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If you read my rather schizophrenic personal appraisal of Nintendo's Wii U following its reveal at E3 last week, you'll know that my biggest worry for it at the moment is the potential longevity of the machine (or not) resulting from the proximity (or not) of its launch date. Basically, as brilliant as it looks, I fear that if it takes too long to release it could end up being the new Dreamcast, packed with power and innovative features but smashed to death too soon by more advanced succeeding rival hardware.
Now, rather ironically, Sega seems to have let the console's release window slip in a recent interview. Speaking to Gamespot about Sega's near-future plans and prospects, the company's Vice President of Marketing, Alan Pritchard, blurted the following when asked about a Wii U version of the upcoming Sonic Generations:
"The timing just doesn't work. Generations releases this November, and the Wii U is coming out next spring/summer. I think one of the things we don't have to do, or reduce where possible, is we don't want to port games. I think if there's going to be a Sonic game for the Wii U, it needs to be built from the ground up. It's more likely that it would be a separate stand-alone installment or in conjunction with a multiplatform release in the future. But to bring out Generations on a platform six or eight months after we release PS3, 360, and 3DS probably won't be the best strategy."
Spring or summer, you say? I'd say that's the absolute latest Nintendo wants to launch the Wii U. Assuming that this console generation will run for at least another two or three years (and all current signs hint that it will), then that just about gives NIntendo enough time to have a strong current-gen run with the Wii U as a hardcore console. If the machine's hardware specs are truly impressive, in a gen 1.5 kind of way, then it'll have a good run through the generational overlap too, as the next Xbox and PlayStation launch with inevitably duff iinitial game line-ups.
Pritchard's mention of a separate stand-alone Wii U Sonic game gave me a slight touch of the Wii-gimmick-game fear, but his hasty follow-up talk of a multiplatform release immediately calmed me down. No faddish franchise black sheep this time please. With the Wii U, you really don't need them. Similarly, his reluctance to port over old current-gen gamews is heartening.
But anyway, what do you think? Is a spring/summer window close enough for the Wii U's horsepower and core gaming credentials to shine? Would that be too late for it to have a respectable run? Or will its extra gameplay augmentations be enough to keep it relevent after the next set of console competition launches anyway?
June 13, 2011