The most outlandish potential scenario that we could cook up was that the new, mainline Call of Duty game would be announced as an exclusive for Wii U. People would riot in the streets, I said, literally tear the ground apart with their bare knuckles, clawing and gnashing into that soft earth for the sweet rot underneath, seeking a meal, needing to be nourished, craving justice. It seemed pretty ridiculous at the time, but was a thought that bore out at least considering. What, seriously, would happen if such a scenario came to pass? It would be an event that had the potential to fully end the ceasefire in the never-resolved but amicably stale-mated console wars, the true Cold War for a generation of gamers, the one that Really Mattered to all of us at some point or another (I fought in the 16-bit wars and served my country). What atrocities could people commit, what bigotry could people be unable to repress any longer, if push finally came to shove, if Nintendo, who has been left to its own non-threatening "kiddie" devices for the last six years made a serious intrusion into the Master Race HD world?
As it turns out, our ridiculous prediction might not have been as far off-base as we thought. With nothing more than a fifteen second teaser trailer for Bayonetta 2 and the single word "exclusive," Nintendo may have fired their own shot heard round the world that will allow us to see just how bad things can still get.
In a lot of ways, gamers who have been content to slander or ignore Nintendo since the launch of the Wii have had precious little to really rage about. Sure, Nintendo will always have Nintendo-developed software to itself, but for the most part, Wii versions of third-party software, when existent, are often dismissed as little more than novelties or "shovelware," downports of the superior PS3 or 360 releases. Even I am guilty of this practice, as I tasked my live-in sadist girlfriend to bring back a copy of Modern Warfare 3 for the PS3 on her way back to Japan after a couple weeks in America last November. When she took it out of her bag I knew something wasn't right—it was the Wii version, and I was so disgusted that I sat it on the floor and sulked for ten minutes while she desperately cried, pawing at my disgusting, filth-caked Hobbit feet, oh god I am so sorry, what have I done, why god, why, how could I have been so stupid, stupid, tears crusting salty on the sides of her face, my silence damning her for ages.
But it wasn't really out of maliciousness. For Wii owners last generation, you either had a PS3 or 360 in addition to your Wii or you just weren't gonna play very many games, and certainly not much of the newer stuff. It was part of life, part of reality. The other consoles had the power, had the online, had outclassed the Wii. We bought them! I loved having games to play. I didn't put up much of a fight about it, I was happy just to have games. And for the most part, the Wii kept to itself! It was never a "threat" to the big two (except for massively outselling them and raking in billions of dollars in profit) with its 480p resolution and its funny controllers and its poor online system, even though the solid Nintendo franchise games popped up time and time again, bringing joy to gamers who love games.
But then here comes the Wii U, and it's a little bit better than what we have now, and the controllers are a little bit more standard, and it can do high-def output, and people, for the most part, are still content to disregard it as little more than what we have now, a system that'll get slightly better versions of old 360 and PS3 games and the Nintendo stuff (for the kids) and that is it. Don't need it, just gonna be the same old crap. But then, suddenly, it isn't that way. They show the price, they show the release date, they show the exclusive Platinum Games title (the fantastic looking (but not matoor so it can be disregarded) The Wonderful 101). And then they show Bayonetta. And then the little 2 appears after it! I feel a rumble.
I think, ha, what if this game is exclusive to Wii U? And then Reggie says it is! And I am pretty sure I hear some gasps. It turns out it is just me, I am gasping for air, because I have life-threatening lung diseases that are all trying to kill me at once.
Almost immediately my Twitter feed, my Facebook friends, and the forums I read start blowing up with equal parts shocked praise and insane derisiveness. How could Nintendo do this?! How could they "force" us to buy their new hardware? Bayonetta is "our" game! It belongs to the not-Nintendo crowd. And Nintendo has the audacity not only to debut it on their system, but to have it exclusively? I can smell it coming out of the walls, the years of pent-up anger. It is the beginning. The floodgates are open to unreserved bashfests pretty universally from one side of the coin.
Literal, actual words from people around the net regarding this single game, seriously:
Will Bayonetta 2 ever appear on a real console?
How in the fuck are they going to make Bayonetta 2 for the wii only? As if anyone that plays interesting games owns a wii...
I really hope someone blows up Nintendo HQ.
why do they have to steal our games?and that's exactly what they do,taking a beloved 3rd party franchise and making it exclusive so others can't play it is stealing
Bayonetta 2 as a Wii U exclusive makes me want to fucking kill myself as a gamer. I'm a diehard Bayonetta fan and that is just disgusting.
Mmm, can you feel it? A critically-loved supremely innovative one-shot action game has a sequel announced, and "diehard" fans would literally "rather die" than purchase the Nintendo hardware required to play it! This is the good stuff here, folks. Completely partisan anti-gaming sentiment aimed directly at Nintendo for having the audacity to fund, publish, and promote what will in all likelihood be a fantastic game specifically made for people who like games!
The last few years in the world of gaming fandom have been pretty quiet, on a historical graph. We have the PS3 and 360 pretty much at feature and library parity now, after a shaky start, with fairly identical libraries and competent online services, mostly similar controllers. Nintendo, for the most part, has been left to the wings after the once-soaring success of the Wii, which singlehandedly sparked the "casual gaming" boom but toward the end of its life was mostly a franchise character box. By doing the exact thing that "hardcore" gamers have always faulted Nintendo for—acquiring solid third-party exclusives directly aimed at those very gamers—they have drawn the ire of the worst of them, the hardcore equivalent of the "inferior casual"—the Inferior Hardcore, the people who would rather just hate than enjoy playing games. As a man who wants to watch the world burn I couldn't ask for anything more (well, I can think of a few things that would spice up the mix).
The real irony in all of this is that Nintendo appears to be setting a bold foot into the events that will compose the next generation of games and game systems in a time of great tumult! The fact that Bayonetta 2 was by all rights initially a cancelled game that Nintendo seemingly stepped in to revive is evidence of the very fact that the Wii U might actually end up being something other than what Nintendo goes on and on about publicly. The "face" of the system as it is portrayed in the media is the family-friendly stuff that they have been saying since 2006, but a game like Bayo 2, which is a sequel to a game that—although critically acclaimed—wasn't exactly a blockbuster and definitely plays on some... niche tastes even among avid gamers, suggests that Nintendo is serious about pleasing those very PS3 and 360 players that now seem so quick to burn them and their products at the stake.
I can't predict how the Wii U is going to turn out, I don't know what the next systems from Microsoft or Sony are going to look like, and I have no idea if Bayonetta 2 is even going to be any good (well okay it will probably be the best game ever). But if there's one thing I do know it's that this might be the first shot fired but it sure as hell isn't going to be the last. We can look forward to a couple years of petty shitslinging and bizarre melodrama from the best minds the Internet has to offer. Thankfully, regardless of whatever any of them say, I can be glad that as a gamer, there's a game company coming out of my corner, swinging for me, and that's the best kind of game company. It doesn't matter what is written on the box.
BUT OH MAN I am glad it is Nintendo, take that!!!!!ahahahaaaaaaaaaaa