Wii U message hard to convey says Ubisoft studio head

Xavier Poix says Nintendo's new home console off to a slow start; believes gaming's future lies in interconnectivity and multiplatform titles.

Xavier Poix, managing director of Ubisoft's Annecy, Montpellier, and Paris studios, has spoken out about the challenges of developing launch titles for next-generation hardware, using Nintendo's Wii U as an example.

Rayman Legends won't be making an appearance until 2013.

Speaking with GameSpot at the annual D.I.C.E. summit in Las Vegas this week, Poix said the Wii U message is hard to convey, something he believes has greatly contributed to the console's slow start in the market.

"The depth of what you can do with that console is really hard to get across unless you play with it," Poix said. "It's different from the Wii, where seeing was believing. With the Wii U, people really need to experience it."

Poix and his team have been developing titles for the Wii U for the last two years, including survival horror title ZombiU. The game was released to a generally lukewarm critical reception, something which was noted by the game's developers.

Poix said looking back, he can see where Ubisoft went wrong.

"The whole idea of the asymmetrical gameplay and using two screens to do two very different things is not simple to explain to people. ZombiU was designed to be a game for core players launching with a new Nintendo console. We should have communicated better in this respect to let people know what kind of experience to expect. It wasn't obvious enough that there would be a new controller and new gameplay and a new skill set to develop."

According to Poix, the fact that the Wii U may have started slower than Nintendo expected is not indicative of its future success, especially as more players adapt to the multiscreen trend.

"We are at a new start in the industry, a moment where gaming is no longer just for geeks. We have consoles like the Wii to thank for that, and the rise in mobile gaming. It's all leading towards interconnectivity. What you do on your phone in the future will impact what you do on your console back home, and so on. There will be different applications for different devices."

Responding to earlier comments by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot that the lack of new hardware is stifling creativity in the game development industry, Poix said this isn't necessarily true; he believes that creativity is simply at its best around a new console launch, when developers have the chance to deal with both new opportunities and constraints.

"You've got a new toy to play with, and for the first time you need to think differently. It's hard to achieve, but it's the best moment."

Looking forward, Poix pointed to technology like Microsoft's SmartGlass application as leading the way in the area of interconnectivity and multiscreen experiences.

Poix's team is currently working on the upcoming Wii U title Rayman Legends, due out on February 26, 2013.

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110 comments
Sfr528
Sfr528

It's funny how everyone loves to blame the Wii U for Publishers lack of initiative to be creative and fully embrace the hardware that the Wii U provides.  I don't actually blame the developers for this; its obvious the Publishers are who stymy creativity in order to have carbon copies of games released on every system. Maybe I am in a weird position; but I do not want carbon copy ports of games I can play on my PS3, Xbox360, or PC for that matter.  I want new experiences, different experiences.  It's frustrating to me that we mostly get garbage.

Not that the Wii U didn't have some questionable design decisions.  For one the hard drive was rather lackluster.  At least it's easy enough to add more space.  The other weird decision was not including an adapter, in box, to connect to a cable modem.  Yet again, cheap and easy fix, but still a vexing decision.  

The power of the system to me is perfectly fine.  Speaking from someone who is in possession of a killer gaming PC -- the most gorgeous game I've played was the Witcher 2.  That game was able to port over to the Xbox360 and PS3 and be serviceable.  I highly doubt that the new consoles coming out would be able to handle the Witcher 2 at full settings anyways.  Even if they could its not that huge of a difference. By the way the cost of a PC that can maximize the potential of such a game is upwards of 2,000 dollars (even more if you want to play with ridiculously smooth frame rates).  Do gamers really think Sony or Microsoft would be daft enough to release a console that cost anywhere near that price point?  They have to be somewhat competitive with the Wii U's price point I would think.

I guess my point is graphics aren't a selling point for the consoles to me.  I want fun games and sincerely wish that publishers and developers would build games to the strengths of the consoles instead of releasing carbon copies across all the mediums.  Aren't the conversations between fanboys so riveting this generation.  Well my system slightly rendered the shadow quality better.  Well my system has a slightly better sky box.  Jeez. what pedestrian comparisons.

DarkReign2552
DarkReign2552

Yeah. It must be hard to convey that message. Especially when you develop a game exclusively for a consoles launch line-up, than delay it until a year after launch so you can develop multi-platform ports for every console. Way to show your support Ubisoft. I knew I could count on you.

Seriously, what's happened to Ubisoft in recent years? Sub-par ports, constant delays, Rainbow Six 3 and Raven Shield was the last good R6 game, Ghost Recon 1 and Island Thunder was the last good GR game, Chaos Theory was the last good SC game, BG&E2, Watch Dogs and R6: Patriots are nowhere to be seen, the Rayman series has been crapped on. Far Cry 3 is the only thing they have going for them right now and that's lucky because FC2 was a piece of crap. Black List is the only thing that Ubisoft seems to have going for it right now and I pray they don't screw that up somehow.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

"We are at a new start in the industry, a moment where gaming is no longer just for geeks. We have consoles like the Wii to thank for that, and the rise in mobile gaming." I have to admit that line made me nauseous. >_>

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Are there really games good enough that I'd want to play a AAA version on a console and also a mobile version on my phone? Are there even such games? I feel the Ubi director shot off on a tangent. I simply wish Nintendo the best.

baxwam
baxwam

If Nintendo just change the awful name before launch  Wii U ( U as for Under clocked) it probably  sold at least 200,000 units more. I have one and I have positive feelings with it and though now its just the worlds greatest Youtube/ Neflix Machine and a 1080 up scale for xendoblade and I am excited for the games that coming out on spring. But I am just still baffled with the name Wii U it really sounds like add on Like Xbox Kinetic, Play Station Move. 

jark888
jark888

I love to know more about Asian gaming news.

darkfiercelink
darkfiercelink

I wasn't sure about purchasing a Wii U when it launch but after waiting for 3 months I finally decided to buy one and it is awesome.  The graphic is much better than the ps3 and I enjoyed playing Nintendo Land and Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper with my cousins.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

wii u is not a failure in any means ,-the fact it sold more then 360 ps3 launch speaks for it self thats launch alligned 

and no telling how much the next xbox/ps will cost 

Flint247
Flint247

I will give the Wii U a chance before saying it is a failure. It just came out and hasn't been used to its full potential, yet. The same criticism was around when the DS, Wii, and 3DS came out. People doubt it, but now, they are huge successes. I loved the DS concept and the 3DS followed it well. The Wii was very entertaining, as well. I am sure the Wii U will pick up the pace once better games and more software comes out. I still believe the Gamepad was a great addition to the console gaming. While it is subjective on how it is used, I believe it should stay because it adds more options and customization to games.

Let's give the Wii U some more time, at least a year or 2 before judging it. I hope to get mine by next month, my birthday month. :D

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

the wii u hardware may end up being inferior hurts their chances with the core gamer. the fact that its a tablet didn't make sense to casual/non gamers that spent money on the wii. ninty is going to have to carry themselves again like they did on the gc with their first party titles. they should really start buying more gaming studios just like sony 

b1gt0ne
b1gt0ne

VIVA LA NINTENDO!! 

Legend002
Legend002

The Wii U is going to be okay. Don't worry guys.

HydePark1980
HydePark1980

Finally a developer that can give constructive criticism of the Wii U, without out giving bullshit excuses why they can't develop for the system.

sunyatanada76
sunyatanada76

The WiiU is already dead, Nintendo messed up bad this time.

YearoftheSnake5
YearoftheSnake5

Despite its shortcomings, the Wii U is a very nice system. If it had better advertising or some games that really showed what the system could do at launch, it would be selling better. The most recent Nintendo Direct has definitely brightened up the system's future - especially with the mention of operating system updates for spring and summer.

hamidious
hamidious

Bah,

The Wii U is great. 

People can't be happy, if Nintendo targets the casuals like the Wii, the hardcore cry. and when the system targets the hardcore like the Wii U, other people cry.

I'm not worried about the success of the Wii U, I know it will do great and has a nice year ahead of it. After Nintendo Direct I got one and can't wait for it to arrive. I got it for 270$ from Ebay. That's a great price for me. The controller is awesome and people don't know that the controller is a huge cost in itself. 

ItsEvolution
ItsEvolution

If Rayman Legends has a chance of being on other systems, that's one more reason to put off the purchase of a Wii U. 

dre256x
dre256x

@baxwam i Too think it should have been called Wii U.. Some will take it as a sequel to a system they owned but hardly played.. 

YearoftheSnake5
YearoftheSnake5

@jsmoke03  

Indeed, it could hurt Nintendo's chances of getting certain multiplatform games. We'll have to wait and see how this gen pans out when the new Xbox and Playstation products hit the market. Last generation, I was a bit frustrated by all the missed opportunities Wii had to implement clever Wiimote controls. Mass Effect, for example, could have been fantastic with pointer control, but Wii was just too weak to handle it. Hopefully a similar situation is avoided this time.

THM80
THM80

 @Legend002 Anyone who owns a Wii U already knows that :-)

THM80
THM80

 @sunyatanada76 In depth trolling at it's best...

emptycow
emptycow

@hamidious how is nintendo targeting  the hardcore ? is it by not getting any  3rd party games   nintendo is lost with the wiiu they have no idea who they are selling this thing to


emptycow
emptycow

@ItsEvolutionRayman Legends will be on the xbox 360 and ps3 at some point if not it wont matter  rayman for wiiu is nothing more then a over hyped xbox live $10 game  that game would cost $10 on xbox live on the wiiu they are trying to sell it for $60 that is a huge ripoff   look at this game its awesome it looks as good or better then rayman  and on xbox live it cost  $10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MVaAZcxb54

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@ItsEvolution 

Ubisoft already confirmed that it won't happen since they would pretty much have to remove a huge part of the game for it to be on other systems.

interrasteral7
interrasteral7

@YearoftheSnake5 @sunyatanada76 

Yeah, Nintendo sure turned the 3DS around with a price cut. In my opinion, I call that being weak to Nintendo. If they wanted more people to buy their 3DS, then they should had more good video games for it instead of seeing the price cut as the solution to sell more 3DS.

emptycow
emptycow

@YearoftheSnake5 @sunyatanada76 well  the 3ds  has games also the  3ds is alot cheaper then the vita  so in handhelds the 3ds has no competition  the wiiu has strong competition coming in just a few months 

THM80
THM80

 @emptycow @hamidious Same ol BS huh emptycow? The fact you keep thinking you can see into the future clearly shows your hiding your brain medicine!

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@emptycow @ItsEvolution 

So you're insulting Ubisoft's mascot again? 

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a great XBLA title, but it's no where near the scale of Rayman Origins or Legends. Same reason why Little Big Planet is sold at full retail, or Donkey Kong Country Returns, because even though they're side scrollers, they're much bigger games. 

Also look at the workmanship put into Rayman Legends, unlike Origins, Legends is actually fully 3D.

hamidious
hamidious

@kabloe @YearoftheSnake5 @emptycow @hamidious 

Nintendo doesn't control 3rd parties. They either want to develop for the console or they don't, unless they get bought like Microsoft does. I'm talking about Nintendo itself and it's efforts. The console is more hardcore oriented than the Wii for sure. Some announced games like Bayonetta 2 and Xenoblade and FireEmblem...these are titles Nintendo is pushing.

kabloe
kabloe

@YearoftheSnake5 @emptycow @hamidious  

Yeah the only thing it's that those game has been out last years for every other console so harcore like me already have and like me when you get your wonderful Wii-U you have to get a game you already have to have fun with and I have chose Ninja gaiden 3 because this version is what the game shoukd be last year at lunch on PS3

emptycow
emptycow

@abHS4L88 @emptycow @ItsEvolution pricing small games at $60 is bad for the video game industry it makes people say should i get this  huge   epic AAA game that cost the devs 10s of millions to make for $60 or should i get this  small game that cost the devs $1 million to make ........  this is why the price for smaller games should be lower so you can get both the small game and the big game  nintendo and ubisoft is ripping people off with both mario u and the new rayman game 

emptycow
emptycow

@abHS4L88 @emptycow @ItsEvolution  no i think they are just ripping people off    look at 

Bionic Commando rearmed  it took a  full team  over a year to make it and they sold it for like $15 on xbox live and psn  there is no reason at all nintendo or ubisoft should be selling 2d games  for $60   that price is for  big budget games like assassin's creed, gears of war ,uncharted etc   games that took like 10 or 15 million dollars to make   $60 for rayman   $60 for mario you give me a break not to say they are bad games but the price is nuts