Wii U Has the Best Damn Launch Lineup Ever

Countdown to Wii U:
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If there’s one thing I think we can say for sure about Wii U going into launch, it’s that it sports one of the most robust and well-rounded launch lineups ever. There’s a tremendous degree of variety, from enhanced versions of triple-A blockbusters such as Assassin’s Creed III and Darksiders II to potential mass market phenomena like SiNG Party or Nintendo Land to modern updates to classic games like New Super Mario Bros. U. It’s definitely a historic lineup.

The best part? It fulfills the promise that Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime made last year on the E3 stage – that Wii U would provide experiences to suit each individual gamer’s tastes.

One of the most telling signs is the palette of genres that have representation even just in the day one lineup. Almost every prolific genre is on the way: you’ve got a side-scrolling platformer, an arcade games suite, a whopping five action-adventures (all of them of AAA quality), two action games, a survival horror shooter, a Call of Duty HD experience, four sports games, a racing game, a puzzle game, an arcade fighter, an arcade tank battle game, three party games, and a fitness game.

That’s pretty darn impressive.

If there’s anything that’s missing from the initial list, it’s a deep role-playing experience, and we already know that online RPGs like Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Mass Effect 3, and Dragon Quest X are coming, along with a mystery Square-Enix project that’s being ported by Straight Right.

Compare this to the launch lineup of the PlayStation 3, which was pathetically small and even then oversaturated with sports and war games, or even the more robust Xbox 360 release library, and you’ve got a lot more to pick from.

Where else have you seen such a collection of high-quality games, including legendary names like Assassin’s Creed, Epic Mickey, or Tekken Tag Tournament 2, all nice and ready in time for a new system’s kickoff? You simply haven’t – no system has ever gone the extra mile and assembled more than just the yearly sports and shooter sequels, the handful of sloppy day one exclusives, and licensed shovelware like Wii U has done.

The biggest resource Nintendo has at its disposal is of course a Mario game at launch – and not just any Mario game but a new entry in the side-scrolling Super Mario Bros. series. Regardless of what you think about how Nintendo has handled the “New” games, classic-style Mario has historically been the most successful hardware-driver of all time, making success stories out of the NES, the SNES, and the DS before leading Wii to the best holiday season ever for a game console in 2009.

Nintendo may say that Nintendo Land or Miiverse or Nintendo TVii is poised to be Wii U’s big killer app, but I don’t think any of those is the right candidate. I certainly don’t see Miiverse moving systems; Nintendo TVii will probably only reach its selling potential once the system gets a price cut to about $200 or so a few years down the line; Nintendo Land seems like it’s gaining acceptance but remains fairly unproven.

If you ask me, Nintendo’s probably counting on New Super Mario Bros. to serve as a gateway game. They want people to become hooked on Miiverse and Nintendo TVii when they pick up a Wii U at launch to play the newest Mario, and to discover the immense value of Nintendo Land as well if they happen to spring the extra $50 for the Deluxe Set.

We haven’t had a Nintendo home platform launch with a new Mario game in over 15 years. I’m honestly surprised Nintendo’s not making a bigger deal about this fact, since it’s pretty significant. I’d go so far to say that New Super Mario Bros. by itself would put Wii U’s launch library up there with the best of the best, even without the rest of the great games on the list to back it up.

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