Bethesda: Nintendo has to ‘do what Sony and Microsoft’ have been doing for us

Bethesda’s Peter Hines had some very harsh words for Nintendo recently concerning how they approached third parties with the Wii U pre-launch. He says that Nintendo needed to take an extra step to get companies like Bethesda on board and ‘do what Sony and Microsoft have been doing with us’.

Controversial words to say the least that aren’t entirely wrong or right.

The time for convincing publishers and developers to support Wii U has long past. The box is out. You have to do what Sony and Microsoft have been doing with us for a long time and it’s not that every time we met with them we got all the answers we wanted. But they involved us very early on, and talking to folks like Bethesda and Gearbox, they say ‘here’s what we’re doing, here’s what we’re planning, here’s how we think it’s going to work’ to hear what we thought – from our tech guys and from an experience standpoint.

You have to spend an unbelievable amount of time upfront doing that. If you’re just going sort off deciding ‘we’re going to make a box and this is how it works and you should make games for it.’ Well, no. No is my answer, I’m going to focus on other ones that better support what it is we’re trying to do. So you’ve gotta spend more time trying to reach out to those folks before you even make the box, when you’re still designing and thinking about how it’s going to work

I have to question how much “reaching out” to those folks matters in the long run. It was reportedly Gearbox who told Sony they shouldn’t ship the PS4 with only 4GB RAM and then Sony granted them their wish and upped it to 8GB. Then, months later we found out the PS4 truly has 5-5.5GB RAM for devs to play around with. What was the difference? Did Sony truly listen to developers if they ended up not giving all that much more memory to them? There is nothing wrong with that, its just a bit ironic.

Nintendo is at fault here too but companies like Bethesda can’t expect the same treatment from MS and Sony from them. Nintendo has rarely operated like that and only now they are changing their old ways by reaching out to indies more and publishing a lot of third party games. It seems Nintendo has gone out of their way to help third parties like Ubisoft, Warner Bros, and Capcom.

This sounds like a case of third parties wishing Nintendo had given them a chance to say “don’t go with PowerPC again” or “please put more RAM in the machine” but ultimately I don’t think Nintendo would be better off if they followed third party wishes exactly. Whose to say they’d support the Wii U even if it was on par with all other next-gen consoles?