Gimped Madden On Wii U Doesn't Speak Well Of EA's Relationship With Nintendo

Madden NFL was literally on stage with the Wii U, the day the console was formally revealed to the world. The unspoken message: No more cartoony, casual US football or minigame crap, this is a sports title you can actually take seriously on a Nintendo console. This happened more than a year ago, at E3 2011.

Since then, EA Sports has built a Madden for the Wii U that not only leaves out the big-boy version's No. 1 new feature -- real-time physics -- but also we find out that Madden Ultimate Team won't be a part of the Wii U release, either. Nor will online team play, though you can play with up to five people in local multiplayer. It's been nine years since I played local multiplayer in Madden with as many as three other people. You?

Here's a great exchange between ESPN's video games writer, Jon Robinson, and Yuri Bialoskursky, the producer of Madden's Wii U version.

Robinson: But how can you say that online is such an emphasis and then not include features like Madden Ultimate Team?

Bialoskursky: Madden Ultimate Team is something that we're not going to have in year one. It's another one that we plan to add in as we go.

Robinson: You're killing me.

Bialoskursky: Again, we have other features that are really great. Connected Careers is going to take a lot of your time. Being able to interact and play against other people online while you try and create a legend out of yourself or picking one of those old legends like a Vince Lombardi or a Barry Sanders and taking them through a career is fun. There is a lot to look forward to on the Wii U.

Nintendo has been a distant third in gamers' online multiplayer expectations since forever. Though everything suggests the Wii U will be as powerful as the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, the fact its Madden won't have all the online multiplayer features of the PS3 or the 360 -- nor will it be tasked with a heavyweight processing feature like runtime physics -- doesn't speak of Wii U as a true sibling.

The snag holding back Ultimate Team on Wii U, by my guessing anyway, wouldn't seem to have anything to do with the capabilities of the console or the new Nintendo Network infrastructure. Ultimate Team's gameplay is basically a one-off online multiplayer match, just with really different rosters. What sets the mode apart is its marketplace, where packs of player cards are bought, traded in, auctioned and sold. Maybe there are some networking limitations involved, but the simplest explanation, to me, is that Nintendo and EA Sports couldn't come to an agreement on who makes how much money off these transactions -- which has been a huge revenue engine for the label.

Regardless, EA Sports has had more than a year to iron out its multiplayer offerings for Madden NFL 13 on the Wii U. Further, I was told that the decision to move forward with real-time physics for Madden NFL 13 was made back in January. I can understand why that wouldn't extend to the PS Vita version of the game; there's no good answer for why the Wii U couldn't be included, if it really is as powerful a machine as the PS3 and 360. But none of this can be blamed on last-minute pressure when Madden stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Nintendo's new console more than a year ago.

'Madden NFL 13' Wii U Q&A [ESPN]


    Take it you never played any of EA's bare bones efforts in the early PS2/360 days? It was the same thing really.

      So the failings of last generation are allowed to be repeated just because a new console is coming out? Yeah I don't buy that.

        Tell EA, not me lol
        im just making a comment based on personal experience. Shesh!

        No. It means you should be used to standard practice from EA.

        ie. don't implement full resources on a new console until we can be sure the console can sell our products.

      It is not the same at all.
      The Wii U version is not the same jump as the PS2 to 360 was. It is a port not a new engine.
      The first 360 sports games were built in a new engine, and they did not have time to build all of the features that had been built in the PS2 engine over the years.
      This is simply EA removing features from the Wii version for whatever reason.

    Sounds like nintendo failing to me.

    Its just business. EA know the largest userbase is on 360/ps3. Put all the effort into something established. Put as little effort as possible into WII U version and test how it will do. If it does okay, put more effort into it next year. If anything EA have everything to lose by spending extra on WII U version and nothing much to gain since it doesn't have a competitor title on the platform.

      True. But it doesn't reflect well on the systems capabilities.

    Who cares about Madden! I'd rather play Mario.

      exactly and fire emblem, and zelda, and donkey kong.

    EA half-assing their game on a new system has nothing to do with Nintendo and everything to do with EA half-assing things.

    It's just EA being sore because Nintendo refused to cave in to EA's demands of making their Origin online engine the sole provider of all online functionality of the Wii. So they said fine, we're not going to devolop for your system, all you'll get is half assed ports. Luckily there's still a few more large publishers out there like Ubisoft and Activision, not to mention the Japanese companies who could take adavantage of EA's absence from the Wii U.

    They are coming to terms with programming for a new system. PS3 & 360 are old enough that developers can wring every last scrap of power out of it before we move to the next-gen. Makes sense then that there has not been enough R&D time to implement advanced features on a new console with similar horsepower.

    Kids don't like sports games. Can't blame EA.

    The first FIFA on the 360 was atrocious. FIFA 07. It only contained 6 leagues (plus Juventus) and was essentially a demo.

    It seems like a good way to beta test things, though.

    Well if this is the case will the game be 80% of the price of the PS3 version?

    Personally I'm pretty pissed about this. I want to buy a wiiU, but these sorts of stories don't bode well and make m e think twice.

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