The past few days have been fairly exciting for Nintendo fans. The Wii U’s price and release date were officially announced along with some interesting features and games we hadn’t heard about previously. Not everyone is happy, however; in particular, many fans of Platinum Games action title Bayonetta are livid after the announcement that Bayonetta 2 will be a Wii U exclusive even though the first game was a multi-platform title for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
But why get upset? This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In fact, let’s take a look at a few other times a franchise has jumped systems.
Back in the early to mid 90s, if you were a Final Fantasy or Squaresoft fan in the US, the Super Nintendo was the console to own. Both Final Fantasy II (really IV) and fan favorite Final Fantasy III (really VI) were exclusive to the system. Then, in 1997, Final Fantasy VII was released… for the Sony Playstation. Fans were forced to either invest in an unknown and unproven console, or give up on the franchise.
Even before that, there was the Castlevania series on the NES. Though Japan saw more Castlevania games on different platforms early on, here in the US and other countries around the world the series was exclusive to Nintendo. That is, until 1994 when Castlevania Bloodlines was released exclusively for the Sega Genesis. What’s worse is that back in those days it was far less common to have more than one video game console, so you were most likely out of luck as a Nintendo owner. These days though, there are exclusive Castlevania titles on almost every system.
This isn’t just exclusive to the early days of gaming though, in more recent history we’ve seen the acquisition of Rare by Microsoft. Fans of Perfect Dark, possibly the greatest console FPS of its time, were out of luck if they wanted to play the game’s prequel: Perfect Dark Zero released exclusively for the Xbox 360. Okay, bad example. In this case that was more of a blessing than a curse, however this also affected the Banjo-Kazooie series as Nuts & Bolts was of course, another Xbox 360 exclusive.
The final example I have for you today was perhaps the biggest shock of all. In 1999 a little game developer that was well known for it’s games on the Macintosh presented it’s new title to the masses at Macworld Expo. This new game was called Halo. I don’t think I need to explain what happened. How Bungie, the developer in question, was bought by Microsoft in 2000. How Halo went from being a third-person action title for Mac and PC to a first-person shooter exclusive to Microsoft’s new Xbox console. You think you’re upset about Bayonetta 2? Try being a Macintosh and Bungie fan in the late 90s/early 2000s.
Ultimately, the point is not about the console makers themselves. The point is that the feeling of betrayal over Bayonetta 2 is unfounded. No one ever promised that a sequel would be multi-platform, that was just an assumption that turned out to be incorrect. Personally, I couldn’t be happier with the news. Not as a Nintendo fan, because even if the game was exclusive to another console I would still be excited. I’m just happy we’re getting a sequel at all, and you should be too.