Dynasty Warriors dev on the Wii U's CPU "challenge"

CPU offers weaker performance than Xbox 360 and PS3, but graphics performance is better

The producer of the Dynasty Warriors franchise has detailed some of the benefits and difficulties of developing for Nintendo's new Wii U Console.

In a conversation with Eurogamer at the Tokyo Game Show, Tecmo Koei's Akihiro Suzuki explained that the Wii U's three Power PC cores have created difficulties in achieving a similar frame-rate to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions.

"For games in the Warriors series, including Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi, when you have a lot of enemies coming at you at once, the performance tends to be affected because of the CPU," he said. "Dealing with that is a challenge."

The Warriors games are known for large numbers of on-screen characters, and Eurogamer notes that the Wii U demo of Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper did not match the performance of the PlayStation 3. The specifications of the Wii U's CPU are still unknown, but Eurogamer claims that a number of developers other than Suzuki have confirmed that it is slower than the CPUs in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

However, Suzuki claims that the Wii U's custom AMD 7 series GPU and IGB of games RAM gives the console an edge over the competition in terms of graphics.

"From a visual standpoint, based on the performance of the Wii U, we knew [Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper] had the capability of having much better graphics than games on PS3 and Xbox 360. Make no mistake, from a visual standpoint, it is able to produce better graphics. So our challenge was to make a higher quality graphics. We were able to meet that."

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Latest comments (9)

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University9 years ago
Not 'weaker' performance, it just won't run 360/PS3 code the way a 360 or PS3 does. My understanding is that the CPU clock rate on the Wii U is lower to avoid over-heating in such a small case. The CPU has the benefit of being a more modern piece of kit than the 360/PS3 processors, which has several advantages: more Cache, new instruction set, faster connection to RAM and GPU etc.

The GPU is also a GP-GPU, which will be able to do a large number calculations (such as with in-game physics) that are hugely important to game performance. As the interview notes, the GPU and RAM are something of a step-up from current machines. The most important point is, of course, that this is a launch title and developers have not optimised the game's code for the Wii U's architecture. As soon as developers make that effort, the Wii U will yield much better performance than current machines.

Of course, given this is the launch window, I'll let them off for now! I just hope that cross-platform development does make the effort here, because the myth that Wii U performance is weaker than 360/PS3 will only be perpetuated by developers not bothering to optimise their code or take the time and effort to utilise the Wii U's strengths. The proof of the pudding will be (in these early stages at least) in the way exclusive games perform on the system. Platinum's games, coming from a top tier developer with a significant budget behind them, particularly the (presumably) intense Bayonetta 2, should be a fantastic indication of just how capable Wii U is.
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Azizur Jazeem Cassabi Rahman Studying BSc. Creative Computing, University of London9 years ago
Well said Mr Hughes!
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers9 years ago
It's easy to say "developers should just optimize for Wii U" but right now developers are having to service both the existing audience on the PS3/Xbox 360 along with the Wii U. It took a while for development standards to spin up on the PS3 compared to the Xbox 360, and that system got some very poor ports during the first two years of its life. The question is, how long does the Wii U have to prove itself? If it's not going to be on par right now with PS3/Xbox 360 offerings, it makes it a tougher sell as an upgrade, but Microsoft and Sony are producing successor consoles on their own. It's going to be a challenge to get developers to output something more to the benefit for the Wii U audience when sales for that system are likely to be bellow PS3/Xbox 360 simply due to install base. I don't know how things will turn out, but these are the challenges Nintendo faces right now.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
"For the PS3 it has multiple CPUs and an SPU, so you can calculate the various motions of the characters on the CPU so overall it runs smoothly," Suzuki explained. "The Xbox 360 CPUs are formulated so they can spread out the processing power so things run efficiently.

"With the Wii U being new hardware, we're still getting used to developing for it, so there are still a lot of things we don't know yet to bring out the most of the processing power. There's a lot that still needs to be explored in that area."

Quote 1 - The PS3 does not have multiple CPU's. I hope that was just a bad translation and not ignorance on Suzuki's part.

Quote 2 - Openly admits they don't yet know how it all works. This tends to be the case with every new console. But stating it's weaker when you don't know how it all works really makes me dubious.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee9 years ago
I'll reserve my judgment rather than jumping on anyone. If clock frequencies are deadly low for example then it could have a major impact regardless of the architecture. We don't know what IBM have added or taken out either given this is supposed to be cost and heat effective. I have a hunch it won't really matter too much in the long run...
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University9 years ago
Personally, David, I think developers owe it to their customers to optimise their game for each platform they develop for, as far as time and resources are allowed. Right now it's a case of time and resources not being there for optimising Wii U, as you point out with the PS3 analogy. There's the example of Colonial Marines, though, where Gearbox have out and out stated the Wii U version will be the best console version and they are seeking to take advantage of the tablet pad (Alien style bleeping motion sensor, please!), so there's cause for optimism. If developers don't make the effort to make their games work on Wii U, then they will struggle to find a market there--it's tough enough to compete against Nintendo on their own platform, so you do need to go that extra little bit further to sell your game. Whereas Gearbox appear to be doing just that, the Arkham City port (which looks decidedly worse than its 360 counterpart) is exactly the kind of situation third parties should be avoiding: a late, and inferior product will not sell or establish an audience on Wii U when it has already found an appreciative and better serviced audience elsewhere.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Launch pressure is also at factor. Look at how many titles are hitting on launch day or just a little after? That's a lot of pressure on a lot of studios to get product out for a brand new console. Now way in hell can we expect all of them to jump in and know all the right buttons to push and make the deadline of the console launch.
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The CPU specs I have been seeing on the internet are probably wrong then - because in raw numbers, they are in-line with the 360. I also read that Nintendo has a dedicated CPU to handle OS operation (could this be the CPU that runs Wii games?), which is something the other consoles don't. Anyway, its all speculation.

Overall, I'm very happy with the quality of the launch titles - and its only going to get better from here.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers9 years ago
I think developers owe it to their customers to optimise their game for each platform they develop for,

In a perfect world, but there are complications in this case. Firstly, as is established, most developers are just getting accustomed to making Wii U games. Secondly, many of these games are being ported by developers that did not work on the original product (I know that's the case with Mass Effect 3) so mileage will vary. Thirdly, there's simply the coldest calculation of effort vs. reward. At this point, it will probably require the most effort (manhours, etc.) vs. reward (sales) compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3. Finally, third parties just don't know what the audience will be for their games on the Wii U - unfortunately for Nintendo, the feeling out period won't be very long until Microsoft/Sony release their new hardware.
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