The Wii U’s appeal for developers probably typically lands in two separate categories: A graphically capable Nintendo console meets a unique way to interact with on-screen items. And, for RPG makers, the Wii U may present one of the best possible features the genre could stand to tango with: The screen on the controller.
Knock Nintendo’s Wii U all you like, but you have to admit the prospect of inventory management relegated to an entirely separate, touchscreen accessible screen sounds incredible. It works well in the item-switch-heavy Ocarina of Time 3D experience on the Nintendo 3DS, so seeing it blown up to gigantic, loot stacked RPG experiences with the Wii U would be amazing.
And, for those that would actually look forward to this type of thing, Bethesda, makers of the upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, have told The Official Nintendo Magazine that developing a port of their project for the Wii U is a definite possibility. According to Bethesda’s Vice President of PR, Pete Hines, the Wii U may meet their system criteria.
“It’s definitely a possibility for the future. We’ll look at any platform that will support that games we’re trying to make, but that’s the key thing – the console has to support the game as it is designed.”
The last bit of that quote feels almost iconic; Bethesda will not break their banner game in order to squeeze it onto an ill-equipped platform, and that’s something fans can count on. Hines goes on to indicate that while the Wii U is a possibility for Skyrim, porting titles is hard work.
“The more changes we have to make to a game the less and less palatable it becomes because making a game is an enormous process. Just doing 360, PS3 and PC – I don’t think people understand the amount of work that goes into that. All of the localisation you have to do… all of the testing you have to do… on every platform in every language… It’s a pretty huge undertaking.
So you aren’t just supporting the Wii U; You’re supporting it in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.”
I’ll assert that the platform of choice for most Elder Scrolls diehards will remain the PC; despite the fact that the user experience on the Wii U may be fantastic. I’ll color this massive, deep RPG a PC game before a I call it a console title, every time.