Coming out of Nintendo’s E3 conference, many people were disappointed by the lack of surprises and the supposed lack of good launch games. It seems to be a divisive issue, with some gamers excited for the Wii U games while others remain severely underwhelmed. I personally remain cautiously optimistic about the Wii U. While I agree that the Wii U launch lineup is missing that surprising, must-buy first-party title everyone was expecting Retro to make, the launch games are still quite strong.
Historically, consoles have launched with either few games, bad games, or both. Compared to the PS3 and 360’s launch games, the Wii U is looking pretty good. The question is, is it enough to make the Wii U successful with both the hardcore and casual audiences when it’s launching during the twilight of the current console generation?
While the Wii U is launching with some significant first-party games like New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, Wii Fit U, and Nintendo Land, it’s really the third-party support that makes the lineup interesting. Though they still have a long ways to go, Nintendo seems to be fulfilling their promise of getting more third-party developers on board with the Wii U. Games like Rayman Legends, ZombiU, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Darksiders II, Project P-100, and Assassin’s Creed III appeal to the “hardcore” audience while other great games like LEGO City: Undercover, Just Dance 4, Scribblenauts: Unlimited, and Game & Wario appeal to wider audiences.
Though it frustrated me that Nintendo spent the middle of their conference talking about casual games like Just Dance 4, I understand why they do it. Those types of games sold millions on the Wii; they’d be crazy not to continue those franchises and give financial confidence to their investors. Because of this mix of casual and hardcore games, it seems like the Wii U will have at least one game for everyone. Whether this divided focus will translate to success for Nintendo remains to be seen.
Nintendo also seems to be evolving in its support of digital download games by releasing Chasing Aurora, Trine 2: Director’s Cut, and Cloudberry Kingdom on the Wii U. Though these aren’t the type of titles that convince consumers that the Wii U is a must buy, it’s good to see Nintendo supporting smaller third-party developers.
Many have criticized the Wii U launch lineup for including slightly improved versions of games released months ago like Mass Effect 3, and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. I know I’m in the minority by owning a Wii as my sole console, but because of that, I’m excited to play these older games that I missed last year. Also, the unique Wii U features shown for Batman demonstrate what multiplatform games can offer on Nintendo’s console.
Taking all of these launch window games into account, the Wii U’s lineup is quite large with over 23 currently announced games. Compared to the Xbox 360’s launch games, which were highlighted by Call of Duty 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted, the Wii U seems rather strong. While it’s certainly not the best launch lineup ever, it’s also definitely not the worst. Even though a lot of gamers are unimpressed with New Super Mario Bros. U because of it’s lack of innovation, everyone knows it will be a well-made game that will sell millions of copies. Launching with a Mario game has always been important for Nintendo’s systems and the Wii U is no exception.
I believe the Wii U’s launch lineup is very solid and will help give Nintendo a good start to their new console. What do you guys think? Are you excited for these launch games or are you disappointed? Leave your thoughts and comments below.