With the original Wii, I feel like there were some obvious trends, some that came out right away, some that arose in time. A few of them off the top of my head:
Sports collections Other mini-game collections Point and click shooters (often in the horror genre) Point and click adventure games (more on WiiWare, I guess mostly from Telltale...) Gritty-over the top violent games (an odd trend for the Wii) 2D Platformers (mostly the 2nd half of the Wii, mostly from Nintendo, but there were some others)
It's tough to predict with the Wii U, but here are a few that I think will catch on:
Chase collections (I think this will be the new sports collection) Other mini-game collections (yeah this trend will never end) Zombie games (probably mostly ports, if ZombiU does well) Other ports... in a random, mostly unpredictable fashion
Um... I dunno. What else? I guess it is still too early to see any major trends.
@Tranquilo It's actually a bit confusing to me. I know the "wait and see" mentality is huge, but I also thought we moved into the era of multiplatform gaming where by default publishers / developers just try to get their games out to every platform possible.
For whatever reason (perhaps the old stigma that Nintendo's core base only want first and second party offerings) many third parties just don't see developing for Wii U as a lucrative business practice. Which is fair enough. Some third party games don't even release on PC, even though you would think that it would be a simple matter of porting the code over, but it isn't really that simple. I'm pretty sure someone else can explain it better than I can.
I don't want to say it but this generation might be a repeat of last gen in regards of Sony and Microsoft's offering getting the bulk of the third party support while Wii U owners will have to content themselves with whatever deals Nintendo is willing to secure (Bayonetta 2, Monster Hunter, etc). That, or the third parties that actually decide to port their games over once in a blue moon.
I want you to understand that I was not referring to you. I was rather, well, beseeching anyone else on the board to call you out. I'm a different poster than I was on the IGN boards. I'm here to relax and enjoy video games. I'm not here to pick a fight or sustain some long, drawn out internet discussion. Peace.
I'm not trying to pick a fight but aren't you one of the people who criticize the overabundance of space marine fps exactly like this one, yet you are excited over these types of games when they comes to a nintendo console?
I like the Aliens trappings of this title as opposed to the space marine bullshit. I love all the movies (yes, even Resurrection to me is...weird but palatable). So, when you factor in only one of those movies actually having involvement with space marines, I don't really see it as embracing space marine games.
Yes, Stephen, we all cower in fear of your intellect around here, and nobody would dare challenge anything you have to say. I don't know what could have come over me.
To me, it seems like whatever the BIG THING Nintendo announces will become a prominent trend for their console. Gamecube saw a lot of Mario Party and Mario Kart clones. And why not? Nintendo puts out a Kart/Party title, it's a quality package, people buy it up. Third parties say, "Hey, we can do that too!" Quickly Half-bake something together like Pac Man Fever and shove it out the door. Naturally, it gets dumped on by critics and the audience sticks to the official Kart/Party games if they want them. On the good side, though, Gamecube also started the trend of Third parties working together with Nintendo on their own franchises, Soul Calibur II, it is widely agreed on, is the best in the series, and the inclusion of Zelda's Link makes it just that much better.
Wii saw a lot of Wii Sports clones and some attempts at Smash Bros clones. These were the titles that sold the Wii near launch, so later on, Even smaller third parties tried to capitalize on this with Deca Sports, Punch Time Explosion, &c.
Even the SNES got in on this, although a lot more evidently in Japan: SNES saw a lot of RPGs, I mean, ALOTOFRPGs, to the point that the internet still hasn't finished fan-translating them all! To the point where there's even a popular software package that lets you mimic almost any SNES RPG completely.
Anyways, what was the BIG THING announcement with the Wii U? Bayonetta 2. and to a smaller degree, Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor's Edge complete with all the weapons, ninpo, and dismemberment, and as an extra apology have three scantily-clad female ninjas downloadable for free edition. I believe the Wii U trend will be to bring series that had some vocal demand, but not enough to really pay attention to on the 7th Gen HD systems, and announce a full-on sequel for the Wii U, breathing new life into those franchises. Despite all the vocal hate that Bayo2 gets, a lot more people are paying attention to it now than they ever did back when it was what it was where it was, and that'll translate to a lot more sales than it ever got before. On top of that, Nintendo is recognizing how much their fans worldwide want them to be more overt about their M-rated games, and are going to monitor third parties to ensure those games hold up to Nintendo's quality standards. Again, like Ninja Gaiden 3
The trend is going to be what I've said from day 1. All of these games listed as "not coming to the Wii U" will show up months (if not a year) after they release on the 360/PS3/PC. Why? When the game drops down to $19.99 - $39.99, they'll release it on the Wii U, put some stupid subtitle to it and charge 60 bucks for it (with little to no enhancements to it).
I think it's going to be a very "wait and see" approach, which makes things very interesting to watch in the coming years. A lot is going to depend on how successful the next-gen Sony and Microsoft consoles are, and publishers evaluate which makes the best business sense. I can understand 3rd party publishers saying right now that there's not really a great reason to invest in Wii U games (and that's the biggest reason why so many 2013 titles are coming out on PS3/360/(PC) and not Wii U). Nintendo is offering a console that from a power standpoint, offers parity with two systems that have large, established user-bases for most of the 2013 releases at a lower price. Nintendo cannot compete with that right now, and neither can third party publishers expect their own games to perform comparably.
For your typical third party that makes "AAA" games, the tried-and-true strategy is 360/PS3 but where does it go from here, into the next-generation? It's all about risk & reward. Do you invest in Wii U at the risk of falling behind on Durango/Orbis success if the Wii U ends up not panning out? Do you go full steam ahead into Durango/Orbis big-budget projects and potentially get burned on a few bad sellers, while missing out on the Nintendo platform again (if the Wii U ends up being a big success). Or, do you play it conservatively and stick to focusing on 360/PS3 games mostly, while testing the water on all 3 next-gen systems and see where the market stands?
Third parties will go where their games have a chance of selling. Nintendo is fighting against 3 straight generations of having the system with, generally speaking, the worst performance from 3rd party games. They are fighting against 3 straight generations of sub-par to bad third party support. Launching a new system that will be significantly under-powered compared to the successors of the two platforms that third parties are heavily supporting? It's going to be a tough sell. I'm not at all surprised that the 2013 lineup is loaded with the GTAs and Bioshocks and Tomb Raiders and none currently have the Wii U logo attached to them.
At some point, the market will shift from PS3/360/Wii and move into the PS4/720/WiiU era. There's a huge userbase there; where do they go? Wherever they go, the third party publishers will be on board. Nintendo has to drive the userbase and they are going to have to drive it themselves; third parties aren't going to do it voluntarily. Most of the 3rd party games at launch were publishers just throwing up a prayer and hoping they could make a quick dollar. I'd say Reggie is smoking when he says with a straight face that "Batman is an example" of a game that will help drive the userbase, but he's just saying what he has to. The bottom-line is that if Nintendo wants to get games like GTA and Dead Space, day-and-date with the other platforms, they need games like that (i.e. games that target a similar audience) that are proven to sell well.
There are a number of ways to accomplish this. Obviously, when publishers are wary about bringing games over for a number of reasons, you want to provide a number of incentives to limit the risk. It's the whole "chicken and the egg" problem: you need these proven sales, but there aren't games to sell to anyone. That's where the onus falls on Nintendo. What you're seeing with Bayonetta 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3 is a good start, and absolutely what they should be doing. And I think there will need to be more and more of that going forward. In fact, if I'm Nintendo I'd be closely monitoring the THQ situation and seriously considering scooping up some of their IPs and developers. They've got the money to do it.
The big thing is that they've never really replaced what Rare was for Nintendo during the N64-era. Retro alone, as talented as they are, isn't as big or as prolific. Look, I loved Donkey Kong Country Returns. It's a fabulous game, and I strongly believe that no one else at Nintendo (save for maybe EAD Tokyo) could have made a better DKC game. But until the day comes where Retro is big enough to be Rare, they shouldn't be making DK or working on Mario Kart. They should be very much in the role that Naughty Dog is for Sony. Retro is one of the most talented studios in the world, and for them not to be working on the equivalent of what Uncharted and Gears of War have meant to Sony and Microsoft, respectively, would be a tragic mistake. I'll buy whatever they make, but they should be the flagship developer on Wii U, driving the install base.
In any case, I've been saying this for well over a year, ever since it became apparent that Nintendo was launching a year early, but it all boils down to how well they perform this holiday. How well a system does or doesn't do at launch, more or less, doesn't matter much in the long run. Follow the blueprint established by the PS2 and the 360; the second holiday established the PS2 as a juggernaut and the extra year for Microsoft was instrumental in them stealing almost all of the momentum Sony had coming off of the PS2. Nintendo has an extra year to establish a userbase, establish a library, and hopefully have a strong lineup of games releasing in Q4. The library will be bigger and deeper than what Sony and/or MS will have in their launch window, and Nintendo will most likely have a huge price advantage. And the growing pains that Nintendo is having with the Wii U early on? Trust me, Sony and Microsoft aren't going to have perfectly smooth launches either.
I think we'll know by the end of 2013 what the Wii U is, and where it's going. How it fares against the launches of 1 or 2 new consoles will go a long way towards illustrating where support is going to show up going forward. Nintendo might struggle to grow the userbase, and we'll end up with the 4th console in a row where I have the system to play Nintendo games and that's just about it (which, personally, I am OK with!). Or, they do well with a strong lineup and attractive price point, and the Wii U will prove to be a viable platform for the next 5 years. In this situation, you'd likely see EA and Take-Two having to play catch-up, while a publisher like Ubisoft gets to reap the benefits of being ahead of the curve and getting on-board from the start. You gotta give them credit for having their big multiplatform, AAA hit of the year available on day 1, as well as supporting the system with strong, quality exclusives in ZombiU and Rayman.
So as far as trends go, I think we can all see how 2013 is going to play out, but not really beyond that. It's going to be very much how 2011 was for the 3DS. Nintendo is playing it incredibly safe and is hoping early adopters and a few games of note can carry them into the 2nd half. There's no need for them to panic or do anything drastic until after E3 rolls around. Third party games are going to remain PS3/360/(PC) for the most part, and the occasional Wii U ports will be mostly afterthoughts. What the trends are beyond 2013, I think Nintendo's second-half performance is going to tell us a lot. As always, it's going to come down to the games.