Could we see AAA titles on a Nintendo home console?
Nintendo fans got a big treat yesterday with the final presentation for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. The biggest news were naturally the character announcements, and we got not one but two 3rd party characters into the game: Cloud, who was released later that day, and Bayonetta, who is scheduled to come out sometime in February. It seems like a dream come true for fans and developers alike, seeing as how the original Super Smash Bros. was just a Nintendo Hall of Fame. On the note of Bayonetta, they also announced that she was the ballot winner, but personally, I think a lot of the reason for her inclusion had to be Nintendo’s relationship with Platinum Games after making Bayonetta 2 a Wii U exclusive.
But that’s just me.
It’s quite amazing to see the big N cooperating with all of these other companies to get popular characters into Smash. I mean, who doesn’t love that game? However, the collaboration doesn’t end with Smash. Recently, Minecraft was just released on the Wii U, a game owned by Microsoft. On top of that, their relationship with indie developers have been growing well too. A Shovel Knight amiibo is also going to be released and compatible with the popular indie game of the same name.
Nintendo is certainly going forward with their relationships with other developers, but what could this mean for their future? The NX is on the horizon, and it’s a console we know practically nothing about. Nintendo’s past relationships with 3rd party developers has been historically poor, but Nintendo is not stupid, and I believe that all of these small deals with other companies are going to pay off in the near future.
Nintendo is making more deals with 3rd parties
I already spoke briefly about the 3rd party characters that are making it into Smash, but it doesn’t stop with just Cloud and Bayonetta. Pac-Man, Ryu, Sonic, and Mega Man all have their place in the popular brawler. That meant negotiations with Namco, Capcom, and Sega, as well as the aforementioned Square and Platinum Games.
Deals with other companies have even led to Nintendo collaborating with developers to release new and fresh titles with familiar and beloved characters. Nintendo teamed up with Koei Tecmo to release the Wii U hack and slash Zelda/Dynasty Warriors hybrid, Hyrule Warriors. The game has been so well-received that a port to the 3DS is also on its way in the form of Hyrule Warriors Legends, which will introduce new characters, new content, and fresh adventures.
Namco has also had a big relationship with Nintendo. Not only did the get Pac-Man in Smash, but they also helped Nintendo with the development of the game, being the king of the fighting genre after all. As a result, we saw Tekken Tag Tournament on the Wii U, with Nintendo exclusive costumes. Their teamwork also led to Nintendo and Namco making a Pokemon-based fighting game called Pokken Tournament. That title is already looking to be a big hit among Pokemon and fighting fans alike.
Having so many different companies work on their games is a smart move on Nintendo’s behalf, because if they’re successful, that leaves the door wide open for more collaborations in the future- a move which I think is all but confirmed for the NX.
They’ve learned from their mistakes
As much as I love the Wii U, it hasn’t done nearly as well as Nintendo had hoped. Arguably the biggest reason is because there was next to no 3rd party support, leading to a big game drought for Wii U owners, especially during launch. Nintendo Land was probably the only really interesting launch title, and that only holds your interest for so long. To make matters worse, some of the games that were originally intended to be exclusives were released on other platforms, such as ZombiU and Rayman Legends.
Because of the lack of support, Nintendo had to rely solely on first and second party games to push the Wii U, and they came out with some fantastic games, but at the same time, that led to a big lack of games. Not only that, by only having first and second party games like Mario and Zelda, many if not most of the hardcore gaming community was turned away.
Nintendo has since then openly stated that the Wii U didn’t do as well as they wanted it to; and I can guarantee that they’re looking to fix all of that with the NX.
All of it could be hinting at something bigger
Yes, Nintendo has been making a lot of deals with other companies – they’re even managing to get Square to make games for the 3DS, but all of those deals seem relatively small. Pokken Tournament and Hyrule Warriors are both steps in the right direction, but we’re not to the point where we’re seeing the likes of Assassin’s Creed or even Fallout anywhere near a Nintendo console (in part because the Wii U is severely underpowered compared to the PS4 and Xbox One). In the grand scheme of things, the cooperation with other developers seems relatively small.
However, I believe we’re looking at a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” type of scenario. By working with these companies to make unique entries in Nintendo franchises, this could be hinting at bigger plans that Nintendo has for the future. I mean, even if all of a sudden they were to get 3rd party support for their home console, it’d be too little too late for the Wii U. Most gamers have already invested in an Xbox One or Playstation 4. If they’re going to get these deals to pay off, they’re going to save it for the NX.
Now, Nintendo recently filed a patent for a purported controller scheme that is almost undeniably their plans for the NX. Because of this unique design for a controller, I don’t think we’ll see big AAA titles on the NX, because it would take much more time for developers to get it ported. I do believe, however, that developers will end up doing one of two things: they will either continue to collaborate with Nintendo to make unique games like Hyrule Warriors, or developers will make standalone games specifically designed to make use of the NX (they could also do both). This would certainly make a lot of sense and really solidify proper 3rd party support for the Nintendo NX.