Mar 4th, 2014


It’s no secret that, compared to the other two next generation consoles, the Wii U is often looked down upon as underpowered. At least one game development studio seems to think otherwise, as Retro Studios president and CEO Michael Kelbaugh has called the system a “powerhouse.”

In an interview recently he was quoted as saying:

Unfortunately, the perception is that it’s not a very powerful machine. That’s just not true. It’s a powerhouse. It’s more than adequate to make great games on.

And Kelbaugh also said that:

It was really fun being able to crack that open for the first time and learning HD techniques; pixel shading, having a lot more horsepower and how that impacts the team. It was really fun to watch our artists just go crazy because now they didn’t really have to worry about polygons anymore. ‘Make as many as you want!

Of course, if anyone would know about the Wii U’s capabilities it would be Retro, having developed Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for the system. It’s also been confirmed by Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe that Retro Studios is working on a new game, which has apparently been in development for a few months, since Retro finished work on Tropical Freeze. Although nothing about the game was revealed in the interview.

Despite not talking about what the new game they might be working on is, Kelbaugh did say that:

We love working with Donkey Kong. It’s a great character. It’s a lot of fun. We love working with Metroid Prime, with Mario Kart; those are fun, fun games to work on. So, you know, you can’t lose. Every one of those IPs have been a lot of fun to play with and work on and [we’d] love to come back to them sometime.

So, what do you all think about this? Isn’t nice to hear some praise for the Wii U for once? Do you have any thoughts as to what Retro’s new game might be?

[Source: GameSpot]

  • Other 3rd party devs got some splainin’ to do.

    • darkcreap

      Well, Retro is owned by Nintendo. We all know WiiU is powerful enough for this gen, but obviously Retro are not neutral.

      • These claims don’t just seem to apply to them though. They seem to think it applies to other devs, as they mention the general perception

        • darkcreap

          I can believe those claims from Project CARS developers, but coming from Retro… come on, they are Nintendo, they can’t be neutral. If that is the general perception, you can see what other devs say for themselves, but surely Retro is not neutral.

      • Read the Cinemablend article about Wii U bandwith. Also read this.

        • darkcreap

          I have read Cinemablend’s article. Actually, I usually stumble across their articles, since I follow all news related to WiiU in the Internet. Apart from the fact that their numbers were a little out of range, you should be warned that that Cinemablend seems to me a bit of a fanboyish site, compared to WiiU Daily, which is fan site, but they try to be honest. I don’t usually like high anti-Nintendo bias, but a pro-Nintendo bias can also be as negative.

          Yes, the article you link has a point in some things:

          1) The WiiU can get apparently more than it is credited for. PS3 had 512 MB of RAM, while the WiiU has 2 GB. X1 and PS4 have more RAM, but it is true that they are x86 64, which is said to be less memory efficient than Power PC. A lot of games have much higher RAM requirement for PC than for consoles, so yes, the WiiU in that sense is not so bad.
          2) Raw numbers aren’t everything. True. For instance, you can have two smartphones. One has a processor with a faster clock, more RAM and more memory bandwitdh and perform worse than the model which has lower numbers. The WiiU has lower memory bandwidth than either the PS3 and the Xbox 360 (I don’t know if both of them or just one), as well as a slower CPU clock.
          3) It is known that PS3 and Xbox 360 don’t perform as well as their raw numbers indicate. The reason I read is that, due to not optimal design, there were bottlenecks that prevented every part from performing at 100%. For instance, I read that some memory bandwidth was irrelevant due to bottlenecks in other parts of the console. So yes, it is a valid point saying that about Sony.
          4) In that sense, what happens in 2) and 3) is due to design mattering after all. Nintendo uses apparently weak hardware but fitting very well the pieces to make them work in harmony rather than pulling a lot of powerful components without optimisation to take the best performance.

          But, in that article you link, no specific numbers or prooves are cited and thus we can only speculate. I believe too that the WiiU is way more powerful than it has been credited for and PS4/X1 not that so much powerful, but, given the difference in hardware, I highly doubt that WiiU can be more powerful than PS4.

          See the AC4 graphic comparisons. It is a multiplatform title, which probably isn’t optimised for any platform. PS4 got better results than WiiU in that sense. Obviously, if without optimisation you get better performance, the PS4 has to be more powerful.

          Nevertheless, the WiiU can perform really well if games are really designed for it. A lot of devs have been wrong due to not giving the hardware an opportunity. See all the problems with all those devs that didn’t know how to use right the CPU and the GPGPU. Remember how many of them put all that stress on the CPU like it was a last gen console?

          Honestly, as Takeda san, chief engineer at Nintendo said in the last Q&A, Nintendo should not centre their bussiness in power. Technology is a tool, not a means in itself, to entertain people.

          I couldn’t care less if the WiiU is the most powerful or not. It is for sure more powerful than believed to by many, but not the most powerful. I have had only Nintendo consoles my whole life and underpowered PCs due to economic reasons. Nintendo always gave me all the experiences I wanted with the same hardware for 5-6 years.

          Graphics are nice and all that, but I have never remembered a game just for them alone, but for the overall experience. Thus, I don’t need it to be the most powerful or not.

          So summarising. Yes, the WiiU is more powerful than thought. It seems to be a very well optimised design, both in resource usage and in how components have been fitted to prevent bottlenecks. PS4/X1 could be very impressive in numbers but not well optimised, as it happened with PS3/X360. They will also suffer from having a less efficient architecture which is X86 64 compared to Power PC. But even taking that into account, I highly doubt that the WiiU is more powerful than the PS4. Facts simply do not show that. I am a Nintendo fan, but I like to consider myself sensible enough to address the truth, not being a blind fanboy.

          And honestly, I don’t care. It is good enough. To hell with all the power and technical discussion. It is games we are here for, not for tech talk. As an engineer myself, I’m fedup of gaming sites being confused with tech-oriented websites. Fun, gameplay, story, should be the main focus, not computer architecture.

    • Gameonfool

      Well retro/Nintendo have had about a year and a half to prove its a powerhouse and they haven’t, that boat has sailed now so many missed opportunities like a year head start now no will believe it or care

      • It’s been too late from the beginning. For whatever reason, the press hates Nintendo

    • That guy who hates Spike

      “Powerhouse” is a relative term. Considering they don’t have their hands on PS4 and Xbox One dev kits, third party developer’s term “underpowered” has a different definition.

      • fairest argument I’ve heard about this

      • Adrian Meredith

        exactly, they are just starting to use pixel shaders FOR THE FIRST TIME. Thats just plain rediculous, games have been relying on shaders for the last decade

        • That guy who hates Spike

          Strange, because I could’ve sworn the Wii’s shaders were so great, they trump the 360’s.

  • Ony

    [Insert Metroid here]

    • or starfox

      • DK_Hadouken

        Or dare I say… F-Zero.

        • I’m against an F-Zero >.>

          • What’s wrong with F-Zero!? I freaking love F-Zero!

          • ChubbiestLamb6

            If Retro released a game every year? Sure, I’ll give up one game so the fans of less popular series can get some attention too. But I don’t think it would be wise to dump 2.5 years or so on a game just to release a racing game to appease a decidedly niche set of players. I’m not saying it’s wrong to like F-Zero–just that it seems unwise to focus on that vs something like a new Metroid, which would undoubtedly sell better.

          • ^This is my point exactly. It’s too niche of a title and too popular a genre for them to focus a lot of time on it.

          • Christian Schoff

            Uhhh….Metroid players are also quite niche.

          • ChubbiestLamb6

            Compared to F-Zero? Hardly. The most recent F-Zero was maybe 9 years ago? Other M was just over 3, and, while being the worst reviewed Metroid in recent history, still scored just as well as almost all F-Zero games, and (while I couldn’t find exact numbers) I think it outsold GX, the highest rated F-Zero game. People seemingly like Metroid better, and it is also fresher in the minds of many people who might still want a new installment.

            Besides stats, there is perception, and Metroid is certainly a “big” game in that regard. When people hear that a new Metroid is coming out, they know what that means and know that, even if they don’t want it, lots of people are excited about it. It’s like Zelda in that regard. When someone hears that a new F-Zero is coming out, they won’t even realize its a big deal because they probably don’t realize there hasn’t been one in forever, since they don’t follow the series.

            If we have to make it binary, sure, I’d put Metroid in the “niche” category with F-Zero, as opposed to mega-budget blockbusters like GTA or huge series like Zelda, but the reality is that you’re ignoring a lot of distance along a continuum by calling Metroid “niche” in the same way that F-Zero is.

          • Wii U already has 4 or 5 racing games. It’d be white noise

          • Alienfish

            I think F-Zero would be better as a downloadable title along the lines of what Wipeout is for PS3. That would open it up better to DLC like new tracks and characters.

          • Yousif Alromaithi

            Why against F-Zero. I want a new F-Zero or at least a remake and up the difficulty.

          • already 4 or 5 racing games on the Wii U. It’d be white noise

          • Yousif Alromaithi

            Yeah. I see let us have F-Zero later.

          • that’s my idea, itd be awesome, but it can wait

          • That guy who hates Spike

            C’mon. F-Zero is a great game.

          • Arthur Jarret

            Boom, lost your fanbase 😛

          • Psh. I’ll always have my true fans

          • Arthur Jarret

            Still, I’d love a racer not based on pure luck, but skill. Add in the track editor from N64 and online sharing of those tracks, and you’ll have a winner.

            Sonic racing is largely forgotten by people musing to get the system, and project CARS is simulation game, new franchise AND will be released on other platforms too.

            Now if they’d also add an entire futuristic city to drive around in and use the F-zero license to make a futuristic, high-speed GTA (Captain Falcon is a bounty hunter, after all) – that’d be even better.

          • THAT would turn heads. If it was more than just racing. I’m all for that

        • Justin Carlson

          F-Zero would be great, but I think it would be better to focus on wider audience titles first.

        • WipEout U by Firesprite. *a prayer*

  • DK_Hadouken
  • John Andalora

    So a company owned by Nintendo that only makes games for Nintendo consoles actually said something positive about Nintendo?
    Well stop the presses! Finally we get to hear positive words about this console from people forced to make games for this console!

    • DK_Hadouken
      • John Andalora
        • DK_Hadouken
          • uPadWatcher

            And that, Johnny, is the truth… the whole truth.

          • John Andalora

            “More powerful than we thought” doesn’t mean “as powerful as any other console.”
            And if I recall correctly, most people here constantly shout that graphical potential don’t mean shit to actual gameplay. So even if the Wii U might have something over Xbox One (note the article never says over PS4), it’s only in the potential to make games look prettier.

            And of course, we see things like this:


            And realize just how weak the console actually is.

          • DK_Hadouken

            Have you ever heard of something called effort? Devs are lazy.

          • John Andalora

            So the biggest 3rd party supporter who released this game on last generation and current generation consoles and PC is “lazy?”

            That’s news to me!

          • John Andalora


            Btw, “more powerful than we thought” is not equal to ” as powerful as other consoles.” Writer keeps talking about the potential over the Xbox One, but never once makes mention of PS4. Hmmm.

            Also, this:


          • DK_Hadouken

            Again, it’s all about effort.

          • John Andalora

            You’re talking about the biggest 3rd party supporter of the Wii U since day 1. If this was ZombiU, then maybe I’d be inclined to understand. But this is one of their flagship products with no cuts or changes in gameplay.

            “Effort” is not a justifiable excuse here.

          • DK_Hadouken

            All the games were made at the same time to save on development. There is barely a difference between all versions.

          • John Andalora

            So, your argument for their laziness is that Ubisoft did what every other company does with platform, make a basic game and then change and shift it to accommodate to the limitations of the platform.

            Why exactly do you think it took so long for Rayman Legends to be released across all consoles?

            I suppose they didn’t have to make that map seen on the GamePad or configure the game for Off-TV Gameplay, or even make a Wii U version of it for that matter. You’d still probably call them lazy.

          • DK_Hadouken

            Did you forget they were already done but were delayed to release on all consoles? Doing what others do to speed up a process and barely taking advantage of the specs is lazy. If you’re okay with that, than that’s you. Each game should be made from the ground up, imo.

          • John Andalora

            Well then, you have fun spending hundreds of millions of dollars and hours making the exact same game 3 times for all consoles just to fully accomadate to the “potential.” I’m gonna stay over here in the land of practicality and realistic ideals and understand that each console is merely a computer in its own way with only so much potential. It is far more realistic to have a base to shift upon for all platforms than to assume all are so wildly different that making the same game from the floor to the ceiling for the exact same differences to be made clear.


        Down voted for black-face

  • I believe someone spoke about this and suggested to get the article up, though it took a few days it does get on here at last. The biggest issue could very well be the architecture on the WiiU using a GPGPU, while no other consoles use this as far as I know, only pc does. If people (read developers) would dedicate theirselves to the architecture some more, and trying to learn to use it they could make quality stuff on the console.
    Heck even INDIES do a better job, talking about 2-20 people on a indie team, just look at Trine, nano Assault and some other indie titles. And look at Project Cars team what they said about the Wii U. Dev’s learn to use it. If retro says it’s a powerhouse, honestly I believe them, I have seen enough from retro to KNOW they speak truth.

    • And haters this has nothing to do with the fact that retro is a first party developer, it has to do with the players @ retro itself, they are top notch developers, proven so before in the past, and will prove again, same can be said on Monolith, when they speak, it’s truth not because they are first/second party.

    • matthew garcia

      If retro wanted to show a powerhouse they would have made dk tropical freeze 3d in stead they showed a 90’s style sidescroller. It looked good but definitely not a powerhouse. Could have been done on last gen

      • uPadWatcher

        In denial much, Mattie? Ask Monster Games and see if they could make a Wii U port of that game. That team have done a great job rendering the Wii classic DKC Returns.

        • Gameonfool

          Of course TF could be done on last gen ps360

        • matthew garcia

          Say all u want but developers don’t take wii u seriously. We all may act tech savy but they know more then we do. They know what there working with. Nintendo fucked up that’s all there is to it. U can say Nintendo exclusives are the shit but u are the minority. Nobody cares for cartoon graphics and characters who make weird immature noises instead of talking. That time is over with people grew out of it

      • audi lover

        IDIOT nothing else to say really

        • matthew garcia

          Cmoooon man u know everyone would have preferred it dk64 style. Would have sold more to

  • YouGot2LoveAnime

    he did say metroid waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i want it

  • ActivesiN

    great news, hopefullythis news then mario kart 8, bayonetta 2, smash bros
    all 1080p 60fps release will quiet down these people saying the Wii U is weak

    • gar3535a

      having games run at 1080p, 60fps dont say much about how powerful a console is.

  • carol argo

    One thing is sure ,1080i and limiting to 16 to 240 the color range permit a lot

  • carol argo

    1080i and limited sRGB (or whatever wiiu use)isnt weak of the oldest trick PC gamer have at their disposal .the reason it was not great in the past was timer related .hell ,the problem is probably Still present on wiiu !why?it was fixed not a month ago on no console had the fix one might get the invariant tsc timing fix this week (who knows) since xbox one get patched this month.I suspect ps4 and wiiu are likely to patch this before e3 also .given it raise image quality by a fair margin

  • ice breakers!

  • Petri

    Doesn’t really matter since I have the only real powerhouse out there, and Nintendo is giving the only game I care about currently.

  • LevenThumps

    I honestly don’t care what Retro’s next game is. Yes, I would love it if they made a Metroid or StarFox, and I am hoping for one of those, but all their games so far have been great. Whatever franchise they’re working on, new or old, I’m pretty sure I will enjoy it.

  • Archiq09

    Maybe Turok I know retro studio has buy it

  • Dark-Link73

    Um, let’s be honest here. Most likely the real reason behind Retro starting such praises is because Nintendo owns them and the Wii U is the only console for which they (Retro) can develop. I’m not saying Retro is lying, but even if they didn’t think the Wii U is a “powerhouse”, they would not say it to the world unless the CEO (or whomever would claim such negative statement) would like to spend their next weekend going through the classified ads looking for a new job.

    Never bite the hand feeds ya! 😉

  • Cyberus

    1. …no. It’s -not- a powerhouse.

  • Sonic 2099 The Hedgehog

    Yeah i hope the Wii U can Hold On for THIS!!!

  • Capt. Smoker

    It would be unwise for Retro to shit on their own doorstep, these comments of praise don’t really surprise me, I think they stretched the truth a little far but like they say, the Wii U certainly isn’t weak, hopefully Samus can prove that.


    God I hope it is Metroid . Not because I want it,but I want people to finally shut up about it. Then people can stop bashing DK

  • Carlos Webster

    Yup, it’s metroid.

  • Ryan F

    Turok hopefully?

  • Jared Garcia

    Maybe Retro- Studio’s attitude is what’s to be observed instead of what’s being said. The fact that they find great things about it, instead any shortcomings should be noted. Being special is about hard work. Anyone can make a realistic game, but it takes real talent to create one of fantasy.

  • Will the3rd

    Metroid 3D and you sell a new WiiU and a new Metroid. I don’t care at all about DK.

  • Alienfish

    If you play DKC:TF you will know that what Michael Kelbaugh says is completely true. Would I like these games to look just as nice and run at 1080p? Yes, but they still look absolutely amazing in 720p. I think the relevant thing to say in regards to Wii U vs PS4 vs XBOne is that all three systems are powerful enough that developers really don’t have to hold back anything at all anymore. Any game company can now have an idea and fully realize it.

  • David Horowitz

    I’d be okay with a Metroid Prime game for Wii U…

  • oontz

    Man wiiudaily always late to the party. It took you SIX days… SIX DAYS, to source and re-write an article from gamespot? I read this last week on IGN and actually wondered why wiiudaily never covered it. Then bam, six days later… sourced from gamespot. These type of stories should be covered at least the day they happen. Come on.

    • Daniel Gonzalez

      I think they should change their name to “WiiUWeekly.”

      • oontz

        Ha ha, that’d be more suitable.

  • oontz

    For everyone on this message board… A serious question…

    Do you really think that Retro is going to (now or ever) bad mouth the wiiu? Would any developer in their position bite the hand that feeds? Even if the wiiu is horrible to develop for, would they ever make that public??

    Look at it like this, would Naughty Dog ever speak badly about developing for the ps4? Or would they speak it’s praises and how amazing it is?

    Befor saying that because retro said this… It proves the wiiu is a powerhouse/true next gen, all the other developer are just lazy asses, 3rd party developers just want to see Nintendo fail, people that buy other consoles are stupid, etc, etc, etc.

    Just think about it.

  • SuperAndroid66

    If anyone can bring a brand new AAA FPS to the WiiU and make it play like a dream. It’s Retro.

  • there are two kinds of devs in this world. the ones that can make great games on Nintendos “weak” console, and third party devs.