If you said to us “EA has just announced plans to bring its FIFA and Madden series’ to the Wii U,” we’d likely furrow our brows, shrug and sarcastically quip, “Uh, yeah? And this is shocking … why?” The publisher is known for milking every precious iota of cash out of its big-name franchises, so it only makes sense that EA would want to spread its world-famous sports titles to the newest gaming machine from the most recognizable name in the business. It’s effectively a Pokémonian license to print money, and since the Wii U is far more powerful than the original Wii, EA’s development team won’t have to massively pare down their games just to ensure that they can actually function on Nintendo’s hardware.
And yet, we’re here to herald today’s announcement that FIFA Soccer 13 (pictured below) and Madden NFL 13 (pictured above) will appear on the upcoming Wii U console. The official press release is pretty info-dense, but the following paragraphs contain all the crucial highlights:
In development at EA Canada, FIFA Soccer 13 features three new ways to play that bring players of all abilities together. Families can play together in Co-op Mode, where one player manages and up to four others play. Team Management Control features interactive radar to send players on supporting runs, attacking or defensive, and touch screen control to change tactics, formations or subs on the fly. Experience the thrill of managing your favorite football club in Manage Match, directing players from the sidelines and even giving half-time talks. View a statistical analysis of the match and any player at any time, enabling you to make informed decisions. Plus, connect and interact with friends like no other FIFA title. See your friends online and invite them to play, or message them in real time using touch screen typing. FIFA Soccer 13 features innovations utilizing the Wii U GamePad™ that immerse players in the action on the pitch. Gamers can lift and look through the GamePad touch screen to aim the ball on set pieces and penalty kicks, then put the perfect curve on a shot and let it fly. Shake the GamePad to activate Touch Screen Shooting, removing the element of ‘hit and hope’, and allowing for pinpoint accuracy.
Madden NFL 13 on the Wii U delivers the most authentic NFL experience ever on a Nintendo platform, including core gameplay new to the franchise this year, beautiful HD graphics, the newest depth and career modes, and all-new touchscreen features exclusive to the Wii U. With the all-new Connected Careers mode, you can build your own legacy as a player or a coach, or relive the glory of an all-time legend. Plus, the new CBS commentary team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms make every game feel like an authentic NFL broadcast, as they call the action from the 3D booth. Get immersed into every game with features exclusive to the Wii U, including streamlined playcalling, pre-snap adjustments and personnel management – all directly from the innovative Wii U Gamepad touchscreen. Madden NFL 13 on the Wii U brings next generation innovation, gameplay, and graphics straight to your living room like never before.
Now, granted, this news features the kind of hyperbolic rhetoric we’ve come to expect from official PR announcements, but there is still a wealth of useful news there. Online functionality is a big bonus for Nintendo fans who’ve suffered through years of the company’s baffling approach to playing games over the ‘net, and it’s heartening to hear that the console is powerful enough to generate real-time high-definition aesthetics for the world’s most popular sports titles. Outside of the requisite employment of the Wii U’s unique touchscreen features this announcement reads very much like a similar announcement for a next-generation Sony or Microsoft console version of EA’s FIFA or Madden titles, and for prospective Wii U owners that’s wonderful news.
That said, these games are likely to be marketed on the strength of their novel touchscreen functionality, and we’re not exactly sold on the potential uses for that particular gimmick. If you’ve read through our impressions of the Wii U from the recent E3 conference you’re likely familiar with our cynical apathy toward Nintendo’s latest, so until EA (or another developer) can demonstrate the necessity and utility of the Wii U’s touchscreen features we remain politely unconvinced that it might bring anything new to the world of virtual football, American or otherwise.
Then again, we’re rather proud of the phrase “Pokémonian license to print money” so we’re convinced that regardless of these titles’ quality, they’ll both sell like sweaty, muscular hot cakes. Propers to EA for making the correct, if blatantly obvious, decision here.