With all the talks around the Wii’s Successor, Project Cafe, Wii 2, whatever you want to call it, tons of information is flying around and no one is one-hundred percent sure what is true. Sure, a touch screen on the controller seems likely at this point, but there is really only one confirmed fact about Nintendo’s next system. It will support HD to some degree. Although that’s a fact we’ve known pretty much since the launch of the Wii. We can also assume that, while rumored to be stronger than a PS3, it will probably be at least the power of the Xbox 360. But what does this do for Nintendo?
When looking around, the most agreeable aspect I see people cheering for graphics are for third party support. The Wii is in a weird spot where it’s so different and underpowered compared to other systems, that most publishers just go out of their way to build a game ground up for the platform. That means you get some exclusives, but it comes at the heavy price of leaving out AAA third party franchises like Portal and Mass Effect on Nintendo’s platform. That’s about where the benefits end in my eyes. The question I ask is how does Nintendo’s software benefit from this. And honestly, I can’t imagine it improving all that much.
Do we really need to render each banana?
Looking at the 2010’s line-up with Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and Super Mario Galaxy 2, all of these titles rely heavily on a specific style. The reason they still look great on the Wii is the fact they don’t need that extra horsepower to make them visually impressive. Adding in more polygons, effects, and a crisper display probably wouldn’t exactly launch their visuals into a whole new realm. That’s not to say they won’t look better. Of course they will look better, I just don’t know if it will really feel like anything has changed. Nintendo does have some titles that would benefit from it. I could imagine more realistic looking series like Metroid and Zelda would definitely have their visuals taken to the next level. But even on Wii, these series have adapted. Metroid’s sci-fi setting gives it some natural wiggle room, and Zelda took the route of mixing Wind Waker and Twilight Princess together, although some would argue the results of that.
Obviously I’m not saying Nintendo shouldn’t go HD with their system. At this point it’s almost impossible pushing forward from the Wii without doing so. And if they want to grab third party support, they need a platform that they can easily port software between. It’s just kind of weird that the last, like, three years people keep saying “if only this game was in HD,” when I honestly don’t think much will change. But I guess the grass is always greener on the other-side… Or browner in the case next generation visuals.
Sonic Generations might be a good indicator of what is to come from Nintendo
All that being said, I’m weird when it comes to graphics. I can play the visual mess that are 3D games of the mid-nineties and think nothing of it. So the idea of a next gen HD Nintendo system doesn’t really get me too excited. Hence why I come to you. I’m curious how pumped you are for a Mario HD, or a Zelda HD. Does the possibility of some heavy power under a Nintendo hood excite you? And if you are ready for a HD Nintendo platform, what franchise are you dying to see in HD?