Wii U Part 2: Games & the West
My Japanese Nintendo Direct round-up and further Wii U details can be found here
It was certainly a busy afternoon for Wii U spotters. From 3pm, we had no less than three simultaneous Nintendo Directs, one for the US, another for Europe and a software focussed, Japanese event. I gave myself a splitting headache trying to keep abreast of all three but it was worth it in the end.
We finally discovered (most) of the final details for the Wii U launch and were treated to some significant software announcements. The new Nintendo box will be available November 18th in the US and on the 30th in Europe. The SKUs are the same as those announced for Japan (Basic white and Premium black) with the lower-end model going for $299.99 and the deluxe at $349.99. Due to differing markets, Nintendo did not give a SRP for Europe, suggesting that we check with our local retailers to assess the damage, which is exactly what we did. Amazon UK currently lists the basic SKU at £249 and the premium at £285, which is pretty steep and £40 more expensive than the prices as listed just three hours ago. The price of an extra Gamepad was not revealed, for fear of scaring off potential customers.
Nintendo have promised around 50 games for the launch window, which they have set at five months - that’s a long time to be queuing outside HMV. Between the three regions, we were given a taste of what’s to come, including first party stalwarts and tired, third party ports. However, Nintendo were able to bring the house down with two huge announcements, the first of which proved quite the surprise: Platinum games are making Bayonetta 2 exclusively for Wii U. It’s probably not a system seller, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at my Twitter feed. Nintendo have definitely scored points with core gamers, a group they have always claimed to be courting with their new console.
Finally, Nintendo ensured early success in its home territory by unveiling Monster Hunter Tri G HD, leaving little doubt that Monster Hunter is now their creature, causing Kaz Hirai to throw his Vita, and possibly himself, into the ocean. An upgraded version of MH3 (3DS), it will offer cross platform play and will be heading west in March, where it will be embraced by a rabid fan base that, by all accounts, was nearing the end of its tether.
As of right now, the Wii U looks far too expensive, but Nintendo are definitely doing the right thing with the software, pleasing the Nintendo faithful with the same-old whilst wooing Sony and Microsoft gamers with titles they weren't expecting. I can’t see myself spending £280 at launch, but I’m sure it won’t be too long before there's a Wii U sat under my TV, gathering dust.