Ubisoft won’t release more games exclusive to the Wii U until Nintendo sells more Wii U systems, the president of the French gaming giant told Kotaku here at E3 this week. “We need more sold,” Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot said during a brief interview. “They are coming with five of their biggest brands ever. And the Yen went down. So maybe they will take steps that will increase the number of consoles sold.”
He was referring both to Nintendo’s franchise-stacked Smash-Bothers-Mario-Kart-Zelda E3 line-up and to an improving exchange rate that may help Nintendo diminish losses and improve profits. Sales on Nintendo’s new console have been mediocre at best.
The company behind Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance, Ubisoft supported the Wii U better than anyone else other than Nintendo last fall. Ubi released Wii U versions of some major games but also a Wii U exclusive, the critically-acclaimed first-person permadeath survival game ZombiU.
This fall, Ubisoft will release Wii U versions of Assassin’s Creed IV, Just Dance and Watch Dogs to Wii U, though none is exclusive to the system. The formerly-planned Wii U exclusive, Rayman Legends, is now also going to release on Xbox 360 and PS3 alongside Wii U by year’s end.
Guillemot acknowledged that Ubisoft’s focus on Wii U had changed. He suggested that the Wii U and its dedicated second screen in its controller was a good test bed for game concepts it is now applying to games on other consoles.
“Our job is to be agile,” he said. “We have to adapt the company to the potential of the market. So, what we did last year, was we knew we could learn second-screen with Nintendo, so we went full-speed to use this capacity the console was bringing. And we were able to develop Rayman, which will come at the end of this year and which is fantastic, using this second screen. What we saw is that, in learning that, we can also use it with the other consoles with [Xbox] Smart Glass, for example, and it’s a good option that is coming to us. If you look at us this year on Wii U we will have a lot of products.”
Notably, Ubisoft showed second-screen tablet functionality for its non-Wii U Xbox One and PS4 game The Crew during its E3 press conference on Monday. The company clearly loves second-screen gaming and is committed to that, if not to churning out Wii U exclusives.
Ah, but if you like ZombiU, here’s a flicker of hope that — future Wii U exclusives or not — there will be more. “We are still following the gameplay that was created [for that game,]” Guillemot said, “so you will see something emerge one day.