The Wii U’s “surprisingly powerful”

RaymanLegendsWiiU

The multiplatform bit of runny-jumpy platforming perfection,  Rayman Origins is a beautiful game – with stylistic hand-drawn art that just oozes awesome. It’s getting an even more beautiful sequel in Rayman Legends on Nintendo’s impending Wii U – and its creator says that the system it’ll be gracing  is “surprisingly powerful.”

Speaking with Nintendo Power, Ubisoft’s Michel Ancel made quite the point that he found the Wii U to be “surprisingly powerful.” One of the reasons for that is that it offers “a lot of memory”, which allows developers to use “huge textures”.

“What surprises me with Wii U is that we don’t have many technical problems. It’s really running very well, in fact. We’re not obliged to constantly optimize things. Even on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions [of Origins], we had some fill-rate issues and things like that. So it’s partly us – we improved the engine – but I think the console is quite powerful. Surprisingly powerful. And there’ a lot of memory. You can really have huge textures, and it’s crazy because sometimes the graphic artist – we built our textures in very high-dentition. They could be used in a movie. Then we compress them, but sometimes they forget to do the compression and it still works! [Laughs] So yeah, it’s quite powerful. It’s hard sometimes when you’re one of the first developers because it’s up to you to come up with solutions to certain problems. But the core elements of the console are surprisingly powerful.

“And because we’re developing for Wii U, we don’t have to worry about cross-platform optimization.

“We can push what the console can do; push it to its limits. And of course, we have a new lighting engine. In fact, the game engine for Origins was mostly just classic sprites in HD, but now we can light them and add shadows and all these things. So there is some technical innovation with the engine itself. “

The Wii U’s not out yet – but already it’s running PS3 and Xbox games ported from their original systems, like Assassin’s Creed 3 and Black Ops 2 at a higher resolution and at faster frame rates, and that’s largely without much in the way of optimisation.  It might not be impressive that a brand new console keeps up with, and exceeds 6 year old gaming hardware, but consider that these are first generation Wii U games – and then compare first generation games on the Xbox 360 and PS3 to what we have today.

As developers really get to grips with the Wii U and how to squeeze the most out of the system, I really believe we’ll see some incredibly beautiful games on the system. It’ll be out locally in just over a month, on November 30.

Local pricing has yet to be announced.

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Author:Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.


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