Nintendo shouldn’t hope for any Wii U love from games publisher Bethesda, with the company blaming hardware limitations for its decision not to include the console on its roadmap. “In our near term focus it’s not on our radar” Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines told Joystiq recently, describing the decision as “largely a hardware thing.”
“None of the games we’ve announced are being developed for the Wii U, so it’s guaranteed that none of those games are coming to Wii U,” Hines confirmed, dashing any hopes of a last-minute port across to Nintendo’s machine. “Will any future ones come out? I can’t say for sure … it remains to be seen what the future holds”
Bethesda is not the first publisher to opt not to support the Wii U with games. Ubisoft, Activision, and EA have all frozen development of titles for the console, with Ubisoft opting to make what was originally planned to be a high-profile Wii U exclusive, Rayman Legends, now cross-platform, having seen launch title ZombiU come “not even close” to making a profit.
The reasons each publisher have given for bypassing the Wii U have differed slightly in each case. For Ubisoft, it’s lackluster sales of its own titles; Activision has been unimpressed with the performance of Nintendo’s who launch line-up.
Meanwhile, EA has criticized not only the “disappointment when you look at sell-through” of Wii U games, but the hardware’s core ethos. “It seems like a box that’s out of sync with the future of EA,” COO Peter Moore said of the console, highlighting the minimal engagement of Wii U owners in online play which EA has made the center of most of its line-up.
Bethesda’s Hines didn’t elaborate on what exactly the limitations of the Wii U were that scuppered its potential for games like The Elder Scrolls Online, Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Evil Within. He did, however, point out that it wasn’t the first time that the company had opted to bypass a console because the hardware would have led to a sub-par gaming experience, suggesting that the Xbox 360 missed out on The Elder Scrolls Online because it “just wasn’t possible” given the technical shortcomings.
Still, with the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 set to be significantly more powerful than the Wii U, and developers for each console already waxing lyrical about the two platforms, it remains to be seen whether Nintendo’s console will ever be competitive among third-party publishers.