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Wii gets another once HD game

posted on February 3rd, 2009 by jay
Now Playing: Braid

EA recently announced (or Twittered) that it is bringing Dead Space to the Wii. The company says they “will rival Nintendo in terms of quality,” which is frighteningly close to Ubisoft’s claim that in ’08 their Wii games would be of “Nintendo-like quality.” Of course, Ubisoft’s Wii games are shitty so EA’s bold words don’t really inspire me.

Empty promises aside, an alarming trend is beginning to emerge – HD games with watered down Wii ports. I am a proponent of good games getting wider audiences and if you’re reading this site you’re likely a “core” gamer, in which case you likely agree with me (unless you’re one of those casuals-gone-core via GTA and Halo who hates the fact that people who aren’t 16-21 year old males play games). Games that expand gaming’s audience is good for the industry – people who wouldn’t play these games now may, and there’s the potential casual gamers move upstream by buying other core titles.

The downside is that I personally have no desire to play watered down HD games and my guess is you don’t either. If we want to play Dead Rising, we will likely buy the HD version and the same goes for Overlord and Dead Space. The promise of the Wii60 would be better fulfilled by publishers putting effort into separate good Wii games and HD games simultaneously. Simply down porting games to the Wii not only does core Wii gamers little good, it diverts funds and manpower from making either sequels to those HD games or new IP built around the strengths of the Wii.

The Wii and the HD consoles offer different capabilities to developers and it would be a disservice to gaming as a medium to focus on simple cross platform ports instead of mining the depths of each platform’s potential.

7 Comments

  1. John said on February 4, 2009:

    A few days ago I remember N’Gai Croal suggesting on one of his blogs that developers should make their games for the Wii (or whichever system is the most underpowered) and then port them to other systems. His logic wasn’t completely unreasonable either. Valve, Nintendo, and Blizzard have low hardware requirements and owe part of their enormous success to that. With Dead Rising and Dead Space both getting the downgrade treatment now, I wouldn’t be surprised if developers started actually acting on Croal’s plan. Since they realized there’s a ton of money to be made from the Wii they’re taking their formerly HD games and downgraded them, but if these projects turn out to be profitable I wouldn’t be surprised if future games are initially designed for the Wii and then upgraded later. Who knows what this would mean for the future of games, but it’s interesting to speculate.

  2. ECM said on February 4, 2009:

    Overlord is not a port–it’s a brand new game.

    Further, unless it’s a game like Dead Rising (where you, potentially, stand to lose a chunk of the experience with a loss in numbers of zombies on-screen), the downgrade is merely graphical while the control schemes have a high probability of being upgraded.

    For example, I know I much prefer Dead Space on PC with mkb over the 360 game pad (I tried it with the 360 pad and it was just awful in comparison), and it has nothing to do with the graphics so it is entirely possible the Wii rev will be more intuitive and playable with pointer controls over the far clumsier analog stick. This easily goes for Overlord as well (which, again, is a completely new game and not a port of the original).

  3. jay said on February 4, 2009:

    You are of course right about Overlord. My apologies.

    I don’t disagree that adding the Wii control scheme to a game could improve it. I just think there’s a fundamental problem in that the Wii’s big releases are frequently games originally designed to not use Wii controls.

  4. christian said on February 4, 2009:

    I am going to have to at least rent Dead Rising Wii. I need to see how it looks. I know the console can’t match the competition, but at this point, any game like this that fares worse graphically than Resident Evil 4 is going to bug the hell out me.

  5. jay said on February 18, 2009:

    I am here to eat my words. The Wii Dead Space sounds like it’s a whole new game, or at least a port that butchers the original into what seems like a new game. EA is having the studio that made the original make the Wii version, too. Good news, every body.

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