Nearly a year ago, Crytek’s Director of Creative Development Rasmus Hoejengaard claimed that it’s a “fat chance” that Crysis 3 would make its way to the Wii U, the first ‘next-gen’ console. It seemed strange considering the multiplatform nature of Crysis 2 and the fact that the CryEngine 3 was built with the future in mind.
Months later, official word from Crytek was that a Wii U version of Crysis 3 was still a possibility. We can now confirm that it won’t be happening, and the third installment of the graphics-heavy shooter franchise represents another snub of the Wii U.
In chatting with Digital Spy, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli confirmed that Crysis 3 will not be releasing for the Wii U console, hinting that both EA and Nintendo are not willing to invest in developing the port.
“There has been discussions between Nintendo and EA and Crytek, but the bottom line is that there is that there’s not enough business drive in it. It’s a purely business decision. I’d love to see it on Wii U, but what I love to see and what gets done at the end of the day are two different things. Even so, I could initiate it but someone has to sell it, right?”
“It’s a business decision between EA and Nintendo. If that business decision doesn’t make sense, or seems to not make sense for them, it’s… not possible for us to make it. We can’t publish ourselves, and that’s the bottom line.”
Much like 2K skipping the Wii U with the popular Borderlands series, another shooter franchise won’t be debuting on the latest Nintendo platform. At least Aliens: Colonial Marines is on the way. What’s scary for Nintendo and Wii U owners is that this is yet another example of a two-fold problem related to the future of third party games on the Wii U.
First is the short-term obvious issue that many near-future titles coming out for the Xbox 360 and PS3 – like Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, BioShock Infinite, etc. – are not releasing for the Wii U, meaning the latest and greatest hardware can’t play many of the latest and greatest multiplatform games. They’re not releasing because publishers don’t want to spend the development costs of porting the games over to the newly-released console with its smaller install base, especially with the added expense of creating new/different features that take advantage of motion controls or the Wii U GamePad.
In mid-December, Longbow Research’s James Hardiman shared info that at the time the Wii U had an attach rate of 1.2, meaning on average, owners of a Wii U console had less than two games, or more precisely, only one in every five Wii U owners had two games. With New Super Mario Bros. U representing most of the software sales at the time, third party games simply weren’t selling strong, none of them topping the video game sales charts leading up to the holiday season.
Of course, this is before the Christmas holiday where more units were sold, but it does highlight that Nintendo’s first-party software is what continues to drive their platforms, and there aren’t enough first-party games available (or confirmed for release in the near future). The fact that Nintendo and EA can’t find legitimate business reasons to release Crysis 3 speaks for itself.
The other half of the issue is the long-term problem with third-party titles Nintendo may face this generation. The Wii U is comparable to the existing (read: old) consoles in terms of its specs, and we know that come time for the Unreal Engine 4, as just one example, Epic Games VP Mark Rein confirmed that they won’t be bringing it to the Wii U (although it’s scalable and still possible to port titles over depending on the developers). Why does that matter?
Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3 is one of the most popular HD game engines, powering many multiplatform third-party games (see: Mass Effect 3, Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands 2, etc.). If come time for the next Xbox and PlayStation, the Unreal Engine 4 is powering many of the releases in the coming years, that means the Wii U will continue to miss out on many triple-A multiplatform releases, and just like the Wii, the Wii U may suffer long-term by the lack of third-party support. We’re already seeing it now when the console is so new.
Will the Wii U missing out on certain triple-A third party make it difficult to compete with the next-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles, or will the growing install base eventually lead to most publishers developing for the Wii U as well? Should Nintendo focus on their core exclusive franchises that remain their most popular?
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