Third party support is crucial to any console launch, and Nintendo has done a sterling job of rallying publishers behind Wii U.
The new console will arrive with a day one line-up that includes Call of Duty, FIFA, Batman, Mass Effect, Skylanders, Tekken – the list goes on.
No publishers have shown more support than Ubisoft, which has no less than eight games ready for Wii U’s launch window. ZombiU is even bundled in with the console’s Premium model – the only third party title to be included in a hardware SKU.
The publisher has even helped the platform holder promote the new console.
“Since E3, Nintendo has been consistently building presence in consumers’ minds through their PR activities as well as events and media,” UK brand manager Ombeline Wallon told MCV. “Over that period, we have also been pushing our own games to position them as key choices for gamers who purchase the console. On some occasions such as E3, we’ve worked together to ensure maximum exposure for both companies.”
Another priority for Nintendo has been to win over the core audience and Ubisoft has helped attrach this demographic with titles such as ZombiU.
“We find core gamers and the technologically-minded tend to be the first adopters of new consoles,” said Wallon. “It’s no real surprise that games that appeal to this audience are more likely to perform well early on. As Wii U reaches broader audiences, we will see a shift in the types of games bought.”
Of course, Nintendo aims to appeal to both core and casual audiences with Wii U. As such, Ubisoft has tailored its launch day range to cater for all possible buyers (see ‘Ubisoft’s Line-up’ ).
As Nintendo has proven with titles like Wii Sports and Wii Play, an effective way to convey the selling points of a new console is to show everything it can do.
Wallon told us Ubisoft shares this ethos: “On each game, the teams have worked hard to make the most of the Wii U’s innovative features.
“For example, ZombiU gives a real array of interactions with the GamePad, using not only the traditional controls but also the touch screen and the gyroscope. In Rabbids Land, you can play the game entirely on the GamePad while someone else is watching TV. In Sports Connection, the GamePad and Wii Remotes give players very different experiences and adds to the replay value.”
Some speculate that Rayman Legends’ delay to Q1 2013 was to avoid clashing with Nintendo platformer New Super Mario Bros U.
But while there are similarities between the two titles – as well as other games like Your Shape 2013 and Wii Fit U, or Rabbids Land and Nintendo Land – Ubisoft maintains that there is plenty of room for such products on Wii U.
“All these titles have got their own strong identity,” said Wallon. “The artistic style of Rayman Legends really sets the game apart, in the same way that Rabbids’ crazy humour makes it very distinctive. There is room for several key brands with distinct personalities in the FPS?market. It is the same with Wii U games.”
The toughest challenge for Nintendo has been conveying the unique proposition of Wii U, and cementing it in the public mindset as the first next generation console.
While initial reactions to the console have been mixed, Ubi is confident the masses will come to understand how Wii U can change gaming.
“Once again, Nintendo is the first to bring something new to home consoles,” said Wallon. “The innovation brought by the Wii U marks a step change, which will become more obvious as users familiarise themselves with these new gameplay possibilities.”
The flagship of Ubi’s range, this survival horror adventure is available bundled with the Premium model of Wii U.
Assassin's Creed III
Ubisoft’s fastest-selling game will be available on day one, complete with online multiplayer.
Just Dance 4
The Wii sensation steps up to the next generation with a mode that uses the GamePad to create dance routines.
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
This kid-friendly beat ‘em up gives fans control of Marvel icons.
A mix of board games and mini-games that retains the Rabbids series’ wacky sense of humour.
Following Rayman Origins, the limbless mascot’s next outing gives players control over the environment via the GamePad.
These mini-games show off various new gameplay styles made possible by the tablet controller.
Your Shape 2013
Reaching out to fans of previous Your Shape and Wii Fit titles, this self-improvement game arrives just in time for users to start New Year’s diets.