“Clickbait” and “flaming” are words usually best used to describe an article with my name plastered on it and the Xbox One in the headline. However, those descriptors were put to use by some members of the gaming community for Digital Foundry's “Inside Story” about the Wii U's hardware told from the perspective of an anonymous developer.
The article, which you can read here, recounts the details of an anonymous developer who was part of the first-wave of individuals to get their hands on early development kits of the Wii U. The story really is doomy and gloomy and paints the Wii U as a technical failure.
Comments from the anonymous developer included things like...
"...the almost universal answer was that [the Wii U] wasn't going to be powerful enough to run next-gen engines and it might even struggle to do current-gen (PS3 and X360) titles."
Small excerpts from a lengthy piece that methodically destroys the Wii U from top to bottom as far as its technical hardware capabilities go. It's a tacit Nintendoom piece at its core, there's really no denying it.
However, not every developer has sat back and taken the abuse aimed at Nintendo with open arms and willing gestures.
Wii U Daily posted a string of Tweets from Christopher F. Arnold, developer and president of Nami Tentou. Arnold laid into the article from Digital Foundry about the Wii U, saying in very straightforward ways...
"I keep on getting pestered about this @eurogamer article about 'The Secret Developers: Wii U - the inside story'. It's a bit obnoxious now..”
I mean, yeah, anyone who has dabbled in programming knows that if you set out with a series of goals you're likely not going to reach them in the way you intended. 100% of the time, for me, it was concocting strings together that reaped results, and not necessarily using traditional methods of functioning code that was “correct”, if one could use such an example.
Anyway, Arnold's criticism is correct. The “anonymous dev” nitpicking on the Wii U's kit as a pre-release development module seems a little silly. I mean, everyone and their mother was telling everyone else that it wasn't fair to compare dev cycles for the Xbox One based on the early development kits because they weren't finalized (even though the PS4 didn't suffer the same problems as the Xbox One). The difference is that there were a lot of excuses for the Xbox One and a lot of hate for Nintendo's Wii U.
Christopher goes on to the juicy parts, writing...
“Wii U game development takes the same amount of work and attention as a Xbox 360 or PS3 game development. They've done their process of making their API understandable and useful to seasoned programmers. Wii U development = any other game console development time.”
Dang, that was some epic truth right there.
Not only is it truth, but Arnold's statements are corroborated by multiple industry veterans, specialists and developers alike.
Software engineer Francisco Javier Ogushi Dominguez wrote to great length about the Wii U's compute shader capabilities, as well as extending reasoning for the systems capabilities beyond the proposed doom-and-gloom limits propagated by certain other publishers.
One of the developers releasing an e-shop game soon for the Wii U spent a couple of months porting his game from mobile devices to the Wii U, and he claimed to have no problems working on the hardware. Since he's under NDA his name and the game won't be revealed, but he did mention that his only hurdle with the system was basically just getting registered as a developer under Nintendo. He's also confirmed that “Doing something special on the graphics is not on my priorities.” But he hasn't had any major trouble getting the game up and running on the Wii U, opposite of what the anonymous developer was saying regarding basic coding functions.
On the higher end of the spectrum, Slightly Mad Studios confirmed that the Wii U would be making use of higher end graphics features and multi-threaded shadow support. This is also followed by Teku Studios acknowledging DX11 equivalent graphics support for the Wii U along with Unity Technology's CEO David Helgason also confirming that the Wii U would make use of the latest shader models provided in the Unity Engine.
Arnold, however, offers up some wise advice regarding the Wii U's struggles, saying...
“Wii U is struggling because of lack of 3rd party, 3rd party needs to make the move first. Stop playing coy and hop into bed already. ;)”
I couldn't agree more. Now who's ready to jump into bed with the Big 'N'?
As for Christopher F. Arnold, I certainly won't be pestering him about the article or the Wii U, since I'll be too busy chowing down Doritos and coming up with a clickbait Xbox One headline.