Many gamers buy Nintendo hardware only to play Nintendo games, but the console manufacturer wants to expand the software library for its Wii U system with the help of indie developers.
At the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Nintendo plans to focus on how easy it is for small developers to release products for the Wii U, which could also help get more games out for the struggling hardware. The company plans to host a number of indie titles at its booth that were all created using the popular Unity development tool. Nintendo has an agreement with Unity to enable studios to make Wii U games with the kit without having to pay the standard licensing fees. The publisher also plans to unveil its new Nintendo Web Framework toolkit that it will make available to other companies.
Nintendo sold only 2.4 million Wii Us in the first nine months of Nintendo’s fiscal 2014. That poor performance has led many major publishers to skip the system to focus on the better-established Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms as well as the shiny and new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems that just debuted in November.
“We want to demonstrate to developers how easy it is for them to bring their creative ideas to Nintendo systems,” Nintendo of America vice president of licensing Steve Singer said. “Nintendo offers wide-ranging support for indie developers, whether they want to use Nintendo Web Framework, Unity, or their own proprietary code.”
Developers can use Unity to make games for any platform, but to publish a final product, studios must pay Unity a fee. Nintendo is encouraging development on its platform by making a deal with Unity to waive that cost. This has already led to a number of upcoming releases from small studios. Nintendo will show off the following games at its GDC booth:
- Armillo: A 2D platformer starring a space armadillo from Fuzzy Wuzzy Games.
- Ballpoint Universe: Infinite: An exploration game made entirely of art drawn with a ballpoint-pen from Arachnid Games.
- Cubemen 2: A 3D action strategy game that also includes tower-defense elements from developer Nnooo.
- Ittle Dew: An adventure title that takes place on an island with mysterious natives from Ludosity AB.
- Monkey Pirates: A high-seas arena battler where players can improve their vessel with better weapons from developer Henchmen Studio.
- Nihilumbra: An abstract title where a character must use colors in a black world to gain powers and transform the environment from BeautiFun Games.
- Stick It to the Man: A character named Ray lives in a world made of paper and sticker. He gets the ability to change his surroundings by folding and tearing the paper from Zoink & Ripstone.
- Teslagrad: A 2D exploration game featuring a steampunk world and a silent plot from Rain Games.
- Wooden Sen’SeY: An action platformer set in a humorous “Japan Steam Rock” universe from Neko Entertainment