By Jonathan Charles | Aug 27, 2012 10:08 AM EDT
The internal hardware of Wii U is a mystery, likely to intensify as the launch of Nintendo's next-generation console approaches. The project lead at Sumo Digital, developers of Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, said he is surprised by the console's capabilities.
"There are always surprises and unexpected challenges when you develop on a new console. When we first got our hands on the kit, the first surprise was the capability of the GPU. We'd been worried that we might need to re-engineer all the effects and shaders in the game, but they worked just fine," Producer Steve Lycett revealed to Official Nintendo Magazine on Aug. 24.
Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed is the sequel to Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, the well-received kart racer from Sumo Digital. Its sequel is based around vehicles transforming into cars, boats, and planes, depending on the environment. Vehicles have a unique set of physics, so driving on water will not be like driving a car in Mario Kart 7.
Lycett added Wii U is on-level with current HD platforms, perhaps hinting towards PC, and claimed that Wii U includes "way more" memory allowing "less compression on elements and textures, so it will all look lovely and shiny".
Nintendo aims to bring third-party developers on board with Wii U, so that will mean its specs probably have to be comparable to current consoles. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is weaker than the PlayStation 3, yet it manages to dominate third-party titles with timed exclusives for downloadable content (Skyrim's Dawnguard expansion for example). The Cell architecture in the PlayStation 3 is apparently a problem for developers, as Bethesda found out with Skyrim.
Nintendo is holding an event Sept. 13 in New York, at which it is expected to reveal a price and launch date for the Wii U, so it may announce additional details on internal hardware. The real indicator will be how the games look, and thus far titles like Pikmin 3 look a step up from Wii.
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