The Wii U's Ability To Run Unreal Engine 4 Is In Doubt (Again)

Our pal at Game Trailers, Geoff Keighley, will be debuting the demo of the next-gen Unreal Engine 4 graphics tech some time during E3 on Spike, but in the week before E3 he's breaking some Nintendo fan's hearts. He Tweeted last night that the Wii U, Nintendo's console that's close to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in terms of horsepower, will run the Unreal Engine 3 and appeared to dismiss the chance of it running the PS4/Xbox720-caliber Unreal Engine 4 tech.

His source?

Something Epic's Mike Capps said at the Game Developer's Conference.

The news tumbled out of Twitter today, and it's sourced in such a way that, hey, maybe things have changed? I reached out to a spokesperson at Unreal development house Epic Games. They tell me: "Unreal Engine 3 supports Wii U, of course. Mike didn't say that UE4 doesn't support Wii U; rather, he was saying that if developers want to make a Wii U game, we have UE3 for that. Beyond PC, we haven't confirmed UE4's supported platforms."

On the message board NeoGAF, Keighley offered this clarification: "Crazy thread! This isn't new news guys. When I interviewed Mike Capps at GDC for GTTV, I asked him on camera about whether UE4 was targeted for Wii-U, and he said that no, UE3 is more in line with Wii-U(or something like that). That's all I was referencing in the @ reply."

It would not be shocking for Nintendo's next console to not be able to run a major graphics engine that will likely power the visuals of many of the next generation of video games. The Wii did pretty well without being able to run Epic's Unreal Engine 3, but in the process missed the many, many games that used that tech, from Epic's Xbox-exclusive Gears of War to PS3/360 games such as Mass Effect and Batman: Arkham Asylum.

We'll see much more of the Wii U started next Tuesday during Nintendo's E3 press briefing. And if graphics matter a ton to potential fans of the Wii U, remember, the machine did run this last year — and needs to pump graphics to the screen in the controller as well as the one on your TV.


    Maybe they'll do an expansion pack thing like 64 so UE4 works lol

      Not that bad an idea, in the end.
      Then again, if you have to buy higher end bits to make your Wii U run better games, you may as well invest in a PC.

    again, I don't really see how the Wii u will be worth getting...I mean I get that hardware isnt their focus..but if your going to try and apeal to "core" gamers then because able to run everything looking reasonable is important

      While I agree I find it funny that anybody could consider today's games as not looking reasonable.

    So frustrating reading Kotaku when it straight up takes their "news" from NeoGAF. Sure they mention it in the second half but the whole thing has been lifted from the site.

    I just feel eternally disappointed with Nintendo since the whole Wii debacle. All I want to do is to proudly unbox a new console and have that same feeling I did when I opened my NES at age 8... Difference being that now we have Xbox's and PS3's to compare against and I obviously am a little harder to please. It's a bit disappointing to think that things like this aren't considered by Ninty HQ and that is does very little to appease the 'core' gamers they are so desperately trying to lure back. Sure, HD has been taken into consideration, the new controller layout is *somewhat* new/groundbreaking (if you casually ignore the Dreamcast) but there really doesn't seem like they are making a concerted effort to get the hardware spec to a point where they can appeal to the hordes of Nintendo lovers that have been dragged away by higher spec machines. Anyway, that's my two cents - here's hoping they get it right again one day.

    I honestly want all three big companies to keep doing well, but obviously that's tied with delivering good experiences.

    However, I'm slowing getting meh on the whole WiiU idea.

    I'm struggling with the concept of launching a new console now - 7 odd years into the generation - that barely matches the hardware from the start of the generation when a new gen is coming up very soon.

    I totally agree that games these days look great, and are enjoyable, and that the WiiU will have a big catalogue to draw on of all the games of this past generation that are capable (and the dev is willing) to port will be cool.

    However - I want more than that. I don't want the launch Vita experience of buying this awesome new console that primarily has games from a previous gen or that I have played already on a different console. I want new, exciting games tailor made for the "new experience"; I don't want to rebuy games I already own. If I'm jumping on board "new tech" this late in a cycle, I want to see platform-defining new IPs and gameplay, not rehashes and franchise additions with shiny new graphics.

    It'll be great for a year or so that all three consoles will presumably be on roughly the same level, and that eventually developers will get used to the WiiU code and make good multi-plat ports of new games, but then we get to a year from now - and if the PS4 and NextBox are running on a different level, you can bet your bottom dollar that developers will trade up and the WiiU will be left behind, again.

    Unless Ninty launch ANOTHER new console in the next few years.

      Sigh. Processing power basically doubles every three years. I could go and buy a cheap nVidia/ATi graphics card today and it would trump what's in the PS3. The process also has been confirmed by IBM to be based on the Power7 "Watson"....which is powerful. A low end one would easily rival an Intel i7. Now if you're going to have a powerful processor would you put a dodgy graphics with it?

      That doesn't make any sense.

      These videos I ran into that explain the specs based on current rumours. I suggest you do some research and help spread the word instead of jumping to conclusions like everyone else.

      Wii U specs explained:

      Wii U vs PS4:

    And yet according to an article I read, Colonial Marines will look best on the Wii U.... WTF, devs?

      Yeah- it will look better than the 360 and PS3 versions.

      This article is saying it will be more powerful than the current gen systems but not by a lot (kind of like the Wii is more powerful than the Gamecube/ Xbox/ PS2 but nowhere near the generation of consolse that came after them).

      I've pretty disappointed, I just wish Nintendo would commit to building a console as powerful as feasibly possible. I don't want to be playing the next Zelda game in 2015 and being disappointed by how dated it looks.

        It won't be. By then we would have long forgotten the wranging days of eucalyptus and koala fur, and proceed to take heed of belly flopping in jumping jacks.

        THQ: “WiiU is just alot more powerful than current HD consoles it does 1080p very easy.”

        Epic: “It will do things current HD consoles simply cant do its going to be a powerful box.”

        Crytek: “WiiU devkits are very powerful,the specs are very good”

        Vigil Games: “We had the game at the same level as high end pc version in a matter of days and a few lines of code got the game up and running on tablet in 5 mins.”

        EA: "Wii U is not a transitional platform, it is a true next generation system."

    So the imagery they decide to use for this amazing new engine that will make games look 'mind-blowing' is some incredibly generic fantasy demon? I wouldn't sweat it Nintendo.

    meh. Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games and the odd 3rd party gem. Another console/PC for everything else. It's the way it's always been.

    While I have nothing to back this up beyond my own opinion, I think that the jump in graphics between the WiiU and the NextBox/PS4 won't be anywhere near as big as it was between the Wii and 360/PS3.

      No unreal 4 engine IS the tip of the big jump between visualy wats next gen and what isnt.

        I think his point is the jump between UE3 and UE4 won't be as big as say the jump was between UE2 and UE3, which, if you go take a looksie you'll see from a consumer level is pretty spot on. (On a technical level things are a bit different, the things you need going on to make that not so huge aesthetic jump are pretty insane, and technically it's likely just as big if not a bigger leap.)

    Glad to see the comments I wrote on Kotaku around the time of Wii U's unveiling and exaggerated power have turned out to be true.

      Really? They have? Considering Gearbox is already saying the Wii U version of Aliens looks best out of all the platforms. You have a handfull of devs who is saying the WiiU is alot more powerfull than current hardware, and others who arent.

      So the question is who is telling the truth? And when has Epic ever supported Nintendo hardware in general? Also that its capable of running both the HD screen and also the controller screen wirelessly at the same time shows it has a fair bit of power under the hood.

    Yeah, because Mario won't be any fun if it's not in UE4. Just like it wasn't any fun because it wasn't 1080p (or even 720p) on the Wii. Oh wait -Super Mario Galaxy and SMG2 are in the top three highest ranked games of all time at gamerankings.

    No.1 is Zelda.

    On the N64.

      You're right, but the flip side of that argument is that for certain people like me, Mario isn't interesting no matter how good it looks. Attracting core gamers is about more than horsepower, it's about mature themes and more cerebral gameplay.

        Nope... There people go again... Wii scared away core and mature gamers, but they aren't they same...
        core gamers are gamer who are dedicated to challengeing/ fun games... mature games a people who like shooting games and blood and gore, not that that;s bad...

    My question is, how do they even know?? Devs know what the specs are.. And the refference 4770 graphis chip powering it is leaps and bounds beyond wha the 360 and PS3 can acheive. But how can they say the next 360/PS3 can use the UE4 engine when there is probably very little anyone even knows about them, and dismiss a system thats looking to be a lot more powefull then the current hardware?

    Mind is baffled..

    I think it's more concerning that Nintendo and Epic aren't talking, personally. Epic is one of the most important companies in the industry - not because of Gears of War, obviously, but because they sell the technology that the vast majority of game developers are using. What developers want, universally, is to be assured the platform they're pouring years of their life into is going to be worth the effort; if Nintendo still don't have that kind of developer program established, as Microsoft and Sony do, where are developers going to go? If Nintendo is so clueless about its developers that it doesn't have someone camping in Epic's offices, what does that say about the eventual third-party WiiU lineup?

    And as Nintendo's games increasingly start to tread old ground, what's the point of the WiiU?

    Here's something to consider - what if Unreal Engine 4 is a flop?

    UE3 is undoubtably the biggest middleware up the current generation - but I imagine developers (and publishers) look at those demos of UE4 and wince at all the extra manpower they're going to need to get it running.

    As for it not working on WiiU - sounds to me like they don't even want to try, it's reminds me of when Gabe Newell declared that Wii was his favourite console, yet they wouldn't support it (even though most Valve games at the time could've run on the Wii without too much hassle)

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