Friday, January 4, 2013

Capcom, not U too..

Capcom Avoiding Late Wii U Ports (

This article in a nutshell is basically Capcom's Senior VP stating that they have no intention of publishing any late Wii U ports, choosing to look forward instead of into the past for their Wii U future. As someone who has practically mastered sitting on the fence for this console, it's an understatement when I say that this was actually a refreshing read for me. Call me crazy, but I still feel like Nintendo jumped the gun way too early on this one, and rushed to be the first to market without warrant, preparation, or really, technological merit.

Having been behind on a technical level since the original Wii's release, and having its main gimmick emulated by one competitor (Sony) and later trumped by another (Hellooooo, Kinect), I can't help but shake the feeling that with software finally too ambitious for even gimped Wii versions, it was either sink or swim, and they decided to jump into the pool right after dinner, invalidating their main course, and possibly causing a rather nasty cramp for the future.

The Wii U isn't the system it should be, or even needs to be right now.

It faces the same problem the Dreamcast faced upon early release, and the same the Xbox 360 faced when against its low-res brethren. Without nearly enough time for developers other than Nintendo themselves and a select few to come up with something truly compelling for the platform's unique architecture or controller, instead, the little system that should is home to a slew of ports that are terribly optimized for its hardware (you can't just erase 5-6 years of current-gen programming comfort in just 1). Gimped resolutions, uneven texture work, missing or altogether disabled effects and unstable framerates (Oh, Black Ops 2, you couldn't have even been a perfect 60fps HERE?..) seem to be par for the course in the current run of software, and can't possibly be doing anything to sway the hardcore Nintendo definitely wants away from their Xbox and Playstation environments. Why, when my 7 year Xbox can play Tekken Tag Tournament 2 at a perfect 60hz would I tolerate even the slightest of hiccups from what's supposed to be a "next=gen" system? WITH the motion blur pared back in order to (I assume) even facilitate the port?

Even technical issues aside, games like Batman: Arkham City and Darksiders II suffer from what I call a "DS-ification" of existing titles, shoehorning unnecessary touchscreen and gamepad functionality anywhere it seems to fit, providing that HUD-augmenting second screen experience that'll have you looking away from your TV more often than not. Is it necessary? Not really. Does it reek of gimmicky because there simply wasn't enough time to REALLY exploit the gameplay applications that are possible with such a unique pad? Yes. Even the original DS suffered the same kind of growing pains when everyone wanted to treat it like a portable N64, and use the touchscreen for analog sticking, HUD cramming nonsense..

Who remembers the thumb strap? It's alright. They don't either.

It's almost frustrating to watch from this end, because as it has been proven, with the right amount of time, and ingenue, we can really see something worthwhile come from their unconventional consoles. Now is not that time. the HD era isn't as new to us as it is Nintendo, and that isn't a selling point. The various functionalities in the form of Facebook, YouTube, Internet Browsers and online plazas aren't new either, as Nintendo is essentially playing catch up in that department. Even for their more hardcore-centric titles like NBA2K13, TTT2, and Black Ops 2 the install base isn't nearly as large as it already is on other platforms to make serious competitors migrate over to the system.

This is going to be an uphill climb, whether they like it or not.

When it really comes down to it, The two standout features are the hardware's potential, and that controller. The former is being constricted by the current generation's comfort/glory days and the latter, in its own way is arguably being handled early on by way of Sony's PS Vita and Microsoft's Smartglass app for the 360. Granted, one requires a 200+ dollar handheld and the other simply requests you own anything that can run iOS, Android, or Windows Mobile/8, but the Gamepad is going to be $100 when it finally hits retail. It's really just drawing straws and seeing who pulls the better experience, so they can't even rest comfortably on that. Having played Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on a PS3 using the Vita akin to a 3DS in SSF4:3D, and having controlled my dashboard, along with DJing a Dance Central 3-off on my 360 using Smartglass, I'd say they're going to have to bring out the bigger guns way before these juggernauts release their new platforms, or else Ninty is going to be in a world of pain.

"I tap what to equip my gadgets?...Damnit Alfred, can't I calibrate the cowl to have a pause screen inventory?"

My rant aside, this is why I'm happy Capcom's taking the stance they are. What's going on with the competition isn't very fruitful at all from a business or even fan-centric perspective, and I can almost guarantee that every company who published a port (With possibly the exception of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, which I've heard is such a drastic improvement that it's literally a different game) is going to be operating out of a loss. they aren't showing off the system's capabilities, they aren't necessary (especially Batman, who's gone through regular, enhanced, and GOTY versions out for more than a year now), and porting them over is an almost cynical move, considering what the system is supposed to be. Not to mention Nintendo's refusal to define what the system can actually DO via adverts and news. All this serves to paint the console once again as the inferior cousin in this new gen, and the lukewarm holiday response is more than evident of this.

Everyone I told that I wanted the system looked at me with such disbelief and responded so indifferently you would've thought I went full retard.

But I'm NOT crazy. I see the potential within, but I'm avid, and the fact that the general public (much less even my gamer friends) can't find a reason to be is troublesome. Whose idea was it anyway to position the system so early as a gimped next-gen console with an interchangeable gimmick? Because despite my otherworldly optimism at times, I can't see anything but that when I look at the Wii U. Back to our 360's, nothing to see here? "Lol, look at the framerate choke as I simply glide a few blocks in Batman"? "These stats on the lower screen sure are cool as I endure these ridiculous load times in 2K13"? Is it really more practical to be shot in the face while making split second tactical decisions looking down during Mass Effect 3's combat?

Judging by Capcom's logical stance, I can't be the only one that thinks this way. Look forward to the future, guys.

Because the past is killing you.

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