A little-known fact is that many years ago, though it never got released in such a form, the Death Jr. series started development on consoles, with an early Xbox version even making a public appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con. As the series evolved and got picked up by a publisher, however, it became a portable franchise, with two PSP titles and one DS game released by Konami.
But now we've just received word that the second PSP game, Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil, is making its way to Wii, marking the first home console appearance for the franchise, with Eidos taking over as the publisher.
: "It's definitely one of the better looking Wii titles," says producer James Stanley. "I'd say 'best' but we might get in a battle with some Mario fans." Is he right?
"This is really the 'Special Edition'," says Backbone producer James Stanley, who tells us that compared to the PSP game, the Wii version will have more polygons, higher-resolution textures, more voice acting, better pacing, splitscreen play for co-op, and an improved user interface designed to make navigation and weapon selection easier, along with tech-friendly features like 480p and Dolby Pro Logic II support. So lots of little things to make the game fit on Wii, basically, rather than any big new features.
In Stanley's eyes, the new controls are the main reason to check out the Wii game. "The ability to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to not only have precise aiming and control of the camera, but to easily switch back and forth between melee and ranged combat mode is ideal," he says.
Like many first-person Wii games, Root of Evil's controls will let players aim by pointing a cursor around the screen, and move the camera by pushing the cursor to the screen's edges. But since Death Jr. is as much a brawler as a shooter, players will also be able to pull out their scythe (or whip if playing as Pandora) and attack by shaking the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk.
Given that camera and control issues have been a significant problem in every Death Jr. game to date, we're optimistic that this move to Wii will alleviate some of the those issues and free players up to focus on the rest of the game. At this point, however, we haven't been able to try out the new setup, so we hope to have more information on that front soon.
With Root of Evil Wii scheduled to ship in Spring, it looks to be the latest Wii title announced shortly before its release, which means we should have impressions of the controls very soon. For the first screens from the Wii version, head over to our media page.