Nintendo is attempting to revolutionize the gaming experience with the Wii U. Its predecessor, the Wii, was the first system to feature an external tablet as a controller, and now the console company is stepping it up a notch. The Wii U's controller will feature a 6.2 inch touch screen display, aresembling portable device. This adds an additional screen to the gaming experience, opening opportunities for new gameplay techniques.
No official release date has been confirmed, but the device is set to hit stores in the holiday 2012 season. Yesterday's San Francisco Game Developer's Conference revealed two exciting announcements: Nintendo has partnered up with 3D design-company Autodesk and gaming-physics expert Havoc.
The new device was referred to as a serious player in the 'hardcore' games market by Nintendo-Gamer magazine.
This shift in development focus will help make the next-generation of titles more compelling than the last, Autodesk's Marc Petit said about the collaboration in a written statement, according to Nintendo-Gamer.
The 3-D company's addition means new developmental elements for the long-time gaming company. There are three different tools said to impact various parts of gaming, from maps and menus to character animation.
Scaleform is a device used to craft specific interfaces for users, which could be especially beneficial on the handheld portion of the Nintendo device. This is the tool that impacts the way maps and menus are created. Kynapse and HumanIK, other programming tools produced by Autodesk, are important when it comes to character development. The first controls the artificial intelligence and the other is used for animation.
Havok, the other partner in Nintendo's new venture, is known for its physics engine. The company has been hailed for its advanced and realistic simulations, creating real-life movement in the gaming realm.
Havok Physics offers the best in-class collision detection and simulation, all wrapped up in a well-designed API that's packed with powerful tools and offers high performance across multiple platforms, said Game Developer Magazine.
Last month it was reported that other possible features include voice control, 3D-HD displays and facial recognition. According to GameRant, patent filings from Nintendo revealed these characteristics as well as a built-in mic that would be similar to Xbox 360's Kinect. Another speculation said that the Wii U may be twice as powerful as the Xbox 360.
The gaming device's second screen is said to play different roles between games, acting as a rifle scope for a shooting game or a golf tee for a sporting game.
Fans are sure to be awaiting the release the Wii U, eager to see how their favorite games translate to the upgraded and in-depth graphic design and dual-screen experience. It was revealed that the third installment of the free-roaming RPG Assassin's Creed will be available for the new device.
This raises the question of whether or not Nintendo is beginning to see a shift in its primary demographic, moving away from the family-oriented spirit of the Wii console to the hardcore gaming world of RPGs and shooters.