By now you're probably fairly good at Wii's popular pack-in killer app; Wii Sports. Nintendo's use of the game as a Trojan horse introducing the ethics and mechanics of exactly how Wii works has been nothing short of tactical genius. Not only has the game been ingrained into non-gamer minds but it's created a noticeable cultural marker for a new era within the medium. There may well be many titles out there which are more technically competent, more visually arresting or offer greater array of gameplay, but if you're looking for an important example of how to infiltrate a new market with relatively minimal effort, Wii Sports is likely to be mimicked many times over the next few years.
Which isn’t to say it can't be improved.
There's likely to be another Wii Sports title around the corner given its large popularity and franchise viability. So with that in mind and the growing range of sports games on Wii, it's worth looking at what would benefit a sequel to allow it to get ahead of its increasing competition on the field.
1. Increased Players Per Game
Wii Sports satisfies the bare minimum number of participants and it’s more than possible that if you've got a fair few people around to play there's going to be more than just four of you. Which creates all sorts of problems, especially when the game brings out the pad-hoggers in us all. So the ability to grant more players per sport would be ideal. Clearly only some sports will allow this in its current iteration, such as Bowling and Golf, but as examples both lend themselves to large numbers of people. And pad swapping is preferable to having your best friend moan how he has to wait for the four of you to finish your game before he gets a go.
Along with this, another welcome addition would be partnership options that allow you to have two Miis sharing a single round (for example, Bowling would have two people alternating for their go) with a combined and separate skill scores at the end to see how well you team up. There's the chance of arguments being formed should you be partnered with a player who's crap, but that's all part of the fun.
Likelihood Of Future Inclusion: 8/10
A good bet, simply because it's a no-brainer. The sharing option may well be a little too much for Nintendo, but ramping up the number of players to sell more Wii remotes? Easy money in far too many senses.
2. More/Different Sports
Another obvious one, although arguments over what type of sports is likely to create a headache for any designer. Cricket would be obvious (and this is coming from a person who's fairly apathetic about that particular sport), although it's arguably too niche for the generally global -or at least American and Japanese geared- Wii Sports brand. Wii Play has shown how good Shooting can be, and the inclusion of Pool would be excellent given the flash of greatness that was evident via Billiards in that same package. Is Badminton too close to Tennis? I guess you could say that about many sports. Ultimately, a mixture of something recognisable and fairly easy to play in terms of rules would be the defining qualities needed. Insert your favourite here.
Likelihood Of Future Inclusion: 10/10
An open goal, so to speak.
3. An 'Advanced' Mode
If there's one thing that some (i.e. a section of hardcore gamers) have been put off with is the lack of increased control in Wii Sports. The inability to move your character around. Whether that's in Tennis, telling your outfielders to not be fumbling limp legged idiots in Baseball or just being able to dance around the ring like Mohammed Ali in Boxing. One way to alleviate this lack without alienating the ethos of accessibility that is the essence of Wii gaming is to have an option to switch such things on or off. Choice.
So once you're happy with the way you play, you can then try and better your game by turning off the CPU assistance and take full control over your Mii. It will mean an adjustment in some games that require more than just motion sensing, but it would add a large degree of depth to mastering the game. No to mention silencing any whiners who moan that they've been sabotaged by the lack of direct influence over their on-screen avatars. At least until they find something else to whinge about.
Likelihood Of Future Inclusion: 7/10
As noted, it goes against the whole philosophy that Wii is meant to make gaming more accessible, but I'm willing to bet Electronic Arts will create something like this, so friendly competition across developers may eventually spur such options to the surface as an established norm.
4. Greater Selection Over Miis
Some sports, like Baseball and Boxing, are a little rigid in their selection of who you play against or in terms of the former, who you select in your team. So the choice of who you represent or face via openly choosing your Miis would be a nice extra. How about a sparing mode for Boxing where you can select who you pummel? Makes a change from the ol' sandbag.
What would also be great is the ability to customise your Mii with accessories geared towards sports in general. A range of baseball caps, racquets, bats, boxing attire and more would be wonderful to add to the game and would personalise each sport perfectly.
Likelihood Of Future Inclusion: 8/10
Better Mii selection seems pretty certain as it encourages players to increase their Mii making fervour -like we needed any more excuses- and thus trade and interact more. Accessories, however, are entering the realm of microtransactions, which means yes they may be very attractive to publishers, but should we have to pay for them? (Answer: no. Microtransactions are EVIL.)
5. The Ability To Save Particular Performances
Who hasn’t done that great one-two sucker punch on Boxing and wanted to save it via the internal memory? Or sunk a hole-in-one and wished you could relive it whenever you wished? This would be ideal in recreating what Pro Evolution Soccer players, among others, have enjoyed for years: saving your best moments on to an external memory drive. With spacious SD cards such things are easily manageable. Seeing as we're only talking mere moments from a game, they wouldn’t take up much room either.
Likelihood Of Future Inclusion: 4/10
This is more of an EA thing than something Nintendo would go for, admittedly, which means we're unlikely to see it for Wii Sports 2. Shame, really. That doesn’t mean we won't see it eventually for Wii Sports 3, however…
6. Online Modes
Something many have clamoured for, and makes perfect sense. Clearly Nintendo isn’t too keen on pushing its titles online quite yet, but it seems like something the company will come around to in time for Wii Sports 2. That said, it doesn’t have to be limited to online multiplayer options – high score leaderboards, a performance gallery (to show people a snippet of your best performance as point 5) suggested) and other little extras would create a larger community for all the sports at hand. Lots of places to go with on this one.
Likelihood Of Future Inclusion: 9/10
It's almost inevitable we'll see online functionality in some form, it's simply a matter of what form that will be…
7. Career Modes
Wii Sports has a surprising amount of depth, considering its suggested simplicity. The ability to achieve medals, compete in training and the Wii Fitness options are all very good ideas and add a large dollop of longevity to proceedings. But a slightly larger career mode that goes beyond being able to call yourself a 'pro' would work even better. It wouldn’t have to be an Electronic Arts level of comprehensiveness, but seeing how well you're progressing against other CPU players in a league or cup table would add a sharper edge of competition and give participants more to go on after those initial few months of intensive play.
Likelihood Of Future Inclusion: 6/10
It's hard to say whether Nintendo will go this, given it's flirted with large tournament modes in some sports titles like Mario Tennis, but that may be the EXACT reason it may be excluded. You can bet your house the Mario sports franchises will be wheeled out eventually and because of that they may be angled as an alternative to Wii Sports, offering larger depth in gameplay for this sort of thing. So there's a chance Nintendo will keep Wii Sports as something more simplistic and short-lived by comparison than 'waste' any career modes on it by comparison. It may depend on how dedicated the Big N perceives its fanbase; casual users are less likely to want this sort of thing and may prefer a game they can 'dabble' in rather than faff around with tournaments and the like.
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