Last year, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said his company wasn't worried about third-party publishers shying away from the Wii U. The Wii had its issues, yes, but Fils-Aime promised that history wouldn't repeat itself.
"What I would tell you is that, fundamentally, the reason certain games didn't make it to the Wii was because, first, the developer or publisher had invested in art at an HD level," Fils-Aime told Kotaku editor Stephen Totilo last June. "For them to rework that art to an SD level was a cost they were unwilling to accept. Second, that the online capabilities especially for in-game purchase, or things of that nature, [were things] they viewed it as a key part of their business model, which the Wii didn't support. Looking to the future, both of those issues have been solved with the Wii U."
Except... the issues haven't been solved. Because it's looking like Nintendo's third-party woes ain't ending any time soon. The majority of this year's games? Not on Wii U. Big next-gen games like The Witcher 3 and the Thief reboot? Not on Wii U.
And now, officially announced this week, the next Battlefield shooter is—you're never gonna guess this—not on Wii U. The game's Frostbite 3 engine doesn't support it.
"We right now don't have support for the Wii U in the Frostbite engine," Battlefield 4 lead Patrick Bach told Eurogamer at GDC. "It's about, where do you put your focus? And the Wii U is not a part of our focus right now."
But wait, there's more! Battlefield 4 is published by EA, and EA owns BioWare. And BioWare's big upcoming RPGs, as studio general manager Aaryn Flynn confirmed last night, will run on the Frostbite 3 engine. Which, again, doesn't support Wii U.
So although Mass Effect 3 was a Wii U launch game, the next Mass Effect and Dragon Age probably won't make it to Nintendo's system. If you like those kind of games, you'll probably want to stick with the next Xbox or the PS4.
This is all really too bad: as my fellow Wii U owners can attest, Nintendo's latest console is a nice piece of hardware with some great features. But history, as expected, is repeating itself once again.