By: Chris Hodges, editor-in-chief
& Steve MacDougall, contributor
Welcome to the triumphant return/reboot of Debate Club!
For those that are relatively new Chi-Scroller readers, Debate Club is one of the first regular features we ever had on our site. It ran (mostly) weekly from December 2013 all the way through November 2014 when it was put on hiatus. Basically, we were running out of things to debate about every single week, and just kind of getting burned out on it. So we–meaning Chi-Scroller co-founder Steve Zachmann and myself–decided to scale it back from a weekly feature to something we just did whenever a good topic presented itself. Well, for whatever reason, we just never came back to it. After several extended hiatuses by Steve which made a Debate Club difficult to do, he left the site permanently in January, seeming to put the final nail in the coffin of a feature that required two people.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend–the unsung Chi-Scroller idea factory that has contributed more successful ideas to the site than probably Steve and I put together–suggested reviving Debate Club, but having debates with friends/fellow bloggers/guest contributors/etc. I loved the idea. I really missed doing Debate Club; in my opinion, it was always one of our most unique features. So here it is, back for a trial run–with a new “back and forth” format rather than the single point/counterpoint structure of the old Debate Club. Please give me feedback and let me know what you think, if it’s something you’d like to see more of, and most importantly, if it’s something you might want to participate in sometime.
Now, wordy introduction aside, let’s get to the actual debate. My debate partner for this one is our old friend Steve MacDougall, who you might know from the two top fives he pitched in on, or in his frequent contributions to the comments section (as “Erdrick’s Boxers”).
Chris’ opening statement:
It hasn’t been the easiest thing being a Wii U owner/supporter. Sure, it’s nothing new for owners of a Nintendo system to have to wait long stretches between releases, but not since the N64 has that been nearly as bad as it’s been on Wii U. There may only be about 12 million of us, but I feel like we deserve to be rewarded for being faithful to and supportive of Nintendo for buying their crazy experiment that is the Wii U by getting to have the epic, groundbreaking Zelda game we’ve been promised for years. And we should get to have it all to ourselves, not share it with the people who sat Wii U out and are jumping on board with the NX.
First of all, I want to say that it’s very en vogue to shame people right now for wanting exclusives. But what you are talking about isn’t the same as when Sony fanboys were outraged that GTA4 was coming to Xbox. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect first party software to stay on the machine it was made for. That said, there is a group of people you’re forgetting about, and that’s Wii U owners who will be moving on to the NX. With the Wii U’s paltry 12 million install base, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the majority of those will at some point upgrade to the NX, and those users might prefer the option of getting an NX version for their new console. And of course there is precedent here. Nintendo did exactly this when they (allegedly) delayed the launch of the Gamecube version to coincide with the launch of the Wii, which featured its own version of Twilight Princess in its launch lineup.
I definitely appreciate you not lumping me on with all the people whining that more people than them might get to enjoy a game (like the ridiculous outrage by Xbox One owners over Quantum Break also coming to PC). Because yes, this is a different issue entirely. And to your point about wanting software to “stay on the machine it was made for,” Zelda Wii U being made with NX in mind does make me worry about how essential the Wii U tablet is going to be to the game. Much like how Skyward Sword finally showed us just what could be done with actual motion control in a Zelda game and (would’ve been impossible to adequately replicate with the Wii U tablet), I was really banking on Zelda Wii U being an experience that integrated the tablet in innovative and groundbreaking ways.
Nintendo typically uses their big core franchises as the ultimate proof of concept of whatever tricks their hardware and/or controllers are capable of, and I was really counting on them doing that with the Wii U tablet for Zelda Wii U. I fear that having it in mind to make the game easily portable to NX will mean that the tablet will be used for little more than quick item switching and optional weapon aiming. For me, the ideal Zelda Wii U would be an experience that would essentially be impossible to have without the tablet. Nintendo certainly isn’t going to launch a console with the lesser version of Zelda (they got enough grief already for all the ways that GameCube Twilight Princess was better than Wii Twilight Princess; I guarantee they won’t make that mistake again). And also to your point, if they do pull a Twilight Princess and delay the Wii U version until after the NX one, then I’m really going to feel betrayed. I’m going to feel like I’m being duped into buying an NX so I can get the new Zelda sooner which only goes along with my initial point about Nintendo not appreciating the investment that Wii U owners already made in them.
I feel that 2016 should still be primarily about giving the Wii U one last full year of attention and just let NX kind of slip in at the end and quietly join the party, and having all of the focus be on what is surely going to be their biggest game this year help achieve that.
Steve’s closing remarks:
Well first of all, I think the people who are upset about Quantum Break have a right to be. I mean, that is the same as this, really, because that’s a first party game that has been delayed a bit and is now going to launch simultaneously on two different platforms, and worst of all, the rumors suggest that nearly every Microsoft published game from here on out is going to be coming to PC also, which really makes owning an Xbox One pointless. So the rage there is understandable.
As to your other point, yes, in an ideal world, the new Zelda would make indispensable use of the tablet in new and creative ways we’ve never seen. The problem with the tablet though, is that its primary function has long been off-TV play. If you require second-screen functionality for the core game, you lose the ability to play the game off-TV. I don’t think Nintendo was ever going to do that. So I don’t think the Wii U version is going to be worse now because an NX version is also being developed.
The way Twilight Princess was treated was pretty disgraceful. They delayed that game for years and then had the gall to release the Wii version first. It was only a month, as I recall, but still, that was pretty terrible. It should have at the very least been released day and date with the Wii version. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo handles that this time.
I don’t know that the Gamecube version was considered better than the Wii version. They both had their strengths. The Gamecube version didn’t require any tacked on waggle, you got to use a proper controller. (Well, a Gamecube controller anyway…) And Link was left-handed like he was always meant to be and the maps weren’t flipped. The Wii version had better graphical capabilities by virtue of running on better hardware and having a component video option and best of all, the game was in wide-screen. I think there will be similar tradeoffs this time around. Off-TV is a great way to play Zelda. Have a football or basketball game on in the background or something and play through some of the side stuff, switching back to the full TV for the dungeons.
So there you have it! How do you think we did? Let us know your thoughts on this topic and Debate Club in general in the comments below, and tell us who you feel “won” this debate: