If you watched Nintendo’s main E3 conference you may have heard a new phrase that Reggie spent a fair bit of time on. There’s been a mediocre bit of buzz about Nintendo’s new “Asymmetric Gameplay”, though it probably deserves a bit more.
Nintendo, being Nintendo, has once again extended themselves out pretty far in an effort to push the boundaries of what is possible in video games. With the Wii, Nintendo was betting on their new motion control technology to bear the weight of the company, and it worked out for them. Now Nintendo is looking to use this new Assymetric Gameplay to be the breadwinner, but how well will this work out?
If we look at any of the Mario Party games, then we will see exactly where this “new” idea came from. Ever since Mario Party games have existed, there has been Asymmetric Gameplay. The 3v1 mini-games is where Asymmetric game-play made its debut, and so from that we can make a few conclusions. The first, and most obvious conclusion, is that this system will, once again, cater itself to shovel-ware and other such styles of game that are sold to the uniformed and either very young or very old. Mario Party games are awesome, and I love them, but they gave birth to a horrible, horrible genre of games (look up the Sonic remakes). Party games are awful. Sure, they are some of the most fun you can have with friends, but it’s more because of how awful they are than anything, like B Horror flicks. So what Nintendo has done is made yet another console that will be the host of many party games, which is great for them. Party games sell really well.
Aside from that, however, this new Asymmetric Gameplay has a unique opportunity to bring multiplayer game-play to a new kind of teamwork. This is what Nintendo spent a lot of time talking about, trying to cater to their “hardcore audience.” All that talking didn’t change the fact that they showed party games in the same vein as Mario Party. There are very few games these days that involve the kind of teamwork that the WiiU could offer. Natural Selection is one of the few that come to mind. In Natural Selection there is one play per team that has an RTS-style view of the battlefield, and the rest play an FPS game in that arena. The “leader” drops supplies and sets rally and attack points to help direct the other players. This is another example of Asymmetric Gameplay that existed before the WiiU, and gives a good example of how to implement Asymmetric Gameplay that caters to a more “hardcore” audience. These kinds of games would be perfect for the WiiU, and would be the first of their kind to exist on the console. The WiiU gamepad is the first gamepad that could feasibly be used to play an RTS with, at least without it being clunky and unwieldy. Well, maybe a little clunky and unwieldy. Sure, touch screen isn’t ideal, but maybe we’ll see some decent console RTS games (besides Pikmin, or maybe a bunch of Pikmin games, either way would be great).
Obviously I’m being pretty optimistic about how the WiiU gamepad could be used. I don’t expect any of those things in the second section, but it’s nice to think “what if.” Pikmin will probably be the only RTS style game released on the WiiU, but it would be nice to see some other similar franchises come out. Realistically this console will be another party console that people have lying around and when they get drunk/stoned some one will say “Hey let’s play Wii Boxing!” and then some one says “hey let’s video tape it!” and then you record over some one’s wedding ceremony. All I can say is that I really hope that the Virtual Console is as robust and awesome as it was on the Wii, and that they continue to expand it. The WiiU controller would be great for playing some classic Nintendo games on.