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Where Did All the eShop Games Go?

by Neal Ronaghan - April 28, 2014, 10:44 am EDT
Total comments: 6

Remember when all those eShop games were slated for release the past few months? Find out what happened.

Back in February, Nintendo announced a variety of Wii U and eShop games for February, March, and April releases. We’re almost finished with April and not one of the games scheduled to come out past the day the press release was sent out have come out. With only one major Wii U release in that time period, the absence of these indie games was very much felt. So, we asked the different developers why their games missed their release months or dates.

As you'll see, the prevailing trend is basically "we didn't realize how difficult it would be." When talking to the developers, I let them know about how borderline comical it was that literally none of these games have come out. One even replied saying "I suspect it will just be a lot of developers who underestimated how much work was left to be done on their games, as we did."

That's what happens, to a certain degree, when young studios take on ambitious projects for unfamiliar systems. While Yacht Club Games (developers of Shovel Knight) didn't respond to our emails for this feature, that team has been very forthcoming as to why Shovel Knight missed their March 31 launch.

Yacht Club's reasoning for their delay could be applied to probably every game mentioned here: "This isn’t a major delay, or a long one," the team said in a Kickstarter backer update "It’s simply a stretch of time to get everything polished and aligned. While major development is quickly drawing to a close, there are still some external factors, like submission preparation, which need a little bit more breathing room before the game goes live."

Now keep in mind that Nintendo did cover themselves by noting that release dates are subject to change, but I'm sure no one expected this much of a shift. For posterity's sake, here's the release list from that press release:

Nintendo eShop for Wii U

  • Unepic (EnjoyUp Games) Available Now
  • Knytt Underground (Ripstone) Available Now
  • CastleStorm (Zen Studios) Available Now
  • Wooden Sen'Sey (Neko Entertainment) February
  • Ittle Dew (Ludosity AB) February/March
  • Ballpoint Universe (Arachnid Games) March 18
  • Armillo (Fuzzy Wuzzy Games) March 24
  • Shovel Knight (Yacht Club Games) March 31 (also on 3DS)
  • Nihilumbra (Beautifun Games) March
  • Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails (Dakko Dakko Ltd.) March
  • Squids Odyssey (The Game Bakers) March (also on 3DS)
  • Monkey Pirates (Henchmen Studio) Q1
  • 1001 Spikes (Nicalis) Q1 (also on 3DS)
  • Teslagrad (Rain Games) March/April
  • QUBE Director’s Cut (Toxic Games) April
  • Assault Android Cactus (Witch Beam Games) Q2

Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS

  • Jett Rocket 2 (Shin'en Multimedia) Available Now
  • EDGE (Two Tribes Publishing) Available Now
  • Retro City Rampage DX (VBlank) Available Now
  • Siesta Fiesta (Mojo Bones) March
  • Moon Chronicles (Renegade Kid) March
  • Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (WayForward Technologies) Q1
  • Treasurenauts (Renegade Kid) May

UPDATE: Yacht Club Games actually got back to us after this feature went live. Here's what they had to say: "We've been putting our inboxes (and pretty much everything else) on ice while we work 200.6% toward the end goal of seeing this game completed. Hopefully once we have a little more breathing room, we can better articulate the ups and downs of the project-- especially since postmortems like that are helpful to our team here as well!"

Note: We contacted but did not hear back from Yacht Club Games (Shovel Knight), Nicalis (1001 Spikes), and Neko Entertainment (Wooden Sen'Sey). Also, we didn't contact WayForward regarding Shantae since they have been very public about how the game keeps getting pushed back (and delays are no shock to Shantae games these days). Lastly, we didn't ask Renegade Kid about Treasurenauts since we haven't made it to May yet, though Treasurenauts will likely slip to summer anyway.

Thanks to all developers who responded! We're looking forward to all of your games when they come out!


xcwarriorApril 28, 2014

We've always had delays with games, but now with the internet and social media and the need for constant info, delays feel like they are so much more painful than ever before.

But Indy devs, as stated, have no clue how long it takes to make a game.

ShyGuyApril 28, 2014

A number of these were on display at GDC, right? So I don't think there is any vaporware.

No, certainly not vaporware. I think the Teslagrad response covers the essence of the problems -- there were unexpected problems with the middleware and/or the devs don't have experience tuning it to work best with Wii U, the last bit of polish always takes longer than you think, and the lot check process takes way longer than indie devs are used to on other platforms. Hopefully, the first and last of those things can be smoothed out by more effort on Nintendo's side. I guess it's just more telling that Nintendo was willing to use these estimates in their press release (because there was nothing else to talk about), despite the long history of launch misses, especially on the Nintendo digital distribution side. On the other hand, the alternative is the case of Block Drop U, the only Nintendo Web Framework game to release within the first year, but in a state that was barely out of prototype stage.

MagicCow64April 28, 2014

Funny, I just booted up the Indie channel on the eShop last week looking for something to power through while I was sick, and was surprised at the dearth of releases, as I recalled a pretty loaded Spring slate. Luckily Knytt Underground was ready to go, and awesome. (And kind of crazy long.)

Leo13April 28, 2014

When I read the title for this article I thought it was going to say it's been Nintendo's fault. I'm happy to hear that's not the case.

Vampire-JekyllApril 29, 2014

It is ok. I am a Nintendo fan. I am used to waiting a little extra longer to get great games.

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