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The Frostbite Engine Fiasco - Starring: EA and Nintendo

AKR|1762d ago |Blog Post|9|

For the past few months, EA has been sending major spit bombs at Nintendo and their Wii U. Despite APPEARING to show huge support for the game company giant and their new console at E3 2011, with the infamous "unprecedented partnership" line - ever from since the year has began - EA has been dissing Nintendo left, right, front, back and center. From making annoucements that "this game won't be coming to Wii U and that game won't be coming to Wii U" to having their Senior Engineer insult Nintendo and their system entirely, as well as making up excuse after excuse about how the Frostbite engine and the Wii U, just can't work right.

And it's that last point that I'll be discussing today.

On Nintendo's E3 2011 stage - the now former CEO of EA, John Riccitiello, was driving a wave of imagination over the audience, about how AMAZING of an experience EA games would be on the Wii U. And guess what he said? "All powered by the FROSTBITE ENGINE." One would think that Riccitiello wouldn't have made such a bold statement, without any solid proof to make it up. That draws the conclusion that MORE THAN LIKELY - EA already had the Frostbite engine up and running on the Wii U.

So why, two years later, are we getting something like this?

"[Frostbite 3] has never been running on WiiU. We did some tests with not too promising results with [Frostbite 2] and chose not to go down that path" - DICE Technical Director, John Andersson

Okay Johnny Boy; you SUPPOSEDLY can't get FB3 to run on Wii U, yet you have it running on MOBILE PLATFORMS?

"The Frostbite page officially reveals the existence of Frostbite Go, a 'mobile division' meant to allow Frostbite-based games. While it says the Frostbite Go project will target 'all major mobile platforms,' only iOS and Android are mentioned specifically"
- The Verge (

Perfect sense right? You can get the Frostbite engine optimized for tablets and smartphones that are WEAKER than the Wii U; yet you can't get it running on Wii U? Better yet, you have the Frostbite engine running QUITE FINE on near-decade old systems; XBOX 360 and PS3.

That is one thing I don't understand. Mobile platforms and near-decade old home consoles can run the Frostbite engine fine, yet the Wii U, more powerful than BOTH those categories, can't do it? But EA - I thought your engine was SCALABLE.

"Yeah, Frostbite is not really set up for Wii U. I don't have all the information, so it wouldn't be right for me to speak about it. Frostbite 3 is a really capable engine, it's scalable and it gives us a big advantage on the next generation to support the Xbox One and the PS4, but it's not being developed on the Wii U."
- Ghost Games Founder - Marcus Nilsson

So basically, with that quote being made; Is it really that the Frostbite engine CAN'T be optimized to run on the Wii U's hardware, or is it simply that EA REFUSES to get it to happen. It's one thing if they said "Well, we can't get our new engine to run on the 360 and PS3, nor mobile platforms" - but no - they're doing just the opposite. They ARE getting it to run for weaker platforms, as well as newer ones, such as the PS4 and XBOne. That's why the engine is SCALABLE - meaning that it can be modified to run on any capable system. So if near-decade old systems and iOS/Android devices can support it; why can't Wii U?

Is it the Power-PC architecture that the Wii U uses?
- Nope, not even that. XBOX 360 uses the Power-PC architecture; so can't use that excuse.

So, EA, what is your excuse? You just keep dishing out little tidbits of info - why? Why is it so hard to just say that you DON'T want to optimize Frostbite 2 and 3 for the system, instead of making yourself look like a bunch of lying hypocrites? It makes no sense. It's pathetic and unprofessional.

Crytek got their graphically-intensive game Crysis 3 running on the Wii U, using the advanced CryEngine 3. Yeah you know - that game that has sent some PCs to their grave and brings the PS3 and 360 to their very knees? Yeah that game. Precursor Games is also bringing their new title - Shadow of Eternals to the system - which ALSO uses the CryEngine 3

It's not that EA and it's subsidiaries literally CAN'T get the Frostbite engine on the Wii U, it's just that they simply don't want to. So many excuses, yet they keep shooting themselves in the foot when they announce that the SAME games that won't be coming to the Wii U, powered by the SAME engine that "can't" run on the Wii U - ARE coming to the XBOX 360 and PS3, powered by the SAME engine that **can't** run on Wii U.

So, EA? What really IS the problem? Is the architecture so difficult to crack like the PS3, that no matter what you try you simply can't get it to operate properly? Or is that you're STILL mad that you can't make Nintendo bow to their knees and abide by your specific terms like Sony and Microsoft?

. . . Hmmmm, interesting.

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PopRocks3591762d ago

In the end it's probably just PR nonsense. They probably just don't care, so they're making up excuses as to why they won't do it.

Pandamobile1762d ago

"DICE Technical Director, John Andersson"

Lol, I'm pretty sure his name is Johan.

"Okay Johnny Boy; you SUPPOSEDLY can't get FB3 to run on Wii U, yet you have it running on MOBILE PLATFORMS?"

Frostbite Mobile was likely made from the ground up for mobile devices and probably only shares workflow, pipeline and content creation tools with the console/PC version of the engine.

zerocrossing1762d ago

Regadless, we all know EA could get the Frostbite 3 engine working on the Wii U if they truly wanted to, you'd have to be a fool to believe otherwise.

Hufandpuf1762d ago

I think EA doesn't want to work with Nintendo, but I don't see why we should be mad at EA for it. It's their decision.

AKR1762d ago

It is their decision - But it's a very drastic decision to make when they made the big declaration of an "unprecedented partnership" at E3 2011. They went from full on supporting Nintendo and the Wii U, to giving them the coldest shoulder ever.

That's the problem right there.

You don't turn around and say one thing, and do the opposite. That's called being a hypocrite. Now, I'm going to miss out on a good franchise like NFS, just because EA decides to act as bad as bratty kids.

SilentNegotiator1762d ago

How many times are you going to cover this topic?

We get it; You don't like EA. EA is wrong. EA's decision not to work with Nintendo is "pouting" and not a business decision because of a rumor about their online service.

AKR1762d ago

I'm going to continue covering this topic everytime the issue arises in new news. It's not like all these EA articles contain the same info.

PopRocks3591761d ago (Edited 1761d ago )


Hey, it's his blog and the topic is still fairly fresh. But then you've had a habit of policing blog content in the past so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

PhantomT14121761d ago

When you talked about Crysis 3 being on the Wii U I though "WTF is he talking about ?" Then I looked up for this info, and I read this:

"We were very close to launching [Crysis 3]. But there was a lack of business support between Nintendo and EA on that. Since we as a company couldn’t launch on the Wii U ourselves--we don’t have a publishing license--Crysis 3 on Wii U had to die."

So yeah, like you say, it is technically possible to bring powerful engines like CryEngine to run on the console but it seems the relationship between EA and Nintendo isn't going so well...
But like Jim Sterling joked about it, the Wii U might be getting the best exclusives ever: no EA games, and no Alien Colonial Marines^^