.

It is problem, indeed. The WiiU is conceptually very weak and it is no surprise that marketing is struggling to figure out what to do with it. Although, at least they are marketing now .... lol



jmax commented on Talking Point: The Wii U's 'Relevance' Is Abou...:


It will be. To be honest, I actually expect that Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft to all have a very successful Holiday 2014. Nintendo will actually have several new AAA titles under its belt and by then the system purchases should become a bit more justified, and Sony and Microsoft will also have a better library as well for those who held off from buying at launch.

We'll see, though! Hopefully they all do well.



jmax commented on Talking Point: The Wii U's 'Relevance' Is Abou...:


How is the belief that the WiiU is aimed at casual players and kids/grandparents well-warranted? The WiiU does not feature a 'casual' controller shaped and designed to be similiar to a television remote, the system did not debut at a real 'mass-market' price, and NintendoLand software is quite a bit more complex and niche when compared to the Wii Sports. I do not understand how players would believe that the WiiU is aimed at casuals. Even Nintendo made great efforts to explain that this was now a new system for 'everyone' including 'hardcore' gamers.

Motion gaming is arguably not a fad. Not only was it copied by both of Nintendo's competitors during the Wii generation, but both Sony and Microsoft are continuing to utilize motion controls in both of their next generation systems.



jmax commented on Talking Point: The Wii U's 'Relevance' Is Abou...:

@bezerker99 That's a pretty bold statement. Nothing on the PS4 or Xbox One is helping to sell their systems is any extraordinary way, although nobody is out proclaiming that they are doomed. My point is that just because NintendoLand wasn't a smashing success as Wii Sports was, does not mean that the system is "doomed". Successful launch software is always welcome and can certainly help sales, but it is not an absolute requirement.



jmax commented on Talking Point: The Wii U's 'Relevance' Is Abou...:

@jjx1000 The Wii was not a sales anomaly; it wasn't by some mysterious force that the Wii did well, nor was it the only time that Nintendo has succeeded. Nintendo read the market perfectly and competently developed and launched the system. The NES was a big hit, and so was the Super Nintendo. The N64 and GameCube didn't match those sales, but it would be hard to argue either of them are real 'failures' (neither are to the extent of failure as the Virtual Boy).

Some generations are huge successes, others are average, and others are below average; that's just the way it goes. No company can completely predict the markets and either they do an above average job at trying, or they don't.

That all said, I would be the first in line to agree that some major changes are required at Nintendo. Their software is great (it always has been and likely always will be), but the WiiU, conceptually, really stuck out in the worst possible way, from a mile away (even down to the very first reveal). They just need to re-group, support the WiiU (which absolutely still does have some great potential, even if it likely will never be a huge success for Nintendo), and then start to re-think the markets and come out swinging again (as they always do).



jmax commented on Talking Point: The Wii U's 'Relevance' Is Abou...:

@Jayvir Your comment makes very little sense. How then, would you explain the roaring success of the Nintendo Wii, which outsold both the Xbox360 and the PS3? Nintendo's offerings and their average age demographic for 1st party content certainly have not suddenly changed. The issues that Nintendo is facing with the WiiU system have very little to do with this.



jmax commented on Nintendo Has "Great Games" But Is Facing A "St...:

Nintendo has said that their hardware is truly integral to their IPs and that their games "depend" on creative hardware.

I feel as if the WiiU has done nothing but work against this point, however. The real creative aspect to the WiiU hardware is really only the gamepad. However, since the gamepad has been limited to only one player and is sometimes not even the best way to play a game (i.e. Pikmin 3 plays better with the Wii remote), the gamepad really becomes an optional thing. It's essentially something that developers need to develop "around", but not necessarily "for".

In theory, the second screen could allow for some real Nintendo magic via unique and interesting gameplay. We really haven't seen it, though. If the gamepad can truly change the way we play games, then why hasn't it? In Pikmin 3, it shows... a map. In Super Mario 3D world, it does nothing but mirror exactly what is on the TV, and the same thing in New Mario Bros. U and LuigiU. So, please remind me why Nintendo needs this special hardware to release their games? Pikmin 3 is a great game and Super Mario 3D World is arguably the best game on the system right now. Both of these games absolutely could've been released on the PS4 or XB1; nothing about those systems would hold that gameplay back. In fact, with their increased graphical capabilities and strong online platforms, you could easily argue that those games would be even better on a "regular" non-Nintendo platform. Not even Retro's long-awaited Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is poised to use the gamepad in any special way. Nintendo can't seem to figure out how to really utilize it, its second parties aren't taking advantage of it, and the WiiU is lucky to even have 3rd party software. The gamepad was supposed to be innovative and help the WiiU stand out from its competitors, but it's not just working. What we are left with is an underpowered system with only a barebones online platform, with only a small handful of NIntendo games.

Ultimately, the gamepad and the WiiU really isn't serving as any special creative platform for Nintendo. So the real story is not so much about the "creative" necessity, as it is a financial one. The truth is that Nintendo stands to make a ton of money from hardware sales (even if a generation here or there isn't a roaring success). In the past, this strategy has worked well for them. However, part of the problem is that gaming has a lesser focus on "the games" than it ever has before. Equally important to the quality of software is the usability of the system, social communities and networks, online infrastructure, and media capabilities. Without truly utilizing the creative potential of the WiiU gamepad, what we are left with is a platform that is underpowered, only just started implementing Miiverse, and whose online infrastructure is barebones at best. Without an increased focus in these areas in the future, I would be concerned about Nintendo's next home console release; without some changes to their strategy, it will become less and less effective over time. In other words, releasing another system with the same issues as WiiU would likely be even more of a disaster than WiiU is right now.

Clearly Nintendo needs to think long and hard about their strategy. Of course they can weather through a rough and tough WiiU console cycle, but what is to prevent their next home console release from suffering a similar fate? Nintendo either needs to consider expanding to other platforms (whatever they may be), playing some serious catchup with the development of their online infrastructure and the Nintendo Network so that it can rival PSN and XBL, and/or release new hardware that truly can change the way that we play games (to succeed where the gamepad has thus far failed).



jmax commented on 3DS Tops US Hardware Sales as Wii U Achieves "...:

@gatorboi352 21 million units is quite a bit, and it could be argued that without Smash Bros., the GameCube may have sold considerably less than that. As far as I know, it's not quite the system seller as Mario Kart, but it nevertheless holds significant important for Nintendo and the WiiU in 2014.



jmax commented on NPD Results Deliver a 3DS Milestone And Modest...:

@Mahe Due to lack of "wide appeal"? A critically acclaimed 3d multiplayer Mario game? Yeah, I don't think it is an issue of "appeal". I believe that the issue is that the WiiU install base is still too low. In order for the game to sell through the roof, people would have had to also go out and buy a WiiU system. Releasing on the heels of the big PS4 and Xbox One launches, it doesn't surprise me that gamers didn't have another $350 sitting around.

I actually think that the new Mario game will help move WiiU systems over time, but Nintendo still needs to grow its library over the next year for the WiiU to really be an attractive buy. With another small price drop and the release of Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros. alongside Donkey Kong, the WiiU will really have a pretty impressive lineup that really should be hard for consumers to continue to ignore.



jmax commented on Nintendo of America Reminds Gamers of 20% Disc...:

I'm sorry, but I feel that marketing and pushing e-shop digital content is almost irresponsible of Nintendo.

I know that Nintendo can host their digital content however they like, and that nobody is forcing users to purchase Nintendo digital content. I just feel that Nintendo shouldn't be heavily pushing any of their digital content until they can actually provide users with a proper account-based system.

I have always associated Nintendo with real quality, and it is upsetting to see these types of promotions. They are selling great products, but only on top of a terribly shoddy system. Nintendo should want better for itself, and for its gamers.

I love Nintendo games, but I will absolutely not purchase any digital content from Nintendo (not even discounted content) until they can get with the true digital times. I hope others do the same.



jmax commented on Purchase Pikmin 3 And Receive A 30% eShop Disc...:

If Nintendo would just make purchases ACCOUNT-BASED, I would gladly buy digital content from them. How they can be pushing digital content so hard when they still cannot figure out proper user accounts is just mind-blowing.

Until then, unless they are giving it to me for free, no thanks.



jmax commented on Soul Saga: Episode I Kickstarter Campaign Clos...:

@Retro_on_theGo To be honest, I also agree; I do not see the appeal here. Separate from that though, I am also terribly uncomfortable with the "one-man" development "team". While it may sound silly to some, what would happen if this guy were to be hit by a bus? Having the responsibility and workload of an entire near-200k project on the shoulders of one person, just seems like a really bad idea.