On the Wii U
Slimy twat, Peter Molyneux, has this week declared “I struggle to see anything amazing coming out of Nintendo”. While this statement is stunning in its hypocrisy, coming as it does from someone who has never accomplished anything good or worthwhile in the field of gaming, it nevertheless remains perfectly true for a company which insists on getting even the most fundamental details of their new console woefully wrong. Nintendo is a company of forward-looking ideas, and yet they often come to naught when implemented as horribly as Nintendo are wont to do.
Nintendo’s Wii U console will be backwards compatible, a fact that the company has sought to highlight in the hope that it will convince casual Wii owners to upgrade to the new system. Backwards compatibility should be billed as a highly desirable feature for any new console, and yet its attractiveness is debatable when it is implemented as poorly as has been done with the Wii U. If one were to attempt to play a Wii compatible title which uses a classic controller, be it Wii software or a Virtual Console title, they would first need to navigate the system’s tablet controller in order to switch it into Wii mode. One would then be required to use a Wiimote in order to navigate the traditional Wii interface in order to initiate their chosen software title, after which they would then attach their classic controller and begin the game. In short it adds yet another layer and peripheral to a navigation scheme which is already off-puttingly convoluted. By contrast there are no extra steps, interfaces, or peripherals required in order play PS1 and PS2 titles on the PS3.
Backwards compatibility is however small beer in the scheme of things, as people do tend to buy new consoles for new play-experiences, and so as long as the console’s primary functionality is sound, then everything else should be golden – except for the fact that it is not. Nintendo are selling their Wii U on the promise of a tablet controller as the system’s requisite centrepiece gimmick, so one could be forgiven for imagining that this one gimmick would operate soundly even if every other facet of the console were in shambles – not so. It was concerning enough when Nintendo made their original estimates regarding the tablet controller having 3-5 hours of battery life, yet shockingly Lusipurr.com has had it independently confirmed by two Destructoid staffers [pictured] that the tablet’s battery life is more like 2-4 hours at an absolute maximum.
In the run up the the Wii U’s launch Nintendo has been big on lofty claims, pitching the fantasy that the system was designed to appeal to Nintendo’s much maligned core gamers. One is utterly stumped as to how that sentiment can be reconciled with the fact that the system cannot be played for more than two to four hours at a time. Moreover, Nintendo’s estimated recharge time for the tablet controller stands at 2.5 hours, potentially meaning that power usage to recharging is a 1:1 ratio – and that this spectacular result is achieved through the controller’s own dedicated power supply only serves to make the situation more laughable.
On the Impending Demise of Silicon Knights
The downward trajectory of Silicon Knights has been anything but sudden, yet it appears that recent weeks have seen them finally build up to a critical mass of shittyness that the company itself is unlikely to survive. The decline began with the release of Too Human, a game that was originally intended to be the first instalment of a trilogy, yet turned out to be so wretchedly dire that work was never begun on any sequels. Things only got worse for the company with the release of the critically reviled X-Men: Destiny, a game which was allegedly crippled by having Denis Dyack diverting Activision’s development budget into making a prototype for a sequel to Eternal Darkness, which itself was too poor to be picked up by a publisher.
While all of this was going on Silicon Knights was busy fighting a lengthy court battle against Epic Games over their refusal to pay Epic for the use of the Unreal Engine. Silicon Knights lost the case back in August and were required to pay 4.45 million dollars in damages, yet just this week they were hit with additional sanctions. The company now has until the 10th of December to track down and destroy, at their expense, every copy of every game that they have created using Epic’s stolen technology, which may be beyond them at this point, given that Silicon Knights has allegedly been reduced to fewer than five members.
The games effected are: Too Human, X-Men: Destiny, The Sandman, The Box/Ritualist, Siren in the Maelstrom, the destruction of which can probably be regarded as a great mercy unto gamers the like of which has not been seen since ET for the Atari 2600 was ploughed en masse into New Mexico landfill. Perhaps we will finally now see an end to the millions of Canadian tax dollars being spent each year on propping up this bad studio.
On the Future of Yasumi Matsuno
When Yasumi Matsuno initially joined forces with Level-5 there was much potential in the union. With such classic JRPG titles under his belt as Final Fantasy XII, Vagrant Story, and Final Fantasy Tactics, many saw the potential inherent in one of his major projects being backed by Level-5’s considerable resources, and thus regarded his forthcoming downloadable 3DS title, Crimson Shroud, as a modest down-payment on that promise. Ultimately however, it would seem that Crimson Shroud is to be the only fruit of the union, as Matsuno has announced that he is making his departure from Level-5 ahead of the commencement of work on his next “secret” project.
“I’d like to formally announce my departure from Level-5, effective last month. With my work done on the domestic and overseas version of my latest 3DSWare game, it was good timing for me to step down and take a short break in order to recharge for my next project.”
Was Matsuno’s involvement with Level-5 always intended to be a one-shot endeavour, or was he enticed away by a more alluring offer? Such things will likely never be known, but one hopes that whatever project Matsuno is moving on to will be one with the backing sufficient for him to express himself in his typically Matsuno way.