Let’s be honest, the Wii U, while a great console with a fairly solid first-party library, is struggling to survive this generation. It may be faring better than the PlayStation Vita, but it’s safe to say it won’t be making any strides towards the sales numbers of the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Given a handful of titles that fans can look forward to like the new Legend of Zelda title, Paper Mario: Color Splash, and even this week’s Star Fox Zero, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Nintendo to start filling up their release schedule with remastered titles from their past. If The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD are any indication, then it wouldn’t exactly hurt to release more games where minimal development is needed.
Some gamers tend to complain about HD remasters when other publishers release them, often saying the work should go towards a new game. Despite this, there is a positive purpose for remastering older games, and that tends to be providing classic titles for newer generations. The Nintendo GameCube is a good console for Nintendo to utilize for HD remasters, as it’s old enough for the games to no longer be found at retail, and some are even ridiculously overpriced as collector’s items. The Wii may not be as old, but there are some games that didn’t feel like they quite reached their potential with the standard definition visuals. Even if Nintendo is priming to get a solid launch library set up for the Nintendo NX, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for them to hire a development studio to port an older title in their catalog. Here is a list of games that would be great choices to remaster for the Wii U.
1.Super Mario Sunshine
Nintendo was very experimental during the GameCube era, often trying new things with their franchises that felt out of place or even controversial with the fans. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker gave the franchise a cel-shaded makeover and Star Fox Adventures took Fox out of his arwing for an action-adventure title. For their little Italian plumber Mario, they decided to give him a water pack and make him clean up sludge with Super Mario Sunshine. Despite the unusual premise, the game was truly a marvel for the franchise. Taking what made Super Mario 64 so great, Super Mario Sunshine expanded upon it by making areas even larger, providing tighter controls, and adding a new tool in the form of F.L.U.D.D., which provided new ways to platform. Not only was the game visually stunning for the time, but it was also arguably the most challenging 3D title for the plumber, having missions like the red coin challenges, footraces with Il Piantissimo, and more.
Fans have actually been hoping this title would return in an HD remaster, as despite how fun Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D World have been, they have not only toned down the difficulty, but also the grand scale of the games. Many will remember the sight of being on top of Noki Bay’s cliffs and looking down at the fantastic view. Isle Delfino was simply a fun area to explore and often made it a blast by using F.L.U.D.D. to jet over water, propel high in the sky like a rocket, and even for various moments, doing traditional Mario platforming without the water pack. While it did some unusual things with the series, like having fully voiced dialogue in cutscenes, Super Mario Sunshine is still a classic that deserves the HD treatment, especially now that it is over a decade old.
2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Given that the Wii U uses blu-ray discs for games, there is plenty of space to fit older games for a collection. Fire Emblem is a franchise that has been seeing a lot of success on the Nintendo 3DS lately, and while console games are a bit riskier, releasing two older console titles might be a way to see if it would be worth making a new console Fire Emblem title. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance was the GameCube game that introduced Ike Greil, a fan favorite character in the Super Smash Bros. series and a character of the franchise that has seen more development than most. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn was a Wii title that continued the story years later and even had the option to transfer data from Path of Radiance, allowing certain character stats to carry over. Developer Intelligent Systems is currently hard at work on the next Paper Mario title, but it might be worth setting up a small team to remaster both of these titles for a collection on the Wii U.
These games have both become hard to find collector’s items and were in fairly low print, so it would be worth releasing it again as a value collection, or even to give it a digital treatment where fans of the franchise can easily download it without having to worry about hunting it down. Given that Fire Emblem Fates released with a special edition that included all three versions of the game, seeing a “Radiance Collection” wouldn’t be that farfetched. It would even be great for new fans of the series that are curious about the characters, as Ike appears in newer titles of the Fire Emblem series as well through downloadable chapters and Amiibo features. This potential collection could even be another opportunity for Nintendo to launch a Fire Emblem Amiibo card set, as fans have been hoping that such a possibility would come to light.
3. F-Zero GX
Fans of the high octane racing series have been pretty hungry as of late. Some have adopted he recently released FAST Racing Neo, a Wii U eShop title that was heavily influenced by F-Zero. Even so, it’s been a while since Captain Falcon had a real game. Having released back in 2003, F-Zero GX was both a challenging racing title, as well as a highly polished one. Speed was the name of the game and giving simple but skilled vehicle combat helped raise the stakes that much more. Even the story mode, while cheesy, was a nice touch that many racing games don’t typically get. F-Zero GX felt like a truly complete package, and yet there was still content that had to be unlocked from the Arcade companion, F-Zero AX. Sega’s Amusement Vision did a fantastic job on this title, though sadly they were dissolved and remaining team staff was integrated into the main Sega development team. This may be why Nintendo has yet to release a new title, as they may be looking for a new team that could top F-Zero GX.
Even without a new title, F-Zero GX is such a complete package, that it would be a worthy title to remaster. Add in the exclusive Arcade content and perhaps an online mode, and fans would eat it up. There have been some slight teases here and there with Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8’s Mute City course, but a true F-Zero experience is desperately needed, even if it’s an older one. This title could also give a new use for the Captain Falcon Amiibo. Perhaps a way to store a custom vehicle and use it at a friend’s house, or maybe even to unlock a new race course. An F-Zero GX HD would be an amazing gift for the patiently awaiting fans.
4. The Last Story
Operation Rainfall was a huge initiative to get a selection of JRPG Wii titles localized from Japan to the United States. This list included Xenoblade Chronicles, Pandora’s Tower, and Mistwalker’s The Last Story, a fantastic action RPG that was visually beautiful for a Wii title. All three titles were localized, but The Last Story was one of those titles that hit just as the Wii had lost steam. Nintendo originally published it in Japan and internationally, but XSEED published the title in North America, and though it was late to the party, they reported it as their most successful title at the time, being critically praised as well. It’s been roughly four years since it released, but characters from the title appear as trophies in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, so it’s clear that Nintendo hasn’t forgotten about it.
Playing sort of like a marriage between Gears of War and Final Fantasy, the game pits players in real-time combat and later gives the ability to issue orders to AI controlled team members. The Wii U gamepad could be used to make these orders easier, quickly having allies target enemies with a simple touch input. With a high definition upgrade and perhaps a little cleaning up with the textures, the game could be a nice release for fans that enjoyed games like Xenoblade Chronicles X. The original released with a limited edition that included an art book, which quickly became a collector’s item, so it would a good incentive to try something like that again. Making the game available digitally would also be a plus, so fans could download it if they have trouble getting a physical copy. Even if it was just a digital release, or even a Virtual Console release, it would be nice to the The Last Story get a second chance on the Wii U.
5. Viewtiful Joe and Viewtiful Joe 2
Though not a Nintendo published series, Capcom and the now defunct Clover Studios’ Viewtiful Joe series was an amazing innovation in beat ’em up gameplay, using motion picture camera effects as a mechanic for the combat. By speeding up or slowing down time, or even zooming in with the camera, it required good timing and skill to be necessary for the combat to work effectively for the player. With flashy cel-shaded graphics and plenty of attitude, the original was critically praised as a GameCube exclusive, but eventually found a release on the PlayStation 2, expanding to a wider audience. Since then, the game has seen two sequels, a spin-off, an anime series, and Viewtiful Joe himself made playable appearances in both Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Releasing the original game as well as the sequel on a collection disc with HD visuals would make a truly stylish game that much more spectacular. It wouldn’t be the first time that Capcom has released a Clover Studios game with high definition visuals, as Okami HD released on PlayStation 3 back in 2012 with a beautiful visual upgrade. Doing a repeat with Viewtiful Joe and adding in special Wii U features could make the game new to fans of the original, as well as bring the fun character to a new generation. Perhaps using the Wii U Gamepad for the “zoom” VFX power or adding a sort of second screen experience could make for a fun change. Even if not for the Wii U, the world could use more Viewtiful Joe…Henshin-a-go-go, baby!
Several titles could use the remastering treatment from the GameCube and the Nintendo Wii, some of which could be fun to see like Luigi’s Mansion or Super Mario Galaxy, while others could be more obscure like Baten Kaitos or Baten Kaitos: Origins. Then there are difficult situations like Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, which came from the now defunct Silicon Knights, and almost had a spiritual successor that couldn’t quite get the funding. Then there are titles like Xenoblade Chronicles, which would make a great choice, though the recent release of Xenoblade Chronicles X and even last year’s release of Xenoblade Chronicles 3D would make that a risky project to take on for the Wii U. Perhaps games that are not closely linked to any other franchise on the system or in genres rarely seen would be more ideal, like 1080° Avalanche or Wave Race: Blue Storm. Punch Out!! released as a Wii Virtual Console title early last year, and though it would be great to see a 1080p version, it would be unlikely to happen. Even Sega can join in the fun by releasing games like Sonic Colors, or MadWorld, which were critically praised Wii exclusive titles. Unfortunately, it might be better for some of these just to remain classics for now and would be better off with resources going towards sequels or other projects.