Good news, Wii-based shooter fans. The preferred distraction of straight white college-age men across the country is soon coming to your console. Activision has just confirmed that the third installation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series will be released on the Wii.
It's sort of a puzzling move, really. The game has such a dedicated following to begin with, and the vast majority of that following plays on Xbox or PC. CoD breaks presale records as it is, but I suppose reaching out to new players across new platforms rarely hurts a developer. Maybe they're working with Nintendo to shed the Wii's image of being solely for kiddy cartoon games. Modern Warfare certainly brings a lot more street cred to the Nintendo brand than Kirby's epic yarn.
But something about the timing is off. MW3 is set to drop in November. It'll be released on our old, regular Wii--the one that revolutionized casual gaming with its motion controllers but never really appealed to the more serious gamer. It didn't pack the same muscle or HD capabilities as its brethren over at Microsoft and Sony. It still doesn't.
Nintendo's new console, the Wii U, is set to be released in 2012. This 8th-generation machine seems to be a big push towards landing the Wii back in the big leagues. With enormous processing capabilities and a nifty new controller, it might score itself some impressive titles when it hits the market. This future machine sounds absolutely perfect for a Call of Duty player. That touchscreen controller? That could be used to switch weapons and select other options without needing to bring up a menu on the main screen. That's one of the things that bothers me most about Call of Duty or other competitive first person shooters--hit the menu and you're a blind soldier for a few seconds. The game doesn't pause around you in multiplayer. And it's a game where you need every second to get a competitive edge. But put an extra screen on the controller? Bam. Fixed.
I know Activision isn't going to wait to extend their franchise to Nintendo. They'll throw MW3 up on the Wii because it'll amplify that nice buzz they get whenever they throw out another war simulator. But I sure wish the release dates lined up a bit better. Playing CoD on the Wii as it is now sounds like it'd be a flat imitation of the CoD experience as it is on high-powered machines. This is a game where you need to be fast, where your every motion counts toward your success. I'm having trouble seeing anyone using a nunchuck while playing on the veteran difficulty level. I'm sure it can be done, but should it? Should developers dilute their product just to broaden their player base?
I'm sure we'll be seeing a drastic shift in tone in Wii selections once the Wii U is out. We'll see all sorts of shooters like CoD, and they'll probably look and feel fantastic on the new machine. Pushing for CoD on the regular Wii seems like a strange last hurrah for the old console before the new one edges in. But maybe it will hook new hordes of casual gamers onto the shooter just in time for Nintendo's selection to open up.