Skip to main content

Metroid Prime studio working on Wii U game engines, but what about Unreal Engine 4?

wii u unreal engine 4
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s appropriate that Texas-based Retro Studios inherited the Donkey Kong Country franchise from Rare Inc. Like Rare was in the mid-‘90s, Retro Studios has become the western face of the intensely eastern Nintendo, a group of developers responsible for some of the best and most technologically impressive games to grace the Gamecube, Wii, and Nintendo 3DS over the past decade. While rumors continue to swirl about what Retro’s first game for the Wii U might be, a new one hints that Retro’s first creation for Wii U won’t be a game at all, but a proprietary engine for Nintendo to build HD games on.

GenGame reported on Tuesday that a source within Retro says that Nintendo has tasked the company with building multiple engines for Wii U to aid both first and third party developers in making games for the unusual tablet controller console. This makes sense in light of Nintendo’s past comments about developing HD games in house. “I think that we will have to rely on outside companies for graphics and other elements that require massive resources,” Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma said earlier this year.

The exact wording used by the source was that the engines were for Nintendo and “other developers,” meaning that Nintendo’s taking a more aggressive approach to fostering third-party support on the Wii U than with past machines.

Retro’s work could prove pivotal for the Wii U’s future as well. The studio’s efforts have gone a long way towards helping convince Epic Games to get Unreal Engine 4 running on Wii U. A number of the ports populating the Wii U’s launch line up are Unreal Engine 3-based (Mass Effect 3, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition), but Epic’s hinted in the past that it didn’t think Unreal Engine 4 would support Wii U. “I don’t think it’s our intention to bring Unreal Engine 4 to Wii U, but Unreal Engine 4 is going to be supremely scalable,” said Epic’s Mark Rein in July, “We’ll run on mobile phones and on a wide variety of things, so if a customer decides they want to port an Unreal Engine 4 game to Wii U, they could. But Unreal Engine 3 is a really good fit for that platform.”

Retro’s technological pedigree is impeccable, as evidenced by the still impressive Metroid Prime on Gamecube. If the company can build effective tools for developers that make the Wii U’s capabilities shine, Nintendo should have an easier time getting games to market.

Editors' Recommendations

Anthony John Agnello
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Anthony John Agnello is a writer living in New York. He works as the Community Manager of Joystiq.com and his writing has…
How to start the Nuka-World DLC in Fallout 4
People standing outside Nuka World.

The first major DLC expansion for Fallout 4 lets players go to the abandoned amusement park called Nuka-World. While there's plenty of fun and excitement to be had here, don't expect it to come from the roller coasters or carnival games since this park is the battleground between rival raider gangs. This new zone adds a ton of new quests and side activities to the base experience, but it isn't as simple to get to as a real theme park. Don't worry if your Pip-Boy isn't helping you get to Nuka-World -- we'll show you how to start this DLC.

Read more
How to start the Automatron DLC in Fallout 4
A man and a robot walking in the wastelands in Fallout 4.

Each piece of Fallout 4 DLC adds something substantial to the base experience. In the case of the Automatron expansion, an entire new questline pitting you against a robot army led by a figure known as the Mechanist. Starting it isn't as difficult as starting other DLCs like the Nuka-World expansion, but it-s still a bit cryptic. Buying the DLC doesn't automatically make it apparent how to actually start this new adventure, but we'll give you specific directions to find it in the wasteland.

Read more
One of 2023’s best indie games is getting a movie starring LaKeith Stanfield
James descends on an elevator in El Paso, Elsewhere.

El Paso, Elsewhere, one of Digital Trends' favorite indie games of 2023, now has a film adaptation in the works.

Variety reports that LaKeith Stanfield -- an actor known for his work in films like Judas and the Black Messiah, Knives Out, and Haunted Mansion, as well as TV shows like Atlanta -- is going to star in and produce the film. The adaptation is in the works at Di Bonaventure Pictures, the production company behind the Transformers, G.I. Joe, and The Meg film franchises. Little else is known about the film at this time, although we'd presume it will be a fairly direct adaptation of this intense story-driven game.

Read more