Four score and several months ago, Nintendo’s current president Tatsumi Kimishima stated that, “The NX is neither the successor to the Wii U nor to the 3DS…I don’t feel it’s a pure replacement for the Wii U.” Meanwhile, Dictionary.com defines the word “successor” as meaning, “a person or thing that succeeds or follows.” Obviously one of these two sources is wildly inaccurate and bullshitting to the extreme, but only time can tell which one is true. In completely unrelated news, multiple developers have announced that they are no longer bringing their games to the Nintendo Wii U but instead they are moving to the Nintendo Switch. So, this editorial will cover a couple games that were originally slated to be on the Wii U but have now made the Switch (get it?).
First up, the most recent game to announce its Switch is Yooka-Laylee, the Kickstarted project from Playtonic Games. Back in May of 2015, a team comprised of ex-Rare employees decided to join together, form Playtonic Games, and announce Yooka-Laylee, a spiritual successor to Banjo-Tooie and a love letter to collect-a-thon games which have fallen out of the mainstream in the past couple years. Announcing that the title would be coming to the Wii U originally made perfect sense as games in the “Banjo-Kazooie” franchise were originally on the Nintendo 64 and the majority of collect-a-thon titles are found on Nintendo consoles. However, just yesterday Playtonic announced that due to technical difficulties Yooka-Laylee will no longer be coming to the Wii U but they are happy to announce that they will be working on porting the game to the Switch. Remember, the Nintendo Switch is set to release in March of 2017 and the official specs of the console have yet to be officially released and will not until its presentation on January 12th, 2017.
So where exactly does this leave backers who were promised a copy of the game for the Wii U? Well, Playtonic offered to substitute different platforms in lieu of a Wii U release meaning PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux copies are all up for grabs. While this may seem “generous” on their part what would have been better is if they just stuck to their original promise and delivered the game on the Wii U, even if it did run at a lower resolution. It is insulting to assume that every Wii U owner will just instinctively buy the Nintendo Switch because it is made by Nintendo (although this is unfortunately the case for some fanboys). Where would the campaign itself be had it not taken the money from backers keen on a Wii U release? It is very doubtful that it would not have been funded or reached at least some of its stretch goals, but there is still an undeniable greed to promise a backer a product and then not deliver, but rather offer substitutes. What good is a copy on a different platform to the backer who only has a Wii U and a PC not powerful enough to run the game? Unfortunately, that is the way of Kickstarters as shown by Hyper Light Drifter which cancelled its promised release on both the Wii U and the Playstation Vita.
Another title that was recently cancelled for the Wii U to make the move to the Switch is Stardew Valley, the popular 2D farming simulator. While this is surely a disappointment for prospective Wii U owners, it is still far better a situation that the one Playtonic Games put themselves in. Stardew Valley did not start as a Kickstarter campaign, it did not gain money from gamers by promising a release on a Nintendo console. While the developer did say it would come to the Wii U, there was no exchange of money in return, and while it is unfortunate that it will not release on the Wii U, the developer is under no real obligation, especially considering the fact that Stardew Valley was made by one person and the Nintendo announced that the Wii U had stopped production a month prior. Now the “fun” part of the Nintendo Switch’s March release will be seeing how many other Kickstarters back out of porting their games to the Wii U and making the Switch instead. A thread on Reddit has been chronicling Kickstarter projects with promises to release their game on the Wii U and so far five titles (including Yooka-Laylee and Hyper Light Drifter) have scrapped their Wii U releases and almost 40 other games which have promised Wii U releases have yet to come out. Remember kids, never trust a Kickstarter, look at what happened to Pebble, the most-funded Kickstarter project of all time and the team just announced their closure. Yikes! No matter the console promised, it is still jackassery to make a Kickstarter campaign promising a product and not deliver, them’s be the facts.
So there you go, this week’s editorial was not the standard list of three games surrounding a weak theme, sometimes I like to Switch things up (GET IT?). So what do you think of the actions of Playtonic Games versus ConcernedApe (developer of Stardew Valley)? What do you think will happen to those 40 or so Kickstarter campaigns that have promised Wii U ports (including Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night)? Make sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!