Thursday, August 28, 2008

Exclusive horror title ´House of the Dead: Overkill´ to mark turning point for Wii?

The recently announced Wii exclusive House of the Dead: Overkill is the latest in a long line of mature titles for Wii, perhaps finally marking a turning point for the console, both in terms of the public's perception and from the industry's point of view. Have a look at this most recent survival horror game:


Wii´s portfolio of mature games is growing fast. However, public perception has not yet caught onto this trend. Quite the contrary, in fact. Especially in Germany, where a large number of mature Wii titles are not available, the Wii is known for Super Mario, Wii Sports or Wii Fit and, genre-wise, not much else. This is ironic, because Nintendo's console has, in fact, become a hotbed for games aimed at an older audience. And contrary to public perception, between a third and half of those are exclusives.

20 survival horror Wii games

Let us chalk it up. Soon, there will be a whopping twenty survival horror titles out for Wii, eight of which are exclusives. And I am not including ´MadWorld´, ´Manhunt 2´ or ´Fragile´ here. The former title, also recently announced, caused some controversy in the mainstream press. The U.K.'s Daily Mail and The Sun, as well as Australia's Herald Sun all noted that the Wii's family friendly image was soon to topple. Those newspapers enjoy a readership of millions and so their articles will undoubtedly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Just as a reminder, here is the current tally of all mature games for the Wii (and mature does not necessarily mean the rating here).

Survival horror

Dead Space
House of the Dead: Overkill (exclusive)
House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return
Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (exclusive)
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (exclusive)
Resident Evil 4 Wii edition
Resident Evil 0 (Japan only so far)
Resident Evil Remake Wii
Obscure: The Aftermath
Cursed Mountain (exclusive)
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse (exclusive)
The Calling
Winter (exclusive), (without publisher, on hold)
Escape from Bug Island (exclusive)
Sadness (exclusive)
Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers
Alone in the Dark (questionable quality)
Untitled Suda51 / Shinji Mikami project

Outrageous violence

MadWorld (exclusive)
Manhunt 2

Shooters / Other action

Ghost Squad (exclusive)
Call of Duty 3
Call of Duty: World at War
Medal of Honor: Vanguard
Medal of Honor: Heroes 2
Brothers in Arms: Double Time
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent
James Bond: Quantum of Solace
The Godfather: Blackhand Edition
Scarface: The World Is Yours
Bully: Scholarship Edition
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (exclusive)
The Conduit (exclusive)
Red Steel (exclusive)
Red Steel 2 (exclusive)
Overlord: Dark Legend
No More Heroes (exclusive)
No More Heroes 2
Mortal Kombat Armageddon
Castlevania Judgment
Rogue Trooper: The Quartz Zone Massacre
Far Cry: Vengeance (questionable quality)
Target: Terror (questionable quality)
Untitled Renegade Kid project

The list speaks for itself. The Wii has a very diverse portfolio but there is no shortage of sometimes highly brutal action. In fact, no competing console can offer as many survival horror titles as the Wii. Why is that? Simply because they sell.

Action on Wii sells

Both ´Resident Evil 4 Wii edition´ and ´Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles´ shipped more than a million units each. Apparently, ´Red Steel´ and ´Metroid Prime 3: Corruption´ also sold more than a million, with ´The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return´ and ´Ghost Squad´ selling around half a million units.

Public opinion may soon realise this, as will the industry at large. Speaking about their motivation to bring ´Dead Rising´ to the Wii, Capcom noted that they "wanted to bring one of its premier franchises (possibly THE premier franchise when you look at the Japanese market) to the broader audience that the Wii represents." And they continue to tease Wii owners that they "only know about half the games we have in development."

Abandoning Mario and Metroid for the Touch Generations

Nintendo has been very careful to market their console as a family friendly one only. In fact, for the very first time, ´Mario´ titles took a step back from the spotlight and became second choice, as they were no longer advertised as the cream of the crop. Nintendo staff told me last year that they wanted the so-called ´Touch Generations´ titles like ´Big Brain Academy´ and ´Wii Fit´ to be associated with the console instead. Mario and Metroid, they believed, did not need to be marketed aggressively and would pretty much sell themselves. And they were right.

While Iwata may publically apologize to the hardcore crowd and reaffirm that core games are in development, the company's focus on casual titles in terms of marketing is carefully planned and is, internally, not seen as a mistake that requires such an apology. This is all part of the blue ocean strategy. Their rationale regarding traditional titles was and is that they do not require a large marketing campaign. And with the gaming press falling in love with stylish, Tarantino-esque titles like ´House of the Dead: Overkill´ and the mainstream press vocally condemning games like ´MadWorld´, Nintendo can indeed sit back and re-run their ´Wii Fit´ ads.

EDIT The good people over at That VideoGame Blog have posted a great article on how the Wii is finally starting to come off age. Check it out.

Thanks to: Kotaku, VGChartz, Nintendo Everything, Capcom, Eurogamer


Anonymous said...

LOL, that voiceover sounds like Carl Sagan :D

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Anonymous said...

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I'm really impressed at the insight and quality you've provided with this post.
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You have a love of Ninty and it shows. And that's why us Nintendo fans keep coming back!

M. Ferreira said...

Very well stated, Falafelkid. Despite perceptions, Wii is far from a "casual console." I just wish that developers and publishers would quit trying to downplay Wii's success and overall marketshare.

Anonymous said...

I think Deadly Creatures needs to be on this list as well. It may not be survival horror, but it has an eerie vibe and seems right at home with those other titles. If alot of these newly announced games come out next year, I`m gonna be broke.

Anonymous said...

i wouldnt call a light gun game a turning point LIGHTGUN=CASUAL ARCADE isnt that the idiots perspective on wii so i dont see how anything has changed

also godfather was mentioned again its a port and godfather 2 is not on wii MORONICALLY

i dobt see this as a turning point at all i see it as CONFIRMATION the industry is still outa touch with reallity

and theres no problem with wiis public image weres the evidence of that wouldnt that be THE INTERNET image of wii and anyone with the abillity to think knows that fanboys and anti wii insiders of the industry are to blame for that NOT JO PUBLIC


M. Ferreira said...

Anonymous 5:52PM:

It's not "just a casual light gun game." House of the Dead is pretty much proof that a company recognizes that there are gamers on the system, since "casual gamers" as you call them wouldn't have rushed out to buy HotD2&3R.

House of the Dead is a fun franchise, but let's face it - the series attracts more gamers than people that'd be at home with the Touch Generations stuff. :)

As for Godfather, I'm still convinced that this is a pretty stupid move on EA's part - much like skipping Wii with Mercs 2. For a title that was released VERY early in the Wii's life, with zero publicity and a few fairly crummy reviews, Godfather: Blackhand Edition moved over 100,000 units in the American market alone.

Blackhand edition isn't exactly a port, as it DOES add quite a bit of content to the original game, on top of revamping a few grievances that existed in the original release. That's why it's counted as an exclusive.

Developers are changing their tune, now that they realize that the big bucks ARE on the Wii, which has a userbase that's almost as big as the PS3 and 360's userbases COMBINED. It's pretty hard to ignore 31 million people, you know. :P

Unfortunately, games take time to make - we won't see the fruits of these shifts until early next year at the very earliest... it sucks, but, what can ya do? Bitching doesn't make them go faster. :)

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Anonymous said...

Love your articles Falafelkid! I just hope you had more time to post more and more!! We know you have a busy life, and you do take your time to post some great work, but please! Try harder! Your blog is one of my trusty sites for Nintendo Info. Specially because you tend to report on Breakdown News and very important Titles!

My only concern for this last article is, why didn't you include Disaster: Day of Crysis and also, could you run an investigation on this game? It's supose to be a game developed by Monolyth wich Nintendo bought almos entirely and it looks pretty good, but, will it actually come out? I need that game! and i know a lot of people out there want it too! Is it taking to long to come out because Nintendo wants it to be an excelent Hardcore game? I hope so.

Thanks and again, congrats for your great blog!


Raphael said...

European Release Date:
Disaster: Day of Crisis

And here are 64 new screenshots:

Kony said...

All those games will be shit!

Wii fails!!

- Kony

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My little phoney.

I appreciate you commenting so dilligently on every post here. That is just what I expect from a grade A village idiot. Go and entertain us real gamers with your staggering incompetence and unrivalled lunacy. Oh, and don't forget those archived entries, hear?

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