Wii U, coming off E3, still has a lot to prove. While some core third-party titles were shown, the level of support probably isn't where it should be yet. One game that could make a big splash on Wii U is Black Ops II, which Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia believes is coming to the new console this holiday and "should contribute to incremental sales of the title and also the Wii U console." GamesIndustry International caught up with Activision and developer Treyarch last week at E3 to find out more.
Activision has never been one to throw its support behind new platforms right away, Activision Publishing boss Eric Hirshberg reminded us. "We take out time to get our ducks in a row before pulling any trigger. We don't have announcements today but we will be supporting Wii U," he said.
It's certainly easy to imagine how Call of Duty on Wii U could add in some extra functionality for checking maps and weapons among other things on the Game Pad touch screen.
Hirshberg was reticent about diving any deeper into Wii U discussion, but he wanted people to remember that "we were there with second screen enhancements with Call of Duty Elite last year and one of the primary uses we're finding comes through the tablet and through the smartphone."
He continued, "People are using it as that sidecar as they're playing... People are using it in that between games way that I think now you're seeing that kind of rhetoric with the controller from Nintendo as well as the SmartGlass presentation from Microsoft. So it's great that others are jumping on board and enhancing that idea but it's something we were doing last year with Elite."
In our meeting with Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia, it was apparent that Treyarch is looking at Wii U at least, if the company isn't already developing for it. Lamia was deliberately coy.
"I think it's interesting to think about all the platforms. Just in general, that's part of my job as a studio head, working with Activision on assessing where our creative can live. How can people experience it? We obviously have been a Nintendo developer for many years and have created many Call of Duty games on the Nintendo platform. [Wii U] is clearly a more powerful platform than its predecessor and... they have obviously a unique controller and interface," he said.
Lamia added, "And they announced a Pro Controller which appears to be a controller that would be really good for first person shooter games. It just so happens that's what we specialize in. So that's an interesting development and then they have that touch display device and you think about the kinds of things you might be able to do and - without getting into specifics - I absolutely have given it consideration and thought. We're game developers and it's a new piece of hardware and technology, so we're always thinking about that stuff."
As we pressed Lamia, he fully admitted, "It's difficult to say because it's something we're not talking about. I'm intentionally being elusive because we're not talking about it!"