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Wii UK Roundtable - EA's Plans for Wii
James Hobbs, Calum Bennett, Jonathan Westlake & Joe Hall

With EA announcing that they are going to focus more of their time on original titles for Wii as opposed to ports, what would you like to see from them?


Whilst I'm all in favour of 'family-orientated' titles as a cash cow for developers, I sincerely hope that EA's pledge to develop new games for Wii won't result in yet another deluge of mini-game titles or games for the family. Wii is clearly quite capable of being able to support a diverse range of games, and there has been a distinct lack of innovation in any area other than the control systems used by developers.

I'd like to see EA take time to develop an idea that would be perfect for Wii, with finely-honed controls and more developed graphics than their offerings that we've seen so far - The Godfather is just one example of an entertaining game that could have looked and played a lot better. Sports games are certainly EA's forté, or so it would seem - I'd personally love to see an off-the-wall, crazy sports title that pushes the Wii graphically and provides a control system that doesn't require compromise to learn properly.

EA Games


We all know that EA can come up with great sports sims if they put their minds to it, but usually they end up pretty foul, trying to be too realistic at the expense of fun. Of course, with the Wii they'll most likely be reaching out to a different market: namely people who want to play games for enjoyment again rather than being bogged down by however many billion polywotsits they can cram onto a screen. The new Sims game really shows that EA are aware of Wii's target audience. It features sickeningly cutesy graphics and what appears to be a very simple 'pick up and play' ethos. With this in mind, I'd really expect to see some more content similar to My Sims. I'd expect them to possibly jump on the 'non-game' bandwagon too, with some type of Brain Training-esque puzzler, or possibly some form of pet simulation. Personally, however, I'd rather see them use their existing game Black & White and tweak the formula somewhat to make it more a pet sim - in the vein of Nintendogs with Sim-like customisation and care options. This would give a stale genre a bit more life.

Speaking as a gamer, I'd very much like to see something a little more action-orientated and more mature ( taking into account that in gaming mature means guns and as much gore as is physically possible to fit on the screen ). EA have a game coming out for the 360 called Army Of Two - a shooter in which you control two characters and must rely on the skills of each respective character. While the idea may have been done to death, the game does look pretty promising and does seem to be at least trying to separate itself from the crowd. This is what I want - an ultra violent, full-on gore game that has enough new gameplay ideas to hold up its own against the rest and justify that all-important purchase. An online mode would be brilliant too - a few more online games wouldn't go amiss in the Wii's library.

EA Games


First and foremost I would like to see EA address the appalling working conditions they are said to put their staff through before they do anything else. After reading a whistleblower's account, I'm half tempted to boycott their products altogether. Taking that bit longer to get a title to market is not a bad thing and in fact it will probably improve the quality of the final product. We just don't need annual editions of the same game. I also get angry at their practice of buying up small, promising developers and then forcing them to rush out rehashed old franchises rather than come up with new ideas; new IP from EA almost seems like an oxymoron.

Anyway, that's my rant over – back to the topic in hand. I'm optimistically hoping that their statement heralds a new era in EA output. I'd like to see EA playing to their strengths, but in a Wii-orientated way. Perhaps a Track and Field style game where your player ( maybe even your Mii ) competes against others online, with a stadium functioning as the lobby. EA are good at building a bit of depth in their sports games and if they combined this with an online ranking and development system I think it could be a real winner. It could even be marketed as a fitness game.

Going away from sports, how about resurrecting the Road Rash series? Strictly I realise this is not new IP, but if it was built around the Wii's controls it could be great. Steering could be made by replicating the handlebar's movements using the motion controls ( maybe with a supplied linking bar to complete the realism ) and acceleration could be done by twisting the Wiimote. Combine the classic racing/brawling with the ability to join biker clans, a free-roaming MMO element a la Test Drive Unlimited, new bikes that take ages to save up for, and again I think you'd have the recipe for success.

EA Games


For me, EA announcing they are producing original games and not ports is neither a good or bad thing. Personally I think that the fact games developers are spending more time ( and money ) with the Wii is great, but I want ports as well. I want The Sims, the good Sims, not My Sims, which to me looks a lot like Animal Crossing. The Sims would have worked perfectly with the Wiimote, and not have been half as bad as the other console versions of it. Harry Potter could be a fantastic game - using the Wiimote as a wand could be very simple, and including a microphone with the game could make it even more entertaining. There is potential with the Wii that other consoles don’t have.

The original games are quite good. SSX Blur was a superb addition to the series, if a little hard. Boogie could be an interesting game, using a dance-mat and the Wiimote for a game like that could be very confusing, but if the game is made properly could result in a fantastic rhythm based title.

Ubisoft fell into the trap of producing original games, but rushing them. I want the games to be excellent, even if they take an extra 3-6 months. It’s all very well saying you're going to spend more time on original Wii games, but you have to deliver the goods.

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