Gaming

Guessing time! ft. Wii U-to-NX ports

 

Well, it’s one of the first thoughts most people had in the past months, right after NX was announced (me included).

“Good! I hope they bring Wii U games to NX, games that could have better chances of success on a more successful console, or games that act like a service / have big online communities, and it would be bad to see them end with the Wii U, …or Zelda at least”.

And we got news on the matter. Or, better, rumours. From our good old Emily Rogers (who is used to leak infos for Nintendo, with a great track record, especially after the less-than-respectable reliability back in 2011) through Twitter: several ports coming, and among them four games: Zelda Wii U, Smash Bros., Super Mario Maker and Splatoon.

There are different reasons for these titles, and they’re all valid: Zelda is ported because it would see its sales potential strongly limited by Wii U’s small installed base, and it represents a great title for the “launch window” on NX; Smash Bros. has a living and kicking online community going on, which is something that can be said for Splatoon too (see those amazing Splatfest numbers for Japan I reported in my latest article). Also, both Splatoon and Mario Maker, even more than Smash Bros., are both games and services, due to all the free content released (and releasing). And the aforementioned periodical Splatfests for the former. Now, it’s important to highlight that, while both Zelda and Smash Bros. are (almost) 100% happening, Mario Maker is around…90% right now, I think, and Splatoon is the port which is characterised by the biggest uncertainty on its actual release; just to be fully honest on the matter. Ok, good, great, these ports can be good …But what about the others?

Wii U is a console with a lot of missed opportunities and it brings on the table titles that, due to their sheer quality or a mismatching audience, would’ve had far bigger chances to sell elsewhere. And it’s a real shame to see great, if not fantastic titles being unable to express their full potential because the console itself / the audience who bought the console can’t support it as much as it could. So, hearing that there could be several ports is a good news, especially if their releases are well placed in a steady, well distributed lineup alongside newer titles; this represents the biggest fear when the words “ports!” and “remastered versions!” are heard, and it should be addressed, but it’s a topic for another time. Now, what can be interesting to think about is what other titles could see the Wii U-to-NX treatment, and why. So, it’s time to tell you my thoughts on the matter, my guesses. Yeah, I’m probably the 100,001 person who did it in the past few weeks and-hey, where are you going. No, please, stay here, it’ll be different! Err…free cookies for everyone, I promise!

*put a Tatsu-potato joke here*

This pla-err, I mean game. This game. I have several great things to say about it…and some, loud words on some of its worst element, but another time (geez, the second teaser for a non-specified time in this blog post, if I make another one, I would look nearly identical to a Sony E3 Conference! *ba dum tiss* ). Now, I recently said that its first month results in US showed how, even on a Nintendo home console, especially one without a goo-I mean almost any role-playing game audience, the Kyoto’s company has showed its ability to get JRPGs with good sales repeatedly on their platforms. But the conditions themselves that characterised Xenoblade Chronicles X’s release makes this question even more relevant: what would’ve happened if it released on a better console for its genre? Like PS4 (which has a bright future ahead in the genre, so many releases) or 3DS (which had a big amount of games in the genre, and it’s still going strong this year)? The X’s team in Monolith is already working on a brand new project, and they already have ideas for it (like a bigger focus on the sotry), and a port of the game could help to create the userbase for their next efforts. It also needs to be remembered that the game was released at the end of April 2015 in Japan (the West got it with several months of delay), which means Monolith didn’t start working on the next game such a long time ago. So, I’d say that a re-release, even with a minimal restyled look (like 1080p and steady 30fps, better textures, revamped UIs and menus, especially the – let’s face it – asinine party member selection map, etc.) released around the first year and half of the console, well before the new game’s release would be a decent addition for the new console: this is a massive game, a strong (even if flawed) time eater. Plus, freaking mechas. There is an audience who would eat it up, outside of those who already bought it on Wii U, especially if it’s part of a good upcoming JRPG lineup (and this is where the family factor, if NX is really a family of different devices, can help).

Fucking Retro Studios platformer

Of course, this is another game for which I’d say the port would be a good decision due to its current sales, but the reason behind the lack of sales I’d dare to say are different compared to Xeno X. Even…contrary. You see, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was released back in February 2014. It still shipped over a million WW, but it’s one of the franchises that suffered the most among all the downfall from Wii to Wii U, and that’s because it was released in probably the worst period for it. In fact, the console wasn’t just selling awful, but even Nintendo games themselves, the ones that are usually great sellers even on underselling consoles, were suffering the userbase’s apathy towards new releases. This situation continued until Mario Kart 8 came out, the game that, between special deals and the “MARIO KART OMG” factor represented a wake-up call for Nintendo fans. In fact, Nintendo games sales started improving since then. Not for every Nintendo game, but a good chunk of the biggest names. But it wasn’t just that…the console already had major platformers releases, and the last one before DK was in November (Mario 3D World). That probably made the still-apathetic userbase satisfied enough with the genre, resulting in lower anticipation for Tropical Freeze.

What would a Tropical Freeze port bring on the table? Well, just looking at the content, the 3DS version of DKC: Returns could be a good comparison. So, at least a brand new world filled with levels, new items for the Funky Kong shops and a lower difficulty level. Also, a fantastic game early in the library, hopefully not too cluttered with (great) platformers when it’s released.

It’s also true that, among the games listed here, it’s among the ports with the smallest chances to happen, for several reasons. First of all, it depends on what Retro’s been working on: if it’s another Donkey fucking Kong game, it’s useless to release TP. In case they aren’t, or if the port is released not that far from NX’s launch window, I’d say it has good chances. But it’s also true that the game has recently entered the Nintendo Selects lineup, thus it’s available at a great price ($19.99 – buy it), which could delay a new release on another console. …Or put in a better context a enhanced version for $29.99 (the game’s original price was $49.99). Yeah, kind of split or unsure on it.

Platinum titles on Wii U…unite up!

Now, this is kind of cheating, but…what about a Platinum Games collection? These developers released a (supposedly; I haven’t played it) great title in The Wonderful 101 and an astounding, masterful piece of awesomeness (you can see I played this, right?) in Bayonetta 2. Plus, Wii U got a Bayonetta port which was actually included in Bayonetta 2’s retail initial release…and that was another great game. Considering how they’re overwhelmed by contracting work, between different publishers, unless a miraculous cross-development happens, I fear they won’t come until…well, the end of the first year as an optimistic guess? Let alone the launch window. Also, I fear it’ll be a while before we see Bayonetta 3, and another W101…yeah. This is the period where I can see a Platinum Games Collection including these three games, with some adjustements to resolution and framerate, some additional content (like more Nintendo-themed costumes and Bayonetta amiibo support?), a great fit and a good way to start attracting, easily and with small costs, action games / “Japanese” games fans. We’re talking about low selling, but cult hits games, and cult hits can gain enough following as time goes by to see good sales years after their official release. Especially if the price is good. The main hope here is that they don’t get overlooked again, despite the potential. Please. Otherwise, eat a shit.

Gonna fight’em all

Yeah, this was probably an easy guess. Between the newer rumours of ports happening and older rumours about “Namco working on several projects on NX, including Smash” by Serkan Toto, Pokkén is a name that tends to come up. It surely doesn’t have the same problem as many others in this list (see: sales), since it’s doing fine, but The Pokémon Company is serious about making Pokkén Tournament a stable franchise in the Fighting Game Community, and they have already started several initiatives (supporting exsisting tournaments, a major placement in the upcoming Pokémon World Championships, EVO’s presence) that highlight this. So, a version of the game with new modes and additional characters, a sort-of-Super Pokkén Tournament seems a good choice in order to keep the community interested for a long time. Which, sadly, is surely less possible on Wii U. Unless NX sells less than Wii U and, for the love of God, don’t even entertain the possibility.

Mmh, yeah, that’s it, if we’re talking about Nintendo developed / financed games. I don’t see other games getting the port treatment: Mario Kart 8, while featuring a big multiplayer community is not as an on-going-service as Splatoon and Mario Maker (or even Smash), games like 3D World, Pikmin 3, Wii Party U, both Zelda remasters don’t need a new release as much, and Hyrule Warriors will probably go directly for the 2nd game, especially now that the Legends version has been released on 3DS. It’s probably a list you have already seen numerous times already, but I think it does make sense, given the conditions for all the games. Emily Rogers stated again, today, that sources at Nintendo have GREAT confidence for the console’s 1st year lineup, so I’m really eager to know more about NX.

Now that I think about it, today’s the Financial Results day, let’s see what ha-

…I’ll probably have to talk about this in the next few hours (third teaser! Sony E3 Conference levels reached, yahoo!)

See you (VERY) soon, world

P.S. #westandforfemalesingamingindustry

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