Nintendo has traditionally been known for their strong franchise titles, with the Super Maro Bros, Legend of Zelda and Metroid franchises being their staples for over two decades. The current console generation is saturated with first-person shooter titles, with yearly releases in the Call of Duty series being among the top sellers. The Wii console has been largely immune to this trend, as the platform boasts very few original entries into the genre (The Conduit is the only one that immediately leaps to mind) and a small handful of third party ports. While the upcoming Wii U console may see more cross-platform titles, Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata has stated that the system is unlikely to see many first party FPS titles.
In an in-depth interview with The Independent, Iwata discusses the direction that the Wii U will take with online multiplayer. Whenever this topic is raised, many gamers immediately think of the Call of Duty franchise. The recent success of games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, as well as other acclaimed FPS titles like Battlefield 3, it’s easy to understand why. However, Iwata doesn’t see those kinds of games being developed by Nintendo. In commenting on such titles being available on the Wii U, Iwata stated the following:
“…you shouldn’t be expecting Call of Duty-like games to be offered from Nintendo. For that type of game my belief is that, if there are companies out there who can do this very well, then instead of us try to do it this, or to compete with them, it would be better to have them do it on our platforms, so to invite them and to support them to offer this kind of entertainment on our platform.”
This effectively means that Nintendo is not interested in producing FPS titles that will take advantage of Nintendo’s new hardware, However, the upside for future Wii U owners is that their beloved shooters won’t be completely shut out. Call of Duty: Black Ops II is a confirmed title, as is the platform-exclusive ZombiU, so the task of porting these titles to the new console will rest on the third-party developers. The Wii U’s unique controller will no doubt pose some challenges in providing faithful ports, however it also opens up some interesting possibilities as well.
The fact that Nintendo is focusing their energies on their own brand of games is not surprising, as they have traditionally been more about fan service than following trends. The recent success of Mario and Zelda titles proves that this is still a winning formula. However, the long-standing crack in Nintendo’s foundation has been their online services. The expected launch of the Nintendo Network aims to rectify some of these issues. Iwata also acknowledges that their strength also lies in providing fun local multiplayer, so that element won’t be completely pushed by the wayside.