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Wii U virtual console will have GameCube games, says Nintendo

gamecube-console

Nintendo has been vague about how much internal storage the Wii U will have, but it might be a bit more than we think. Two days ago, NintendoGal, a long running Nintendo fansite, interviewed Amber McCollom, Nintendo of America’s director of entertainment & trend marketing. Much of the interview delves into McCollom’s role in NoA, but some new information about the Wii online store slipped out toward the end of the very late E3 interview. We’ve included quotes on three different topics below.

GameCube on Wii U

gamecube-optical-discIn particular, it appears that, while the Wii U does not appear to play 8cm GameCube optical discs or have GameCube controller ports, as the Wii did, it may play GameCube games after all. McCollum explains that Nintendo usually (and by usually, she means just once before) only supports one system before. As such, the Wii U will be able to play Wii games, but not GameCube.

“You know it’s interesting that you bring up backwards compatibility and Nintendo’s history usually goes back one system,” said McCollom. “The Wii was compatible with GameCube and Wii U will be compatible with Wii and that’s pretty traditional in launches from Nintendo. … the GameCube discs will not be compatible with Wii U, but a number of the games that were playable on GameCube can be downloaded from WiiWare.”

GameCube optical discs hold 1.5GB of data and many games for the system used most or all of that storage. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo handles downloads that large. We hope the answer isn’t simply bigger SD cards, but it could be. McCollum also mentions WiiWare, but we believe she means Virtual Console, which is a subset of the Wii Shop Channel.

We hope Nintendo gets this right. Though the GameCube can largely be considered Nintendo’s weakest-selling console, it had a number of amazing games like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Super Monkey Ball, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, Star Wars: Rogue Leader, Viewtiful Joe, Beyond Good & Evil, Wave Race: Blue Storm, Super Mario Sunshine, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. Hopefully some or all of these will grace the Wii U in some fashion. It would be nice to play Resident Evil 4 with a non-motion controller again.

One controller

McCollum also confirmed that the Wii U on display at E3 only supports one controller, but was reluctant to say that the final system won’t support more.

She also said that all those “leaked” rumors we heard about the Wii U before E3 were somewhat staged: “I wouldn’t call it an information leak with the Wii U. I know that Nintendo put out some information in advance of E3 and I think there’s a number of different ways to approach E3. In 2005 when we showed the Wii for the first time, that was the first time anyone had ever seen or mentioned Wii. This time we decided to talk about the Wii successor in advance of E3 to get people excited. Then we announced more details and the name Wii U at the show to keep that buzz going. I think it’s just a choice with how you decide to share information with consumers.”

Wii U will “definitely” bring back hardcore gamers

Finally, McCollum is rock steady in her belief that the Wii U will attract hardcore gamers to Nintendo. “You know the Wii U and some of the games we showcased at our E3 Media Briefing will definitely bring back the core gamer,” she claims. “It’ll also really get the expanded audience excited about gaming and keep them gaming.  A number of titles we showed from our 3rd parties will definitely get people excited.”

Of course, McCollum may be forgetting the Nintendo 64 and GameCube, two Nintendo consoles that attempted to attract hardcore gamers, but largely failed to slow the domination of the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. The GameCube consistently performed so poorly that the original Xbox was neck and neck with it in worldwide sales. The Wii has already sold more than four times the lifetime console sales of the GameCube. Still, we hope she is right. It will be Nintendo’s commitment and execution on this goal that will determine its fate.

For more information on the Wii U, check out our complete guide to the upcoming system, which will be updated with this information soon.