Gaming is in its golden age, and big and small players alike are maneuvering like kings and queens in A Game of Thrones. Register now for our GamesBeat 2015
event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we'll explore strategies in the new world of gaming.
Click here for all of GamesBeat’s Wii U launch coverage.
Hello, Wii. You’re 6 years old, but it’s time to say goodbye. Your successor, the Wii U, is here. You had a good run, but things slowed down near the end. We may see a Black Friday sale here or there, but our days with you are numbered. It seems it wasn’t all that long ago when I sat in line at my local Wal-Mart awaiting your midnight release, but it’s already been six years.
You tried so hard to please everyone, but you left many of those hardcore gamers disappointed. It’s hard to argue against that. Many of the games fans expected were cancelled completely, or just never brought Stateside. Sure, games are cancelled all the time, but in many of these cases, it was because Nintendo wanted to focus on its so-called “expanded audience,” in others, it was a matter of hardware limitations. Let’s take a moment to remember some of these games, and hope that some of this doesn’t happen again.
Why it mattered: Project H.A.M.M.E.R. was a brawler. You played as a guy with a big-ass hammer, and pounded the living crap out of anything around you. It was a new intellectual property (IP), which naturally made it a bit more interesting for gamers. It was also announced before the Wii’s launch. The prospect of playing a new property on an upcoming system naturally makes people excited. It’s also rare for Nintendo to publish a game that can be considered a bit less cartoony, such as the Mario and Zelda games.
Why it was cancelled: Nintendo cancelled the game and had developer NST shift focus to the casual market. This was where the Wii was seeing much of its success. Some reports said that Nintendo had simply delayed Project H.A.M.M.E.R., and it may return at some point. While the news wasn’t entirely reassuring, it, combined with a little wishful thinking, gave fans a bit of hope.
Chance that we will ever see it again: Project H.A.M.M.E.R. is most likely gone for good. That’s not to say its will never happen. Nintendo could one day decide that the game is better-suited for the Wii U.
Why it mattered: Sadness was another prelaunch Wii announcement. It never went beyond the status of teaser trailer. Regardless, Wii owners were interested. Sadness had the potential to be genuinely creepy, and it looked as if it would make full use of the system’s motion controls. Nintendo fan sites and message boards hyped this one up quite a bit, and that contributed to much of the excitement surrounding this game.
Why it was cancelled: Developer Nibris couldn’t get anything done. Aside from the sporadic updates on its status, Sadness never went anywhere. It experienced many hold-ups and was eventually cancelled. The developer apparently didn’t have a clear direction, and that was the end of Sadness.
Chance that we will ever see it again: Sadness is dead, and Nibris closed its doors long ago. It’s doubtful that we will ever see it in any form.
Animales de la Muerte
Developer: High Voltage Software
Why it mattered: Animales de la Muerte was for WiiWare, Nintendo’s downloadable game service. In all honesty, looked pretty average. It was about two kids running around a zoo in Mexico killing zombie animals. The game itself wasn’t what mattered. It was the reason for the cancellation that became a problem, and signaled a problem that would plague the Wii for the rest of its life.
Why it was cancelled: Animeles de la Muerte was killed off as a direct result of the limitations of the Wii hardware. Nintendo’s WiiWare platform could not support the game, thanks to the size limitations of WiiWare downloads. High Voltage decided that it would be better suited for retail, and possibly even Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) and the PlayStation Network (PSN). Animales de Muerte never released because the Wii was underpowered compared to the competition.
Chance that we will ever see it again: If High Voltage truly had any desire to continue work on this project, they would have released it for retail or a rival platform by now. Don’t count on it ever happening.
Shadows of the Damned
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Why it mattered: Shadows of the Damned was announced in 2010 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The fact that Goichi Suda, aka Suda51, was behind it was enough to entice many gaming fans. The funny part about this one is that we never knew it was a cancelled Wii game until Suda said so. As with Animales de la Muerte, the reason for the cancellation is what was truly bothersome for fans. In the end, Shadows of the Damned arrived on every console but the Wii.
Why it was cancelled: We can’t say with 100 percent certainty why Shadows of the Damned never made it to Wii. Suda said that he could not comment on the matter. What we do know is that it was ultimately released for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. It ran on Epic Game’s Unreal Engine 3, which was unavailable for the Wii. In fact, when asked about how he planned to make Shadows of the Damned work without Unreal Engine, Suda could not comment, either.
Chance that we will ever see it again: Shadows of the Damned was released, just not for the Wii. There’s always the slight chance that it could be reworked for the Wii U, but that’s up to publisher Electronic Arts (EA), and it’s not likely the game will ever see a re-release.
Why it mattered: In 2008, Nintendo received a lot of criticism for not pleasing its core fans. During the 2008 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Nintendo announced Wii Music. This, as far as gamers were concerned, meant that the game company had forgotten its core audience. Pikmin 3 was announced by Shigeru Miyamoto later that day. It gave those core fans something to look forward to. Furthermore, Nintendo first-party games tend to be system sellers. The Pikmin series turned out to be a hit when it was introduced on the GameCube, and the real-time strategy (RTS) element was well-suited for the Wii’s controls. It was also a nice alternative for those Nintendo fans who didn’t want to see yet another Zelda or Mario.
Why it was cancelled: Pikmin 3 was originally in development for the Wii, and it was eventually shifted over to the Wii U. Miyamoto and his team felt that the HD graphics and GamePad would enhance the experience. In this case, we have a game that was never released for the Wii, because it was reimagined for a newer, more powerful platform.
Chance that we will ever see it again: We will never see Pikmin 3 on the Wii. It’s being developed for Wii U.
Farewell Wii. Hello Wii U
Look, Wii, we definitely shared some good times. I’ll never forget watching my grandparents play Wii Sports. Thanks for those memories. Still, you lacked in a few very important areas.
While Pikmin 3’s switch to Wii U was ultimately good news for fans, games Like Project H.A.M.M.E.R. will probably never be spoken of again to an official capacity. Other games, like Animales de la Muerte and Shadows of the Damned, were cancelled, to the best of my knowledge, because the Wii hardware could not support the developer’s vision. Nintendo has finally caught up, in terms of graphics power, to the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Sure, graphics aren’t everything, but they make a heck of a lot of difference when they limit what’s available on your platform. Maybe that will all end with the Wii U.