EA recently announced (or Twittered) that it is bringing Dead Space to the Wii. The company says they “will rival Nintendo in terms of quality,” which is frighteningly close to Ubisoft’s claim that in ’08 their Wii games would be of “Nintendo-like quality.” Of course, Ubisoft’s Wii games are shitty so EA’s bold words don’t really inspire me.
Empty promises aside, an alarming trend is beginning to emerge – HD games with watered down Wii ports. I am a proponent of good games getting wider audiences and if you’re reading this site you’re likely a “core” gamer, in which case you likely agree with me (unless you’re one of those casuals-gone-core via GTA and Halo who hates the fact that people who aren’t 16-21 year old males play games). Games that expand gaming’s audience is good for the industry – people who wouldn’t play these games now may, and there’s the potential casual gamers move upstream by buying other core titles.
The downside is that I personally have no desire to play watered down HD games and my guess is you don’t either. If we want to play Dead Rising, we will likely buy the HD version and the same goes for Overlord and Dead Space. The promise of the Wii60 would be better fulfilled by publishers putting effort into separate good Wii games and HD games simultaneously. Simply down porting games to the Wii not only does core Wii gamers little good, it diverts funds and manpower from making either sequels to those HD games or new IP built around the strengths of the Wii.
The Wii and the HD consoles offer different capabilities to developers and it would be a disservice to gaming as a medium to focus on simple cross platform ports instead of mining the depths of each platform’s potential.