[Games] Wii 2 Rumour Roundup

Image by Ittsai

Image by Ittsai

In the past 48 hours the Wii 2 rumour mill has gone into overload. Here’s a quick look at some of the theories doing the rounds about the machine that Nintendo’s expected to unveil at E3 in June.

Pooooower!

Various “sources” have told various publications that the Wii 2 will be anything from “nearly as powerful” as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 all the way up “significantly more powerful”.

Given that the current crop of console hardware is five or more years old, that’s not saying much. Nintendo could base the thing on three year old PC hardware and still claim to be more powerful that their rivals. Bear in mind that what we’re talking about here are the first shots being fired in the first console war since 2006. Nintendo is at the vanguard this time around, its leading the charge just as the Mega Drive did in the 16-bit era and the Xbox 360 did this time around. Of course both of those consoles were huge hits because they represented a huge technological leap over what had gone before. Let’s also pause to remember the Dreamcast, Jaguar and 3DO all of which launched early in their respective cycles only to get buried when their rivals pushed past them technologically.

The very least Nintendo can do is move the game on from the 360 and PS3. It just has to hope it has enough years alone in the market place to build up sales before Sony and Microsoft steam in with the own next-gen efforts.

HD or not HD

This is the biggest foregone conclusion since the dawn of time. Everything is HD these days. If phones and youtube are capable of HD resolutions releasing a console that can’t manage anything more than 480p (like the Wii) in this day and age would be criminal. The Wii simply has to support 1080p with built-in HDMI or it will be a laughing-stock.

Feeling the Touch

Touch is the new motion, as I’m sure someone once said. Nintendo has already done it once, revolutionising the handheld market with the DS. Now Sony’s NGP and smartphones are making finger-based multi-touch central to the gaming experience its natural to expect some form of touch control built into Wii 2. There’ll be Wii/Move style motion control in there too somewhere, no doubt as well.

CVG suggest that the touch controls for Wii 2 won’t be an NGP-style panel on the back of the controller, or a laptop-style touchpad but some kind of touchscreen built into the controller, more like the Ds’s lower screen. While I’d be amazed if this wasn’t capacitive and multi-touch the possibility of something cheaper and stylus based can’t be dismissed either, given Nintendo’s decision to stick with the more primitive technology for the 3DS.

Backwards and Forwards

Probably another no-brainer. Just about everything Nintendo has ever made has been backwards compatible in some what shape or form (except the Gameboy Micro). With Virtual Console on the Wii everything from NES games on are playable, so expect to see something similar next time around too.

While Wii games are rumoured to be playable I’d wager that the new control mechanism won’t support them directly. More realistically you’ll need to use your Wiimote with the new system, just as you can plug a Gamecube pad into he current Wii to properly experience last-gen titles.

Going Hardcore Again

This is an interesting one. Game Informer quotes an anonymous source as saying “Nintendo is doing this one right, it’s not a gimmick like the Wii”. That suggests a move back towards the core territory of typical gamers, now firmly ensconced in the PlayStation and Xbox camps. While it’s certainly possible that the Big N hopes to pull a few million gamers tired of the current-gen into its arms with a new machine I would be staggered if it did much to alienate the massive casual fan base its managed to secure through sales of the Wii and the DS family.

Not Even a Wii

Another Game Informer rumour suggests Nintendo plan to rebrand the new console for western markets. We were all baffled by the name Wii when we first heard it, and many of us had a goog giggle at the lavatorial overtones of the name. It’s a brand that’s now universally linked to innovate, gameplay led entertainment now though, and based on how long Nintendo stuck with its succesful Gameboy and NES brands I for one would be amazed to see the company junk such a well recognised name,

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