But Battlefield dev echoes ‘slow and horrible’ comments
A representative for THQ is seeking to clarify comments made by one of the publisher’s development partners who branded the Wii U’s CPU as “slow and horrible”.
Huw Beynon, a global communications executive at THQ, told Eurogamer that the media coverage surrounding the quote has “spun” the truth of the matter for the purpose of bolstering website traffic numbers.
On Tuesday, the chief technical officer at Metro: Last Light developer 4A claimed there would be difficulties with a Wii U port due to the console’s “horrible, slow CPU”.
CVG’s coverage of the story had clarified that studios, such as Ubisoft Montpellier (Assassin’s Creed 3) and Treyarch (Black Ops 2), appear to have successfully ported their high definition games to Nintendo’s new system. The report added that THQ wants 4A to finish work on Metro Last Light before April due to assurances made to investors. This could be one of a number of reasons for why the studio is not focusing its resources on a Wii U port.
Beynon said that it had become common knowledge that the CPU on Wii U “isn’t as fast as some of the other consoles out there”. He added that a port of Metro: Last Light for Wii U was feasible, though time and resource constraints were primarily preventing this.
“We could probably get Metro to run on an iPad if we wanted, or on pretty much anything,” he said.
“Just as in the same way that between PC and current console versions there are some compromises that need to be made in certain places and we strive to get the very best performance that we can from any platform we release on.
Beynon said 4A is still “a really small studio”.
“There were 50 developers for Metro 2033, there are 80 now. With Metro 2033 most of their experience was with the PC. The Xbox 360 was their first console version. We’ve now added PlayStation 3 to the mix. We genuinely looked at what it would take to bring the game to Wii U. It’s certainly possible, and it’s something we thought we’d like to do.
“The reality is that would mean a dedicated team, dedicated time and effort, and it would either result in a detriment to what we’re trying to focus on, already adding a PlayStation 3 SKU, or we probably wouldn’t be able to do the Wii U version the justice that we’d want.”
He added that, despite the Wii U’s alleged underpowered CPU – a claim that remains ambiguous until official specs are revealed – there are solutions within the hardware.
“Lots of developers are finding ways to get around it because of other interesting parts of the platform,” Benyon said.
The Wii U carries about 1GB of memory specifically for games developers to use – twice the amount available on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Reflecting on the media coverage, Benyon added: “What it doesn’t go on to look at is to say that, you know, we could probably get around these issues. But I understand that there’s a real appetite in the media at the moment because the Wii U is a hot topic to spam some stories that are going to attract a lot of links if they present it in a certain way.”
However, another developer has echoed the comments made by the chief technical officer at 4A Games.
Gustav Halling, lead designer on Battlefield 3: Armored Kill at Swedish EA studio DICE, said on Twitter that he was concerned with how the next Xbox and PlayStation will likely dwarf the Wii U hardware specs.
“This is also what I been hearing within the industry, too bad since it will shorten its life a lot when new gen starts,” he said.
He continued: “GPU and RAM is nice to have shaders/textures loaded. Physics and gameplay run on CPU mostly so player count is affected etc.”
“I don’t actually know what makes it slow, but enough ‘tech’ people I trust in world are saying the same things.”
He went on to claim that the Wii U “should be a great fun platform if you are a Nintendo fan the coming years and the memory and GPU part looks good!”