And I wouldn’t be shocked if, in the next few weeks, we get word that the same thing is happening for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, itself delayed into 2018 now. By that point, Nintendo hopes to have scrubbed the dirt of the Wii U off its boot, so surely this is never going to stand as a Wii U version. Nintendo won’t want it, and I’m guessing Nintendo would quite like to have killed the Wii U’s online services by that point too. It’ll never happen. It just won’t.
Come on, you didn’t need to sell your soul to Nostadamus to see this news coming people.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has shifted wholesale to the Nintendo Switch and left the Wii U in the cold, dark grave which Nintendo itself has already buried the damn system in by this point. Of course, many are not happy about this transition, having been ‘promised’ a Wii U version, or just clinging on for dear life to the vain and misguided belief that somehow, in some way, the Wii U will have its existence vindicated by a third-party or indie game that isn’t due for at least another year.
Let me unpack this piece by piece for you.
First of all – vindication of the Wii U? I’m sorry, have you not SEEN the first-party games sales figures for the Wii U? Sony and Microsoft are still crying into their triple-decker pumpkin-spiced macchiato over the concept a console with half to a quarter of their hardware sales can sell many of its games two to three times better than they can. Not only that, the Wii U – now the dust has cleared – has some of the best games of the last few years. Super Mario 3D World, Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, Splatoon, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Mario Kart 8 and a little cultural zeitgeist that is Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, a game where you can have Bayonetta, Ryu from Street Fighter and Cloud mutha-bleeding Strife deck it out on the same screen? If you are still looking for a game to vindicate your purchase of a Wii U, then you my friend are barking up the wrong tree, in the wrong forest, in the wrong state in the wrong country in the wrong continent on the wrong planet in the wrong freaking solar system. You got more than enough to smugly and condescendingly glower at Sony and Microsoft for chasing their tails and fail miserably at not only making solid games, but selling even the most half-assed of those games.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until I’m six-foot under and hammering my zombified corpse out of the grave so I can say it some more; the Wii U will, in hindsight, be considered an absolute classic console in the same way people fawn over the Gamecube.
As for hardware vindication – I’m sorry, have you seen the Nintendo Switch? It takes the basic idea of a Wii U and makes it better in every conceivable way. The two-screen format which frankly no-one could be bothered to use is gone to be sure, but the concept of the screen you can take anywhere has evolved into a handheld you can play high-end games on anywhere you can think of (if you get an additional battery pack for it). That it has the power of an XBox One or thereabouts in a handheld a fraction of the size and can upscale to a TV? There’s your Wii U vindication people. Nintendo took the good idea of the Wii U and built a new angle of hardware upon its foundations. That’s how progress works. The Wii U was, and probably remains, a stepping stone on Nintendo’s way to do something better – and it’s still doing better than most of Sony’s little hardware brainfarts.
If you think third-parties or indies will stick around for the Wii U – well, consider that Nintendo has effectively already killed the Wii U stone-cold dead.
Production has stopped, support has ceased and Nintendo, now doubling production for the Switch, is simply waiting for the Switch install base to outnumber the Wii U sales so they can finally pull the plug on the old console and its online network – a benchmark some predict may happen by March of 2018, taking a year to outpace and outsell a console that was on the market for four damned years! If Nintendo isn’t interested in it any longer, then why on earth would any third-party developer or heck, indie developer want to support it? If Nintendo yanks the online plug for the Wii U mid to late 2018, then you’re essentially launching on a dead format, and as for physical releases… well, Nintendo doesn’t want to help there either, so such games would not be officially licensed for the hardware – meaning if they brick your hardware before Nintendo does, Nintendo will tell you where to go and offer you a helpful diagram on how to get there.
The Switch is the next-gen of the Wii U; sure, it’s ditched the same in the hopes of being taken more seriously this time around, but it –is– from the same technical mould. The Wii U is not the end of its bloodline – it has propagated a much, much better piece of hardware. So the Wii U isn’t the end of the road; it had to die, so the Switch could live and thrive and flourish. A noble sacrifice that paves the way for a brighter future for its offspring.
Say it with me; The Wii U Is Over.
It’s done, gone, finito. Nintendo tried – and tried damned hard with some of those games too, which arguably deserved to sell hardware but ultimately couldn’t for whatever reason you care to mention. The Wii U has passed into legend for the industry, both a stark warning for future hardware efforts and also a sobering reminder that just having great games isn’t always going to sell your hardware no matter how many nines and tens you’re pulling in.
Those still clinging to the Wii U in the hopes that it can still be salvaged… well, it’s a battle that has already been lost. The new hardware is on the market, the old hardware is no longer being made and Nintendo isn’t looking to support it, let alone into 2018. Nintendo has salvaged what they could from the wreckage, which is why Yooka-Laylee and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night are moving to the Switch. Otherwise the option would have been to just end up with them not arriving on Nintendo hardware at all, and even Nintendo knows that would be a foolish thing to do.
In time, we’ll look back fondly on the Wii U. But those still holding out hope for the sinking ship don’t seem to realise the thing is already at the bottom of the ocean. It may not be fair, but that’s the reality. Wait a few years, we’ll come back and it may be considerably more obvious what went wrong. Or how wonderful the thing was before it ended up a home for aquatic life.
Right now, Nintendo needs everything it can to push the Switch. It will, eventually, come back to salvage more Wii U games. That’s a given.
But let it get the new hardware to dry land first.