Does the Nintendo NX Stand a Chance?

 Photo Cred: ReviewTechUSA
Photo Cred: ReviewTechUSA

Early last week, eurogamer.com released a story that according to credible sources on their end, Nintendos upcoming platform codenamed the NX, will indeed function as the handheld/console hybrid that has been rumored for a while now. Furthermore, they have also gone on to say that the console will support both downloadable games, as well as classic styled cartridges.

     Since this news broke, it has been chaos across the board amongst Nintendo fans, with those taking sides for those in favor of the concept as well as those against it. Regardless of whether or not the platform turns out to be something different than expected, or does fall in line with the classic Nintendo move of aiming at a “new way to play”, one thing is for sure: Nintendo is going to have one hell of a time trying to regain the message. With the NX having already been confirmed for March of 2017, I have to wonder when Nintendo is planning to get in front of the speculation and tell its fans what the NX actually is. With TGS around the corner, and a busy fall for triple-A titles, I can’t understand what Nintendo is waiting for since they are only risking being drowned out by market noise the further into the year that they go. 

      Nevertheless, the NX will be announced at some point, and Nintendo will attempt to fulfill our gaming wishes as they lay out the roadmap for the upcoming platform. While we have already covered the NX in previous articles in which we discuss what the console should be, we have not discussed the hurdles it will need to overcome if it turns out to indeed be the hybrid console we are now catching wind of. As expected, the Internet forums are filled with why the console will fail, however I want to offer the idea that if done right- the hybrid could actually succeed. Before you continue reading (if I haven’t already lost you), clear your mind of all previous assumptions and judgments of a console like this, and let’s consider the possibilities in front of us. 

     While many have said that they want to see Nintendo get back to “true console gaming” (whatever that means), we have to accept that after more than a decade of experiments (with some succeeding beyond expectations *cough* Wii *cough*) Nintendo obviously has no interest in trying to compete in the same space as Sony and Microsoft. I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but life immediately gets better once you do. Now that we have all that out of the way, here are three moves that could really change the way that majority of people are looking at the forthcoming announcement, and bring back those that have lost faith in the Nintendo brand.

1.) Offer Solution to the Console/Handheld Separation

This seems the most obvious, but if you are going to give us a portably console, then make sure everything is on there. Offer the solution so that both past 3DS and DS games, along with the new games such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild, are both supported on the platform day 1. No longer will we have to see the audience split on where they want to play tent pole franchises like Smash Bro’s, but instead all can exist on one platform and on one network. Now you don’t have to try and coordinate with your friends where they will buy the upcoming Mario Kart, since it will all be on the same box.

2.) Offer all the Classic Titles & Make them Affordable (Dammit!)

While the WiiU was promised to offer this feature, it has been an incredibly slow rollout of Nintendo classics- and all at a premium price. I understand that Nintendo probably organized this gradual rollout to help fill the long periods without major game releases- after all 3rd party support is almost non existent on the platform now- this cannot be an issue on the new system. If they come out saying that there is a back catalog of 150+ games with 20 more being added every month of Nintendo Classics from every era, then that will get the public’s attention. Just look at the response of the NES Classic Mini announcement- the demand is there, all they need to do is act on it.

3.) Work w/ 3rd Parties & Indie Studios alike

What is probably the most important aspect of the upcoming platform, is for Nintendo to re-establish the faith that they once had with outside developers. If it is one thing that the WiiU taught us, it was that Nintendo couldn’t succeed on their internal dev studio alone. While I think the reality of us getting a new Zelda, Mario, and Metroid in the first year of the consoles life cycle is looking more and more promising with each passing month as the WiiU is left out to die with no software- this could instead turn out to be what the PlayStation Vita had always aspired to be. Imagine being able to move from Zelda: Breath of the Wild to an indie title such as Severed in a matter of moments, and all on the bus ride to work- that is a future that I could live with.

Regardless of what the (hopefully near) future brings, Nintendo has got a lot of speculation and hype to live up to now. It’s time to get out in front of it all, and let the fans know why they should be excited for the upcoming platform. I have every ounce of faith in the house that Mario built, and their ability to stir things up and blindside us with some great announcements- all they need to do now is remind us why Nintendo is a household name.

Preview: We Happy Few

*Please Note: The Gamer HUD was given a preview build of the game since the final product is still in development.

     It has been almost a full day since my last meal and the lack of sleep has also begun to take a toll on the stories character, Arthur Hastings. Since my rations at the bunker have long since been consumed, I now find myself combing the darkened streets of Wellington Wells, the setting for Compulsion Games next title We Happy Few. With my vision now becoming blurry, I come across an rather worn looking building that has some kind of a hand made security alarm rigged of cans and string. Glancing inside, I see a gentleman standing over a fire with a pot of some kind of food slow cooking over it- and it’s at this moment that I start to realize that this has become a “better me than you” situation. While I normally find myself taking the high road in nearly all previous games where they offer a choice system, it is becoming more apparent that Arthur is starving to death and his time is running out. It is once that I have accepted this terrible reality, I burst through the front door of this mans home, causing the cans to crash to the floor and him immediately turning towards me, ready to defend his meal. Using a rather large stick that I had found on the street outside, I take the man down in a few solid swings- dodging his counter attacks. As he melts to the floor and I realize the fight has been won, I make my way to the score. Just as I pick up the food and am now considering scavenging the rest of the flat, I hear a woman running past the doorway saying aloud, “This means more food for us!”- and once again I am fighting for my survival. 

     Probably the best part about this entire scenario that I just walked you through, is there were at least 10 more moments that I could have chosen- none of which are scripted, but rather random events that I stumbled upon while exploring the immersive world of Wellington Wells. Thanks to the procedurally generated world, my version of Wellington Wells and yours, although both will have the dark and ominous presence that is intertwined with every aspect of the world, both will be setup differently. In my 5+ hours that I have spent with the preview build, I am happy to say that the gaming community will have a lot to look forward to when the final version releases sometime in 2017.

     We Happy Few is a first person survival game with RPG elements in which you have to monitor your characters well being such as: water intake, sleep deprivation, and food consumption. From weapon creation and item gathering, this game has a lot more depth than I had originally anticipated. For the alpha build that we were given to preview, we did not have access to any additional narrative content other than what was shown in the E3 gameplay demo, however we were given access to its open world of Wellington Wells and some of its side quests that it offers.      

      When first approaching the preview and learning that it would not include anymore of the incredibly enticing narrative shown off during E3 2016, I was interested to see how the rest of the game would hold up. It is safe to say that it will not only be the narrative that will keep you coming back for more, but for the gameplay loop that challenges to you survive as well as the interesting side missions they offer. One quest in which I was challenged to stop a runner by the name of “Crazy Legs”, was an interesting feat for me to complete since I had to time it perfectly and those around me immediately wanted to join in the fray when it would begin. So what started out as a task to stop an individual from running, turned into an all out street brawl between some of the towns citizens and Crazy Legs himself. 

     One thing that I have been asked now on multiple occasions, is the games comparison to the Bioshock franchise. Coming out of the E3 gameplay preview, people were buzzing about We Happy Few since it offered a similar artistic style to that of Bioshock Infinite, however that is where the similarities stop. While it is understandable to get that impression initially, its gameplay and ominous tone offers a completely different take- leaving this comparison rather flat. We Happy Few will be a title that stands on its own two legs, rather than the fame of another. 

     Both PC and Xbox players have the ability to check out the alpha now via the respective systems Preview Program. Compulsion Games has promised that players will get to experience the continual expansion of the procedural world over the course of the games development, but we get to use this small taste of the game as a chance to get acclimated to the rules and features of Wellington Wells before We Happy Fews final release next year.  In the mean time, I think I’d better take my ‘Joy’ and try to blend in, people seem to be getting suspicious of me and I’ve got to avoid detection if I’m going to survive. Wish me luck.