EA is bringing several key titles to the Wii U this year. Mass Effect 3, Madden NFL 13, and FIFA 13 will all be coming to Nintendo’s new console at launch. But according to EA, those titles aren’t just “ports”. In fact, the company believes they don’t make ports any longer. EA’s Patrick Soderlund was recently asked in an interview if EA will port games to the Wii U, and Sonderlund’s reply wasn’t what many expected. He said:
“I would say EA doesn’t make ports at all anymore. We try to make games that are ideal for each platform as much as possible. Obviously for PS3 and Xbox 360 the systems are similar, so we cross-develop. But we will always try to take an approach about what is unique for that platform. Wii U has many unique capabilities so you have to embrace the unique elements of the platform otherwise there’s not much point doing it at all.”
While a quote like that is expected from one of EA’s top dogs, some of EA’s Wii U games we’ve seen so far would suggest otherwise. For example, it was revealed last month that Madden NFL 13 on the Wii U won’t feature the new physics engine (which will be available on the older PS3 and Xbox 360 platforms). Nor will Madden 13 on the Wii U feature some of the online modes. The development team simply didn’t have enough resources to complete those features. So in one way, it’s not a straight “port”, since key features are missing. However, other EA Wii U games such as Mass Effect 3 show a lot of promise. The recent Mass Effect 3 Wii U gameplay walkthrough shows some innovative use of the Wii U GamePad controller. One recent rumor from EA suggested that its top selling Battlefield 3 was canceled on the Wii U, instead, the team is working on bringing Battlefield 4 on the console in 2013.
Not everything has been cool between EA and Nintendo regarding the Wii U. Earlier this year, EA reportedly wanted to deeply integrate Origin into the Wii U, and completely run the console’s online system. Nintendo declined the offer, which some believe led to decreased support from EA for the Wii U. The rumor suggests the exact opposite of what Soderlund says: reportedly, EA will only release ports to the Wii U without any real budget.
We’ll have to wait and see how Ea supports the new console in the future. So far, it doesn’t look that bad.