In a matter of months the first console of the “next-gen” will be coming from Nintendo, yet no one knows or has confirmed the exact technical specs for the Wii U. Because of that, and what we all saw at E3, the debate continues as to whether or not the Wii U even qualifies as next-gen or if more appropriately, it’s a competitor for the six and seven year-old PS3 and Xbox 360, respectively.
After hearing Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick share some skepticism on the Wii U, we have more talk in the console from key people at Blizzard and Crytek, who both spoke on Nintendo’s new console, touching on what games could (and will not) be playable on it and how strong it really is, respectively.
StarCraft II lead designer Dustin Browder, in chatting with Kotaku, pondered the idea of StarCraft 2 on the Wii U. Unlike Diablo 3, which in essence, is a simpler game to play for advanced players and can be more easily ported to consoles, StarCraft 2 requires not only precision mouse use, but many keyboard keys to control macros and better manage units on the battlefield.
“If I can control a cursor on the television with my hand on the touchscreen, that might be able to work,” he said. “[But] because of the hotkey scenario, it’s not like players actually play StarCraft with the mouse only—they play with the mouse and keyboard… We obviously allow new users to play mouse-only and that’s really fun, but when you get serious about the game you do move into the mouse and keyboard space.”
Let’s just say StarCraft 2 isn’t coming to the Wii U, just like it isn’t coming to the Xbox 360 or PS3 with their montion controllers.
In speaking with CVG at E3, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli shed some optimism for the Wii U, explaining that while they don’t have a business reason to make a game for it just yet – not even Crysis 3 - they can confirm that there is an unannounced game from another developer that utilizes Crytek’s CryEngine 3 for the console.
“It doesn’t mean that CryEngine 3 doesn’t run on Wii U – it actually runs beautifully. In fact, there actually is a game in development from a respected developer that we will be announcing. I’ve seen the game running and it looks really great.”
“From my perspective I do not understand the public’s concerns that the Wii U is weaker than PS3 and 360. That I cannot see. From my perspective the Wii U is minimum as powerful as Xbox 360.”
Much like DICE touts their Frostbite 2 engine as next-gen ready, Crytek has said as much about their CryEngine 3, both developers likely positioning themselves for the upcoming release of the highly buzzed about Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games – an engine that some say cannot run on current consoles or the upcoming Wii U (Epic Games has yet to confirm which platforms the engine will support).
And that’s the real issue: The Wii U being at least as powerful as the Xbox 360 shouldn’t even be a question. The question is how powerful it is compared to the PS4 and Xbox 720 come time for their release. If it can’t run Unreal Engine 4, it won’t be able to run many next-gen third-party games, assuming this engine is as popular as Unreal Engine 3.
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