“The fact that I don’t really care about the Wii U or even want to find out more about it says something.”
So says Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein 3D designer, John Romero. The veteran game designer has kept a low profile ever since the disastrous Daikatana brought his AAA career, and the era of “rock star” game development, to a screeching halt. While the FPS genre he popularized has gone on to dominate the medium, Romero has moved on to free-to-play titles for Facebook and iOS.
When asked about Nintendo’s upcoming Wii successor, the imaginatively titled Wii U, Romero was dismissive.
“I don’t sit and read every little piece of news all the time because I’m really busy with the things that I do. News that reaches me is usually more important,” he told GameIndustry Biz. “When the Wii was coming out, it was one of those “I have to have one of these things” and I had to pull some strings and get one because it was sold out all over the place. There was this game called World of Warcraft and I heard about it and I had to get it. There are these things that are really big that I’ll hear about, but I don’t hear about a lot of the other things.”
“Over time those big things became big things, so the fact that I don’t really care about the Wii U or even want to find out more about it says something,” he continued. “It doesn’t look like it is innovative, and to me the Apple ecosystem is the place I like to live in and the Nintendo ecosystem has stopped their innovating ways.”
He argues that the Wii managed to trounce the competition was down to its innovative design and varied library of games, but points out that the Wii U, and indeed most of the next gen consoles, aren’t bringing anything new to the table to warrant his interest.
“I personally don’t care what the next gen of consoles are because I’m not excited about consoles anymore,” he said. “The Wii U or any kind of future Sony or Xbox are just not that exciting because I have a PS3 and a 360 and sometimes I will play a really great game on them like Red Dead Redemption, but my game playing has tended to go back towards the PC and the iPad and iPhone. Maybe it’s just a sign of the times, but that’s where it’s gone for me.”
Romero does add that while he believes traditional console manufacturers are fighting a losing battle against Apple, the IP they’ve created to sell those consoles may end up saving them.
“Nintendo can probably live off of their IP without any hardware, where other companies that are huge like Microsoft has no IP and relies on everybody else to make it for them,” he added. “Without a platform, they just have an operating system. If everybody decides to go Android or Apple, there you go. The development of the IP is just extremely important and Nintendo has been doing that since they started. So they made the wisest decision.”