With Mario Kart 8 out this week, many of us are remembering that we’ve actually got a Wii U. Call it the “Wii” effect: where you have a fantastic, potentially innovative system in your home, but only think about it during the one or two times a first-party release comes out. You can feel it all the more since 2014 is a light year across Sony and Microsoft’s new platforms as well (with many of the anticipated fall titles like Batman: Arkham Knight drifting into 2015).
But what if, during E3 next week, the Big N just rolled out a host of announcements of fan-favorite titles for 2015 and beyond? What if they embraced indies and worked with third-party studios willing to take advantage of the GamePad beyond using it as a way to check your inventory? What if the Wii U had a bunch of games coming our way?
Here are five game ideas that we’d love to hear Nintendo drop at this year’s E3.
5. Super Time Force (or chase the indies and pay them to develop for you)
I don’t think I’ve bought a single indie game on my Wii, Wii U, or 3DS. The console seems inviting enough for smaller developers and I could imagine some four-person team doing something weird and exciting with the GamePad, but typically, it’s not the console where you go to find something like Super Time Force, Mark of the Ninja, or Divekick.
Thinking about how specifically some of those games crib from 8 and 16-bit classics from the NES and SNES era, it’s weird that a Nintendo console isn’t home to the best and brightest platformers and multiplayer craziness like Towerfall. Seriously, why isn’t Towerfall on the Wii U?
4. An Adventure Time Card Wars/Hearthstone Bundle
With the release of the Wii U, Nintendo effectively put a tablet in the homes of everyone who picked up the console. And by now, the iPad and Android-based tablets have shown those things to be great ecosystems for collectible card games (CCGs). Chalk it up to the feeling of having a portable gaming table on the go, and tablet-based card games seem like a natural fit for the Wii U and – more importantly – a way for Nintendo to start getting more GamePads out into homes.
You see, in the almost two years since the launch of the Wii U here in the States, Nintendo still hasn’t released standalone GamePads (which is kind of a bummer if the one you have that came with the console dies). If Nintendo were to embrace one of these CCGs – say, the casual-friendly Adventure Time Card Wars or the more advanced Hearthstone – and bundled the controller with one of those games, think of the hours of in-home, multi-GamePad play going on.
Okay, I know I’ve chosen kind of niche genre with a pair of CCGs, but it speaks to a broader point: Nintendo needs to be pushing GamePad bundles with co-op and competitive multiplayer games for the Wii U so more developers will use the dang thing.
3. Zombi U 2
The sales on Ubisoft’s first Zombi U weren’t exactly stellar. Or even enough to break a profit for the French publisher. But it was without a doubt one of the strongest entries in the Wii U’s launch lineup, fully taking advantage of the hardware and being an impressive horror game to boot.
C’mon, Nintendo – the install base is larger now and the zombie craze doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. I wish both companies could go all in here on development of another sequel which offers an experience that you can’t get on the other consoles. Plus, it’s an original IP on a console whose M-rated content is typically adulterated versions of Xbox 360 and PS3 shooters.
As a first-person experience, Zombi U wasn’t perfect, but I put it next to Outlast in terms of immersive run-and-hide games. Through in some clever uses of the Wii U GamePad (particularly with the asymmetrical multiplayer) and it seemed Ubisoft was really onto something with the first Zombi U.
2. Metroid Prime U
Which feels like a nice segue into one of the two reasons I wrote this piece. Where’s our Wii U Metroid Prime? Or even news of a Wii U Metroid Prime?
When it made the leap to the Gamecube, Metroid Prime offered a radical reinvention of the franchise on the new console. Two sequels and a DS detour later, and the Metroid Prime series stands as one of the great evolutions for a series that was already great. Save for BioShock at Irrational, I mean it – no other company has really tried to mimic the first-person exploration or nailed it as effectively as the Prime series.
Well, after seven years, it’s time for Nintendo to bring Samus back in another first-person adventure – preferably one that will allow gamers to take on her visor view using the GamePad. I’m half convinced that’s what the thing was designed for anyway.
1. Pokemon + Skylanders = All of the money
I know, I know: we all want a Pokemon MMO. Except an MMO feels like an odd fit for the collect-em-all aspect of Pokemon.
But you know what doesn’t? A Skylanders-type game where you buy toys and use the radio sensor in the GamePad to bring your character to life on the screen. I don’t even have an affinity for Skylanders or Pokemon and even I want to just hand over my money for that concept (as long as there’s the promise of a Meowth somewhere in there).
Nintendo, just take my money already and give me an excuse to have some of your Pokemans in my house.