Earlier today, a trailer for Rayman Legends leaked all over the internet, and along with showing off a pretty cool looking game in an awesome franchise, the trailer also revealed a ton of info on the functionality of the Wii U.
First, let's dispense with Ubisoft's official reaction to the leaked trailer. The company responded like this:
"An internal video showing images of Rayman Origins' sequel has leaked over the Internet. This video was intended as a purely internal demonstrative video, and in NO way represents the final game, the final console or their features. This video was destined for internal production teams who often create game prototypes with work in progress development kits. Ubisoft confirms the development of Rayman Legends handled by Michel Ancel and his team in Montpellier."
Beyond the obviously high level of production values the video displays, I have no evidence for this, but if I was guessing, I'd guess it's Ubisoft's E3 presentation, in spite of their protestation. Whatever, though. It shows off a bunch of really cool features that we'll (probably) see when the Wii-U comes out, so I broke it down a bit further to show off some of them.
Epic Rendering Engine
While the Ubisoft video is short on the technical details, it does mention an "epic" rendering engine, and as you can see in the screenshot above, that means many, many independent elements on screen at once. All of which gives weight to the idea that the Wii U is "as powerful" as a 360. What that means in real, concrete terms remains to be seen.
Social Media and Online Play
Nintendo has never fully embraced the online gaming world, but even they seem to be coming around on the idea that people want to play together online. The screenshot above shows, perhaps, how social-media style friendships and relationships will be at play on the Wii U. Who doesn't love challenges, especially when you can win some Rubis?
Wii U: Touchscreen Controls
The obvious selling point of the Wii-U is the tablet style controller. As you can see from the above screen, you'll be able to control elements in the Rayman game world with your controller. This allows a four player game where three people are playing and one is controlling the playing field, as you can see from the photo below:
That lady with the orange hair can seems to be able to help her pals or bedevil them, depending on her mercurial temperament. Also, the dude on her right is clearly cheating by looking at her screen. I think he has a crush on her.
We've seen this aspect of the Wii-U before (Check out this "Battle Me" tech demo video), but it's a little hard to grasp at first. The more demos of it we see, the more understandable it will become.
Scanning Real-World Objects
Here's where things get really interesting. While it's not a secret that the Wii-U will feature "near field communication," this video is the first time we've seen it in action, so let's take a closer look, want to?
As you can see from the photo above, these two gamers are just hanging out with their guitar and fern, playing Rayman Legends, but something has upset them, and they don't know what to do.
But then, the woman (I call her Giselle) has an idea...
She picks up a convenient stuffed heart and places it upon the Wii U controller...
That very heart and many like it appear in the game! Love has conquered fear! Victory is ours!
(I don't know about you, but I make that face every time I play a game. Sometimes twice!)
How this will work, exactly, isn't known, but remember how when they launched Kinect, Microsoft promised you'd be able to scan your real life skateboard into a game and use it? And that never happened? Maybe it will be like that. But I doubt it. I think it will be more like Spyro, where you buy specific toys and/or dolls and scan them into your game. Any time there's an alternative form of game monetiziation, I bet on that.
The next segment in the video is interesting. It shows a much nerdier looking French (I presume) guy scanning a Rabbids figure into the Wii-U...
When the Wii-U lights up, he seems utterly shocked and amazed, as if he didn't expect it to work... check it out:
It's almost like a horror movie, honestly, check out that atmospheric smoke/fog! But the Rabbids appear on his screen, and all is well. The hesitancy and surprise shown by all the actors in the video might suggest some kind of "try it and see" object scanning situation for the Wii-U... Of course, it could be a case of actors over-selling the part.
The video ultimately leaves us hanging though. Sir Nerdlington is contemplating scanning is nearby Ezio doll (er... action figure! Sorry!) but we never get to see what happens when/if he does... leaving only tantalizing possibilities.
Will he end up like this:
or will he be more like this:
It remains to be seen.
Look for a lot more detail on the Nintendo Wii-U and most likely Rayman Legends at E3 2012.