Wii U improves on current gen, says Gearbox, but system isn't next generation

Since the big E3 reveal of Wii U, the biggest unknown was the technical prowess of the new hardware, and Nintendo was short on answers. We’ve seen limited tech demoes, but Nintendo is keeping the raw stats about the system and how Wii U stacks up to its competitors close to the chest. Fortunately, third party developers are beginning to get their hands on development resources and are ready to share their thoughts, and that includes Borderlands/Duke Nukem Forever/Aliens: Colonial Marines dev Gearbox. In a recent interview, Gearbox’s Brian Martel let us in on some of his surprising, early insights on the hardware.

As Martel told IGN AU, he’s feeling pretty positive about the system and how it works with the company’s software. “We've got the [Aliens: Colonial Marines] engine running on the Wii U, and as far as the console goes, you're going to see textures at a resolution that you haven't seen on [the current] generation.” So it looks better than current gen? That means it’s next gen, right? Not so, says Martel.

Brian feels Wii U is stuck in the middle of gaming’s future, saying “…we like the system a lot; we think it's going to be a really cool stop-gap in between this generation and the next generation.” Despite what sounds like a slight to the system, the exec had nothing but nice things to say about Wii U. “We think it's really smart of Nintendo, and the fact that as a platform it's a lot more capable for hardcore first-person shooter-style gaming – for us that's fantastic."

Above: We want to know exactly how improved this would look on the Wii U

So there you have it, the Wii U is fantastic and a stop-gap. The texture resolution looks better than the current generation, but it isn’t officially “next gen.” Now everything’s crystal clear. Sigh. Please Nintendo, just release the straight facts on the system hardware so we can stop all this guessing.

Jul 7, 2011


  • LitJackson - July 10, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    Well the Dreamcast was cool right?
  • MCN2011 - July 8, 2011 5:14 p.m.

    Of course it's not next-gen. That doesn't start until Sony tell us it does.
  • shawksta - July 8, 2011 4:23 p.m.

    @ChrisCultista I know what you mean but just look at what happened with the DS. If thats Half of what the 3DS and Wii U can do, then Nintendo's on their own plan that just might work. They started kicking ass since Galaxy 2 in 2010, so who knows whats gonna happen
  • shawksta - July 8, 2011 4:20 p.m.

    So Gearbox says its a stop-gap.... Well even if it is, Its not like Nintendo would crash like Sega, they couldnt support themselves enough. Doesnt matter, its good enough if its better, we still need to hear it from Nintendo themselves but all i care about are the games, which will no doubt be awesome. Also, if Sony and Microsoft ARE making consoles on 2012, they need to think straight and not release a Better Hardware with their own version of the same crap. With standards today they cant just do that so i can see the Wii U being alive for a LONG time.
  • ChrisCultista - July 8, 2011 4:18 p.m.

    I actually thought Nintendo would try to get into the swing of things, but they seem to be taking another weird path. I hope that the Wii-U is powerful enough to actually be considered a fully next gen system, but with Nintendos history...
  • UsernameLoser - July 8, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    Holy shit, no one expected this? I did.
  • winner2 - July 8, 2011 2:50 p.m.

    It looks like a really expensive white brick.
  • chrisda - July 8, 2011 4:13 a.m.

    Every time someone thinks graphics are the same thing as resolution, I want to vomit a little
  • enoop - July 8, 2011 4:07 a.m.

    480p is not a graphics level, that's resolution.
  • SparkleDevon - July 8, 2011 3:29 a.m.

    I don't care about graphics. I am perfectly happy with Super Mario Sunshine quality graphics. 480p was always enough for me, and seeing as I don't have an HDTV, I'll still only get 480p graphics, and again, I'm fine with that :3
  • codystovall - July 8, 2011 2:47 a.m.

    Either way, its the system that shouldve been.
  • HankVenture - July 8, 2011 2:29 a.m.

    Nintedno's motto...We finally caught up!
  • chrisat928 - July 8, 2011 1:27 a.m.

    And the biggest 'NO SHIT' of the year goes to Gearbox.
  • celticwhisper - July 8, 2011 1:15 a.m.

    Claims to the generation whereto Wii U belongs are completely pointless. Generation is a chronological term. It has nothing to do with the technical specifications of a device. X360/PS3/Wii are 7th (current) generation, Xbox/PS2/GC/DC were 6th generation, PSX/Saturn/N64 were 5th, etc... The only way Wii U would wind up being "not a next-generation console" is if it's released by itself with significant time gaps both before and after it during which no other consoles are released. That would partially upset the entire paradigm of generational releases that the industry is used to. What Gearbox means to say is that they don't think Wii U is a full generation's worth of technical advancement more powerful than PSWii60.
  • Hobogonigal - July 8, 2011 1:04 a.m.

    It should be good. Whlist Nintendo are probably trying to sell it based on innovation, look where that got the Wii (left alone and dusty except maybe once per year.) I really hope that the WiiU will be released soon enough to still be relevant. If not, a next gen console might kill it...
  • reach110 - July 8, 2011 1:03 a.m.

    "remember the dreamcast?" "Of course I do, that was too bad. But we're different!" "How so?" Because the controller is an iPad and those are ALREADY POPULAR!!! ....Right?" No doubt this thing will sell. It'll probably sell like crazy, especially if it includes Angry Birds or Farmville. The question is WILL IT BE GOOD?!? Nintendo's developed this nasty habit of catering to the crowds who love buzzwords, get shy around originality and saw Shrek 4 on opening day. NO LOVE for the people who were with Nintendo since the earliest days of gaming; the true gamer. Instead they pump out Mario Kart, Zelda, and "Mario 64 But In A Different Place This Time" with every new console. Nintendo is dead to me until they make a new console that INNOVATES and IMPROVES rather than tacking on a gimmick, re-establishes some kind of third-party filtering system to avoid shovelware, and starts to get creative with their games again. Gaming is getting too damn corporate and Nintendo is only exacerbating the problem.
  • EnigmaSpirit - July 8, 2011 12:56 a.m.

    I am positive about this system, but it screams Dreamcast. I hope they have plans for a new console to keep up with MicroSony's after the WiiU.
  • Ashermeister - July 8, 2011 12:53 a.m.

    As long as nintendo make more games towards hardcore gamers like they used to, it could be powered by a fucking potato for all I care! All I want are the decent games nintendo used to be known for!
  • Cyberninja - July 8, 2011 12:44 a.m.

    if wiiu is more powerful then ps3 then if it is a stopgap it will be fine until sony makes the ps4 or microsoft makes a much more powerful xbox thats has kinect built in. the only question is will the other 2 be initiative because more of the same wont work much longer because graphics cant get that much better after 1080.
  • RacattackForce - July 8, 2011 12:31 a.m.

    Gearbox is just making a guess since, they also say that they aren't even sure how powerful the final build is really going to be...and no one will really know until the thing hits store shelves.

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