What I want Nintendo to do with the Wii U
No one's really sure when Nintendo will launch the Wii U. All we really know is that the company will showcase the machine at E3 2012 and plans on releasing it later this year. Other than that, details are scarce at the moment. But while we're still not 100 percent sure as to what the Big N has in store for the Wii U and its potential audience, plenty of us know exactly what we want from the system. Here's a list of things I hope to get out of the Wii U.
More Retro Studios-developed games
It's no secret that Retro Studios is one hell of a developer. After successfully dishing out the impressive Metroid Prime series for the GameCube and Wii, Retro went on to develop Donkey Kong Country Returns. The side-scrolling platformer not only harked back to Donkey Kong's glorious SNES days, but it also offered a relevant and challenging gameplay experience. Personally, I'd like to see Nintendo have Retro work on more titles when the Wii U launches. The Big N has already expressed a spark of interest in working with Retro on a new Zelda game. One can only imagine the type of magic the developer would bring to the franchise.
There are a number of other series Retro could help develop. How about letting the company team up with HAL Laboratory to create a new Kirby game? Or what about a Kid Icarus title for the console somewhere down the road? Perhaps Retro can continue working on the Donkey Kong series. Or heck, what if the company just takes over the Metroid series again? There are plenty of things Nintendo and Retro can do as a team. I really hope we see more of the Texas-based studio during the Wii U's lifespan.
A console Pokemon RPG
Wii owners are getting Xenoblade Chronicles later this year, and Dragon Quest X is slated for release on both the Wii and Wii U at some point. I'm all for more RPGs on consoles, and I would love nothing more than to play a traditional Pokemon RPG. Yes, that brand of gameplay is definitely suited for handhelds, but I'm certain Nintendo can find some way of creating a fun and addictive entry in the series specifically for the Wii U. An interesting story, excellent turn-based gameplay, fun characters, and HD visuals are the perfect ingredients for a stellar console Pokemon game. Oh, and then there's the whole collecting Pokemon and battling with your friends stuff, which brings me to my next point ...
We want a great online component
So we can play Pokemanz! Also, so Wii U owners can have something on par with Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Seriously, what can I say that hasn't already been said in regards to an online component for the Wii U? In-game chat (not Wii Speak), a user profile, and an achievements systems are all things the Wii U's online features should be sporting come launch. Online gaming is pretty darn important these days, as are online features, so Nintendo needs to really embrace that aspect of gaming.
Oh, and while the Big N is at it, let's get a more dedicated online shop. XBLA and PSN are no strangers to digital shovelware, but there are also a lot of quality downloadable games that people care about. Make it happen, Nintendo. More classics on the Virtual Console, third-party support, and an inviting component for indie devs are all elements that the new Wii U online shop should boast.
A strong launch lineup
Certainly Nintendo has learned that it needs a solid lineup of games available for its systems at launch, right? I hope so, as I'm sure many of you do, as well. The 3DS had a few cool games ready at the time of its release, but there were also a bunch of duds. Here's hoping history doesn't repeat itself and the Wii U offers gamers a robust collection of games on day one. Nintendo needs to be in good graces with third-party devs, and it needs to bring its first-party franchises, as well. A Mario game at launch would certainly be great, but let's also hope Nintendo gives us something different. What if a new Donkey Kong or Smash Bros. game was available right from the get-go? That would be pretty sweet for early buyers of the Wii U.
Strong third-party support for the console
Since the Wii U's reveal at E3 2011, rumors have been buzzing that these devs are ecstatic to work with the machine and that those devs want nothing to do with it. No one's certain at this point what studios are really backing the console fully, but we can all hope the Wii U gets strong third-party support. Games such as Darksiders II, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, and Dragon Quest X are all great starts. And while we can probably only confirm Dragon Quest X as a definite Wii U title, it's obvious some devs want to at least entertain the idea of tinkering with the Wii U hardware.
Last but not least ... wait for it ... an Earthbound sequel
Simply put, Nintendo needs to resurrect Earthbound, and it needs to resurrect it for the Wii U. No, Earthbound on the SNES didn't sell incredibly well in the US, thus being relegated to cult status, but there's no denying that it was an outstanding RPG that really built on the foundation set by its NES predecessor, Mother. And though Japan was the only region treated to the lovely Mother 3, which was originally intended to launch for the Nintendo 64 and was instead developed for the Game Boy Advance, we haven't gotten even a glimpse of the whimsical franchise in North America since 1995. Well, with the exception of Smash Bros., but that doesn't really count because it's not an actual Earthbound game.
Earthbound for the SNES has gotten such a massive following that gamers have been begging Nintendo to release the game for the Virtual Console, downloading ROMs with English translations for the Japan-exclusive Mother and Mother 3, and in some cases even learning Japanese just to play those games (Note: This may not actually be true.), but the Big N has yet to address the series and its fans. It's doubtful that this will change with the Wii U, but we can always hope.
The Wii U has the potential to be a great console. I like having options, so I hope it sees a successful launch and delivers a consistently rewarding experience for gamers who purchase it. I truly believe that in order for that to happen, the Wii U needs to have solid online options, a good lineup at launch, and more third-party support. While Nintendo's at it, I really hope we get some more Retro Studios love, a console Pokemon game, and a new Earthbound title. I mean, what's a cake without icing, right?