Nintendo's Wii U may miss out on next-gen EA games
The bad news keeps on coming for Nintendo's Wii U, with an Electronic Arts tech director confirming that the company's next-generation games won't run on the console.
Johan Andersson, technical director at EA's DICE studio in Sweden, wrote on Twitter that the company's Frostbite 3 engine “has never been running” on the Wii U. EA did some tests on the Wii U with the current Frostbite 2 engine, but the results weren't promising and EA “chose not to go down that path,” Andersson said.
The Frostbite 3 engine will power several EA games for next-generation consoles, including Battlefield 4, Dragon Age 3 and unannounced Star Wars and Mass Effect games. Without Frostbite 3 support, it's unlikely that the Wii U will offer those games.
To make matters worse, EA confirmed last week that it will skip the Wii U for Madden NFL 25, marking the first time since 1991 that the series won't be available on a Nintendo platform.
EA may have other, non-technical reasons for giving Nintendo the cold shoulder. When first-person shooter Crysis 3 failed to launch on Wii U earlier this year, Crytek boss Cevat Yerli cited “a lack of business support between Nintendo and EA” as the reason. EA insists, however, that it has a “strong partnership with Nintendo.”
In any case, EA isn't the first publisher to consider skipping the Wii U for hit titles. Rockstar Games has not announced Wii U support for Grand Theft Auto V, and Activision is staying tight-lipped about whether Call of Duty: Ghosts will run on Nintendo's console. Ubisoft's Rayman Legends, originally due in February as a Wii U exclusive, was pushed back to the fall to support the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Also, Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 is not designed to runon the Wii U, but developers could scale their games down to run on the console if they wanted.
Previously, DICE's Patrick Bach told Eurogamer that the developer could scale down Battlefield 4 (and, we presume, other Frostbite 3 games) to run on the Wii U, but “it takes development time.” Given the Wii U's weak sales so far, it's hard to imagine publishers putting much effort into supporting the platform.
In lieu of third-party hits, Nintendo's best hope is to keep pushing its own hit franchises—and the company has been making lots of promises to that extent. The company is also reportedly trying to get smartphone app developers to port their games over, in a sign that Nintendo is embracing the Wii U's role as a casual gaming console.