Nintendo announced new features and abilities for their new Wii U console to expand how games can be played during the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo . But how do those features translate to the player’s enjoyment and what is the vision for the Wii U?
Katsuya Eguchi, software manager at Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development, sat down for a one-on-one interview to describe, not what the Wii U is, but what the Wii U can potentially become for users.
His answers were translated by a Nintendo-provided translator in the room during the time of this interview.
Q: This is an open-ended question. What is Wii U?
Mr. Eguchi: “That really is an open-ended question! That is like asking someone, ‘What is space?’ (laughs) I would say Wii U is intended to be a machine as a place in the home that anyone can enjoy it, that everyone can enjoy it, a family can enjoy for various forms of entertainment. But also a system that is not forgetting about the solo player, providing experiences for them, providing ways for them to connect with other players.”
Q: NintendoLand looks like an amusement park. I can go in a play this game or this game or interact with other people or just watch what’s going on. Is the intent to create a widening social experience with the Miiverse and NintendoLand?
Q: “The Miiverse is a direct connection with games and implemented independently in each game, depending on the best way that game can take advantage of it. The Miiverse is visualized in different ways. In the home menu, you get this conglomeration of Miis whereas in NintendoLand, you get Miiverse implemented into the park area. In ‘New Super Mario Bros. U,’ if the player has a want to express how they feel at a particular time, say they keep dying in the same pit over and over again, it may ask how you feel and your messaging is broadcast through Miiverse. Some of the things we done explaining it may make it sound limiting, but what it has done is actually expanding socializing games.”
Q: The idea of having a group of people in your home to enjoy asymmetric game play is more about sticking to the living room experience. Is that about expanding the entertainment value of the Wii U to the home?
Mr. Eguchi: “Asymmetric game play is a key concept in a lot of the multiplayer experiences. The idea of multiplayer being limited to just asymmetric gameplay or limiting experiences to just multiplayer experiences, which are limited by having a certain number of people – those are not the only experiences we want people to have.”
Q: What do you envision 2 years down the road…5 years down the road into how the Wii U will expand the home entertainment experience?
Mr. Eguchi: “That’s a great question. There is just a lot of potential in everyday life. Using the TV, using the Internet, combining those things with the integrated elements of the Wii U. Taking those and presenting them in new and interesting ways is really exciting. Another really important factor is there are a lot of companies out there that are pushing integration – tablets and TVs, smartphones and other devices – in a lot of possible configurations. The beauty of Wii U is it is a set. Things you can do combined with that set you can rely on everybody having that integration. We really want to focus on taking things that people do in everyday life and providing them in a new and unique way that makes them easier to do.”