In November of 2012 we reported a series of comments made by Huw Beynon during an interview with NowGamer that were decidedly negative toward Nintendo’s new Wii U console. For context, Beynon is employed as the full time studio representative for developer 4A Games, creators of the upcoming Metro: Last Light, and the interview was centered on whether or not 4A might eventually bring its survival horror, first-person shooter franchise to the Wii U. A simple “no” would have sufficed, but Beynon opted to take the more candid route.
“We had an early look at [Wii U], we thought we could probably do it, but in terms of impact we would make on the overall quality of the game — potentially to its detriment — we just figured it wasn’t worth pursuing at this time,” Beynon said, before being joined by 4A’s CTO Oles Shishkovtsov who stated simply that the “Wii U has a horrible, slow CPU.”
Those are harsh words, but who would better know the specific details of a gaming console better than those employed by a company dedicated to game development? How about another developer? Newly published excerpts from an upcoming Edge interview with Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi (pictured above) provide exactly that as Hayashi directly counters the claims made by 4A’s employees and instead states that the Wii U is definitely a “next generation” gaming machine.
“The Wii U is an infant that’s just been born,” Hayashi says. “It’s a little unfair to compare it to mature platforms that people have been working on for over five years. I’m sure people will find ways to bring out even more power as the platform matures.”
“To be completely blunt and honest, there’s no way that the Wii U processor is ‘horrible and slow’ compared to other platforms. I think that comment was just 4A trying to find a scapegoat for a simple business decision on their part.”
While Hayashi admits that the Wii U is likely lacking in raw horsepower compared to whatever new technology Microsoft and Sony inevitably unveil (not to mention modern gaming PCs), he claims that the system’s unique functionality more than makes up for this dearth of processing speed. “
“If you’re basing this simply on processor speed, then it’s not next generation,” Hayashi states. “If you’re basing this on Wii U being a new idea that challenges existing platforms, then it definitely is next generation. It is a console videogame platform that is now independent of the TV. Nobody has done that before.”
“It’s no mistake to say that we have entered a period where it’s difficult to provide an obvious difference to many players based on processor speed alone. Players want new innovation that includes the environment in which you play and services you use, rather than just raw processor spec,” Hayashi explains. “Nintendo is at the forefront of that innovation. I’m looking forward to seeing what the other platforms come up with in the future.”
Whether you side with Hayashi or the developers at 4A is largely a matter of perspective. This argument has been raging among Nintendo fans and detractors ever since the original Wii introduced motion-sensitive controllers in lieu of true high-definition graphics, and likely won’t die down any time soon. Objectively Nintendo consoles are technologically inferior to their competition, but for many developers (and fans) that simply doesn’t matter, as Nintendo’s machines offer a gaming experience you can’t find anywhere else.