I think it is safe to say that Nintendo did a really horrible job selling the Wii U. Beyond a couple of titles that look fun, there didn’t seem to be any true flagship title to usher in both the new hardware and the new controller. In addition, what was shown didn’t exactly end once and for all my feelings that Nintendo has trouble with third parties. Other than Ubisoft, no one seemed all that excited or sold on developing for the console.
Also, I thought this was Nintendo’s attempt to recapture a slice of the hardcore gamer market? Just improving the hardware isn’t enough. The controller could do. Unlike motion controls, the tablet controller has the capacity to provide a deeper, more innovative experience. I think the ZombiU trailer proves that. It should also be able to provide some quality of life points for anyone who wants to game socially, since presumably it can be utilized to track, message, and keep up with friends (and hopefully eventually social networks) while gaming.
The games Nintendo itself is bringing don’t really change my mind on Nintendo as being hardcore-unfriendly or interesting in anything deeper than making games motion-based rather than skill-based (and thus easier and more accessible for a larger market). The controllers will finally allow for decent FPS controls, could possibly make a more PC RTS experience possible, and definitely would make it easier to bring classic hardcore niche titles like mech shooters and space sims into play.
Instead of Pikmin and a Mario re-hash, here are two game series that Nintendo could have led with to really show off the controller, new graphics, and online play:
Has there ever been a more obvious first choice? Screw a new Mario game, screw a new Zelda game: the Wii U controller looks like it was made for a new Metroid Prime game specifically. You could retain the open, explorable setting of the original though the new hardware would allow for a lot less zoned off feel and make it seem more like a fully-realized alien planet. The controller would allow for a more typical free aiming FPS experience, and not be half as uncomfortable as the Gamecube’s controller. The controller could also be utilized for all of Samus’s alternative visions so that your large screen tv doesn’t change your room shades of red and purple every 10 seconds, and be used for quick inventory management and map following.
With the online network, you could bring back Metroid Prime 2’s multiplayer in full force. You could even base it around a battle commander role where each team is expected to have one player whose primary role is directing and supplying his team while scouting and bombarding the enemy team all on the tablet.
As I said before, the Wii U controller looks to be perfect for making space sims and dogfighters come to console full forced. Players could easily utilize the motion controls of the tablet controller to steer, while the joystick aims and the triggers shoot. It would be a perfect marriage actual buttons and using motion. Not to mention, a way to safely sever Star Fox from its rails.
Of course, the controller could just be used for a radar, quick weapon swapping, or even a simple RTS scheme where you direct fellow pilots. And that is ignoring the definite probability of having non-flying vehicles.Additionally, the controller could be the place where all communications come in, to help immerse the player in the game. I also have a recurring though of your rather large carrier ship getting boarded by the enemy and the controller being used to play out the cutscenes while you continue to fly to try to save it.
I think that either game or both would have single-handedly solidified both Nintendo’s E3 and the Wii U’s launch. Either game could provide the necessary utilization at launch to show off the new hardware and new controller, while also being very multiplayer friendly. They also both would have shown that Nintendo is still serious about capturing the more serious games with concepts and gameplay that aren’t “waggle to your left.”