Nintendo's latest console, the Wii U, has been out for a few weeks now. While the console has a solid launch lineup with multiplatform and exclusive titles to satisfy all of the gamer demographics, there are a distinct lack of great first-party titles on the system. There is honestly even a lack of great first-party exclusive titles to look forward to, for that matter. Nintendo has promised things like a new Zelda and a new 3D Mario, but when? What else is on the horizon? Like it or not, the fact of the matter is that Nintendo lives and dies by its first-party software and that's the main reason I have yet to even consider buying a Wii U. Sure, I can play another 2D Mario and several games that have been out for months, but what about the Nintendo franchises I grew up with?
However, if Nintendo were to unveil information on some of these games on my list, it would go a long way towards convincing me and many other gamers around the world of the system's validity. These five games were picked not only because I want to play them, but because I feel they would each specifically benefit from the Wii U's unique features. For a slightly different take on Nintendo franchises (focused on older ones that need reboots) check out another post right here. However, you can see my full list below:
The Starfox franchise hasn't exactly been at its best lately, and that dates back to the Gamecube. Adventures is universally recognized as one of the strangest in the franchise and Assault failed to recapture what made the series so much fun. After some handheld entries and eventually a 3D remake of the legendary Starfox 64, it kind of leaves us wondering where the fox is headed next. Well, I hope he barrel rolls right onto the dual screen console known as the Wii U.
Basically, they could take all of the features that made the game so great on the 3DS when they remade 64, plus some of the better ideas in Assault and essentially create the ultimate Starfox experience. There could be a classic arcade/rails mode that plays a lot like the older games, but I could see them really turning it into an epic intergalactic adventure if they wanted to - something Adventures desperately wanted to be. With the right focus, Nintendo could employ the gamepad as a device for managing the would-be HUD. They could develop an entire ship interface for adjusting settings and controls and even allow you to fly using the gamepad's motion sensing (although this should be an optional feature.) Overall, this could be a really cool way of reviving the Starfox franchise.
4) Advance Wars
This, along with the #1 pick on my list, should really be a no-brainer if you just think about it for a second. This series has never really seen any success on consoles, but was one of my favorites on the GBA and DS. The Wii U would be able to takes that concept the DS provided and crank it up to 11. I imagine the gamepad as the device you sort through all of the menus on, manage troop placement, organization, etc. Then on the screen, depending on how ambitious and/or dedicated the developer were feeling, the animation sequences would appear on the television.
This means that while you manage the war from the gamepad like a tactician, you could then see the battle play out in beautiful HD on the big screen. Actual combat could go one of two ways: it could be scripted events, similar to what they have now, or there could be real-time interaction. I imagine interactions like timed-button presses to minimize or maximize damage. This concept could work extremely well and with an actual online network, the multiplayer options could be exceptionally robust.
I chose F-Zero over Mario Kart for a few reasons: 1) Mario Kart on a Nintendo system is inevitable, it will happen. 2) F-Zero has not seen any love whatsoever since the fantastic F-Zero GX on Gamecube and that's unfortunate. 3) Mario Kart looks beautiful on Wii, 3DS, etc. already, but F-Zero is a franchise that could seriously benefit from being on a full-HD console.
In addition to these reasons, the mere speed of these games is amazing. The thought of zooming around Big Blue with that rocking music playing in the background makes me want to purchase a Wii U now, if only to fantasize about it further. The pad would be a great way to experiment further with motion controls and they could implement other features into the game like different abilities/powerups or even displaying the minimap on the pad. Overall, I would absolutely love to play this game on Nintendo's new console.
This is probably the most requested and thought about game I have heard of for the Wii U, besides Mario and Zelda of course. No one is going to defend Other M as a worthy entry in the franchise and everyone is going to defend the Prime trilogy as one of the best sci-fi shooter trilogies of all-time. The 2D Metroid games are just as good, if not better, than any of the Prime games, so this franchise is one of the most popular in Nintendo's entire catalog. Samus Aran is smart, beautiful and deadly. They tried to explore her more as a real character in Other M, but that failed for several reasons. I'm not saying they have to ditch that approach all together, but it needs to be performed better. They could honestly create one of the most beautiful and intricate 2D games of all-time with a new 2D Metroid and I would be happy, but I'm greedy and I want more.
I want a massive and sprawling adventure for the bounty hunter. I want a first-person shooter, similar to Prime, that fully utilizes the power and unique facets of the Wii U platform. You should be able to customize her suit and abilities in a loadout screen, previewing powers on your TV and navigating menus on the gamepad. You should be able to explore the galaxy in your iconic ship (along with upgrades for it as well) and actually play the role of bounty hunter. I want to scan the environment using the gamepad, activate different visors and interact with my suit, just like I was in her shoes. Metroid on the Wii U could essentially be an epic sci-fi adventure that would appeal to the Nintendo loyal and all other gamers. All of this captured in brilliant and beautiful HD quality. The Prime trilogy is already amazing to look at, let's take that one step further.
1) Fire Emblem
When the Wii U was first announced, this is the first franchise that immediately came to my mind. While it is not quite as popular internationally (especially for Western audiences) as some of the others on this list, it would make the easiest transition to the new console. The concept is very similar to Advance Wars, but on a much larger and involved scale. First of all, if you played Radiant Dawn, you already know that this franchise not only has incredibly tactical gameplay, but the story itself is quite engaging.
Similar to my thoughts on Advance Wars, the gamepad would allow you to control the tactical decisions on the battlefield, with the television showing the action. I could even imagine a world where the individual battles could be carried out in a real-time or semi-real-time situation. Fire Emblem allows for a much more detailed and unique art style, as opposed to Advance Wars as well. With the grand scope of the story, cutscenes could be pretty amazing. Given the RPG-esque qualities of the series as well, the gamepad could be used for managing members of your army. I could also see multiplayer playing out very well for this franchise on the Wii U. If they put enough love into it, the series could finally reach the level of popularity in the West that it deserves.
What do you think about these picks? While they are all exclusive franchises and definitely not too obscure, Nintendo has still failed to show many of them the love and respect they deserve. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!