Friday, January 25, 2013
Oh, Right, There Was a Nintendo Direct Thing
So, because Nintendo is in panic mode because they are not used to selling less than a hojillion (it is a number, totally) consoles at any given moment in time, despite the Wii U's sales being...well, completely reasonable for what it is, we have some new announcements. New announcements that are....mostly unnecessary. Popular media might be saying that Nintendo is 'failing' with the Wii U (which is impossible to tell at this early juncture and it pains me to have to make this a fucking point to talk about) and while they're perhaps not advertising it well enough it is, as I said, selling fine enough. Remember, once upon a time the 3DS was considered "failing" as well and boy oh boy, that happened, didn't it? Really, I think Nintendo's panic is stemming from a sense that there is actually competition now - let's face it, the Wii was in its own league in more ways than one so they haven't been on this front in a long time. But they decided to enter a different ring this go around and I don't think they were prepared for it at all.
If you've got the muscle, then you might as well flaunt it, is the thought process I'm going with here and while Nintendo's 'muscle' is a little flimsy with me, I am not in the majority here. So let's go over that first and get it out of the way. Possibly the only thing I would care about in all of this is the above-pictured Yoshi's Island game that is, clearly, being helmed by the Kirby's Epic Yarn team. It looks absolutely wonderful for what it is, and while I don't really hold a particularly different spot for the Yoshi's Island games over any of Nintendo's other series, it's good fun and with this art style, I can only hope to see some real good things. Kirby's Epic Yarn, from what I was told, brought some rather neat things to the table, really taking hold of that fabric universe concept and running with it. Maybe I'll find out myself one day if I pick up a Wii U and a copy of the game, but that's basically all the information that I found about it - It is a Yoshi game and it is being done up in Epic Yarn style. And that's probably enough for now.
Actually, I lied. If there was -anything- I cared about at all from the Nintendo Direct, it would be the news that Xenoblade Chronicles is probably (definitely) getting a sequel for the Wii U, of course. I am in the slightly awkward position of knowing absolutely nothing about any of this, however, beyond the fact that I friggin' -want- to play Xenoblade Chronicles and the only thing standing in my way is owning a Wii outright (or, again, a Wii U) and the game which currently retails for $50 if you can find it in a store and good luck with that. My excitement stems from the dangerous, perilous place of being told that it is, in fact, a fantastic RPG. That sort of information had led me astray in the past (no, I'm not linking it this time, you know what I'm talking about) and it could very well be the case here. But....I doubt it, considering the team that's behind the games. So if anything, I'm just glad they're getting a push to do what they do - make good RPGs. Hopefully one day I will be able to say I have played both.
Another 'no info, just a thing that says it's happening' tidbit was the announced Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem game which is, yes, Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem in the same game. Why? I don't know. How? Beats the hell out of me. There was absolutely no information beyond a thing showing that they were in this thing and that development is 'in progress'. Personally, I'm not at all -what- kind of sense this makes....because it's not really striking me any right now. Maybe it's just because I've been considering both series by their previous years, but both seemed to have been in a transition away from Consoles, moving on to handhelds. Indeed, the latest entries to -both- series are being released on the 3DS in the coming future and the last console releases for either series was in 2007 (Fire Emblem on the Wii) and 2003/4 (SMT 3: Nocturne) respectively. So to combine them both -and- put them on a console is a little wonky. Perhaps it's because of the off-screen play that kinda sorta makes it like a handheld that you can't take anywhere, but that's flimsy. It all is, kind of.
Speaking of flimsy, after all the hurr-durring and grumbling about Sony's line of HD up-makes, I'm seriously waiting for some people to eat crow after The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD became a thing. Because this is the exact scenario, and it's not even one that Nintendo's new at. Excusing the 'Nintendo selling the same game to you over and over again' (more on that in a moment) meme, I need only point at The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Starfox 64 3D to show that Nintendo has absolutely no qualms pimping out their old titles with shinier graphics. Yet you never ever hear those titled 'cash-grabs' or anything of the sort. It's a bit petty of me to harp on, I realize, but well, somebody's gotta. Anyways, aside from the announcement of Wind Waker HD, there was a little bit said confirming the existence of a new Zelda title for the Wii U in development that will 'challenge the old conventions' to sort of reinvent the series a bit, but that's literally all that was said about it. There might be info about it at E3, but I would highly doubt it.
Finishing out the Wii U news from the direct, the important bits, at least, it was mentioned that the Virtual Console is headed towards the Wii U proper, for full implementation rather than simply from Wii Mode. There is a slight caveat here, however: if you're planning on being able to off-screen play your favorite Nintendo or Super Nintendo games that are supported, then expect to pay for the privilege. It should be noted that when the Virtual Console launches, it will only support Nintendo and Super Nintendo titles and not all of the ones that the Wii's Virtual Console supports. Because Backwards Compatibility isn't just a flip to switch and we've all been aware of that already, but I somehow think people will manage to be patient, considering it's Nintendo behind this which isn't unfair at all, no sir. Anyways, if you've purchased an NES game or SNES game through the Wii's VC then you've probably already played it by now and if you want to use it in Wii U, as mentioned, you'll have to pay for that.
Now, I've heard tell that this is because the VC games are packed in their own individual emulators, thus it requires a new emulator for the Wii U which is incomparably stupid, for the record. It seems like a smart enough idea at first - packing the game with the emulator basically all-but ensures that it'll work with it because they've obviously been tested with one another. That's fine. It does, however, completely kill the possibility of a quick-n-dirty solution in the future and, if there's anything we've learned from the combined efforts of the VC and the PS1/2 Classics over these last years, it's that if a quick-n-dirty doesn't exist, neither does the game anymore. Developers simply don't have time, nor the drive, to put anything into repackaging old games that sell for a pittance, and even signing off on making it a thing and paying a slight cost is far too much to ask in many cases.
So what does this mean? Well, if that's the case, then don't expect to see much of the meager selection of the NES/SNES games on the Wii's VC to make the jump to the Wii U's VC, for one. They might get a good portion, hell they might surprise me and get more than half, all-told, but there's no way the Wii U's VC will be 1:1 for the Wii's. Beyond that, thanks to the $1/$1.50 Wii U tax (For NES and SNES respectively) either expect similar things for the next Nintendo console (which is admittedly -years- away), or expect that the next this whole thing comes around, there won't be even an option - Wii U mode or bust. For what it's worth, it seems like the extra dollar and change has been built-in to the pricing of the NES/SNES games for the Wii U VC (NES games run around $5 on Wii VC, and will be $5-6 on the Wii U, SNES generally run $8, will be $8-9 on the Wii U VC) so at least Nintendo (probably) isn't singling out the folks who have actually supported them previously with these purchases and demanding an extra buck for a full-featured experience. Of course, if they were, who would honestly raise a fuss about it? I'm genuinely curious on that.
On top of that, Nintendo basically made a lot of promises to unveil some Mario things at E3, Super Smash Bros. U and probably elaborate on some of the already mentioned pieces here. So really, they're flaunting their big guns for no other reason than they can. Mostly because, if we've heard right, E3 will be a big deal for Sony and Microsoft as well and Nintendo just loves trying to steal thunder whenever possible. Well, they generally succeed at that anyway, so it's not really 'trying' so much as it's Nintendo not letting anyone else have a fair shake. It's good business to be sure, but it's also just kind of a dick move. A mountain of dick moves by this point. Yet every other company is 'the jerk company', always trying to screw over everyone else, including you, up-charging you for the shiny new thing and offering what is clearly sub-standard service. Nintendo never does that, clearly!