Speculator: Is it time to once again don the Varia Suit?

May 7, 2013


Will Respawn be going exclusive? Is the Wii U going to get cheaper soon? And what exactly is Retro Studios working on?

Respawn’s first game to be a Microsoft console exclusive

In a rumor that, if confirmed, would be a shot across Sony’s bow in the war for exclusives, we’re hearing that Respawn Entertainment’s first game may be a Microsoft exclusive when it releases. Kotaku reports that an unnamed source specified it would land on Microsoft’s next console and on the Xbox 360, but nowhere else. Would Sony let that happen? Perhaps more importantly, would Respawn forgo multiplatform money?

I don’t think EA would let this happen, honestly. It seems to be in a bit of a pickle right now, so not releasing what could be one of their biggest games in the next couple of years on as many consoles as possible seems like a bad move. Microsoft could pay EA a ton of money to do it, but even still, EA needs something big and I don’t think a console-exclusive will be that something.
Microsoft doesn’t have the internal game development clout that Sony and Nintendo have, but I’m not sure Microsoft believes it needs many exclusives to succeed again. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve detected a lot of hubris from Microsoft over the last year or so, to the point where I feel it’s inevitable that the next Xbox will suffer for it, much like the PlayStation 3 did after Sony became drunk off the success of the PlayStation 2. I think a big deal like this needs to happen for Microsoft, but it won’t happen because those in charge for Microsoft don’t think it needs to.
I can see this happening with smaller series or riskier new IP, but “the next game from the Call of Duty team” is a much safer proposition than, well, most of what EA’s released over the last few years. Microsoft wants this to happen, but the price is probably too high.

Wii U price cut announced by E3

The Wii U isn’t selling well, a fact everyone knows by now. The reasons are manifest, though one of them is clearly that people just don’t see the Wii U as being a good deal at $300-$350. Nintendo has shown it isn’t afraid to adjust the price of a system quickly after a launch if necessary to give it a boost. Will Nintendo do so soon?

This seems like it has to happen. The Wii U is doing very poorly and Nintendo hasn’t done much to fix that or help clear up the confusion about it being a separate console. A price drop might be just the thing to get some people on board, even if it won’t be the solution to every problem Nintendo is facing right now. I could also see the company being a bit stubborn about it or not doing one until holiday, but I hope that doesn’t happen.
The Wii U needs a price drop, soon. When the 3DS started off sluggishly, Nintendo chopped the price a few months before a plethora of big titles released for it, and it jump-started sales to a pace surpassing even the DS. A few announced big Wii U titles are coming starting in August, so a price drop by E3 would fit with recent history. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked if Nintendo waited until the holidays to drop the price. I think sooner is more likely, though.
Will a price drop happen, and soon? Yes. I expect that Nintendo was anticipating having one this season to combat new consoles when the price was set last holiday. That said, it would make more sense as an announcement in late summer or early fall, as there will be enough to talk about from E3 and a price cut is best when it’s fresh in consumers’ minds.

Retro Studios project revealed as Wii U Metroid by E3

Retro Studios has been working secretly on a new game that ‘everyone wants them to do,’ according to Nintendo. Retro is one of the most highly-regarded studios in Nintendo’s stable, with all three Metroid Prime games and Donkey Kong Country Returns all being critically acclaimed. Considering the vitriol directed by fans of Metroid at Ninja Theory’s Other M, it would make sense to bring it back to Retro, but is it too soon? Is Nintendo banking on a new Metroid game, or is Retro working on a new franchise?

The team at Retro is fantastic at what they do, and I would love to see them work on something brand new (or even a Nintendo franchise that doesn’t get much love). That being said, Retro helped revitalize Metroid in a way that Nintendo didn’t seem to know how to do to. And after Other M turned out to be such a disappointment, it wouldn’t surprise me that they would want to return to what works. At the same time, I think Retro might have moved on from that series at this point. Too hard to say either way, really.
I’d rather see Retro get a chance to work on something new, or Star Fox, but a new, good Metroid game is what the Wii U needs right now, and that’s what I believe Retro is working on. As far as Nintendo is concerned, the three series most likely to sell fans on a system are Mario, Zelda and Metroid. Well, all of them are accounted for except Metroid. No one makes more sense to bring it over than Retro.
It’s possible, I guess, but three things have me doubtful. First: if it’s just another Metroid, why all the secrecy? Second: Metroid doesn’t sell systems, as much as people like us would want them to. Retro is critically-acclaimed, and with hardware sales woes, it should work on bigger hits. (Like it did with DKC Returns.) Third: when I think about games “everyone wants [Retro] to do,” I think about Zelda. Or one of a series of other rumored projects.

Current 2012-13 Season standings:


Starting this season, scores are centered on a zero point to account for occasional panelist changes.