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Ghost Recon Online for Wii U still in production, but Nintendo’s online plans remain a mystery

Ubisoft had the strongest line up of Wii U games out of everyone at E3 2012, and that includes Nintendo itself. What did Nintendo have? Nintendo Land, a bizarre, gaudy collection of mini-games milking profitable franchises; Pikmin 3, a sequel to a long lost strategy game that’s cute but not revelatory; New Super Mario Bros. U, another 2D Mario platformer lacking in the visual panache of the franchise’s past; and Game & Wario, more tech demo than proper rebirth of the WarioWare series. Not exactly inspiring. Ubisoft on the other hand has Rayman Legends and ZombiU, solid exclusives for tablet-controller console, and that’s in addition to versions of big guns like Assassin’s Creed III.

Weird thing though: Ubisoft didn’t show one of its marquee Wii U games that it announced last year. Where was Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online at E3 2012?

Fret not, lovers of third-person military competition. Ubisoft Senior Vice President of Sales Tony Key confirmed for IGN that the game is still in production, it’s just not far enough along on Nintendo’s hardware to show to the public.

Ghost Recon Online is being developed for the PC first,” said Key, “That was always the plan. The team is taking a little bit longer than they though they would to get Ghost Recon Online to the level and quality that they want and that definitely has had an impact on how much time they’re able to spend on the Wii U version because we want to make sure we get it right.”

Getting it right seems to be a top priority for Ubisoft as well. Its software at E3 had interesting, if not essential, Wii U controller functionality and it’s hoping to keep up the trend. “If we start working on the Wii U too soon, we might end up wasting a lot of resources because the PC is a lot easier to test and learn with. [We] can test and learn with that and apply all the benefits we learn onto the Wii U version to make sure that it’s a great Wii U game.”

All the careful preparation in the world may not make Ghost Recon Online the best it can be on Wii U. Nintendo’s networking plans for the console remain a complete mystery less than half a year away from the system’s release. Will Ghost Recon Online use the ill-defined Miiverse feature? Will it use a centralized friend list or Nintendo’s dreaded Friend Codes? With Nintendo silent about its online plans, it will be hard for Ghost Recon’s community to get excited about this different version of the game.