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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab), 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 hardwareso we can stop all this guessing.

Jul 7, 2011

Henry Gilbert

Henry Gilbert is a former GamesRadar+ Editor, having spent seven years at the site helping to navigate our readers through the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation. Henry is now following another passion of his besides video games, working as the producer and podcast cohost of the popular Talking Simpsons and What a Cartoon podcasts.