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WiiU

Wii U Rumor Round-Up

by Neal Ronaghan - May 15, 2012, 7:42 am PDT
Total comments: 32

One of our crack forum posters lays out a whole mess of Wii U rumors for all y'all.

Note: This was written by BlackNMild, one of our totally rad forum members who has been keeping up a great Wii rumor thread in our forums. You should totally check it out for a multitude of reasons. First, it's a great resource, and second, it's where all the sources for this article are. Enjoy!

If you've visited the rumor thread, you would already know that there are many rumors out there surrounding the Wii U. From pricing to games and more, I, BlackNMild, would like to go ahead and round up some of the more likely ones that I think may be revealed at E3. 

Let's start with one of the most widely discussed rumors about the Wii U: Power. How powerful is the Wii U? Five times the power of the 360? In some aspects weaker than a 360? Is the Wii U really a next generation system, or is it actually just a really late addition to current gen?

Well, according to sources, the Wii U dev kits got a noticeable bump in power near the end of 2011/beginning of 2012. Right after this rumored bump in power, there was an article from IGN claiming that the Wii U is now five times the power of a 360, but if you listen to some people out there with direct or indirect access to the dev kits, they aren’t quite so sold on that; it’s more like two or three times, but really, it's a pointless measure. Because what exactly are we measuring? Five times as many polygons? Three times prettier picture? Two times the draw distance? What exactly constitutes five times more powerful? Well, let's just say that Wii U will, without a doubt, be doing things visually that are not possible on current gen systems already released.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about what we know officially vs. what we've heard unofficially.

We know that the WIi U will have an IBM Power-based chip using embedded DRAM. What we've heard through unofficial channels is that it will be a tri-core dual-threaded chip.

We also know that the Wii U Controller (or uMote, as I like to call it) will have a standard layout of buttons and dual analog controls that a majority of enthusiast gamers have come to enjoy as standard for a controller. What we've heard through unofficial channels is that the Wii U Controller will also have clickable slide pads and analog triggers, allowing for every feature of any game made for previous systems to be utilized on the Wii U. We've even heard that the controller's final form has yet to be revealed, but it's likely that any modifications made won't bring us a controller that is all that different from the one we last saw at E3 2011.

Nintendo is committed to bringing a full and rich online experience to the Wii U, and plans to use many of the unique capabilities that having a tablet in a controller can bring to a system. What we've heard through unofficial channels is that Wii U has a lot going for it in both online capabilities and the UI on the front end. A supposed Google employee has chimed in to say that we shouldn't worry about the Wii U interface as it will be "fully featured."

Going forward, Nintendo plans to explore the multimedia side of their technology, starting with the 3DS and moving onto the Wii U. For example, they might make use of things such as video chat and potentially screen sharing for online help from friends. What we've heard through more unofficial channels is that Nintendo plans to go all out on the multimedia side for Wii U. They might go so far as to partner up with companies such as Comcast to deliver digital television content, hopefully directly onto the tablet in our hands. We know that Netflix and/or Hulu will likely be there at launch, but there are also talks of a full-blown app store, eReader, and bite-sized games much like you would find on your cell phone and tablets at home. Maybe that relationship with Google will lend itself to an extension of GoogleTV, as there was even rumor of MySpaceTV debuting on the system.

Now let’s move on to the dev kits.

We know that the development kits were very recently upgraded (to v5?) and I've seen some documentation to support that. The Wii U Controller is actually referred to as the "DRC" and optimizations have led to great improvements in software performance. Apparently, a lot of the sour remarks from developers were from direct porting of code from another system to Wii U and not getting the results they had hoped for.

There have also been mumblings that Nintendo is actively working with third parties, such as Epic, to get some major middleware running efficiently on the system. Unreal Engine 4 is the biggest rumored middleware to be up and running on the system right now. The latest version of Cry Engine (3.4) has also been speculated to be running on Wii U, too.

We've heard that the dev kits, packing at least 2GBs of RAM in the system, have around 512MB of it (for the moment) being reserved for OS functions such as background multi-tasking and things of that sort.

 

And then there are the games. We can't forget about the games.

Nintendo plans to show off first party titles such as Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Bros. Mii, and whatever the Wii U's equivalent of Wii Sports will be. It's also been said that Retro's next title should make an appearance at this upcoming E3 (so we all hope). 

We also know that it's not just Nintendo studios like Retro and Monolith Soft that are actively working on Wii U games. Studios such as Disney's Junction Point (Epic Mickey 2), Sega (Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed), Capcom, Valve, and Take Two's 2K Sports are known to have Wii U dev kits and working on something, but outside of what was publically revealed at E3 2011 (Assassins Creed, Ghost Recon, Aliens, Darksiders II, etc.), no game developer have been able to really announce anything new because of Nintendo's legendary Iron Clad NDA's, except apparently Ubisoft and their Avengers game that was announced the other day.

 

A few have games have slipped through the cracks, such as Project Cars and Rayman Legends, while others have only been heavily hinted and teased (Toki Tori 2, Runner 2, CoD BlOps2) or just recently rumored (RE6, Star Fox). And let’s not even get into the speculated games, such as Eternal Darkness 2, regardless of how much sense it makes based on the comments coming from the developers.

Other games like Grand Theft Auto V remain as much rumor today as it did way back when we were first just hearing about a project called Cafe.

With news of Masahiro Sakurai (Metroid, Kid Icarus, Smash Bros.) sneaking around Platinum Games (Bayonetta) trying to get a peek at what they're showing at E3, it makes me wonder if it isn't infact Platinum games who is making the rumored Star Fox for Nintendo and not Retro as some would believe. After all, Miyamoto did suggest that Retro could be working on a Zelda title.

Then of course there is the price. How much should this wonderful machine cost? Walmart ran web ads advertising $350, and a recent online survey suggested $299. The majority of us have speculated that it was going to fall somewhere within the range of both of those prices. But regardless of what it cost, I just hope that Nintendo makes sure that it's worth every cent and then some.

Before we wrap things up here, I just want to mention that I really hope Nintendo was able to come through on two (or more) Wii U Controllers per system. It may not seem like all that big of a deal right now, but it really could be the difference maker when it comes to exclusives and/or local multiplayer games. All types of games from sports to puzzles, trivia, action/adventure & RPGs could all benefit from multiple people in the same room having access to their own personal touch screen while playing the same game. There haven't been any real rumors saying that there will be multiple tablets per Wii U, but there haven't really been any saying that there won't be either. All Nintendo has really said on the issue was along the lines of "We never said it couldn't" and "we will look into that." Here's to hoping they looked, and that it could after all.

Now that E3 is only a few weeks away, we can anticipate that a fair amount of new rumors/leaks will surface and attempt to spoil the surprise that has been prepared. But I hope all remains relatively quiet leading up to the storm that will be the Nintendo Press Conference that traditionally starts off the biggest gaming event of every year.

Thanks again to BlackNMild for writing this out!

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Talkback

OblivionMay 15, 2012

He wrote an article for NWR and he still isn't part of the staff?

AdrockMay 15, 2012

I recall someone from the staff saying BnM was offered a staff position but he turned it down. That was a long while ago though.

VahneMay 15, 2012

Just a small correction, it's confirmed that Wii U is using a POWER7-based CPU from IBM, not a POWER PC one.

norfairMay 15, 2012

Excellent article! Features such as this round-up are exactly the reason why I love NWR.

CericMay 15, 2012

Quote from: Vahne

Just a small correction, it's confirmed that Wii U is using a POWER7-based CPU from IBM, not a POWER PC one.

Source please.

Kytim89May 15, 2012

Sakurai was most likely at Platnium games to negotiate their characters being in the next Smash Brothers game, or he is trying to get them to collbaorate with his studio on developing the Wii U version of Smash Brothers.

ThePermMay 15, 2012

im betting the Wii U remote will have different modes. Im sure it can stream visual stuff off the console, but for multiple controllers that would take a lot of bandwidth. However, with simple things like sports it would just need to send smaller data types. Another idea would be to put a usb port(i think they did) on the controller and have anything past 2 controllers need to be wired in.

Luigi DudeMay 15, 2012

Quote from: Kytim89

Sakurai was most likely at Platnium games to negotiate their characters being in the next Smash Brothers game, or he is trying to get them to collbaorate with his studio on developing the Wii U version of Smash Brothers.

Or Platinum is working on a new Star Fox and Sakurai wanted to see it because he's a huge Star Fox fan.  Like I've said before, Platinum would be the best choice for a Star Fox game because Kamiya himself is a huge fan of the series, wants to make a game for it, and has the resume of great action games to insure he'd deliver on the actual gameplay.  Considering Kamiya's record, I'd imagine Sakurai himself would agree that Kamiya is a great choice for the series and really wanted to see the game.


Of course since Sakurai is also good friends with Kojima, the more likely situation was he was really at Platinum to get a sneak peak at Metal Gear Rising because Kojima gave him permission to.  Still, I'm going to keep hoping it's because of Star Fox until Nintendo crushes that dream at E3.

AdrockMay 15, 2012

That makes sense. Sakurai likes using the latest character designs for Smash Bros. so if the company is handling Star Fox, it's no surprise that Sakurai would be checking out what they're doing with the series. Platinum Games has 2 titles confirmed in development Anarchy Reigns and Metal Gear Rising: (ugh) Revengeance. I vaguely remember Hideki Kamiya stating he wasn't involved in the latter at all so he could have been working on Star Fox all this time.

Answer me this: What has Hideki Kamiya been working on since Bayonetta? I don't keep up 100% on his goings-on, so I might have missed something.

But, if he hasn't directed a game or been involved with a game since Bayonetta, then it has been 3 years. Let's say part of that was spent working on the now-likely-cancelled Bayonetta 2. I think Platinum has been working on Star Fox since last year. I think Kamiya pulled a Miyamoto-level tease by making that Star Fox comment the other year.

AdrockMay 15, 2012

I would be very pleased if Kamiya and Platinum Games were handling Star Fox. It's in good hands and it frees Retro Studios up to do... Well, anything really. E3 should be interesting.

ThePermMay 15, 2012

i have to say im most interested in what Retro is doing, those these Platinum rumors are interesting too. I like the idea someone who actually likes the series is working on it, and may make it fun. The Retro thing though, an already talented developer is hiring up some talent. Given they make A+ games and they are going to have POWER with this console, i really want to see whats going on. E3 is less than a month away!

VahneMay 15, 2012

Quote from: Ceric

Quote from: Vahne

Just a small correction, it's confirmed that Wii U is using a POWER7-based CPU from IBM, not a POWER PC one.

Source please.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/07/ibm-puts-watsons-brains-in-nintendo-wii-u/
This is one, among other articles that state that IBM has confirmed that Wii U uses a CPU based on Power7, which was what Watson was based on. I really don't understand why people still believe the rumor that it uses a PowerPC based CPU even though it was confirmed right after E3 that it'll be using  Power7 based CPU.

NinSageMay 15, 2012

Awesome write-up, BnM! Too bad we don't have more concrete info to work with but I really appreciate your efforts to scrape together what little we have into a nice article like this one.

My prediction for the Wii U? It will run the games I most want to play.  ;D

LouieturkeyMay 15, 2012

BnM, you put this together just so you could start your campaign to go to E3 2013, didn't you? :P

ThePermMay 15, 2012

Quote from: Louieturkey

BnM, you put this together just so you could start your campaign to go to E3 2013, didn't you? :P

this is probably the case, lizolz

LithiumMay 15, 2012

BnM for rumours writer! Seriously i have no clue how this guy isn't staff yet. (how else are you going to get into e3?)

DasmosMay 15, 2012

tl;dr  8)

DonkeyBilly KongMay 15, 2012

Nice article!

A big concern is uMote battery life.  I hope they surprise us there.

DasmosMay 15, 2012

Kamiya would be a great fit for Star Fox. He wants to do it, he has the talent to do it and he'd be able to do Star Fox (which need to happen) on the ground justice.

BlackNMild2k1May 15, 2012

Quote from: Oblivion

He wrote an article for NWR and he still isn't part of the staff?

Quote from: Adrock

I recall someone from the staff saying BnM was offered a staff position but he turned it down. That was a long while ago though.

Oddly enough, I can't comment on rumors and speculation... :P

Quote from: norfair

Excellent article! Features such as this round-up are exactly the reason why I love NWR.

It was pretty nice wasn't it. They should definitely have more like this ;)

Quote from: NinSage

Awesome write-up, BnM! Too bad we don't have more concrete info to work with but I really appreciate your efforts to scrape together what little we have into a nice article like this one.

My prediction for the Wii U? It will run the games I most want to play.  ;D

Well, it is a rumor round up, so if the info was more concrete, we probably wouldn't really consider it rumor any more :D

Quote from: Louieturkey

BnM, you put this together just so you could start your campaign to go to E3 2013, didn't you? :P:

Click the ads you see on this article, it's the only way NWR will afford me a ticket.

Quote from: Lithium

BnM for rumours writer! Seriously i have no clue how this guy isn't staff yet. (how else are you going to get into e3?)

Well, I could try just walking in like I own the joint. Or we could start a collection.

Quote from: Dasmos

tl;dr  :cool;

Really, that was just a summary, you should see the unsummarized version ;)
http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/forums/index.php?topic=16688.msg731964#msg731964

Quote from: KeyBilly

Nice article!

A big concern is uMote battery life.  I hope they surprise us there.

I'm glad you liked it. I didn't think I had time to do it, but it was fun. Maybe NWR will allow more articles of that kind in the future.

OblivionMay 15, 2012

Can I call BnM being staff by the end of the month.

house3136May 15, 2012

What we know is that IBM has sold approximately 120+ million processors with Nintendo between GameCube and WII, and will continue that tradition with Wii U. Isn’t it in IBM’s best interest to put the most advanced processor they can muster in Wii U, because it will sell more? I understand technology costs are high today, but in 5 years from now what will that same processor cost? I’m guessing next to nothing (even figuring price drops in hardware; what does a Wii processor cost today?).  If I were IBM, I would try to put the best technology in today and maybe bite the bullet for a moment, to sell as many consoles a possible because in two years from now, even that will be dated and cheap. Computers are on refresh cycle of less than a year, which commands a high price; but that’s clearly not the case with game consoles. The technology today is advancing much faster than it was in 2006, imagine how much more exponential it will be in 5 years from now?

BlackNMild2k1May 15, 2012

I'm sure Nintendo approaches IBM with a concept and a budget.

IBM will then work to the specs Nintendo has set and attempt to build what they ask within their budget.

If I was a car manufacturer and you came to me and asked me to build you as fancy and fast a car as I can, but it has to cost less that $35,000 when mass production starts, I'm not gonna eat the cost of a Lamborghini just because its a fancy and fast car and I want to see more people driving them.
I'm gonna give my client exactly what they asked for, but maybe try to persuade them to bump their budget if I can provide them something noticeably better for a small increase in price.

Nintendo World Report does not comment on rumors and speculation.

SerbisMay 15, 2012

I have a feeling Retro is working on F-Zero... I just have this innate feeling they are, because why else would they be working on Mario Kart 3DS tracks and attempting to revive yet again another dead Nintendo franchise? It would be killer to have the game not only be a racer, but have some side story to it. If anyone can blend the series together and make it feel new and fresh again, it's Retro.


As for Platinum dealing with Star Fox, it makes me excited because I wonder what they are gonna do with the game. If it is anything close to Bayonetta/God of War with being able to go into the jet as well. This game is gonna kick so much ass! It's unlikely since Adventures was horrible, but Assault had alot of potential, but felt redundant due to the system limitations. Nowadays though, I think it's time for SF to go into another direction besides Aerial combat simulator. It could be Nintendo's answer to God of War.

OblivionMay 16, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Nintendo World Report does not comment on rumors and speculation.

Can their staff unofficially comment on rumors and speculation?

C-OlimarMay 16, 2012

Isn't Sumo Digital developing Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed?

house3136May 16, 2012

I apologize for any misunderstanding if I didn’t elucidate enough in my initial post.  When I said “most advanced processor IBM can muster”, I meant within a reasonable price range, not the most advanced processor IBM can create within the technological ability of 2012 (not that you were implying that either). I understand IBM’s business extends far beyond any bone Nintendo throws their way; but it’s not like their partnership hasn’t been a cash cow for them either so “biting the bullet” may have been poor syntax on my part. I just think it would behoove both companies not to skip on power even if it means decreasing the profit margin. What we know is the PS3, 360, and 3DS are/were being sold at a  loss because they can boost profits through games sales due to console saturation, and we all know 1st/2nd party is Nintendo’s forte.  And as much as I enjoyed your automobile analogy, it’s not entirely apt. Comparing a highly specialized luxury sports car that appeals to a very select group, to a product that is meant to appeal to the mass market is almost impossible. What I mean is, it doesn’t cost Lamborghini $290,000 to produce a $300,000 car; they’re probably selling it at a 200% markup because of its exclusivity. Also, the refresh cycle and depreciation value for a CPU is much different than an inherent collectors’ item, which is essentially the crux of my statement: both companies will definitely make a profit from this endeavor over the long term, so why go cheap? Finally, I just want to thank you for being so dedicated to the Wii U rumor forum, exceptional work.

rialopabloMay 17, 2012

I think that, maybe Nintendo upgrades the Wii U (which has also the rumor of being changed) with the engines. Because they need more budget develop the Wii U more. Just like with the Wii (System updates, accessories, changing the Wii from NGC compatible to not compatible).

SonofMrPeanutMay 17, 2012

Quote from: house3136

I apologize for any misunderstanding if I didn’t elucidate enough in my initial post.  When I said “most advanced processor IBM can muster”, I meant within a reasonable price range, not the most advanced processor IBM can create within the technological ability of 2012 (not that you were implying that either). I understand IBM’s business extends far beyond any bone Nintendo throws their way; but it’s not like their partnership hasn’t been a cash cow for them either so “biting the bullet” may have been poor syntax on my part. I just think it would behoove both companies not to skip on power even if it means decreasing the profit margin. What we know is the PS3, 360, and 3DS are/were being sold at a  loss because they can boost profits through games sales due to console saturation, and we all know 1st/2nd party is Nintendo’s forte.  And as much as I enjoyed your automobile analogy, it’s not entirely apt. Comparing a highly specialized luxury sports car that appeals to a very select group, to a product that is meant to appeal to the mass market is almost impossible. What I mean is, it doesn’t cost Lamborghini $290,000 to produce a $300,000 car; they’re probably selling it at a 200% markup because of its exclusivity. Also, the refresh cycle and depreciation value for a CPU is much different than an inherent collectors’ item, which is essentially the crux of my statement: both companies will definitely make a profit from this endeavor over the long term, so why go cheap? Finally, I just want to thank you for being so dedicated to the Wii U rumor forum, exceptional work.

So in other words, it's comparable to the SGI that was the N64, the most advanced of their technology at the consumer level.  Seems fair.

therockandrollgamerMay 20, 2012

Great article! I can't wait until June 5th to see what happens at E3. I know spike will have Microsoft on live on the 4th. Is nintendo going to be on TV or just a livestream ?

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