Call of Duty WaWii Co-op, Round 2 (Update)
20 Aug 2008 21:02
David MarseillesDavid Marseilles

Call of Duty WaWii Co-op, Round 2 (Update)


Update: Apologies, the offline co-op is not on-rails. One player has full free-moving control, and there is a second aiming reticule for a second player who is at the mercy of the movements of the first player.

Activision Community Manager JD (who, for the record, is just doing his job) has once again taken on the Call of Duty WaWii co-op slight In which Wii gets only an on-rails, 2 player offline co-op, while the PS360 gets 4 player online co-op.

Ok, so they slighted Wii. Not exactly new territory for us. What really puts a craw in WiiHD's hide is that they won't admit they slighted Wii. Read this excerpt:

First, we have teams of engineers that have investigated online co-op for the Wii, and it simply is not physically possible with the Wii hardware and the engine we have running on the platform. The graphical accomplishments of CoD:WW utilize more of the system resources available on the Wii than other games in order to look as good as it does.

It's the Wii's fault. It's Nintendo's fault. It's anybody else's fault. And "teams of engineers"? You'd think they brought in an army of specialists before scrapping the idea. I doubt that.

The fact of the matter is that if they wanted to include online co-op, they could have. It very likely would have involved decreasing the level of graphical output for that mode, which is why he qualifies just how impossible online co-op is by saying "with the … engine we have running." The intent of this paragraph is clearly to leave the impression that the feature could not be accomplished, even though he states the key to including that feature—less graphical fidelity (just as we discussed before) for that mode in particular.

So why not tune down the graphics for an online co-op mode? Even a 2 player online co-op mode? Because it's more work, and it isn't worth it to Treyarch. More specifically, the extra work isn't worth it for Wii. The Wii platform has come a long way in a year, after all, COD4 and the talented Infinity Ward couldn't even be bothered to make up an excuse as to why they didn't care about us. I believe their exact statement when asked about a Wii port at the time involved chortling and snorting Dr. Pepper from their noses.

But Wii, and Wii owners, are still not given the respect other consoles get by default. Treyarch would have you accept their say-so that they Wii just isn't good enough for a full feature set and sit down and shut up. If you do, developers won't change their treatment of you. They'll be happy to make money of you, but as appears to be happening with EA and their second Godfather, they'll focus on the other systems, and think about tossing us the scraps later, because we're willing to take the abuse.

WiiHD doesn't want you to flame anyone. And if a nice little on-rails offline mode makes you happy, please feel free to be happy. But don't accept half-lies as the truth. Not demanding excellence is the surest way not to get it. As proof of how much loving Wii gets, hit the break to see the whooping 2 Wii screens released thus far and a description of the WaWii offline co-op. Of course Treyarch cares, just not enough to take a few more snapshots.

For a Multiplayer level, you need only enough geometry to sustain a fun competitive environment for players. An SP level, however, would be much larger than your given MP level, The amount of overhead that adds to the system (in terms of memory and processing power required to store and render that kind of data) is non-trivial. Then when you take into consideration all the AI, scripting, and client synchronization, there is an awful lot more that has to go on under-the-hood with co-op that simply cannot fit on the Wii platform. I haven’t even touched on the client-server host paradigm of our net code and the additional complexities it adds to this problem domain…

There's nothing about that that isn't true, it just doesn't represent a reason why the Wii can't handle online co-op. WiiHD agrees that it is non-trivial. We just don't think the process being difficult to accomplish is an excuse not to try, much less an excuse to pretending you had no choice in the matter.

Online co-op is different from regular vs. multiplayer, as JD somewhat condescendingly explains (in fairness, a number of complaints from players have failed to recognize the increased difficulty). Understood. Again, the feature can be done, they just didn't give Wii high enough priority to do the work necessary.

Instead, we get this feature, called "Squadmate":

Our goal has always been to design the most fun, best-looking WW2 shooter of the year on the next-gen platforms. We have made a tremendous effort to bring this experience to the Wii. The team we have working on the Wii has designed a co-op mode unique to the Wii, called “Squadmate.” You can have a friend pick up another Zapper and jump right into the action in real-time with an additional crosshair to help take out baddies.

All that said, the Wii version of the game is loads of fun. Our local Wii co-op mode is similar to an arcade game you may play where two shooters share the screen and take out enemies. If you claim you don’t have fun with those games while at an arcade, I’d claim you’re making up stories =P. Our game is so much more than an arcade game though, with its awesome story arch, phenomenal graphics, and unique control scheme.

WaWii Gallery

2 Wii Screens (yes, only two):

2 DS Screens

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