Well, a lot has happened and I haven’t really had a chance to talk about most of it, so time for a new Rundown the Street! I’ll be trying a slightly different format this time around.
Bad News Keeps Piling Up for the Wii U, Some Good News Mixed In
Things really aren’t looking good for the Wii U right now. American sales figures for January have been released, which put the sales of the console somewhere between 50K and 57K, with most websites going with a 55K figure. Selling that few systems in this early a month is, according to data from Siliconera, unprecedented. The Wii and the GameCube have similar months on record, but those months were 60 months after their release, the month before when they were replaced by their newer counterparts. The Wii U, however, is doing this on its third month, and all signs point to February being even worse. With Rayman Legends having been delayed to September, the only game coming out is a download-only title that got horrible reviews.
At the moment, it simply looks like the Wii U was put out a year too early. The games are simply not there, including a lot of Nintendo’s, and I blame them on Nintendo not giving enough time between the devkits and launch day. As things stand, most games coming out right now are games that are near the end of their development cycles and entered development before industry insiders even knew about the system. Unless March’s release slate is the beginning of a monthly avalanche of titles, the Wii U’s lead will be quickly overtaken by the upcoming offerings by Sony and Microsoft.
The sad thing is that Nintendo can do nothing in the short-term to fix this.
In more light-hearted news, leaked marketing materials for upcoming Ubisoft title Watch Dogs, which was easily the most interesting thing at E3 2012 last year (aside from maybe the existence of an English demo for Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA), touts that the game will be available on “all consoles”. Unless the Wii U is not considered a console, that means that it is getting a port to the system as one of the titles Ubisoft claimed they had in store of the Wii U when it announced the aforementioned Rayman delay. Given the mechanics of the game, I will be picking it up on Wii U if I pick it up at all, and anyone who saw the E3 presentation and plans to own or already owns a Wii U would probably agree with me on that. As I said in my post about the delay, I’ll need to see more than empty words from Ubisoft before I purchase any more of their consoles games new. If this is true, consider it step 1.
In addition, the Wii U port of Need For Speed: Most Wanted will apparently use the assets from the PC version of the game, rather than the downscaled assets used in the PS3 and 360 versions of the game. If there are no framerate issues with this release of the game, then we might just see the accusations of the system being weaker than the PS3 and 360 stop. This will not, however, boost Wii U sales, since this is a port of a game that was released mere weeks prior to the launch of the system (and therefore 5 months late).
The 3DS, which also launched poorly, is enjoying success that exceeds that of the DS, but the Wii U is unlikely to see such a drastic pivot. Still, I have to scoff at those who claim that this will be Nintendo’s last console.
PS4 Controller Adds Touchpad, Drops Rumble and Start Button
Leaked pictures of the devkit for the successor to the PS3, code-named the Orbis, show a prototype for the new system’s controller. The aforementioned prototype’s controller adds a touchpad where the Start and Select buttons were (instead putting what appears to be a PlayStation button akin to the Xbox button underneath it), stretches the system horizontally to allow for said touchpad to be a decent size and give more spacing between the thumbsticks. The prototype controller also drops the rumble feature to allow for this to work without increasing the size too much. Otherwise, the controller is the usual Dualshock design we’ve seen since the PS1 days. The leak was later confirmed as legitimate.
No details on the system itself were revealed, but Sony will likely be announcing it on the 20th regardless.
Personally, I don’t know what to think of it. Losing the Start and Select buttons means two less buttons, but the touchpad seems to not offer anything of particular note, unless it was a weak shot at the Wii U. Being that would not surprise me, however, as advertisements for the upcoming announcement seem to also be taking pot-shots at the Wii U, with quotes such as “Oh, Yay, Another Mario Game.”
I’m far more concerned with their strategy on used games, whether or not the system will be a graphical behemoth, whether backwards-compatibility will be included, and if the system will even have a disc drive. We’ll see on Wednesday.
This Anime Season Sucks; Rest of the Year Looks Much Better
We’re more than half-way through the Winter 2013 anime season, and this is most certainly the worst one I’ve been through since I started watching anime regularly. I had high hopes, with a sequel to Haganai, which I found amusing, and adaptations of Oreshura and MAOYU, both of which I enjoyed immensely in manga form, but Haganai’s new season isn’t any more amusing than the first, and the anime adaptations of Oreshura and MAOYU are sub-par for different reasons.
While there are a handful of shows I’ve been enjoying, most of them aren’t anything special, and would be considered low-priority in any other season. To be fair, however, I’m watching just as many, if not a handful more anime than I did in previous seasons, so at least the amount has stayed consistent through this.
Still, upcoming seasons will be far better, with another Monogatari anime adaptation, a sequel to Oreimo and an adaptation of the Neptunia series coming. I can at least take solace in getting the low point of the year at the beginning.
XNA is Dead
Old news, but I never got around to posting about it. Microsoft recently announced that they would be cutting support for XNA in the coming months. XNA is a C# framework that is used for all games that were made available on the Xbox Live Indie Games platform. While I will not be fully expressing how terrible their practices were here, I will note that Microsoft had been mis-managing the service since its inception and has been deliberately hiding XBLIG so much that you have to not only know it’s there, you have to spend a while looking for it to find it.
Normally I would just say good riddance, but hearing that it was dead sent me on a trip down memory lane. If it were not for XNA, there’s a rather serious chance that I would not have learned how to program at all. Nowadays, C# is probably the only programming language I have any significant degree of proficiency in, and I have to thank XNA’s existence (and, for probably the only time for anything significant, my father’s forcefulness in making me take the class at the University of Toronto five years ago) for that.
While I have since completely redone the entire project in a bigger, better form in Unity, XNA is where the development on Turtles all the Way began. Needless to say, I would be doing the game a complete disservice by not acknowledging what XNA meant to me, and am currently breathing a sigh of relief for switching to Unity way before this all collapsed.
Turtles all the Way Development Moving Slowly, As Usual
To the surprise of no-one, Turtles all the Way‘s development is still moving slowly. Josh finally found an opportunity to begin working on his concept art, but he’s already shown you how little he’s actually done so far, so no point dwelling on that. Atman has created 23 of the 88 music tracks/jingles the game will need, roughly 26%, which is not a very signficant increase from before. If anyone’s wondering why there are so many musical tracks, do note that a lot of them are remixes of each other to save work.
Meanwhile, my coding has slowed down significantly now that I’ve reached the point where practically anything I attempt to code results in some major questions popping up that weren’t necessarily covered by the design.
I don’t really know if it’s a blessing or a curse that things are moving so slowly. That said, explaining why involves things I would rather not mention publicly. I’d much prefer a faster pace, but the three of us have lives, and it’s not like this is Josh’s or Atman’s day job, so I can’t exactly demand they pick up the pace.
I also recently brought up the topic that is naming our team. After how things ended with the last set of people, I don’t want to re-use the name from before. I was thinking something along the lines of Nested [something], but Atman has no ideas for a name and Josh believes that it would cheapen things to name the group, so the discussion was saved for later.
Laziness, Fire Emblem, Midterms to Blame for Lack of Posts
We’re more than half-way through the month and this is the fifth post. I was going to write a post detailing my opinions regarding love for Valentine’s Day, but opted not to. I was going to do 2-3 Under Your Radar posts per week, but things keep stopping me. At this rate, I might even start Do Not Finish without clearing out my queue as planned.
Overall, all I can really do is apologize. I can only hope that I can turn this behaviour around before the blog reaches its first anniversary on April 1st. Speaking of which, a countdown has now been added to the side-bar for that.
Last time I did a Rundown the Street, I expressed interest in doing them on a regular basis. I am indeed still considering that, perhaps as weekly retrospectives on Sundays while moving Under Your Radar to another day of the week to allow better spacing. But I don’t know what people think of these posts, so I’d like to hear some thoughts. Do you think I should comment on the news more often?
I am also considering doing posts about the Weekly Shonen Jump Table of Contents Rankings, since I already do that elsewhere, thus making such posts not require much extra effort.