After a Wii U launch that was full of ports of big games from big game companies, it appears that the first half of 2013 will see the Wii U missing out on most of the major games coming to its rival consoles.
Over the last couple of days, we've been checking in on the Wii U status of several major multiplatform games, all of which are slated for the first half of 2013. Nintendo has promised that the Wii U will have a broader array of games than the Wii did and won't neglect the hardcore gamer crowd. But very few of the top multiplatform games for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are slated for Wii U.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Release date: February 12 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? "Yes, ACM is coming to Wii U," a rep from Sega confirmed. We have not announced a specific date yet, just that it launches before the end of Nintendo's launch window (aka March 31, 2013)."
Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel
Release date: March 26, 2013 (PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? "No plans," according to a rep for EA.
Release date: March 26, 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? The game's creative director just told Destructoid that "nothing is brewing right now," so highly unlikely.
Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2
Release date: 2013 (Not sure if early or late, to be honest) (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? "We can't confirm any info on the Wii U at this time," says a rep for Konami. (Whatever that means.)
Release date: February 13, 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? "No plans," according to a rep for EA.
Dead Island Riptide
Release date: April 23, 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? "No plans," according to a rep for Deep Silver.
Dead Space 3
Release date: February 5, 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? "No plans," according to a rep for EA.
Release date: January 15, 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? All we could get was a rep for Capcom reiterating that the game is "confirmed" for the above platforms.
Release date: March 2013 (PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? "No plans," according to a rep for EA.
Grand Theft Auto V
Release date: northern spring 2013 (PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? Nothing announced. Seems unlikely, but here's a glimmer of hope, if you're the unusually optimistic sort.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Release date: April 2013 (Xbox 360, PS3) Coming to Wii U? Yes!
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Release date: February 19, 2013 (PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? We asked the game's producer, Yuji Korekado, at an event in Los Angeles last week. Here's the transcript: Kotaku: Do you have plans to bring Revengeance to Wii U? The game's producer, Yuji Korekado: No. Kotaku: Why not? Korekado: We really developed the game based on these two consoles [PS3, 360] and the Wii U, we think, is unique in a way that the controller is innovative and the entire console's pretty much not hand-in-hand with the consoles that we're making it for now. So if we were going to make it for the Wii U we'd have to start from zero again and really design something for that console, so we could say 100 per cent that it was a good game for this console. Kotaku: Could Wii U run the Revengeance engine? Korekado: I haven't really tried it, so I'm not quite sure.
Metro Last Light
Release date: March 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? Not bloody likely.
Release date: May 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? In August, Capcom's US senior VP Christian Svensson said the idea of bringing it to the Wii U was "explored" but didn't sync up well with the developers' schedules.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Release date: Early 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? "THQ hasn't announced plans for a Wii U version of the game and is focusing attention on the current versions," a THQ rep told us.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Release date: Spring 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? "The decision to bring a game to the Wii U will be made on a case-by-case basis," a Ubisoft rep told us. "We don't have any details to share at the moment."
Release date: March 5, 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Coming to Wii U? A Square Enix rep says: "the announced platforms for Tomb Raider = X360, PS3, PC. No Wii U."
As you can see, the first half or 2013 will be pretty good seasons for big-budget games on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. But on Wii U? Pickings will be slimmer.
It's not all bad news for Nintendo console owners. The Wii U is getting some promising exclusives — Rayman Legends, Lego City: Undercover, Pikmin 3 and Game & Wario, for starters. (Naturally, the other consoles are getting their own exclusives, with new Gears of War and God of War games coming to 360 and PS3 along with a few other big in-house productions).
What to make of this?
The Wii never had tons of big-name, big-game support from major third-party game publishers. But that's partially because the Wii couldn't even run the first Mass Effect or Grand Theft Auto IV. The Wii U can run the same games that run on other consoles. Tech isn't much of a barrier here. Timing and business are the key factors. Nintendo and the companies making these games have to want these games to be on the Wii U. They have to make the effort.
The Wii U launched with Mass Effect 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Madden NFL 13, Assassin's Creed III and several other major games that also were released for PC, Xbox 360 and, in some cases, PC. It's been reasonable to think that such support for Wii U will continue, but in the next six months, it seems that it won't. One hopes that Nintendo and the world's major game-makers at EA, Ubisoft, Take Two and elsewhere will have a few more chats, maybe fund some ports. Otherwise, if you only own a Wii U, you'll be missing out on some very promising games.