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Wii U dev kits "just collected dust" at Avalanche Studios

The system's slow start and small installed base seems to be driving more and more developers away

Avalanche Studios, developer behind Just Cause 2, has revealed that the company wanted to have a presence on Nintendo's console, but Wii U sales have just been too low for the company to commit any resources to developing for the platform.

Avalanche founder Christofer Sundberg commented to Pressfire (via Escapist), "We actually had some development kits that just collected dust. It's a bit sad, because we wanted to do something. I think it is a cool platform, but right now it's not just up to us. We want the game to reach as many as possible."

Sundberg also complained that communication with Nintendo has been difficult, whereas Sony has proactively been reaching out to independent developers. "Nintendo have from our point of view has always been difficult to reach. You never quite know who to contact," he said.

Nintendo went into its Wii U launch stressing that third-party support would be different this time, but the low installed base, and in some cases, the underpowered hardware itself, has raised serious flags. Epic can't run Unreal Engine 4 on Wii U, EA just confirmed that no Frostbite 3 games will come to Wii U (and the company previously said the next Madden is skipping Wii U), and as of yet, the "next-gen" Call of Duty: Ghosts has no Wii U SKU.

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Latest comments (22)

Adriano De Lima C/C++ Developer 3 years ago
If the situation keeps this way, Nintendo will struggle against Ouya.
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Paul Smith Dev 3 years ago
I think its best for Nintendo to drop out from the home console business.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
I don't see how they are having a hard time contacting Nintendo when every day I read of more independent studios jumping on board. How are they so easily able to communicate with Nintendo but not Avalanche? Is this perhaps an NoE vs NoA problem?

And if sales are too low to risk putting forth resources, I hope they aren't working on PS4 and/or Next X games yet. They have an instal base of 0 at this point.
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Paul Smith Dev 3 years ago
I hope they aren't working on PS4 and/or Next X games yet. They have an instal base of 0 at this point.
The ps4 and nextbox are hardly risky investments for console devs.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
At launch they certainly are. That's the case with all consoles. Very few publishers makes money on launch titles. Launch titles are nothing more than foundation builders for future profits. If you DO make profit, congratulations. You're likely a 1st party studio or you released a cheap port.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 3 years ago
Dreamcast #2

And it could have the same effect of forcing its manufacturer out of hardware.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
Bruce, I take it you've never seen their balance sheets?
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 3 years ago
@Jim Webb

Companies with strong balance sheets included: Swissair, Enron, Bethlehem Steel, Pan Am, Polaroid, Washington Mutual, Woolworths, Arthur Andersen, Lehman Brothers, Japan Airlines, Sanyo, Yashica, Minolta etc etc etc
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
I can't believe you just lumped Nintendo in with that group.
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Private Industry 3 years ago
You know how many handhelds Nintendo sells? Even if the Wii U would fail it wouldnt force them out of making consoles. Nintendo recovered from the GameCube and came back, besides the 3DS was written off and they got back into the game.

Sega had one failure after another and never managed to beat the competition unfortunately.
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 3 years ago
And if sales are too low to risk putting forth resources, I hope they aren't working on PS4 and/or Next X games yet. They have an instal base of 0 at this point.
If the Xbox: Electric Boogaloo is anything like the PS4 then it will have a basically PC architecture. That means that if they develop a high end PC game then it should be pretty easy to make a console version of it, while it sounds like the Wii U architecture is different enough that it requires significant specific development to make it work.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 3 years ago
@Tim: The question is then Tim, why bother getting a PS3 or Nextbox if you can have a decent PC? All that, "owning the living room" functionality that apparently they need to have is available in spades on a PC and a it can also be upgraded over it's lifetime. PC games are often cheaper too. With the exception of 1st party content, I find it hard to think of a decent reason to go for these next gen consoles.

@James Brightman - Was there also no editorial dignity is pointing out that "Epic can't run Unreal Engine 4 on Wii U" is a pure lie? An engine which is so scaleable that it will run on mobile CAN'T run on Wii U? Wouldn't it be a better idea to sift the companies' PR from the facts and say that despite all of Epic's claims the reality is that they just don't want to have it working on a Nintendo system, something which Mark Rein usually makes a point of having a good laugh about every generation.
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Steven Wemyss Senior QA Engineer, Avalanche Studios3 years ago
It's nothing to do with "Cant run" in any cases here, be it UE4, FB3 or whatever, it's simply a case of it's not financially viable to have the resources used to make it run as well as they'd want.

WiiU Sales are lets face it pretty pathetic at the moment and 3rd party software on it doubly so, why would any company want to invest so much in what currently looks like a dead end. EA invested a fair bit on the Wii and pretty much got burned by it with poor sales of their attempts at core titles such as Dead Space etc, even CoD Blops II on WiiU sold a pretty pathetic amount...
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
pointing out that "Epic can't run Unreal Engine 4 on Wii U" is a pure lie? An engine which is so scaleable that it will run on mobile CAN'T run on Wii U?
I like this point because a lot of 'next generation' game engines are aiming for the ultimate in scalability.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 3 years ago
I fully agree that it's a point of engine developers not wanting to invest the time, never had a problem with that as an explanation but I see no reason why it is getting reported that it "can't" as it's factually incorrect and suggests that there's something inherent in the Wii U hardware that makes it nearly impossible.

@ Andreas - 3rd party support on Nintendo systems has always been a self-fulfilling prophecy. The lack of 3rd party success on the Wii was entirely to do with the lack of understanding about the audiences they were appealing too combined with some outright awful excuses for games. I don't see Ubisoft or SEGA complaining about how much the Rabbids series or the Mario & Sonic series sold.

I also don't believe that you'd need to completely re-carve assets to port an Unreal game from PS4 or NextBox to Wii U. At most there would have to be some light tinkering but it doesn't seem to be an issue for people developing for a range of PC hardware. If you're happy to do that across 2 generations then you can definitely do it to the hardware that technically sits in between.

As I've said in another thread, where is the analysis of the 3rd party situation on DS? There were plenty of successful 3rd party success stories there.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
EA invested a fair bit on the Wii
No, they didn't. The Dead Space game was an on rails shooter launched a time when on rails shooters on Wii were an exhausted genre. And it smacked in the face of Wii gamers hoping for a 3rd person action game like the original. Not another on rails shooter.

As for CoD Blops II on Wii U, ALL launch titles sell poorly when you have damn near 30 games to spread sales across. The launch was far too loaded to make any title (bar 1st party) successful.

If they sell 2 million units during the launch period with a software ratio of 2:1, that's 4 million games sold total. Nintendo will naturally grab a large portion off those sales leaving about 2.5 million among the other 28 titles. That gives you an average of about 90,000 per game. So it's just not possible for every game to have been a solid seller.
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Alan Ashby Recruiter, EA Sports3 years ago
The Dead Space game was an on rails shooter
It's been a while since I played, but I'm pretty sure you could control player movement in the Wii version of Dead Space. I can vaguely remember fighting some boss in the sewer and having to run from side to side; at my own discretion. Further, Dead Space Extraction was a Wii only title. How does that not constitute a "fair bit of investment."

Also, the Tiger Woods franchise owed most of it's success from 2007 - 2010 to the Wii version. Tiger for the Wii sold more than the Madden Wii versions in those years.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alan Ashby on 10th May 2013 7:47pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
A couple of moments of side to side movement doesn't alter the fact it's an on rails shooter. Was it a 3rd person action title like the original? Because that's what the gamers wanted. Instead we were given another on rails shooter.

Tiger Woods. Good example of good support. So where is PGA Tour 13 and 14? Not on Wii or Wii U.
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Alan Ashby Recruiter, EA Sports3 years ago
If anything it would be a Hybrid Rails Shooter, not a Rails Shooter. Again, its been a while since I played it, but there was quite a bit of independent player movement from what I recall. The game got pretty good reviews and was a lot of fun to play, especially if you bought the Wii gun.

As for Tiger, I was commenting on EA's initial investment in the Wii and attempt to be a leading developer/publisher for that platform and make quality games. I take it your question on the lack of a Tiger 13/14 for the Wii platform is a rhetorical one?
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Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios3 years ago
@Patrick you said: 'The question is then Tim, why bother getting a PS3 or Nextbox if you can have a decent PC? All that, "owning the living room" functionality that apparently they need to have is available in spades on a PC and a it can also be upgraded over it's lifetime. PC games are often cheaper too. With the exception of 1st party content, I find it hard to think of a decent reason to go for these next gen consoles.'

The advantages of a console in the living room are: a lot less intrusive, the games 'just work', no need to muck about with graphics settings, you know every game will be as optimised for your system and every game released for it will look and sound exactly the same as everyone else's console. Better overall online stability with no hacking of the online components of certain games ie. COD, Battlefield etc on PC. And finally an all round easier experience for the family.
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 3 years ago
@Patrick, it is totally a fair question, I could just upgrade my PC and hook it up to my TV, and probably play most of the same games, as good or better. That's the problem the current gen has against the PC. The consoles really need to prove themselves. I would say that their advantages are the same they've always had, first party software, hardware consistency (Saints Row the Third hard crashes my computer every time, I doubt that would pass Xbox screening), and the convenience factor of just being plug and play to a TV without hassles.

And as for the "won't work" thing, It's highly unlikely that it is impossible, but from what they've said, it would take some work. If it takes some work, that work needs to be worth it. If they could just plot an Xbox game over to Wii U and have it work then they would do so. If they have to spend months of time making the engine work right then they have to justify the expense. They have decided that it is not worth their time to do this, while it is worth their time on other platforms. This may be wrong, but it's their prerogative to make that choice.
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Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica3 years ago
Avalanche Studios problem is non of ther games is rely good and can compete with a nintendo titel at the same time. Its not about the WiiU its about lack of quality from 3 party.
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