As we reported yesterday, stories have sprung up all across the internet that Nintendo is readying its successor to Wii. It's been showing the hardware to developers, launch games are in development and we'll likely get our first glimpse of it at E3 this year. But more stories keep coming and they're conflicting. 'No gimmicks' and 'HD screen on the controller' sound contrary, no? So let's have a look at who's saying what and grade its likelihood.
This one is a little surprising. You'd think it makes sense for a Wii 2 to have motion control, but as we'll see in a moment, nobody's saying 'Wii' has anything to do with the new machine's branding. Also, since Nintendo kick-started the motion control revolution, consensus around the GR office is that it's now ready to jump the boat just as Microsoft and Sony get on. The money's been made, the fad's dying out.
So is this really likely? Suffice to say, next gen motion control would undoubtedly be better than current gen motion control, making the 'better than PS Move' claim likely, even if motion control isn't.
'HD screen in the controller'? Has the world gone mad? If the controller supports motion control and houses an HD screen, there are two massive problems. Firstly, if you do smack it into a wall/your mate by mistake, you risk breaking the screen. Would you feel comfortable swinging around an iPhone 4 to play Wii Tennis? No.
Secondly, even if it isn't motion control compatible, what about the price? The cheapest controller-sized HD screen we know of would be the retina display in the most recent model iPod Touch. And that's around £180. Nintendo would never release a controller that costs anywhere near £100... would it? The price would be helped if it's the console itself doing the work and sending a video stream to the controller in a similar way to PSP and its Remote Play... but imagine if it was having to do that for four players at once and render a game on the main TV screen. Graphical quality would surely be compromised. Not that Nintendo's ever cared about that.
Couple that with the rumour that the machine is indeed an HD console of comparable power to 360 and PS3. Such a console would surely come at a more hefty price than the Wii does now. Adding on HD screens in motion sensitive controllers doesn't sound like the 'making vast profits on every machine' Nintendo we've grown used to over the past few years.
Finally, backwards compatibility with Wii is likely. Wii is compatible with Gamecube - and its control pads - so using Bluetooth to use your old Wii-mote with the new machine would be very easy to implement.
Oh, but what's this...?
Game Informer was first with the news, but conflicts with other reports with regard to motion controls. So which is it? The recurring concensus seems to be that the machine will have a brand new controller… and the rumour of an HD screen on it seems too widespread to be baseless. But what could that mean? If the controller itself does have these two features, then it could look a bit like an iPhone. Unless it's got buttons on it too, in which case it could look like a PSP. Or at least an original-style Game Boy Advance.
It's really hard to imagine. Sure, Nintendo gave us GBA connectivity with Gamecube for games like Zelda: Four Swords and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, but neither game was wildly popular. And don't forget, Sony initially implied that PSP would be able to be used as a controller for PlayStation consoles... and that just didn't happen, did it?
So, while competitive specs and HD visuals are assured, we're not convinced that the machine will drop motion control, especially as every other report states that it's in.
This is the most recent report, and coming from the same site that leaked the NGP's specs before they were officially announced, this could well be the most believeable report of the lot. Sounds very much like the controller will resemble the bottom half of a DS. Think about it - your TV would act as the main display, while you'd hold a device that has accelerometers, touch control and its own screen.
But how that screen will work is anyone's guess. Anyone who used Dreamcast's Visual Memory LCD controller add-ons will tell you that the last thing you do when you're playing a game is look down to see what's happening on the controller. Nintendo would have to make it an integral part of the gameplay experience.
The tech specs are similar to Xbox 360's, only slightly more powerful and nice and cheap to manufacture - basically continuing from where Wii left off by packing five-years-old tech into a new shell. Only difference is now that the rest of the competition hasn't moved on in the mean-time. Damn clever move. After all, technical superiority didn't exactly work in Nintendo's favour before with N64 and was positively disastrous for Sega with Dreamcast.
The amount of time left before Sony and Microsoft move onto a new generation may just be long enough for Nintendo's machine to join the market, scoop up its share of third-party multi-platform catalogue and offer new first-party games to give it an edge foe the next couple of years at least. Likelihood? Not sure about the sensor bar bit, but the rest looks very likely when you look at the rest of the rumours.
Honestly, the news is coming out as fast as I can type, so expect much more on this very soon. In the mean-time... what do you make of it? Let us know in the comments.
15 Apr, 2011