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Do any western game developers actually really, really love the Wii?

Tiktaalik

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Recently a news article popped up on GAF that featured an analyst proclaiming that the Wii was "not a fad." Given the obviousness of it and the fact this analyst had thought this was actually news, everyone on GAF had a good laugh about it. In a conversation with another game developer during lunch the other day, the article was brought up and we also both laughed and agreed obviously that the Wii was certainly not a fad, but I added in, hushing my voice and looking around in the way you do if you're about to say something behind someone's back, "but it feels like it is doesn't it?" We both agreed, relieved at now being able to openly slam the Wii in discussion without fear.

I can only claim to have experienced a small section of the games industry, but I can claim that I've worked on the DS, the Wii and now the PS3 and 360, and so I've experienced quite a few different environments. One interesting thing I've noticed is that I've don't feel I've ever gotten the impression from a game developer that they really were in stride with Nintendo on the Wii and that they loved and agreed with the revolution that Nintendo has embarked on; at least, not in the same way that you hear from forum fanboys. This may not be news to some but I think it's interesting to discuss. A prominent poster (I forget the name sorry and search is down?) recently made a thread full of charts explaining the disinterest in the Wii from western developers and stating as his thesis that western developers would not jump on the Wii ship en masse. My experience in the industry certainly confirms this.

It may upset fans but I've the feeling around that I've experienced is truly that of the Wii being "Gamecube Turbo" (certainly by the next gen rendering programmers will openly joke about this). Even when I worked on a Wii game, I felt that the sense of excitement with what we were working on was not because of the Wii itself or because of innovative waggle controls or any such buzzword, but rather because we were making a game skewed towards a younger audience that we would actually be satisfied with playing ourselves.

I'm hoping some GAF developers can talk about their experiences a bit. From what I've seen and heard I feel like folks have been pretty cool on Wii related innovations such as the balance board, but significantly more interested in HD innovations such as Little Big Planet, Spore, Rock Band (now coming to Wii fairly crippled) and traditional game evolutions such as Dead Space, Mirror's Edge and Bionic Commando: Rearmed. Innovative and traditional Wii games alike, whether they're Boom Blocks or Mario Kart Wii, are frequently met with indifference or even outright derision.

Please speak up if your experience has been different, if at your company you had brainstorming sessions about the balance board or has had a ton of interest with Wii Ware and waggle innovation.

I could get deeper into the subject of western game developer doubt of the Wii but I think this post is getting to the border of what GAFers will read in an OP, so I'll end it here, though if the discussion is lively I could go on.

edit: Search is now back, and so I can find some of the threads I mentioned:
- PantherLotus was the poster who excellently expressed via Sales Age methodology western indifference to the Wii.
- "The Wii is not a Fad" thread.
 
Mar 16, 2006
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It's publishers who are forcing shovelware, not developers. I'm sure there are tons of studios that would like a crack at their own ideas with the Wii hardware.
 

eatyobeans

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High Voltage (Conduit devs) seem to.

Besides that, no. Part of it comes from the fact that the Gamecube had pretty much zero western exclusives, all western GC games were ported from either the PS2 or Xbox versions. And the Wii is pretty much a slightly more powerful GC, unfortunately western developers have no idea how to develop for the GC or the Wiis infastructure, so when they make games on it they just treat it like a PS2.

But since everybodys been making PS2 games for like 8 years now, i think many devs are ready to go onto something more powerful. Unless the premise of the controller woos them in, western devs arent going to like developing for the Wii. Theyre just going to do it for the $$$ and the audience.

Shame people arent using the Wiimote to its full potential.
 

ksamedi

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Maybe the programmers don't like the Wii as much as the PS3 or 360 but I can't imagine a game designer not liking the Wii. If all you think about is big huge worlds with epic stories and stuff than yeah, the PS3 or 360 might be the preferred platform, but if you really want to do something unexpected, innovative or fresh than the Wii is certainly a valid platform for game design. It all depends from which perspective you look at it. Game designers that dislike Wii are game designers with no imagination and lack of talent, you heard it here first folks.
 

Visualante

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If you are a developer, you want to broaden your horizons, and gain experience that you believe is relevant to what sort of job you want to do in the future. While at the same time not specializing too much and cutting off potential career paths. The games you work on will sit on your résumé when you're at a job interview.

I don't think Wii game projects will not attract the great videogame artists because they all want to be working with Unreal Engine, the new displacement and specular map technology et cetera.. stuff that doesn't run on Wii. I don't know much about other fields in the games industry, but I would imagine the same goes for programming AI and all that other jazz.

As far as publishers go? Well I think it's already been decided what they want to do with the Wii.
 
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Im sure alot of the point and click developers love it. Im gonna go ahead and assume that the guys making the Strongbad game is from here. Sam and max is or isnt coming out here aswell?

Edit : I just remembered that that lightsaber game will be coming out too so Lucasarts liked it, shame they gonna close down after force unleashed :(
 

M3wThr33

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kafka rock opera said:
Im sure alot of the point and click developers love it. Im gonna go ahead and assume that the guys making the Strongbad game is from here. Sam and max is or isnt coming out here aswell?

Edit : I just remembered that that lightsaber game will be coming out too so Lucasarts liked it, shame they gonna close down after force unleashed :(
Just because you make a game on it doesn't mean you like it.
 

CowGirl

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Jan 20, 2006
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From my experience, the preferred platform for the majority of developers is the 360. It's got the best tools, and its the easiest to work with.

For the large game companies, engineers don't decide which platforms they are going to support, publishers do.
 

Gully State

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The way I see it, the ideal type of Wii developer would be one that's heavy on engineers (like back in the days) rather than the the artist heavy development teams of today. Artists have no background nor interest in working with the strengths of the wii, which is its controller.
 

Gamer @ Heart

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As long as the stigma of going "back" and developing for the Wii exists, then no. Developers could proubably make alot of great games for wii if they could get over the preception that next gen is the graphics and power and not gameplay.
 

Deku

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The conceit of the argument is that by ignoring the Wii they are doing better things on the HD platforms, which is not the case.

Arguably the crown jewel of the HD platforms is GTAIV and that game is GTAIII to the nth power. That really isn't anything we haven't seen before but I'll admit there's a core of gamers who are satisfied with it and thinks next-gen is here.

I can sort of stomach the decline of Japan relative to the west this gen, but what's coming up to replace the power vacuum being left behind is pretty disappointing. while the PC and mobile games continue to enjoy a kind of renaissance in a much broader sense, console gaming are becoming much more specialized and marginalized.
 

ksamedi

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It all depends on the perspective really. It really isn't interesting to hear it from the programmers point of view, or the artists point of view. Its obvious they would prefer the 360 or PS3 over the Wii (although programmers seem to dislike the PS3). This discussion should be about the creative poiint of view because this is the most inportant aspect of a videogame and usually its the creative people who get to have the last word (atleast more than a programmer or artist, they just do what they are told).
 

Tiktaalik

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ksamedi said:
Maybe the programmers don't like the Wii as much as the PS3 or 360 but I can't imagine a game designer not liking the Wii. If all you think about is big huge worlds with epic stories and stuff than yeah, the PS3 or 360 might be the preferred platform, but if you really want to do something unexpected, innovative or fresh than the Wii is certainly a valid platform for game design. It all depends from which perspective you look at it. Game designers that dislike Wii are game designers with no imagination and lack of talent, you heard it here first folks.

I've actually found that game designers seem equally dismissive about the Wii. I haven't grilled every game designer I've met about their tastes, but many seem to be much more interested in evolving currently established gameplay patterns, "Game 3.0" social and multiplayer innovation, and small arthouse games (think PixelJunk). I have not seen too many people talk about things they really want to do with waggle or other Wii features.
 

ksamedi

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Tiktaalik said:
I've actually found that game designers seem equally dismissive about the Wii. I haven't grilled every game designer I've met about their tastes, but many seem to be much more interested in evolving currently established gameplay patterns, "Game 3.0" social and multiplayer innovation, and small arthouse games (think PixelJunk). I have not seen too many people talk about things they really want to do with waggle or other Wii features.

I can understand if a game designer prefers the HD consoles because he thinks the extra power can bring more innovation but I really don't see why any game designer should dislike the Wii other then not being open to new ideas, lack of imagination, lack of talent. There is so much entertainment potential in the Wii, I don't see why a designer would not like to explore that.
 

Tiktaalik

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ksamedi said:
I can understand if a game designer prefers the HD consoles because he thinks the extra power can bring more innovation but I really don't see why any game designer should dislike the Wii other then not being open to new ideas, lack of imagination, lack of talent. There is so much entertainment potential in the Wii, I don't see why a designer would not like to explore that.

Basically what I just posted. The concepts most designers I know are interested in are more interesting to them than the Wii's main innovation, which is a unique mode of input. I don't think it has anything to do with power or graphics at all. I wouldn't look at it in terms of lack of imagination, but rather that they have a concept for a gameplay experience and they ask themselves in what way it would be best served and the Wii's unique input is not the best method.
 

Ether_Snake

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It's more about what publishers want than what devs want.

Also, most devs don't consider the Wiimote to be enough of an incentive to make a game exclusively for the Wii.
 

Gully State

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ksamedi said:
I can understand if a game designer prefers the HD consoles because he thinks the extra power can bring more innovation but I really don't see why any game designer should dislike the Wii other then not being open to new ideas, lack of imagination, lack of talent. There is so much entertainment potential in the Wii, I don't see why a designer would not like to explore that.

I would also think that any aspiring developer would be more drawn to the wii due to its low developing costs.
 

Sadist

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The main question is why? Are they bored with the hardware, maybe it's the devkits, do you feel that certain genre's wouldn't work on it etc.

Oh and by the way, developers should focus on the pointer and not the waggle. Games who use the pointer function of the Wiimote are very interesting. (Games like Zack & Wiki, Pro Evo and a few others)
 

Wyndstryker

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In the indie scene, I know that quite a few are interested but of course there's no money to back them up. Which makes it pretty moot.

In the mainstream scene, devs have no voice and have to listen to their publisher. So it doesn't matter what they truly want.

In conclusion...we won't really know for sure.
 

Deku

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There is also a lack in congruency between what the Wii offers your run of the mill western developer and what the market can bear.

FPS/action/gritty adventure games sell. If i'm a developer of some clout who can dictate to my publisher content, i'd sitll be far more likely to do those kinds of games and the Wii isn't going to be the best platform for that as they tend to be all about visuals and things like destructible environments and on-line competitive play. Even those developers who are supporting the Wii seriously seem to think that the best way to do so is to make a cool looking FPS to show the world , hey the Wii can do this, even if the serious console FPS players will just pick it apart on account of the visuals, which is quite clearly an area the Wii cannto compete in, no matter how much these developers manage to push it.

Part of the reason the Wii has had more success getting original content out of Japan isn't so much its dominance there but the genres that are popular there are more conductive and congruent to what the Wii can do.
 

Jackson

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Being a pro game designer, I like the Wii... the biggest problem that I see so far is that what really sells is Wii Sports, Carnival games, stuff of that nature...

Which A) You can't innovate when you're just putting 5 sport mini games off on the disc and B) everyone else is going to do the same plan... because that's what sells

It's already been proven the Wii's core gamer sales from Nintendo are less than stellar, even shocking... and 3rd party sales of gamer games are even worse...

Truth be told gamers don't want gamer games on the wii, they want them in HD on their expensive system (at least this is what the market demographic has shown so far)

Also... Waggle is in most games because frankly the Wiimote isn't some super expensive, ultra accurate device... from a game dev standpoint it's just shake the control and let's pretend to predict the outcome...

Also... most developers suck at making innovative games for NORMAL control schemes... so why are people surprised they can't come up with stuff for the Wii??

that being said... I still like the Wii personally and professionally :)
 

Visualante

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Ether_Snake said:
Also, most devs don't consider the Wiimote to be enough of an incentive to make a game exclusively for the Wii.
Bit of a generalisation, no?
Jackson said:
Truth be told gamers don't want gamer games on the wii, they want them in HD on their expensive system (at least this is what the market demographic has shown so far)
Here's the Catch 22 though, all the Nintendo fans are claming that publishers haven't given the system a chance. Wii hasn't had its Dead Rising yet. That was a real turning point for the 360.
 

jrricky

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Feb 12, 2007
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Jackson said:
Being a pro game designer, I like the Wii... the biggest problem that I see so far is that what really sells is Wii Sports, Carnival games, stuff of that nature...

Which A) You can't innovate when you're just putting 5 sport mini games off on the disc and B) everyone else is going to do the same plan... because that's what sells

It's already been proven the Wii's core gamer sales from Nintendo are less than stellar, even shocking... and 3rd party sales of gamer games are even worse...


Truth be told gamers don't want gamer games on the wii, they want them in HD on their expensive system (at least this is what the market demographic has shown so far)

Also... Waggle is in most games because frankly the Wiimote isn't some super expensive, ultra accurate device... from a game dev standpoint it's just shake the control and let's pretend to predict the outcome...

Also... most developers suck at making innovative games for NORMAL control schemes... so why are people surprised they can't come up with stuff for the Wii??

that being said... I still like the Wii personally and professionally :)
What do you mean?
 
I hate to say it, but where are the Jason Rubins? This is a quote from him I marked down, because it seemed the epitome of short phrases about development being heavily centered around the big leader:
Jason Rubin said:
My point is, if the PlayStation 2 is going to sell as many hardware units as the PlayStation 1 sold, then I don't care if I have to pierce my nails with pins to get it to work, I'm going to do it because that's where the money is. And that's the attitude we go into every game with.
 

bigmakstudios

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Apr 30, 2006
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Deku said:
The conceit of the argument is that by ignoring the Wii they are doing better things on the HD platforms, which is not the case.

Arguably the crown jewel of the HD platforms is GTAIV and that game is GTAIII to the nth power. That really isn't anything we haven't seen before but I'll admit there's a core of gamers who are satisfied with it and thinks next-gen is here.

I can sort of stomach the decline of Japan relative to the west this gen, but what's coming up to replace the power vacuum being left behind is pretty disappointing. while the PC and mobile games continue to enjoy a kind of renaissance in a much broader sense, console gaming are becoming much more specialized and marginalized.

Clearly you don't own a 360.
 

Deku

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bigmakstudios said:
Clearly you don't own a 360.

Oh I do, but probably not for the games you think I'd play it for. But whether GTA4 is a crown jewel of HD consoles or not is not up for debate here. It's my assertion that it is, the media hype and game hype points to it. I'm not interested in doing a side argument about specific 360 games you think may be superior.

"Exclusive DLC for 360, TAKE THAT SONY" also says that it is.
 
Jan 28, 2005
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Gabe Newell of Valve has given Wii the nod on at least one occasion...

but really, really love the Wii? None come to mind.
 

Euphor!a

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I find it odd some are saying that PS3/360 are are for developers with no creativety or imagination and Wii is for the creative. From my experience there are far more innovative and creative titles on PS3/360/PC than there have been on the Wii.
 

Sagitario

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?
 

Scrubking

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Jackson said:
Being a pro game designer, I like the Wii... the biggest problem that I see so far is that what really sells is Wii Sports, Carnival games, stuff of that nature...

Which A) You can't innovate when you're just putting 5 sport mini games off on the disc and B) everyone else is going to do the same plan... because that's what sells

It's already been proven the Wii's core gamer sales from Nintendo are less than stellar, even shocking... and 3rd party sales of gamer games are even worse...

Truth be told gamers don't want gamer games on the wii, they want them in HD on their expensive system (at least this is what the market demographic has shown so far)

Also... Waggle is in most games because frankly the Wiimote isn't some super expensive, ultra accurate device... from a game dev standpoint it's just shake the control and let's pretend to predict the outcome...

Also... most developers suck at making innovative games for NORMAL control schemes... so why are people surprised they can't come up with stuff for the Wii??

that being said... I still like the Wii personally and professionally :)

:lol
 

avatar299

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Jun 9, 2007
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Euphor!a said:
I find it odd some are saying that PS3/360 are are for developers with no creativety or imagination and Wii is for the creative. From my experience there are far more innovative and creative titles on PS3/360/PC than there have been on the Wii.
What creative games are on the PS3/360 compared to the Wii. Combined, they don't have many games that aren't just souped up last gen games.

Jackson said:
It's already been proven the Wii's core gamer sales from Nintendo are less than stellar, even shocking... and 3rd party sales of gamer games are even worse...
What? How the hell can you be on GAF and still believe this.

I mean, even if you don't folow sales age....
 

Euphor!a

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avatar299 said:
What creative games are on the PS3/360 compared to the Wii. Combined, they don't have many games that aren't just souped up last gen games.

Games like Portal or PixelJunk Eden. Or Johnathan Mak and the Fl0w/Fl0wer team.
 

Deku

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Scrubking said:

He designed Drawn to Life yo.


Euphor!a said:
Games like Portal or PixelJunk Eden. Or Johnathan Mak and the Fl0w/Fl0wer team.

That's more damnign than you'd want to let on. Combined the development budget of those games probably don't even qual to 1/10th of what Sony squandered on Lair.
 

avatar299

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Jun 9, 2007
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Euphor!a said:
Games like Portal or PixelJunk Eden. Or Johnathan Mak and the Fl0w/Fl0wer team.
Portal couldn't work on the wii, Flow couldn't work on the wii

and even then, 3? Compared to the 200+ games on the 360 alone? I can name more than 3 unique, creative or innovative games on the wii
 

Kilrogg

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Jackson said:
It's already been proven the Wii's core gamer sales from Nintendo are less than stellar, even shocking... and 3rd party sales of gamer games are even worse...

Truth be told gamers don't want gamer games on the wii, they want them in HD on their expensive system (at least this is what the market demographic has shown so far)

Eh? If you don't try and make good games, how come you should expect them to sell, especially to gamers? "Gamers' games" (whatever that is) CAN sell on the Wii, but if you look only at sales in a frontload pattern or compare them to "OMG GTAIV 100million budget huge ad campaign", you don't see that. Zack & Wiki has sold more than 500k worldwide IIRC, and No More Heroes is Suda51's best selling game. One is a somewhat new genre, the other one is niche.

Also, on Nintendo games: what do you mean, less than stellar? Apart from maybe Metroid Prime 3, several Nintendo franchises have never sold so well as they do know. Take Mario Kart Wii, Smash Bros. Brawl and even Super Mario Galaxy.

There is huge potential. But, hey, no pain, no gain.

[EDIT]Btw, I know I seem a bit angry in my post, but don't worry, I'm not jumping at your throat, just commenting on some statements I find odd.
 

Euphor!a

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Deku said:
That's more damnign than you'd want to let on. Combined the development budget of those games probably don't even qual to 1/10th of what Sony squandered on Lair.

I don't see how that is relevant, I would argue 90% of innovative or creative games come from teams with low budgets, which is understandable.
 

Euphor!a

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avatar299 said:
Portal couldn't work on the wii, Flow couldn't work on the wii

and even then, 3? Compared to the 200+ games on the 360 alone? I can name more than 3 unique, creative or innovative games on the wii

Who is saying they couldn't work on the Wii? The fact of the matter is that they aren't on the Wii yet they are creative and/or innovative.
 

Cryect

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May 16, 2007
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Tiktaalik said:
significantly more interested in HD innovations such as Little Big Planet, Spore, Rock Band (now coming to Wii fairly crippled)

Spore is coming to the Wii and while Little Big Planet looks interesting it feels to me like a multiplayer editable version of Lost Vikings. (edit: thats a good thing though for LBP)

My opinion on innovation there is little in games and its really evolution of past ideas that have been more refined.