Ports


Back when Nintendo first announced its "launch window" lineup of games that would be available for the Wii U by March 31, we were decidedly unimpressed. The list was filled with warmed-over ports and uninspiring shovelware. Today however, that list got even less impressive, as Nintendo announced a few of the most anticipated games for the system won't be out until April at the earliest.

Exploration game Pikmin 3, mini-game collection Game & Wario, action title The Wonderful 101, and fitness update Wii Fit U will now arrive in "the first half of the year" according to Nintendo. All of these games were originally supposed to hit stores before March 31, but they aren't listed as "Q1" releases in Nintendo's latest plan.

The release calendar isn't totally barren for Wii U owners in the coming months. The impressive 2D platformer Rayman Legends is due on February 26, and Traveller's Tales' fun-looking, family-friendly adventure Lego City Undercover is coming on March 18. The system is also getting versions of Ron Gilbert adventure The Cave and first-person shooter Alien: Colonial Marines around the same time as other systems, not to mention intriguing, downloadable indie side-scrollers like Bit.Trip Runner 2 and Toki Tori 2.

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Nintendo is pinning a lot of hopes on Nintendo Land as a launch day system seller for the Wii U.

Earlier this month, when Nintendo revealed many of the final details about the worldwide launch of the Wii U, the company listed 50 games that would be available for the system in North America during a nebulous "launch window" that runs from November 18, 2012 to the end of March 2013. Today, Nintendo nailed down the Wii U's launch software lineup with a bit more detail, announcing 23 games that will be in stores when the system launches on November 18, with eight more available by the end of November.

Notably, heavily promoted Nintendo-developed titles like Pikmin 3, Wii Fit U, and Game & Wario will not be available on launch day, leaving just New Super Mario Bros. U and mini-game collection Nintendo Land to represent first-party development on day one. Ubisoft will be providing a few worthwhile launch-day exclusives for the system in the form of the charming Scribblenauts Unlimited and augmented reality horror game ZombiU, but Wii U owners will have to wait for other promising exclusives like Lego City: Undercover, The Wonderful 101, and Rayman Legends.

The vast majority of the games available for the Wii U on day one will be ports of games already available on existing systems. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is by far the most important of these, marking the bestselling series' return to Nintendo systems after a long absence, but the Wii U version will necessarily be coming five days after the system hits PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on November 13.

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Nintendo is pinning a lot of hopes on Nintendo Land as a launch day system seller for the Wii U.

Earlier this month, when Nintendo revealed many of the final details about the worldwide launch of the Wii U, the company listed 50 games that would be available for the system in North America during a nebulous "launch window" that runs from November 18, 2012 to the end of March 2013. Today, Nintendo nailed down the Wii U's launch software lineup with a bit more detail, announcing 23 games that will be in stores when the system launches on November 18, with eight more available by the end of November.

Notably, heavily promoted Nintendo-developed titles like Pikmin 3, Wii Fit U, and Game & Wario will not be available on launch day, leaving just New Super Mario Bros. U and mini-game collection Nintendo Land to represent first-party development on day one. Ubisoft will be providing a few worthwhile launch-day exclusives for the system in the form of the charming Scribblenauts Unlimited and augmented reality horror game ZombiU, but Wii U owners will have to wait for other promising exclusives like Lego City: Undercover, The Wonderful 101, and Rayman Legends.

The vast majority of the games available for the Wii U on day one will be ports of games already available on existing systems. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is by far the most important of these, marking a true HD port of the game on a Nintendo system, but the Wii U version will necessarily be coming five days after the system hits PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on November 13. (UPDATE: the original article incorrectly stated that Call of Duty had been absent from the Wii in recent years)

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One of only two titles confirmed to be available on the Wii U's November 18 launch, so far...

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime would only confirm two titles that would definitely be ready when the Wii U launches in North America November 18—"deluxe edition" pack-in NintendoLand and side-scrolling, Super Mario World-inspired New Super Mario Bros. U. But Nintendo also unveiled a list of 50 titles that would be available in the "launch window," which the company defines as the period from launch through the end of March 2013. Individual launch dates for each of these titles will be announced directly by the publishers, Fils-Aime said.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the list is how many titles are simply ports of games that will be anywhere from a month to a year old on existing consoles by the time the Wii U launches. That list includes versions of Mass Effect 3, Darksiders II, Madden NFL 13, FIFA Soccer 13, NBA 2K13, 007 Legends, Batman: Arkham City, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. While each of these games will sport new features that make use of the Wii U's touchscreen GamePad, it's hard to imagine any of those features compelling people to buy a Wii U if they've already played the game on a current-generation HD system. More likely, these older ports are targeted at customers that might only own a Wii and are looking to play catch-up with some of the high-profile releases they've missed over the last year or so.

The launch-window game list also includes a number of contemporaneous ports of games that will be coming to other systems later this year. Some of these games are titles that would likely not have received a port on the underpowered Wii, such as Assassin's Creed 3, Ninja Gaiden 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Other multiplatform titles seem best suited to the family-friendly audience the Wii U appears likely to cultivate, such as Skylanders Giants, Just Dance 4, and Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. Overall, it's a good sign for Nintendo that its system won't be missing out on versions of some of the most-anticipated multiplatform games during the launch window. The long-term test, though, will be whether the Wii U can handle ports of games designed for Sony and Microsoft's next consoles (currently expected for the 2013 holiday season at the earliest).

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One of only two titles confirmed to be available on the Wii U's November 18 launch, so far...

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime would only confirm two titles that would definitely be ready when the Wii U launches in North America November 18—"deluxe edition" pack-in NintendoLand and side-scrolling, Super Mario World-inspired New Super Mario Bros. U. But Nintendo also unveiled a list of 50 titles that would be available in the "launch window," which the company defines as the period from launch through the end of March 2013. Individual launch dates for each of these titles will be announced directly by the publishers, Fils-Aime said.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the list is how many titles are simply ports of games that will be anywhere from a month to a year old on existing consoles by the time the Wii U launches. That list includes versions of Mass Effect 3, Darksiders II, Madden NFL 13, FIFA Soccer 13, NBA 2K13, 007 Legends, Batman: Arkham City, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

While each of these games will sport new features that make use of the Wii U's touchscreen GamePad, it's hard to imagine any of those features compelling people to buy a Wii U if they've already played the game on a current-generation HD system. More likely, these older ports are targeted at customers that might only own a Wii and are looking to play catch-up with some of the high-profile releases they've missed over the last year or so.

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