The Adventures of Rocksteady and Wii U
I read the recent news article about why Rocksteady took the decision not to port to the Wii U. I already knew they weren't gonna release their game on the Wii u as well as the PS3, X360, and smart phones. But in this specific article the commenters reaction towards Rocksteady was highly negative specifically for the Wii u decision. On the other side of the coin, commenters were also highly negative of the Wii u. I found that a lot of gamers commenting were just not thinking logically about this, letting their emotions and favoritism (I refuse to call it fanboyism) get the best of them.
Well, firstly any company in the world whether it's gaming, movies, food, or clothes is in it mainly for the money. The way I see it is that any company has three goals, and there are two main scenarios for each set of three goals. First scenario:-1st goal is always money and profit, second goal is usually building a fan-base, and third goal is creativity & innovation in the given medium. Eg, marvel comics wants to make money, build a huge fan-base, and innovate and broaden comics and movies for the sake of art and creativity. Now this first scenario is the GOOD company scenario.
But sometimes this changes, thus the second scenario:- sometimes the first and second goal becomes money and profit, sometimes all three goals become money/profit (EA Comes to mind here). This second scenario I call the BAD company scenario. So there's nothing wrong for a company to think money/profit first, but it's totally wrong for it to be its main focus and goal in its entire existence (Activision might also come to mind here). Sometimes a company starts as GOOD and then turns to BAD and vice versa, Facebook is a perfect example, so is Fremantle the production company responsible for American Idol, both started out as cool ideas seeking to innovate in social connectivity and to give a chance for real musical talents who otherwise would never make it. Now look what American idol has become, a cash grab and a total joke of a show, while Facebook has become blinded with dollar signs.
Now at the same time, every game in the world, no matter how much of a graphical beast it might be, can be ported to multiple platforms. It can be even ported to the smallest and weakest of mobile phones. But for these ports to happen, they need money. Thus it's a very simple cost vs profit equation. If I spend this much on a port, will I be able to gain a profit from that ? Even if it's a little profit ? or will I lose money ?
For Rocksteady the answer was no. They found out that they will lose money instead of making a profit if they ported to Wii U. For Rocksteady, the Wii u is selling poorly thus it's a bad investment for them. Also keep in mind that porting to Wii U isn't as cheap as porting to other systems, as the architecture is complicated and needs more work=more time= more money. But there is another reason for Rocksteady's decision which is my own speculation and opinion. I personally think that Rocksteady is one of the GOOD companies as explained above. Thus innovation and creativity is important to them. And so they felt that with a Wii U port (and a PS3/360 port as well) they wouldn't achieve their full creative vision of pushing the boundaries of gaming. They wouldn't be able to innovate their game into the next generation. Yes they could port a 'downgraded' version to the Wii U/PS3/360 off course, but they would sacrifice quality. Whether it be visual quality or gameplay quality.
Off course Rocksteady's creative vision and innovation might just be a visual upgrade, it looks like there is no real innovation in gameplay mechanics in the Arkham knight (remains to be seen off course). But that's not our decision to make, it's THEIR creative vision not ours. Some gaming companies see that pushing the boundaries comes in graphical power, others see it in gameplay mechanics. To each company it's own, just like movies, some directors focus on the quality of acting while others focus on art direction and a "rich" frame. In the end all GOOD companies aim to innovate and push the limits/raise the bar of gaming expectations, in their own way. But innovation in graphics vs gameplay is not the point here.
I personally think that in this specific situation it's not all about the Benjamins. If it were, they would have a port for PS3/wii U/360/iPhone/iPad/android. Just think about the recent infamous release. Second son could easily be "downgraded" and ported for the PS3 and Vita, and that would definitely make a huge profit for Sucker Punch. But, Sucker punch wanted to innovate and create a dazzling experience with the new available tech, it wasn't all money for them. Same as Rocksteady.
Rocksteady wanted to create a visually stunning batman game.
Rocksteady wanted to execute their creative vision of a kickass bat mobile while keeping great fidelity and high/steady frame rate and graphical power. Rocksteady doesn't want to invest huge amounts of money porting to the Wii u as they feel that they won't make a profit out of the port. They justify this by poor Wii U sales. Rocksteady doesn't want to port to any last gen or mobile device cause it doesn't want to sacrifice it's creative vision.
Rocksteady doesn't want to release it's game on the Wii U period. That's their decision to make, not ours, while it will upset some gamers who primarily game on the Wii U, it's their right to pick and choose what system they want to release on. If there are a group of gamers who disagree, then you can be vocal about it, and you have to express your opinion. Just remember what happened when people were vocal about the Xbone drm issue, Xbone succumbed to the people's demands. Though there is a greater power at play here.
No one can call the Wii U a failure just yet, actually the way I see it, no one can call the Wii U a failure at all. Yes the Wii U has very poor sales, and it'll probably never catch up to PS4 or Xbone sales. Yes the Wii u is underpowered compared to PS4/Xbone. Yes the Wii u doesn't have as much M rated games as the other gaming consoles. But even with all of that the Wii U will have some great memorable games. In my opinion, there's no failing console. As long as some people out there enjoy it, and as long as there's a handful of games that people remember/will remember then that is a success in its own way regardless of sales. A great example here would be the dreamcast. BUT, at the same time we can't say that the Wii U is without it's faults, Nintendo made a few mistakes with the Wii U that are costing them losing valuable third party ip's and third party game support. That's life though, you have to make mistakes to be able to grow, and understand yourself, you trip then you fall then you get up and dust yourself off to get ready for another battle that you know you'll do your best to win. That's what Nintendo is gonna do. That's what Nintendo always does.