We are less than one week away from the launch on Nintendo’s next generation console, the Wii U, and the video games press is abuzz with reports on what the new console will have to offer. A strong roster of launch games, a unique controller and strong cross-platform game support will definitely help the system fly off store shelves, but questions still remain about how hardcore gamers will take to it. It’s no secret that Nintendo’s “street cred” among the more avid gamers isn’t stellar, however time will tell if this tide will eventually turn. Unfortunately, one key feature that we have come to expect will not be available at launch. If you’re an achievement hunter, trophy hunter or Gamerscore junkie, the Wii U is unlikely to be your new console of choice.
To many of us, obtaining achievements on the Xbox 360 and trophies on the Playstation 3 has become part of the pleasure of gaming. The allure of being rewarded for your accomplishments and being able to share them online can be quite addictive, and this is something that we now take for granted with the current generation of consoles. When the Wii U was announced and details regarding the Nintendo Network began to emerge, it seemed likely that an achievement system would be implemented. Indeed, the lack of an achievement system is a chief complaint that many people had about the Wii. However, one of the key people behind the upcoming Scribblenauts Unlimited has stated that a universal achievement system will not be incorporated into the Wii U. While in-game accomplishments are possible, having a cumulative score or trophy count will not be an option. At least not for now.
In an post on NeoGAF, 5th Cell co-founder Jeremiah Slaczka described how Scribblenauts Unlimited will incorporate an in-game accomplishment system, while confirming that a unified points/achievement tracking system for the Wii U doesn’t exist.
There are no Wii U accomplishments that are system wide. They are up to the developers to include or not include. Scribblenauts Unlimited loosely has them in the form of “Global Starite Shards” which is like a giant checklist of global things to spawn and do in the game that aren’t area specific.
It is also unclear if achievements earned in a game can be displayed online, either in a person’s gamer profile or somewhere in the Miiverse. Having this as an option could at least soften the blow for some, and given Nintendo’s push towards social networking, it’s a move that would make sense. While this might seem like bad news for now, keep in mind that the improvements made to Nintendo’s online interface could allow for an achievement system to be introduced in the future. The introduction of the Nintendo Network and the addition of static gamer profiles (as opposed to the horrendous friend code system) makes it a more viable option. Also, you might remember that the Playstation 3 didn’t include trophy support at the launch of the console. This feature only became a mandatory requirement for all PS3 games in 2009. For future Wii U owners, there is still hope that you’ll be able to display the spoils of your gaming adventures one day.