By Steve 'jsslifelike' Conger
Prior to the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012, Nintendo had made it abundantly clear that the specifications and release date would NOT be a part of their presentation. With an apparent fear of competitors’ price-dropping and feature-matching, the Japanese giant has left many with more questions than answers.
5. Will the IR Sensor Bar be upgraded and will it utilize the same interface connector? This may seem unimportant to most, but at a second glance, could the Wii U offer a wider, stronger field and if so, what about all of the folks who took advantage of the peel-and-stick pads on their TV’s and various other furniture pieces? Backward compatibility of Wii titles has been announced, but will it’s sensor still work?
4. With an HDMI 1.4 port, will the Wii U be able to support 3D if third-parties -and Nintendo, for that matter- implement the effect? Not that there will be as much in-house focus(as far as we know), but will things such as the stereoscopic option carry over to the Armored Edition of Batman: Arkham City? With the next generation of systems likely to be heavy multi-taskers, the trend of 3D will almost surely come full-circle.
3. Will the headphone jack on the Wii U Gamepad have in-line mic support and if not, will there be separate headset options for voice communication? Having a front-facing camera and an on-board microphone in the palm of your hands would be great, but would the other person’s voice come from the television speakers? If so, there’s this sinking feeling that it’s been done before a few years back… and not successfully, mind you. *cough, Wii Speak, cough*
2. How does transferring gameplay to the pad work and what about titles that utilize both screens simultaneously? It would have been rather comforting to witness Reggie move gameplay back-and-forth between a display device and the Wii U Gamepad, if only to see it with our own eyes. But, with games that offer specific pieces of the experience on the pad alone, will the player even be able to remote play and if so, do the menus and virtual touchscreen buttons retreat to being some in-game component? The frightful thing here is that, when’s there’s no uniformly established baseline, things begin to splinter off in various ways or end up not used at all(i.e. voice chat on the PlayStation 3).
1. What is the single must-have experience that will change the way we game? The most important of all, this question has yet to be answered. While it seemed that Super Mario 64 introduced gamers to 3D environments and Wii Sports offered a more human way in which to accomplish in-game tasks, Wii U still fails to offer that “killer app” that a hardware launch sorely longs for. Maybe Nintendo is just hitting home runs every OTHER generation- this is actually rather reminiscent of the early Gamecube era where the Factor5-developed Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader was the hot commodity, whereas this time, it’s Ubisoft’s ZombiU.
So, that’s it- those are the five questions that stand in the forefront for me. What are yours? Come to think of it, there’s one all-encompassing question that I forgot- why do we need to piece together everything about Nintendo’s new console from blurbs and third-party interviews? One thing’s for sure- they’re not talking and we’re left to ask questions such as these until they do.