No ‘Tomb Raider’ on Wii U; Another Bad Sign for Nintendo’s Third-Party Hopes?

The news continues to get bleaker for Nintendo’s third-party reclamation project. A recent rumor that the Wii U is twice as powerful as the Xbox 360 seemed to arrive clinging for dear life onto the coat-tails of similar rumblings that the Xbox 720 is six times as powerful as current generation consoles. Now, the system has been dealt another red flag directly from Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics.

In an Eidos Games forum FAQ posting from Crystal Dynamics community manger Megan Marie, the issue was brought up as to whether or not Tomb Raider was being developed for the Wii U — or any Nintendo platform, for that matter.

Here’s what the posting had to say:

“At this time no. When we started developing the game we made a conscious decision that it was all about building the game for a platform and making sure the game was specific to that platform. Given that we’ve been working on the game quite a while before Wii U was announced I think it would not be right to try and port it across. If we started building a game for the Wii U we would build it very differently and we would build it with unique functionality.”

Keep in mind the first point that the Wii U was only announced back at E3 2011 and Tomb Raider’s conception likely goes back several years prior; it’s not as if Crystal Dynamics and publisher Square Enix openly shunned the system from the get go. The troubling news for Nintendo, and what’s left of its hard core gaming base, is that Crystal Dynamics seems to view the Wii U as a rocky middle ground between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and their incoming descendants.

After our first impression of the system at E3, we weren’t quite sure how a developer would feel having to take a game currently in the works for the Xbox 360 and PS3 and integrate it with the Wii U’s unique controller and graphical specs. Crystal Dynamics seems out of their comfort zones on the issue, and they’re likely not alone.

Wii U Third Party Support
Surely there’s still hope, though, that developers of newer next-gen projects, conceived with full knowledge of the Wii U’s existence, are willing work with the hardware, isn’t there?

That’s where the jury’s still out, Phoenix Wright.

The Wii U has been confirmed for release in the 2012 holiday season, and there’s no question that for a brief time, it may well be the most powerful system on the market. Nintendo’s challenge will be to woo heavy hitting developers willing to (a) exploit every bit of the system’s potential in order to stand above current-gen systems in the short run; and (b) stay on board when Microsoft and Sony join the next-gen party (likely in 2013), with more powerful systems that are liable to offer a few innovation opportunities of their own.

According to some industry analysts, many developers will see this as a short-sighted approach and choose to forgo the system in the long run. And should Crystal Dynamics’ sentiments towards developing on the Wii U turn out to be a prevailing theme, Nintendo might have to ponder another generation of lacking third-party support.

Ranters, where do you think most third-party developers stand on the Wii U? Do you want to see the system feature games like Tomb Raider in the next generation, or are Nintendo’s first-party offerings more important?

Tomb Raider is scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2012 on the Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and possibly Mac.

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple

Source: Eidos Games [via CVG]

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