There has been a great deal of debate about where the Wii U stands in regards to its processing capabilities. Different developers have had different opinions on the matter. The most recent developer to weigh in is Criterion whose developers seem to be fans of the Wii U.
“When they first looked at the specs on paper a lot of developers said, ‘Well, you know this is a bit lightweight’ and they walked away. I think a lot of people have been premature about it in a lot of ways because while it is a lower clock-speed, it punches above its weight in a lot of other area.,”
“So, I think you’ve got one group of people who walked away, you’ve got some other people who just dived in and tried and thought, ‘Ah… it’s not kind of there,’ but not many people have done what we’ve done, which is to sit down and look at where it’s weaker and why, but also see where it’s stronger and leverage that. It’s a different kind of chip and it’s not fair to look at its clock-speed and other consoles’ clock-speed and compare them as numbers that are relevant. It’s not a relevant comparison to make when you have processors that are so divergent. It’s apples and oranges.”
“The Wii U has had a bit of a bad rap – people have said it’s not as powerful as 360, this, that and the other… Hopefully we’ll go some way to proving that wrong.”
“Nintendo don’t speak about that, it’s not their core focus at all but they did their ‘Iwata Asks’ about the hardware and it talks consistently about how they got to keep it quiet with low power consumption, and they totally did that… but what they haven’t really championed is how they delivered something that could do this as well [he points to the 50-inch Panasonic playing host to Most Wanted U]… It’s possible. It’s work. You have to think about it and put time and craft and effort and whatever else into it but you have to do that for everything that’s worth doing in this business… I think people should either go all-in or not bother.”
The Wii U’s GPU and CPU are both highly customized chips, and Criterion feels that developers can get more out of it than they have. Time will tell if they are right, but Need For Speed for the Wii U is looking mighty impressive thus far.