Wii 2? Let the Speculation Begin!!

Its happening, even as we speak. Nintendo is developing a new console. The word is out, and its beginning to spread. And as you read more and more headlines about this next great revolution from the originators of the modern video game model, you begin to realize… we know absolutely nothing. Not us, and not any other news outlet. But damn, its fun to speculate, isn’t it?

Here’s what we’ve got so far about Nintendo’s newest, and what we hope to see from the House that Mario Built.

Personally, I’m hoping for something a little more Cyberpunk…

The speculation began innocently enough, about 8 months ago, when Yoshio Sakamoto, Nintendo executive and one of the creators of Metroid, made a statement about Nintendo’s next system.

“At Nintendo we always have the obligation to surprise users with a new console. We have never done what others [have]. We prefer to create something new that catches attention, and I think this will continue at this time. Surely the new Nintendo machine will leave you all with your mouth open.” (Translation by Slash Gear)

But was this quote made with something specific in mind? Had he just come from a showing of the mystery platform? Or was this just idle speculation. Obviously, a few people though even this dreamy, doe-eyed sentence was worth a write-up.

All I knew was, whenever that new system dropped, it better not be called the Wii 2, because people immediately start making Wee-wee jokes, and my eyes just can’t take that much rolling.

Idle chatter became frantic texting, tweeting, and rumor mongering today, though, when Game Informer announced today that some unnamed source of theirs let slip that the new Nintendo console may well rear its head at this summer’s E3. EA’s label head Frank Gibeau had said something similar back in March, and with GI’s report claiming that the big N had been showing off the system to 3rd party developers to garner early support, everything seems to be meshing for a grand reveal here in less than 60 days.

This comes at the perfect time, really. The Wii sold crazy, crazy numbers when it came out, a sensation that was unexpected and, at least by Nintendo, totally welcomed. It but Nintendo back at the head of the industry, and broke into the ‘casual market’ in a way that will ultimately change how games are looked at and distributed. However, recent months have seen Wii sales plummet, and most polls show that while the Wii is the most widely owned system, it gets the fewest hours of play per week of any current Gen console. On top of that, it seems its due for a price drop in the next couple months

This new system, called by some the Wii 2, but by me, the Nintendo HD seeks to change that.

If the reports are true, then the system will support HD Graphics, an improvement that’s been looked into with the Wii for some time. But what else should we know about this strange new creature? IGN reports, from multiple sources, that the new system will have specs comparable to the PS3 and 360, with some going so far as to say it will blow those two out of the water.

So… well, all that just adds up to this: Nintendo has a new system, and it’ll look good. And frankly, it better look DAMN good. I don’t want to say that graphic power is everything here. I mean, I play the Wii the most of any of the systems in my home, and the PS3 is mostly, honestly, used for DLC. But I can’t say its not an important selling point to many gamers, and to the 3rd party support Nintendo is trying to hard to muster (you know, the thing that keeps the dust from collection on the system). But, if a Wii 2 did come out, and it looked just like the PS3, then when the PS4 or whatever came out, wouldn’t Nintendo just be the slow kid in the race again? If Nintendo is developing an HD system, then it needs to be  bigger than the competition, so they feel like the forerunners of the next generation, rather than the latecomer to the current one.

Motion control? I’d bet so. But if Nintendo is smart, they’ll incorporate analog control for more ‘normal’ game options that are easy to play. Backwards compatible? Probably, though the current gen has found that the systems will still sell well with little to no support for this function, despite whiny gamers.

The only other insight we have comes from ‘The Man’, Shigeru Miyamoto. When interviewed by UK game mag, GameTM, Shiggy was quoted as saying:

“Technology is always evolving and Nintendo, just like other companies, is going to integrate those te

chnologies intoour new products as they develop. Whether that be a Wii HD, Wii 2 or an entirely new console, I am not in a position to say at the moment.”

“I think that in the next generation of hardware, the challenge is how unique and different a product Nintendo is able to make.”

Its hard to say whether or not Nintendo will still with the Wii as a brand. Its an established name, a Trademark that would be difficult to walk away from. But then, Nintendo has never been known for resting on their laurels (even if they do have a history of making about 9 different iterations on each Gameboy… but hey, that’s portable). I’d almost expect to see some other sort of big, though related, leap with this next system. A move away from the Wii, but not upwards in the direction we would expect, but rather laterally, on a new creative tangent. And, I’d almost wager, something that takes the best parts of the PSP’s portable link-ups and uses them on the much more popular 3DS. Maybe some new Nintendo Network support. And a way to port those virtual arcade games onto the new system. And more experimentation with immersive gaming. Hell, wouldn’t it be neat if it somehow could connect with and share apps from your apple products? Flash games are going to be all over this thing…

But that’s just my imagination joggin’ along. What do you want to see?

*Article Image by Mondolithic Studios

**Miyamoto photo via Okay Geek