Friday, 20 April 2012

Mario Wii U/Super Mario 4

Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo have confirmed that a new Mario game is in development for the Wii U. With the domain name of Super Mario 4 being purchased by Nintendo it is likely that this will be the game and it is also likely that it will be a launch or immediate post-launch title. The worry is that it won't be enough, as enjoyable as 2D Mario games are
they don't have the impact of a great 3D Mario game anymore, they seem fun but not quite so fun as normal. Some people are worried that as a first party launch title it just isn't big enough.

I worry about something entirely different.

If Nintendo's big game for their new console is "just another Mario game" then what sort of message are they sending? This new console is set to change things for the company, the controller is meant to change how we play games but the console and it's lineup of games is supposed to change how we view Nintendo and who buys their products. They haven't really been considered by many hardcore gamers since the GameCube, and for some even before that, and the Wii U is meant to change that. I don't deny that they haven't announced some good hardcore third party content but clearly their biggest move so far is to announce a Mario game, which will, or at least should, appeal to current Nintendo fans but not necessarily everyone else.

This is the wrong strategy, what they needed to do as their first big move was announce a string of hardcore third party games, sure they have Assassin's Creed III, but they have so far failed to get Resident Evil 6 and they haven't mentioned Bioshock Infinite or the next Call of Duty or any other huge third party hardcore title. Do they think a couple of year old games, together with Aliens which, although cool looking probably won't be a runaway hit, will actually be enough to convince Sony and Microsoft customers to buy Nintendo products?

What they need to do, and what I still hope they do at E3, is announce a few massive third party hardcore titles and then, and only then, focus on Nintendo's first party lineup. Nintendo devotees haven't abandoned the company in their millions, it's people such as me who ditched them when they announced the Wii, people who love Mario but also love Battlefield, The Elder Scrolls and Call of Duty and it's people like that who they need to attract.

So 2D Mario for the Wii U is cool and I am excited but please Nintendo, get your priorities straight because if this console isn't handled expertly then the next generation of Xboxes and PlayStations will sink it.

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