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wii u's specs

The Wii U’s capabilities are starting to become more and more concrete.

This past week has yielded some valuable information regarding just what exactly the system can do. The latest bit of info (that sparked this article) came from no other than EA themselves. Crytek is reportedly launching their next-generation CryEngine, and the Wii U is on the list of supported “next-generation consoles”:

“Crytek have ushered in a new era for their state-of-the-art CRYENGINE technology, with the launch of the new CRYENGINE an ever-evolving technology service, with always up to date access to the latest features in CRYENGINE for commercial game licensees.
CRYENGINE users will also benefit from the coming together of Crytek’s Engine Licensing and Research & Development teams; a move designed to double the level of one-to-one care game licensees can tap into, in essence offering Crytek’s R&D as a service for developers using the new CRYENGINE.

On top of these changes, the new CRYENGINE supports development on current and next generation consoles (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U), alongside PC, with further platforms to be added in the near future.

It’s surprising to see an EA developer of all people come out and announce that their new engine will support the Wii U, and even weirder, claim that the Wii U is a next-generation console. But then again, Crytek has spoke well of the Wii U’s power in the past. Spec-talk aside, this also bodes well for the system considering the fact that supporting the Wii U with this engine means that they of course plan on releasing games for the system in the future.

cryengine 4 cryengine 4In earlier news, Teku Studios, the indie developers behind Candle, confirmed that they will be bringing the game to the Wii U and will be “adapting” it’s Direct X11 features for the Wii U:

We will ADAPT our DirectX11 features to Wii U, not that it supports them natively. However, we are very happy with Nintendo and its console, and we think that it well deserves that extra effort.”

So Direct X11-equivalent features can be easily adapted to the Wii U, it just takes some extra time and effort (who would’ve thought?). This news of course outraged Nintendo fans due to Square Enix’s reasoning for not bringing the much-deserved Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV to the Wii U was that they can’t port over DX11 features over to the system. If a small indie developer such as Teku Studios can “adapt” DX11 features for the Wii U, why can’t Square?

And then we have the report that the Unity Engine for Wii U runs native DX10 features straight-out-the-box. For those who may not know, the PS3 and 360 only supported DX9. During Gamescom, Nintendo confirmed a list of features and tools that developers have access to when developing a Unity game for Wii U:

“- Unity tools can be acquired for free by any authorized developer who registers with Nintendo’s licensing program
– the license’s cost is waived for developers on Wii U
– builds generated in Unity still have to run through a Wii U dev kit purchased from Nintendo
supports DX10 level graphics
– includes deferred rendering, GFX output support
– allows developers to utilize the GamePad screen, camera, microphone, Wii U Pro Controller, Wii Remote, Wii Motion Plus and even the Balance Board
– console’s software can be accessed through Unity
– this lets developers utilize Miiverse connectivity
– planning to add support for friends lists, user accounts and voice chat”

Considering the Wii U supports DX10, it makes sense that some DX11 features can be converted over. Contrary to what many PC gamers will lead you to believe, there isn’t drastic differences between the two.

Tie all of these facts in with the first-generation Wii U first-party games and everything comes together. Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros. 4, and Bayonetta 2 will all be running in 1080p 60 frames-per-second. If the Wii U is already pulling this off early in it’s life-cycle, we can only imagine how beautiful it’s exclusives will be looking down-the-line. Now of course I’m not saying the Wii U will be able to keep up with the PS4 and Xbox One – let’s get that straight right now. Both of the rival systems will obviously be able to output more graphically-impressive games. But what I am saying is, the Wii U will be able to hold it’s on. It’s definitely not going to be the Wii-PS3 gap again and the system will definitely have it’s fair-share of  pretty games that will still satisfy our eyes.

At this point-in-time, anybody still doubting that the Wii U is capable machine simply hasn’t been paying attention to the news that’s been flying around. The whole notion that it’s [somehow] on-par with the PS3 and 360 is simply foolery at this point.

And just in-case some of you missed it, check out the updated, better-looking bird demo that was shown on the E3 2011 show floor:

(For further insight into the Wii U’s capabilities, check out Shin’en and their explanations of the Wii U hardware.)

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