Frontier Developments comes to Wii U, but not with the games you might be hoping for

Elite: Dangerous

It’s been months since we last reported on new projects at David Braben’s studio, Frontier Developments. When last we checked in on the intrepid British development house, it had just completed raising funds to start developing Elite: Dangerous, the fourth game in Braben’s pioneering space simulator series. But with a substantial staff and a need to get content out into the world while it works on such an expansive project, Frontier is working on other games as well. In particular, it’s very first title for the Nintendo Wii U eShop.

Frontier announced on Monday that it is working on Coast Crazy Deluxe for Wii U for release later this year. The game is actually an upscaled version of its popular iPhone and iPad game of the same name, which itself was a spiritual successor to the RollerCoaster Tycoon series that Frontier had worked on alongside designer Chris Sawyer and Infogrames over the past eleven years. The big improvement over the game’s previous iOS incarnation is the ability to use the Wii U GamePad’s touch screen as well as its traditional controls for rollercoaster building.

Frontier Developments has been a long time supporter of Nintendo’s troubled digital games projects. Braben’s game Lost Winds and its follow up, Lost Winds: Winter of the Melodias, were two of the first WiiWare games to gain a great deal of notice. These elegant platformers, however, also highlighted the inherent failings in Nintendo’s digital distribution model on the Nintendo Wii. Both games suffered from a lack of promotion on the platform, and they also strained against the Wii’s internal memory limitations. The first game alone took up a massive chunk of the console’s on board memory, and when it was released it was impossible to play downloaded Wii games off an SD Card expansions.

With more than $2 million raised for Elite: Dangerous via Kickstarter, some Frontier fans were concerned that the studio was using its new funding to back other projects. Far from it, according to Braben.

“People think of a company just making one game at a time,” Braben told Eurogamer’s Welsey Yin-Poole, “But look at the number of different Kinectimals games and the Disneyland [Adventures] game we did. The fact we do lots of games in parallel shouldn’t upset people. It’s actually the opposite. It’s what made the ability to do Elite possible, because we have such mature tools that are so flexible. 

Braben did not, however, offer any succor to those fans hoping for Lost Winds 3 on Wii U.

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