‘Need for Speed’ Developer Speaks Out About Wii U, EA

PHOTO COURTESY | PLAYSTATION LIFESTYLE “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” is actually the second game in the series with that title.
“Need for Speed: Most Wanted” is actually the second game in the series with that title.

One of the biggest com­plaints leveled at Nintendo’s platforms is a lack of third-party support.

The Wii U, in particular, has suffered from a severe lack of games not developed by Nintendo itself. How­ever, even the much more popular 3DS handheld’s library is mostly compiled from first-party efforts.

According to comments from former Burnout and Need for Speed developer, Alex Ward, the publishers themselves are not to blame: at least not entirely.

Ward, along with Fiona Sperry, another co-founder of the developer Criterion Games, left Electronic Arts in January to start a new company. That studio is Three Fields Entertainment.

Ward went to Twitter to discuss Three Fields’ future, specifically where the studio plans to release its games.

In response to questions about releasing on the Wii U, Ward said, “Probably not to be honest,” on Twitter. “But never say never.”

A heated online conver­sation followed, with Ward explaining his past experi­ences with Electronic Arts and Nintendo while devel­oping “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” for the Wii U.

Ward was quickly ac­cused of not properly sup­porting the Wii U version, which came out months later than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions in the first place.

“Totally wrong. I did. Second, I complained when the company didn’t even bother to press the discs with our game on,” adding that he and Criterion “worked our arses off. Neither (Nintendo) or EA gave a shit about it. A group of us did try … ”

He went on to explain that the team personally flew out to Nintendo to demo the game and ask for marketing support, but that “There was none.”

EA’s disinterest in Nin­tendo’s Wii U seems obvi­ous; the console has strug­gled to find an install base anywhere near its contem­poraries, much less its pre­decessor. Developers and publishers have been pull­ing support almost since its launch.

Why Nintendo might not have given the game support is another question entirely. Most of the company’s de­fenders point out that the best games on each of its consoles have been those made in-house, but that hardly works as a key finan­cial argument.

It’s strange to consider where the Wii U might be going in the future, espe­cially if Ward’s claims are the norm for the company’s outreach.

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